10 Best Pepper Companion Plants and Three You Should Never Plant

Finding the perfect companions for your pepper plants can make all the difference in your garden’s success. Companion planting is a time-tested method that leverages the natural relationships between plants to boost growth, deter pests, and improve overall plant health. In this article, we’ll explore the best companion plants that will help your peppers thrive and those you should avoid planting nearby. These insights will help you create a more productive and harmonious garden, leading to a bountiful harvest of vibrant, healthy peppers.

Benefits of Companion Planting

Red bell peppers growing in the garden.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Companion plants are used in gardening to create a mutually beneficial environment for different plants. By planting specific plants together, gardeners can enhance growth, improve soil health, and deter pests. For instance, some plants release natural chemicals that repel harmful insects, reducing the need for chemical pesticides. Others attract beneficial insects like pollinators or predatory insects that help control pest populations. This natural pest control promotes a healthier garden ecosystem.

Companion plants can help improve soil fertility and structure. Certain plants, such as legumes, can fix nitrogen in the soil, making it more fertile and beneficial for neighboring plants. Others can provide shade, reduce soil erosion, and help retain moisture, creating a more favorable growing environment. Using companion planting techniques, gardeners can increase plant health and productivity, optimize garden space, and create a more sustainable and balanced ecosystem.

Watermelon

Watermelon on vine, growing in the garden.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Due to their complementary growing habits, watermelon and peppers make an effective pairing in the garden. With their sprawling vines, watermelons provide ground cover that helps suppress weeds and retain soil moisture. This benefits peppers, which prefer consistent soil moisture levels to thrive.

Watermelons and peppers have similar soil and water requirements, making them easy to manage together. Watermelon vines cover the soil and help keep the roots of pepper plants cool, promoting healthier growth and higher yields.

Black Eyed Peas

Black eyed peas placed inside a bowl.
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Black-eyed peas are excellent companion plants for peppers because of their nitrogen-fixing ability. These legumes enrich the soil by converting atmospheric nitrogen into a form that plants can use, which is particularly beneficial for peppers, as they are heavy feeders.

The addition of nitrogen boosts pepper growth and fruit production. Black-eyed peas’ dense foliage helps to suppress weeds and conserve soil moisture, creating a more favorable growing environment for peppers. This symbiotic relationship results in healthier plants and increased yields.

Green Beans

Woman harvesting fresh green beans and putting them into a basket.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Green beans are beneficial companion plants for peppers because they help maximize growing space and can share some nitrogen with nearby plants. Though this nitrogen sharing is not as significant as with true nitrogen-fixing plants, it can still provide a slight boost to pepper growth.

Green beans are nutritious and easy to grow, making them an excellent addition to the garden. Their climbing habit can also help shade pepper plants, protecting them from excessive heat and creating a more diverse and productive garden space.

Rosemary

Rosemary growing outside.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Rosemary is a fragrant herb that is an excellent companion plant for peppers due to its pest-repellent properties. The strong aroma of rosemary deters common pepper pests, such as aphids and spider mites, reducing the need for chemical pesticides.

Rosemary attracts beneficial insects like predatory wasps and ladybugs, which help control pest populations. Its low-growing habit does not compete with peppers for space or nutrients, making it an ideal companion that enhances pest management while promoting healthy pepper plants.

Basil

Woman holding a basket with freshly harvested basil leaves.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Basil is a popular herb that pairs well with peppers in the garden and kitchen. The strong scent of basil repels pests such as aphids, mosquitoes, and whiteflies, protecting pepper plants from potential infestations. Basil also attracts pollinators and beneficial insects, which can improve overall garden health.

Basil is also said to enhance the flavor of peppers when grown nearby, making this combination a favorite among gardeners. Closely planting basil and peppers maximizes garden space and supports robust growth for both plants.

Marigold Flowers

Marigold flowers growing outside.

Their bright flowers attract beneficial insects like ladybugs and hoverflies, which prey on pests harmful to peppers. Marigolds also produce compounds that deter nematodes, which can damage pepper roots. By planting marigolds around peppers, gardeners can create a natural barrier against pests, reducing the need for chemical interventions and promoting healthier pepper plants.

Corn

Corn growing in the farm.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Due to their complementary growth habits, corn and peppers can be successfully grown together. Corn provides a natural windbreak and partial shade, protecting peppers from strong winds and excessive sun exposure. The tall corn stalks can also support climbing bean varieties, creating a three-sisters planting system that benefits all involved crops.

Corn and peppers have similar water requirements, making them easy to cultivate together and enhancing overall garden productivity.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes growing in the garden.
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Tomatoes and peppers are both nightshade family members and share similar growing conditions, making them compatible companions. Growing these two plants together can optimize garden space and simplify care routines.

The strong scent of tomato plants can help deter pests that typically target peppers. However, it’s essential to monitor for common diseases that affect both plants, such as blight, and practice crop rotation to prevent soil-borne issues. This partnership can result in healthier plants and abundant harvests when managed correctly.

Garlic

Woman harvesting garlic in the garden.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Garlic is a versatile companion plant for peppers, known for its pest-repelling properties. The strong smell of garlic deters many pests, including aphids, spider mites, and beetles, protecting pepper plants from potential damage. Garlic also has natural antifungal properties, which can help prevent soil-borne diseases.

When planted around peppers, garlic is a natural barrier, promoting healthier growth and reducing the need for chemical pesticides. Garlic is easy to grow and requires minimal space, making it a practical companion in the pepper patch.

Planting Natives

Red pepper growing outside.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Planting native plants in your garden is an excellent strategy to attract beneficial pollinators and insects. Native plants have evolved alongside local wildlife and are well-adapted to the regional climate, soil, and other environmental conditions. They provide nectar, pollen, and habitat for various pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. By incorporating native flowers, shrubs, and trees into your garden, you create a welcoming environment for these essential creatures, ensuring they have the resources they need to thrive.

In addition to attracting pollinators, native plants support beneficial insects that help control garden pests. Predatory insects like ladybugs, lacewings, and parasitic wasps rely on native plants for food and shelter. These insects play a crucial role in maintaining a balanced garden ecosystem by preying on harmful pests such as aphids, caterpillars, and mites. By planting natives, you reduce the need for chemical pesticides, promoting a healthier and more sustainable garden.

Native plants contribute to biodiversity and ecosystem health. They provide critical resources for a wide range of wildlife, including birds, mammals, and amphibians. Native plants often have deep root systems that help improve soil structure, prevent erosion, and enhance water infiltration.

Bad Pepper Companions

Green pepper growing in the garden.

Fennel is a plant that should never be planted next to peppers. It is known to inhibit the growth of many vegetables, including peppers, due to its allelopathic properties. Fennel releases chemicals into the soil that can stunt the growth of nearby plants, making it a poor companion for peppers. Its strong aroma and root secretions can disrupt pepper plants’ growth patterns and nutrient uptake, leading to reduced yields and poor overall plant health.

Kohlrabi is another plant that should be avoided as a companion for peppers. Both peppers and kohlrabi are heavy feeders and compete for the same nutrients in the soil. This competition can lead to nutrient deficiencies for both plants, resulting in stunted growth and lower productivity. Additionally, kohlrabi can overshadow pepper plants, reducing their access to sunlight and further hindering their growth.

Brassicas, including cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower, are unsuitable for peppers. These plants can attract pests such as aphids, cabbage worms, and flea beetles, harming pepper plants. Additionally, brassicas can compete with peppers for nutrients, particularly nitrogen, leading to poor growth and reduced crop yields. Planting brassicas near peppers can create an environment where pests thrive, and resources are scarce, negatively impacting the health and productivity of your pepper plants.

No-Till Gardening

Assorted peppers arranged inside a basket with two additional pieces placed beside it.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Learn More: No-Till Gardening {Everything You Need To Know}

Mulching For Better Peppers

Green peppers turning yellow on vine.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Learn More: Secrets of Mulching For Your Best Tomato & Pepper Harvests

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