Cabbage Companion Plants 2024: The Complete List

Team TheGrow
Cabbage Companion Plants

Having spent over 13 years with my hands in the soil, observing the subtle dance of nature and nurturing countless plants to fruition, I’ve come to appreciate the art and science of companion planting.

At its core, companion planting is about understanding the synergies between different plants and how they can complement each other. It’s akin to pairing a fine wine with the perfect dish; each enhances the other.

Now, cabbage is one of those vegetables that, despite its hardy appearance, has its fair share of adversaries in the garden. This is where the magic of companion planting truly shines. By choosing the right neighbors for our cabbages, we can not only fend off these pesky adversaries but also enhance the overall health and yield of our crops.

In this post, we’ll dive deep into the world of cabbage and its best plant pals. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, there’s something here for everyone.

Why Cabbage Benefits from Companion Planting

With cabbage-layered leaves and a dense heart, it might seem like a fortress to the untrained eye. However, like many plants in our gardens, cabbages face challenges from pests and diseases that can hinder their growth or, worse, decimate the crop entirely.

1. Vulnerabilities of Cabbages

Pests Galore

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Cabbages are a prime target for a variety of pests. The cabbage looper, root maggots, aphids, and the infamous cabbage worm all have an appetite for these leafy greens. And rather than use chemical treatments, it is a lot better and safer to use companion planting.

Diseases

Black rot, clubroot, and fusarium wilt are just a few of the diseases that can plague cabbage plants. Often, these diseases thrive when there’s a lack of biodiversity. With the right companion plants, we can introduce beneficial microbes to the soil and create a more balanced garden ecosystem.

2. The Power of Biodiversity

Nature thrives on diversity. In a monoculture – that is, a garden or farm where only one crop is grown – vulnerabilities become apparent. Pests specific to that crop have a field day (pun intended!) with no natural predators to keep them in check.

By introducing companion plants, we’re not just defending our cabbages; we’re cultivating a mini-ecosystem where predatory insects can control harmful pests, and plants can offer each other mutual benefits.

For example, certain plants can emit odors or substances that repel cabbage-specific pests, while others might attract beneficial insects that prey on those pests. This organic, symbiotic approach often yields healthier crops and a more balanced garden.

Best Companion Plants for Cabbage

Companion planting isn’t just about putting plants next to each other and hoping for the best. It’s a method rooted in understanding the intricate relationships between different plants. For our resilient cabbage, here are some companions that offer protection, synergy, and mutual benefits.

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Herbs

Herbs not only serve as aromatic delights in our kitchens but also play significant roles in the garden.

1. Dill

dill companion plants

A perfect ally for cabbage. Dill attracts beneficial insects like wasps and ladybugs, which prey on many pests that target cabbage, such as aphids and caterpillars. The strong aroma of dill can also act as a deterrent for some pests.

2. Mint

mint herb

If you’ve ever grown mint, you know it’s a robust grower. Besides being a refreshing addition to many dishes, mint helps repel the cabbage moth and cabbage white butterfly, whose larvae can cause significant damage to the cabbage.

3. Rosemary

catmint plant

This fragrant herb doesn’t just enhance our dishes. When planted near cabbage, rosemary’s strong scent confuses and repels cabbage moths and flea beetles, ensuring they keep their distance.

4. Thyme

thyme companion plants

Known for its tiny, fragrant leaves, thyme can deter white cabbage butterflies. This herb grows low to the ground, creating a fragrant barrier that these pests find unappealing.

Flowers

Incorporating flowers in a vegetable garden isn’t just for aesthetics. They play an essential role in pest control and pollination.

5. Marigolds

Marigolds planted in the garden
Marigolds planted in the garden

A popular choice in many vegetable gardens, marigolds exude a substance from their roots that deters nematodes, and microscopic worms that can harm cabbage roots. Additionally, the strong scent of marigolds can repel pests like aphids.

6. Nasturtiums

nasturtium herb

These vibrant flowers serve a dual purpose. They attract aphids (acting as a trap crop) away from the cabbage and repel several cabbage-specific pests, like whiteflies and cabbage loopers. Plus, they add a splash of color to your garden!

Vegetables

Certain vegetables complement cabbages exceptionally well, offering both growth and protection. benefits.

7. Tomatoes

tomato companion plant

Tomatoes and cabbage share a few common pests. Fortunately, the scent of tomato plants repels diamondback moth larvae, a common cabbage pest. This means fewer pests to deal with and healthier cabbages.

8. Onions & Leeks

onion growing stages

These alliums are great neighbors for cabbages. They deter pests like the cabbage worm and cabbage looper, thanks to their strong scent. These pests find the aroma of onions and leeks offensive and will typically steer clear.

9. Potatoes

potato companion plants

Potatoes and cabbages share a harmonious relationship in the garden. Potatoes can repel some pests that target cabbages, while cabbages can do the same for potato beetles. It’s a win-win!

10. Beans

Bush Beans

While beans are known to fix nitrogen in the soil, benefiting crops that come after them, they also play well with cabbages when planted simultaneously. Beans can deter Colorado potato beetles, which, on rare occasions, might target cabbage.

By integrating these companion plants with cabbages in your garden, you’re laying the groundwork for a healthier, more productive space. As we’ll discover, not every plant makes a good companion, but with the right pairings, the results can be truly remarkable.

Plants to Avoid Near Cabbage

While the magic of companion planting offers numerous benefits for our cabbages, it’s equally crucial to be aware of plants that don’t play well with them. Here are some plants you might want to keep at a distance from your cabbage patch:

1. Strawberries

Strawberries and cabbages aren’t the best of neighbors. They compete for essential nutrients in the soil, leading to suboptimal growth for both. Keeping them apart ensures that each gets its fair share of what the soil offers.

2. Grapes

If you’re growing grapes, it’s wise to keep them away from your cabbages. The two can interfere with each other’s growth patterns. Grapes have specific soil pH and nutrient needs that can be affected by nearby cabbages.

3. Rue

Rue is a herb that can have adverse effects on cabbage growth. It emits a strong scent and substances that cabbages find unwelcoming. While rue can be beneficial in some gardens for its pest-repelling properties, it’s best kept away from your cabbage patch.

4. Broccoli and Cauliflower

While they’re part of the same Brassica family as cabbage, it’s advisable not to plant them too close. They all attract similar pests and can create a hotspot for them, making it easier for pests to jump from one plant to the next.

Note on Crop Rotation

It’s not just about immediate neighbors. If you’ve previously grown other Brassicas (like Brussels sprouts, turnips, or kale) in a particular spot, it’s wise to avoid planting cabbages there immediately after. These plants have similar nutrient needs and pest vulnerabilities, and rotating crops help break pest and disease cycles, ensuring healthier cabbages.

Tips for Successful Companion Planting

While understanding which plants go well together is a significant step, mastering the art of companion planting requires a bit more finesse. Here are some expert tips to ensure that your cabbage patch, and garden as a whole, thrives:

1. Intercropping for Maximized Space Utilization

Instead of planting in long rows of a single crop, consider intercropping – mixing different plants in a pattern or row. This can deter pests, as they find it harder to locate their preferred host, and can also lead to more efficient use of space.

2. Utilize Natural Repellents and Fertilizers

Embrace organic gardening practices. Use compost, worm castings, and organic mulch to enrich the soil. For natural repellents, consider planting or sprinkling herbs like chives, basil, or garlic, which deter various pests.

3. Monitor and Rotate Crops

Keep an eye on your plants. Regularly inspect for signs of pests or disease. By spotting issues early, you can address them before they escalate. As mentioned before, rotating crops helps in breaking the lifecycle of soil-borne pests and diseases.

4. Understand Local Pests and Their Natural Predators

Every garden has its unique set of challenges depending on its location. Learn about the local pests in your area and plants or insects that can naturally control them. For instance, ladybugs are predators of aphids, and planting flowers that attract ladybugs can naturally reduce aphid populations.

5. Plant Flowers for Pollinators

While cabbages aren’t pollinator-dependent, many plants in the garden are. Planting flowers like sunflowers, cosmos, or zinnias can attract bees and butterflies, enhancing pollination for other crops.

6. Diversify Plant Heights and Root Depths

Different plants have varying root structures. By planting crops with different root depths together, you ensure that they’re not competing for nutrients in the same soil strata. This also allows for better water utilization.

7. Be Patient and Observe

Nature has its rhythm. Sometimes, it takes a season or two to observe the real benefits of companion planting. Take notes, be patient, and adjust based on what you learn.

Wrapping it up

Companion planting offers a natural and holistic approach to gardening, enhancing the health and yield of our plants. By understanding which plants complement each other and which ones might clash, we can make informed decisions that benefit our entire garden.

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