We all love the summer squash – zucchini, don’t we? Companion planting helps your zucchini perform at its very best – and here are 14 of the best zucchini companion plants to make it happen. We’ve also included 6 companion plants you should avoid growing with zucchini.
Although they’re not too challenging to grow, zucchini plants can be susceptible to various ailments – from pests to diseases to nutrient deficiencies.
That’s where companion gardening can come to the rescue!
But – which zucchini companions are the best? And – which zucchini companion plants should you avoid like the plague?
Continue reading our zucchini companion plant guide to learn more!
Good Zucchini Companion Plants
Here are some excellent zucchini companion plants! We’ll go into more detail as to why they’re so good below – keep reading!
Bad Zucchini Companion Plants
Here are six of the worst zucchini companion plants – don’t plant them near your zucchini! We’ll go into detail as to why they’re no good below.
What Is Companion Planting?
Companion planting is a big deal in gardening, especially in the organic variety. The concept is simple! When planning a crop rotation or choosing the planting order, select the veggie cultivars that are a good fit.
That usually means that they accomplish the following:
- Do not compete for the same resources and have different nutritional needs.
- One companion plant has active beneficial abilities such as repelling pests, attracting beneficial insects, enriching the soil, or providing physical ground cover or support.
- It also helps if the zucchini companion plants taste perfectly together in homemade pasta dishes and garden salads. But that’s just an unrelated bonus!
Selecting the correct pairs of vegetable species to plant together can result in higher yields, more plant health, fewer pests, and a decreased use of pesticides.
On the other hand, some plants cannot be pals because they don’t get along. The main reason for this biochemical hostility is that they compete for the same resources – the same set of nutrients in the ground. These are poor plant companions!
Now – let’s look at the best and the worst zucchini companion plants for your precious seedlings.
Read More – Get Our Free Apple Tree Guild Chart! Fruit Guilds Made Easy!
The Best Zucchini Companion Plants
Many plants are perfect for sowing next to zucchini gourds. They form mutualistic pairs and enhance thriving and self-helping plant communities.
However, we recommend the following zucchini crop triad that is beyond comparison in terms of compatibility.
Zucchini BFFs – Corn and Beans
Often called The Three Sisters, the combination of squash, corn, and beans (or another climbing legume such as peas) is nearly-unmatched in the gardening world.
The combo was discovered in the ancient days by indigenous people of Central America, who described these three as gifts from the gods, that should get planted and eaten together.
So why is this combination so successful in companion planting? It’s because these plants all have something to give to their little sisterhood – both in the biochemical and physical sense.
Beans (or peas) belong to the legume family, meaning they can fixate nitrogen from the air into the soil. The always-hungry zucchini squash and corn highly appreciate this influx of nutrients, turning it into biomass. With their lush and spiny foliage, they create a groundcover that holds moisture for the drought-sensitive corn, prevents the growth of weeds, and deters rodents.
In return, corn’s tall and sturdy stem becomes a living trellis and supports the trailing vines – beans and squash.
Besides doing favors for each other, they are plant soulmates and harmonious neighbors in the sense they have the same soil quality and moisture requirements.
Garlic – Insect Repeller
Garlic is a desirable companion plant. Since its growth habit and nutritional needs differ from the squash, they won’t compete.
However, besides mere tolerance, garlic has something to bring into the field. Rich in sulfur compounds, it successfully repels insects like aphids.
Tomatoes and Zucchini as Companion Plants
The tomato is probably wondering why it got left out of the original three sisters arrangement we discussed before, considering that it comes from the same geographic range and is perfectly compatible with various squash cultivars.
While we may guess the reasons (it is most likely that tomato needs far more light than corn planting can provide, plus they share the same pest, which can be disastrous), tomato plants and zucchini gourds make fine companions.
The vengeful tomato invited borage starflowers to help it make its sisterhood with zucchini plants. And it usually goes successfully. We’ll discuss more on the role of borage plants later.
Although both are essentially vines, tomato commonly gets stalked, and the zucchini plants grow on the ground. The ground-covering zucchini vines help prevent evaporation. In other words – they stop the soil from drying out and aid the tomato in persisting in the summer heat.
But – be careful to ensure sufficient sustenance since both plants can be resource-hungry.
The reason that tomato gets excluded from zucchini companion plant lists is that, even if they get along fine, the zucchini plant and tomatoes don’t overly help each other. To anthropomorphize a bit – they make kind – but uninvolved neighbors.
Various kinds of decorative flowering plants are ideal companions to a zucchini-centered community.
Despite being showy, squash flowers are not very fragrant. Thus, they sometimes have issues with attracting pollinators. However, other flowers that grow nearby can pitch in to help – that is why combining flowers with squashes and cucumbers has been a long-standing tradition.
Edging the borders of your squash territory with these plants contributes undeniable benefits.
Nasturtium is a reliable trap crop or a sacrifice plant – it gets used to attract unsavory pests such as aphids. Aphids love nasturtium. So they might leave your desirable crop plants alone. Also, it repels the squash vine borer and looks gorgeous – like a cute baby zucchini cousin.
Marigolds are known to repel various underground pests, most notably nematodes. Besides that, they also trap aphids and look gorgeous.
As a companion plant, borage has an important role! It helps attract pollinators. The fact that it blooms continuously until the winter is tremendously helpful to various types of squash in whose proximity it grows.
With their fragrance and essential oils? Many fragrant herbs repel various pests from squash plants. Also, they have flowers of their own, which are often attractive to pollinators! Perfect for helping the zucchini flowers find their bunch of bees and create the desired fruits.
These herbs help to ward off unwanted insects:
Like borage, lavender has nectar-rich and fragrant flowers that bloom on the same timeline as zucchini flowers and can help attract pollinators to your garden.
Also – a word of caution!
Although herbs won’t compete with the zucchini plants, they may compete among themselves and influence each other’s aroma. Do your homework on the subject if you plan to include several herb species around your zucchini bed perimeters.
Read More – 3 Best Ways to Harvest and Dry Elderberries!
Worst Zucchini Companion Plants
Here is a list of plants your zucchini babies wouldn’t like hanging around.
Squashes and Pumpkins
Squashes and pumpkins grow in the same spreading manner as zucchini vines. They require a lot of space and are hungry for the same nutrients. So – while it’s possible to grow squash, zucchini, and pumpkins in the same garden – they require lots of topsoil space!
Potatoes are also greedy regarding nutrients and grow a lush and bushy vegetative part. They will compete with zucchini plants for both space and nutrients. Planting potatoes and zucchini gourds nearby increase the chance of diseases – potato blight and powdery mildew in zucchini plants.
Cucumber is also closely related to zucchini plants and other squashes, so the two plants will compete to neither benefit. The cucumber vines are also aggressive – and their tendrils will latch onto nearby plants. We love growing cucumbers for pickling. But – make sure to give your cucumber plant space to stretch!
Even though they match perfectly in dishes, you should never plant eggplant and zucchini together. Both are heavy feeders. And zucchini plants, like any other squash, have the potential to overshadow the eggplant with their large leaves.
Although fennel attracts beneficial insects – and we’ve learned that zucchini flowers need help in attracting pollinators – fennel is not cut out to be a vegetable companion as it hinders the growth of neighboring plants.
Want more tips on how to grow vegetables like zucchini, tomatoes, beans, and more? Then check out the beginner's guide to vegetable gardening! It's one of our favorite on-demand courses taught by Rick Stone. The course contains over 24 video lectures and is perfect for new vegetable gardeners.
When studying companion planting, it becomes obvious! Mother Nature created natural allies among plants – so why not use this plant camaraderie to our benefit, to everyone’s happiness?
Luckily, zucchini plants have numerous possible companions that will protect them, increase their yield and make your garden all the more pretty.
I hope that this list of zucchini companion plants can help you green your thumb even more. Choose wisely, and you’ll get rewarded plentifully!
Let us know how your zucchini garden goes!
And – which zucchini companion is your favorite?
(Or – maybe you have zucchini companion horror stories to share with us. Please let us know!)
Thanks for reading.
Have a great day!