When planted next to other vegetables, flowers, and herbs, nasturtiums act as effective companions that can keep pests away and improve soil health. Check out some of the best nasturtium companion plants to add to your garden.
In this article, we’ll explore the wonderful world of nasturtium companion plants, uncovering the benefits of these beautiful flowers and their compatibility with various garden buddies.
Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum spp.) are versatile plants known for their vibrant flowers and edible leaves. By employing companion planting techniques, you can optimize the growth and health of your nasturtiums while creating a harmonious garden ecosystem.
So, let’s delve into the fascinating world of nasturtium companion plants!
Nasturtiums are annual plants native to South America that have gained popularity worldwide due to their showy flowers, attractive foliage, and culinary uses.
These fast-growing plants are perfect for both ornamental beds and edible gardens. Nasturtiums are available in a variety of colors, including vibrant oranges, yellows, and reds, making them a beautiful addition to any garden.
Companion Planting: A Gardener’s Ally
Companion planting is a gardening technique where specific plants are grown together to provide mutual benefits. By strategically selecting companion plants, you can enhance pollination, deter pests, improve soil health, and maximize space utilization.
Nasturtiums, with their pest-repellent properties and beneficial effects on neighboring plants, make excellent candidates for companion planting.
How to Grow Nasturtiums
Growing nasturtiums is relatively easy, making them ideal for beginner gardeners. Here are some important tips to help you get started:
- Location and Soil: Nasturtiums prefer full sun but can tolerate partial shade. They thrive in well-draining soil, so ensure adequate drainage to prevent root rot.
- planting: Sow nasturtium seeds directly in the ground after the danger of frost has passed, usually in spring. Plant them 1 inch deep and space them 8-12 inches apart.
- Watering and Fertilizing: Nasturtiums are drought-tolerant, but regular watering will promote healthy growth. Avoid overwatering to prevent root problems. These plants generally don’t require much fertilizer, as excessive nutrients can result in more foliage and fewer flowers.
- Maintenance: Nasturtiums have a trailing growth habit, so provide support if desired. Deadheading spent flowers will encourage continuous blooming throughout the season.
Companion Plants for Nasturtiums
Now let’s explore some excellent companion plants to grow alongside your nasturtiums:
- Tomatoes: Nasturtiums repel aphids and whiteflies, which are common pests for tomatoes. Planting nasturtiums near tomato plants can help deter these insects and promote healthier tomato growth.
- Cucumbers: Nasturtiums offer a natural deterrent against cucumber beetles, which can damage cucumber plants. By interplanting nasturtiums with cucumbers, you can reduce the risk of infestation and protect your crop.
- Brassicas: Planting nasturtiums near cabbage, kale, or broccoli can deter cabbage worms and aphids. The vibrant nasturtium flowers also add a pop of color to the leafy greens in your garden.
- Marigolds: Pairing nasturtiums with marigolds creates a powerful duo in the garden. Marigolds repel nematodes and other harmful soil-borne pests, while nasturtiums protect against above-ground pests, making this combination a formidable defense against various garden threats.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions you may have about nasturtium companion plants.
What should you not plant next to nasturtiums?
When considering companion planting with nasturtiums, it’s generally recommended to avoid planting them with certain herbs like mint, sage, and thyme.
Here’s why these herbs may not be the best companions for nasturtiums:
- Mint: Mint is known for its aggressive spreading habit and can quickly take over garden spaces. Nasturtiums, on the other hand, have trailing growth and can also spread vigorously. Planting them together may result in competition for space and resources, leading to overcrowding and reduced growth for both plants. It’s best to give each plant plenty of room to grow independently.
- Sage: Sage is a perennial herb that prefers drier soil conditions and good air circulation. Nasturtiums, with their broader leaves and trailing growth, can potentially create excessive shade and reduce airflow around the sage plants. This can result in increased humidity and moisture levels, increasing the risk of fungal diseases. For best growth, it’s advisable to keep sage and nasturtiums in separate areas of the garden.
- Thyme: Thyme is a low-growing herb that prefers well-drained soil and a sunny location. Nasturtiums, with their trailing habit, can potentially overshadow and shade out the low-growing thyme plants, hindering their access to sufficient sunlight. Additionally, the more aggressive growth of nasturtiums may outcompete thyme for nutrients and water. To ensure the best conditions for thyme, it’s recommended to plant it separately from nasturtiums.
While mint, sage, and thyme may not be the ideal companions for nasturtiums, there are numerous other compatible plants that can be paired with nasturtiums to create a thriving garden ecosystem.
Consider exploring alternative companion plants that complement the growth habits and requirements of nasturtiums for a harmonious and productive garden.
Will nasturtiums choke out other plants?
Nasturtiums are vigorous growers, and their trailing habit can lead to expansive growth if left unchecked. While they have the potential to spread and shade nearby plants, choking them out is less likely compared to more aggressive and invasive species.
Nasturtiums can coexist harmoniously with other plants when proper spacing and maintenance are practiced. When implementing nasturtium companion planting, it’s important to consider the growth habits and requirements of the neighboring plants.
Providing adequate space between plants allows for airflow and prevents excessive competition for resources like sunlight, water, and nutrients.
To prevent nasturtiums from overpowering other plants, follow these guidelines:
- Adequate spacing: When planting nasturtiums alongside other plants, ensure there is enough distance between them. Aim for a spacing of at least 8-12 inches, allowing each plant to receive adequate light and nutrients.
- Regular maintenance: Trim back the trailing stems of the nasturtiums regularly to prevent them from smothering nearby plants. Pruning promotes a more compact and manageable growth habit.
- Support structures: Consider providing trellises, stakes, or other support structures for the trailing stems of the nasturtiums. This helps lift them off the ground and prevents them from sprawling excessively, reducing the risk of overshadowing or crowding other plants.
By implementing these practices, you can strike a balance between the lush growth of nasturtiums and the well-being of their companion plants.
Remember to monitor your garden regularly and make adjustments as needed to ensure the optimal growth and health of all the plants involved in your nasturtium companion planting scheme.
Can nasturtiums be planted with all vegetables?
Nasturtiums are generally beneficial companion plants for most vegetables. It’s important to consider the specific needs and characteristics of each vegetable when selecting companion plants.
Here are some factors to consider:
- Space requirements: Nasturtiums have a trailing growth habit and can spread out quite a bit. Avoid planting them with vegetables that require significant space or grow in a compact manner. This includes plants like carrots, beets, and radishes, which need ample room for their root development.
- Shade tolerance: Some vegetables prefer full sun, while others can tolerate partial shade. Nasturtiums have broad leaves that can potentially shade out smaller, shade-intolerant plants. It’s best to avoid planting them with vegetables that require abundant sunlight, such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants.
- Growth rate and aggressiveness: Nasturtiums are relatively fast-growing plants. Avoid pairing them with slow-growing or delicate vegetables that may be overshadowed or outcompeted by the more robust nasturtiums. Examples include lettuce, spinach, and cilantro.
- Specific plant preferences: Certain vegetables have specific companion preferences that may not align with nasturtiums. For instance, beans prefer to be planted near leguminous plants that can fix nitrogen in the soil, whereas nasturtiums do not have this capability.
As with any companion planting, it’s essential to observe your garden, experiment, and make adjustments based on the specific needs and interactions of the plants involved.
By selecting suitable vegetable companions, you can create a thriving and diverse garden ecosystem with the inclusion of nasturtium companion plants.
Do nasturtiums make good companion plants?
Yes, nasturtiums make excellent companion plants in the garden. Their numerous beneficial qualities and versatility contribute to their popularity as companions for a wide range of plants.
Here’s why nasturtiums are considered good companion plants:
- Pest repellant: Nasturtiums possess natural pest-repellent properties. Their strong scent and peppery foliage act as a deterrent to many common garden pests, including aphids, whiteflies, squash bugs, and cucumber beetles. By planting nasturtiums alongside susceptible plants, you can help protect them from these pests without resorting to chemical pesticides.
- Trap crop: Nasturtiums are known as trap crops, attracting pests away from more desirable plants. They can serve as sacrificial plants, luring pests like aphids or flea beetles away from your main crops. This reduces pest pressure on the companion plants while sacrificing a few nasturtium leaves or flowers.
- Pollinator attractant: Nasturtiums produce abundant nectar and vibrant flowers that attract pollinators like bees and butterflies to the garden. By planting them as companions, you can enhance pollination for nearby fruiting plants, leading to increased yields.
- Soil improvement: Nasturtiums have shallow root systems that help improve soil structure by breaking up compacted soil. When they eventually die back, their decaying leaves and stems add organic matter to the soil, enhancing its fertility and moisture retention capacity.
- Aesthetics and edible benefits: Nasturtiums are visually appealing, with their vibrant flowers and attractive foliage adding color and texture to the garden. Additionally, their leaves and flowers are edible, providing a nutritious and peppery addition to salads, sandwiches, and other culinary creations.
By incorporating nasturtiums as companion plants, you can harness their pest-repellent properties, attract pollinators, improve soil health, and enjoy their aesthetic and edible benefits.
Nasturtium Companion Plants
Nasturtiums are not only visually stunning but also valuable companions in the garden. By incorporating these nasturtium companion plants, you can take advantage of their pest-repellent properties, enhance pollination, and promote overall plant health.
Remember to provide adequate growing conditions and follow basic gardening practices to ensure the success of your nasturtiums and their companion plants.
So, whether you’re a gardening enthusiast or a beginner looking to beautify your outdoor space, consider planting nasturtiums alongside their compatible companions. Watch as these vibrant flowers bring color, flavor, and a multitude of benefits to your garden.