9 Companion Plants to Grow with Cucumber Plants (and 3 to AVOID!)
Cucumbers thrive in the UK climate, and with the right companion plants, you can enhance their growth, deter pests, and create a harmonious garden ecosystem.
We are going to explore the nine best companion plants for cucumbers, their benefits and how they contribute to the success of your cucumber plants. We'll also highlight three plants that should be kept away from cucumbers. But first, let's delve into why companion planting is beneficial.
What is Companion Planting?
Companion planting involves strategically placing plants together to maximise their growth potential. By pairing compatible plants, you can create a natural balance that promotes healthy growth. Companion plants can attract beneficial insects, repel harmful pests, provide shade, enrich the soil, and more. Now, let's explore the nine best companion plants for your cucumber garden.
9 Plants to Plant near Cucmbers1) Beans: Nitrogen Fixers
Beans, such as bush beans or pole beans, are beneficial companion plants for cucumbers. These legumes are nitrogen-fixing plants, meaning they have the ability to convert atmospheric nitrogen into a form that other plants can utilize. Cucumbers are heavy feeders, and the nitrogen provided by beans can nourish the soil and enhance the growth of cucumber plants. Peas can be used in the same way.
Corn is a great cucumber companion plant because its tall stems provide shade. It also helps deter pests like cucumber beetle.
3) Dill: The Aromatic Ally
Radishes are excellent companion plants for cucumbers, primarily for their soil-enhancing qualities. As radishes grow, their roots help break up compacted soil, improving aeration and drainage. This benefits cucumber plants, as they prefer well-drained soil. Additionally, radishes repel cucumber beetles, a common pest that can damage cucumber vines.
5) Sunflowers: Providing Shade and Support
Sunflowers make wonderful companions for cucumbers due to their tall stature and broad leaves. When grown near cucumbers, sunflowers provide shade, protecting the delicate cucumber plants from scorching heat. Furthermore, the sturdy sunflower stalks can serve as a natural trellis, providing support for cucumber vines to climb.
6) Borage: The Pollinator Magnet
Borage is a true pollinator magnet and an excellent companion for cucumbers. Its vibrant blue flowers attract bees and other pollinators, ensuring proper pollination of cucumber blossoms. This, in turn, leads to abundant fruit set and a higher cucumber yield.
Marigolds are excellent companions for cucumbers, primarily due to their pest-repelling properties. The strong scent of marigolds acts as a natural deterrent for aphids and other harmful insects that often plague cucumber plants. Additionally, marigolds attract pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, which help in the fruiting process.
8) Chives: Repelling Pests with Scent:
Chives are not only a flavorful addition to your culinary repertoire but also effective at repelling pests. The strong scent of chives helps deter aphids, Japanese beetles, and other common cucumber pests. Planting chives alongside your cucumbers can help protect them from these nuisances.
9) Nasturtiums: Beauty with Benefits
Nasturtiums are not only visually appealing but also beneficial for cucumbers. These vibrant flowers attract aphids, keeping them away from your cucumber plants. Moreover, nasturtiums act as a sacrificial plant, drawing pests away from your cucumbers. The leaves of nasturtiums are edible and make a zesty addition to salads.
Plants to Avoid Planting Near Cucumbers
While companion planting offers numerous benefits, there are a few plants that should be kept away from cucumbers due to potential negative interactions.
Avoid planting cucumbers near
- Potatoes, as they are both susceptible to fungal disease blight.
- Aromatic herb plants like sage and basil as these can inhibit growth of cucumbers
- Melons - they are both the same family so susceptible to the same pests increasing the chances of a pest wipeout. .
Which Cucmber Variety is right for me?
Easiest Cucumber Variety to Grow at Home
If you're a beginner or looking for a fuss-free cucumber variety, "Marketmore 76" cucumber is a good choice. This variety is known for its reliability and adaptability to various growing conditions. This cucumber variety is resistant to many common cucumber diseases, making them an excellent choice for gardeners of all skill levels.
Largest Cucumber Variety
If you're aiming for an impressive cucumber size, consider growing the "English Long" cucumber. This variety can reach lengths of up to 18 inches and is a favorite for slicing. Be sure to provide proper support, such as Ornamental Plant Support Frame, to prevent the heavy fruit from bending or breaking the vines.
Smallest Cucumber Variety:
If you're limited on space or prefer small pickling cucumbers, the "Bush Pickle" variety is an ideal choice. This compact cucumber plant produces small-sized cucumbers, perfect for pickling or fresh snacking. Its compact growth habit makes it suitable for growing in a Vegetable planter or Raised Bed.
Companion planting is a valuable technique that can significantly benefit your vegetable garden or allotment. By carefully selecting companion plants, such as marigolds, nasturtiums, dill, and more, you can enhance the growth, deter pests, and create a thriving garden ecosystem.
Have fun exploring different cucumber varieties and enjoy the bountiful harvest from your cucumber garden!
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