When choosing companion plants for cucumbers, select those that may attract beneficial insects to your cucumbers, or that which may improve the health or flavor of your cucumbers. Additionally, go for companion plants that may trap or repel undesirable insects without interfering with the growth of your cucumbers.
Good companion plants for your cucumbers not only help you make the most out of the available space but, also helps to provide beneficial nutrients for your cucumbers.
In this article, I’ve compiled a list of 13+ best companion plants for cucumbers that will meet most if not all of the above-mentioned characteristics of a companion plant.
So let’s take a look at the plants that you can use as companions for your cucumbers and why.
Best Companion Plants for Cucumbers
1. Radish (Raphanus sativus)
Radishes are edible root vegetables mostly eaten raw in crunchy vegetable salads. Plant this hardy, easy to grow vegetable alongside your cucumbers to help attract cucumber beetles away from the cucumbers.
2. Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris)
Having beans as companions for your cucumbers is a great way to offer aid to your plants. Beans can provide the much-needed nitrogen in the soil through nitrogen fixation.
This happens through a symbiotic relationship between the root nodules and Rhizobium bacteria which leads to the transformation of atmospheric nitrogen into plant nitrogen e.g. protein.
3. Summer savory (Satureja hortensis)
Summer savory is a fast-growing plant that you can use as a companion plant for your cucumbers. In ancient times, summer savory used to be added to cakes and pies for a touch of spiciness.
In addition to its culinary and medicinal properties, this plant when inter-cropped with beans, helps protect them from the Mexican bean beetle.
4. Corn (Zea mays)
Sweet corn is a warm-season vegetable crop that provides your cucumbers with much-needed support and shade.
On the other hand, cucumbers spread out along the ground and provide your corn with ground cover thus retains moisture in the soil and suppresses weeds.
5. English Pea (Pisum sativum L)
Just like beans, English pea increases nitrogen availability by fixing atmospheric nitrogen into the soil for your plants to use.
Apart from enjoying the sweet flavor and color of English peas in your favorite dish, these legumes can enhance the performance of your cucumbers which leads to much larger cucumbers with fewer diseases and pests.
6. Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
Catnip is a perennial herb with aromatic leaves and a good companion for your cucumbers.
This herb protects your cucumbers from harmful insects and pests such as cucumber beetle. You, therefore, can control insect/pest damages on your cucumbers without the use of chemicals.
Caution: Catnip can become invasive you hence need to take steps to control it. Since catnip spread easily by seed, remove its flowers before they seed.
7. Nasturtium (Tropaeolum spp)
Nasturtiums are exceptional cucumber companions as they trap aphids from your cucumbers (mostly used as a trap crop).
They also enhance cucumber performance by attracting good bugs like hoverflies (a predator of common pests, for example, aphids) and, pollinators while repelling bad ones like whiteflies and cucumber beetles.
8. Dill (Anethum graveolens)
Dill is an herbaceous annual aromatic plant and a good choice for growing alongside your cucumbers.
This plant not only attracts beneficial insects such as ladybugs that feed on cucumber beetles but also attracts pollinators that enhance the growth of your cucumbers.
9. Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)
Apart from adding beauty to your garden, the chamomile plant is strongly scented and this helps to keep pests like aphids away from your cucumbers.
Chamomile scent also attracts beneficial insects like hoverflies and ladybugs which feed on aphids thus protecting your cucumbers from such pests.
Moreover, growing chamomiles as cucumber companions will improve the growth, vigor, as well as flavor of your cucumbers. Chamomiles also attract parasitic wasps which feed on caterpillars hence protects your cucumbers from caterpillar damage.
10. Marigold (Tagetes spp)
Marigolds are herbaceous plants with attractive flowers that attract bees to your cucumbers for pollination and enhanced plant performance.
Additionally, French marigolds protect your cucumbers from whiteflies by producing a chemical (limonene) that repels whiteflies. Moreover, marigolds attract aphids thereby protecting your cucumbers from aphid infestation. The fragrance from the marigolds also helps deter cucumber beetles.
11. Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)
Just like marigolds and nasturtiums, tansy is known to deter striped cucumber beetles.
This perennial, herbaceous flowering plant is not edible but, it is often used as an herb.
Caution: Tansy is poisonous to animals therefore, do not let livestock anywhere near the plant.
12. Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)
Sunflowers are tall herbaceous annual plants and good cucumber companions. They act as natural trellis (with some support) for the cucumber vines as well as offer some shade for your plants.
With their beautiful flowers, sunflowers attract hummingbirds which feed on pests like whiteflies.
The sunflowers also attract aphids thus protects your cucumbers from the destruction caused by aphids.
13. Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
Oregano is a popular insect pest repelling herb in the mint family. Just like chamomiles, its strong scent helps repel insects and pests away from your cucumbers.
14. Zucchini (Cucurbita pepo)
Zucchini is an herbaceous vine that provides enough shade thus maintains moisture for your cucumbers and also prevents the infiltration of weeds.
You now have a list of 13+ best companion plants for cucumbers that you can choose from.
With this list, you can enjoy gardening without worries about what to plant alongside your cucumbers.
Just remember to choose companion plants that won’t stunt the growth of your cucumbers e.g. sage or, those that can affect the flavor of your cucumbers e.g. strong aromatic herbs like basil.
Cornell University http://chemung.cce.cornell.edu/resources/companion-planting