Eggplants unfortunately have a reputation for being high maintenance plants in the vegetable garden. They require full sun to grow, and are easily susceptible to insect pests. Luckily for eggplant lovers, we can forgive their growing quirks in exchange for their use in smoked baba ghanoush and cheesy eggplant parmesan. There are several good companions to help your eggplant thrive. Check out our list of the 10 best eggplant companion plants.
Since eggplants thrive in the heat and sun, the ideal growing season is summer. You should begin planting eggplants in June for optimal growth.
One easy way to help make growing eggplant easier is by utilizing companion planting. Companion planting involves growing plants together to help their growth be as productive as possible. Some of the benefits of companion planting include: improved soil health, natural insect repellent, attracting beneficial insects and pollinators, and providing you with an assortment of home-grown summer savory veggies.
10 of the Best Eggplant Companion Plants
Pole beans, bush beans, and green beans are great companion plants for eggplants for 2 main reasons. One, they deter the Colorado Potato Beetle and two, they provide much needed nitrogen. If you're planting your beans on a trellis, make sure to move the eggplant to the front, so they don't get too much shade. Legumes are some of the best companion crops you can grab for eggplants.
2. Mexican Marigold
This flower is fantastic at staving off bean beetles, which will eat away at your plants. An excellent trap crop, these flowers are also gorgeous to look at.
3. Nightshade Family Plants
Members of the nightshade family include tomato plants, spinach, and sweet or hot peppers. Mix those plants all together, add some basil, and you have the perfect base for homemade eggplant parmesan! Some chives or leeks would also be a nice addition.
Oregano's pungent scent helps to repel cabbage moths, spider mites, and aphids. A unique, triple threat plant! In addition to repelling harmful insects, it attracts good insects, like lady bugs and bees.
5. French Tarragon
Eggplants attract a lot of critters and French tarragon helps keep unwanted bugs away. French tarragon also pairs beautifully with grilled eggplant.
Even if you don't own a cat, you should consider this herb for your garden. Catnip has a strong scent, which will keep unwanted flea beetles away.
This flower is beautiful and keeps away predatory bugs. Plant this to ward off aphids, white flies, flea beetles, and ants.
Like nasturtium, this plant acts as another defense against pesky bugs. Borage deters cabbage worms and may help make your eggplant taste better, thanks to attracting the right pollinators.
Aside from being a delicious vegetable, kohlrabi makes a great companion plant. It deters cabbage beetles, which can destroy your plant. Other leafy greens like Swiss chard and radishes are great additions since they are low lying plants.
Chamomile plants will provide you with great tea and will also keep your eggplant safe from critters. Its strong scent will deter aphids and garden moths.
Eggplant Companion Plants to Avoid
According to Epic Gardening's companion planting guide, you want to avoid planting fennel anywhere near eggplant. Fennel can inhibit the growth of the eggplant, as well as many others in your garden.
They also suggest keeping zucchini and brussels sprouts away from eggplant, as both plants are heavy feeders. You don't want them competing for all the nutrients. Zucchini also may impart too much shade on the eggplant.
With these tips you should be able to put together the perfect vegetable garden this summer. Happy planting!