Companion Plants for Cucumbers

Updated on June 19, 2013

Vegetable Companion Planting

Companion planting is a term used to describe a situation where beneficial results may occur if two or more different types of plants are located close to one another in the garden. This beneficial situation may occur for different reasons.

Some companion plants help each other by amending the soil with nutrients that the other plant needs. For example, planting beans next to corn has this effect. Beans deposit nitrogen into the soil where they grow, and corn needs nitrogen to reach its full potential. Pole beans will benefit by getting a nice trellis to climb by latching onto the cornstalk.

Other companion plants work well because they repel garden pests that a neighboring plant is susceptible to. For example, planting garlic near the lettuce patch can keep rabbits away.

Finally, some companion plants are there to improve production or growing conditions of another plant. One example of this that I use every year is to plant wave petunias in my pepper raised garden bed. This keeps the sun from drying out the soil and increases humidity around the peppers, which they really love. It looks awesome as well.

For bigger and healthier cucumbers, give companion planting a try.
For bigger and healthier cucumbers, give companion planting a try. | Source

Top 3 Reasons for Companion Planting

1. Improve Soil
Some plants offer soil amendments that other plants need.
2. Fight Pests
Some plants naturally repel pests of other plants.
3. Improve Conditions
Some plants increase the yield or health of other plants.
There are some compelling reasons to educate yourself about companion planting and the many benefits that it can offer.

Companions to Improve Soil Around Cucumbers

Like many vegetables that produce a lot of fruit, cucumbers need fertilizer for a nice yield, and nitrogen is high on the list. Luckily, there are companion plants that will do the trick.

Among the best may be common beans and peas that most people tend to plant in the garden anyway. Both will add nitrogen to the soil and boost neighbors who rely on this nitrogen to prosper.

For the best benefits, here's how to maximize nitrogen stores in the soil from your green bean or pea plantings. As soon as the harvest is complete and the peas or beans have been harvested, turn the remaining plant material into the soil. These plants will do their companions some good while growing, but when turned into the soil they will do even better. The nitrogen level will go up even more if these plants are tilled into the soil when at their prime and while still lush and green, but then you lose the yummy yield.

It's possible to plant peas next to cucumbers early in the growing season, then plant beans in that same spot during the warmer months. If you're still motivated, a final crop of peas can go in during late summer for a fall harvest.

Clover and alfalfa are other options for increasing nitrogen, but they just aren't as much fun to eat.

Plants to Control Cucumber Beetles

Cucumbers have some little enemies known as cucumber beetles, and some plants nearby may help to keep them at bay. These pesky beetles will make a home in the cucumber patch and will destroy the plants if left alone.

There are some plants that are believed to have some impact on cucumber pests. Among then are radishes, nasturtiums, marigolds, and dill, though the most widely used is the radish. To get radishes close to the plants, go ahead and sow just a few radish seeds right alongside cucumbers and let them grow together. Don't bother to harvest these radishes - they are here to protect the cucumbers only.

Companion plants for cucumber beetles may work, but they may not. Some years are just worse than others, and you never know. The best control of cucumber beetles is to prevent them from showing up in the first place. To do that, use a floating row cover over the plants until they start to bloom. This may just be enough, as the beetles tend to find plants when they are still quite young.

Companion plants may help to keep the dreaded cucumber beetle away.
Companion plants may help to keep the dreaded cucumber beetle away. | Source

Improving Growing Conditions for Cucumbers

Cucumbers are often grown in full sun either on the ground or on a trellis, but the truth is that these vines prefer a slight break from the sun. The afternoon sun, in particular, can really beat down on a cucumber plant that is working to get enough water to the growing fruit.

To aid this, beneficial companions for the cucumber vine are tall plants like corn or sunflowers. If these are planted nearby, they can really help with that hot mid-summer sun. They will be even more effective if planted to the west of the cucumbers, since that will help to break up that hot afternoon sun that will otherwise cause your cucumber plant's leaves to wilt.

Since corn and sunflowers are so tall, they don't need to be planted right on top of the cucumbers, so give them a bit of space. A few feet away will do plenty of good.

What Not to Plant Near Cucumbers

Cucumbers are not very fond of herbs that have a significant smell, often called aromatic herbs, and since so many herbs have just that attribute, it's best to keep them away from the cucumber patch. This would include things like sage or peppermint.

Another common vegetable that is good to avoid as a companion for cucumbers is the potato. Since potatoes will complete for nutrients in the soil, the impact on a cucumber right next to it will be noticeable.

Planting Cucumbers Made Simple

Now that you have a good list of what to plant near cucumbers, it's time to make a plan.

When planting cucumbers from seed, plant the seed in a little hill to raise them up off the ground. This helps with watering and keeps the soil warmer. It takes heat to germinate cucumber seeds well, so don't try to plant them too early either. Wait until the soil has warmed up, or use some black fabric over the soil to catch the sun's rays.

Make sure you give the plants somewhere to go, assuming you are planting vines instead of cucumber bushes. The vines are much more productive and should normally be the choice. Include a trellis or fence for the cucumbers to grow up. This will keep fruit off the ground, avoiding yellow spots, and improve air circulation which prevents fungal diseases.

With just a little bit of care, enough water, and some friendly companions, you can look forward to a great cucumber crop this year.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great hub for all vegetable gardeners on companion plants. What a great idea to have other veggies to grow cucumbers with in your garden. Voted up!

    • M Zees profile image

      Muhammad Zeeshan 5 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

      useful article, my parents love gardening i am sure they will like this.

    • prokidwriter profile image

      KA Hanna 5 years ago from America's Finest City

      Interesting hub! I've never had much luck planting cucumbers, but I am newly inspired to try again!

    • toomuchmint profile image

      toomuchmint 5 years ago

      Companion plants are a great way to keep away pests. Radishes are delicious on their own. Keeping away pests is an added bonus! After a bout with harlequin bugs last year, I'm looking forward to using companion plants to keep the garden under control. Thanks for sharing!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Very informative hub. I love gardening and I'll show this hub to my mom. Well done and voted up!


    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Fantastic hub on companion planting. I found the information very useful. All I have done is plant some marigolds to attract pollinators. I am excited because you have given me some new ideas for spring. Thanks!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 5 years ago from California

      Such a great article! We will be planting cukes again this year--and I will try your suggestions! Thank you!

    • daisyjae profile image

      daisyjae 5 years ago from Canada

      I have had much luck growing cukes - maybe if i try your tips i may have success this year.

    • Nettlemere profile image

      Nettlemere 5 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      Interesting hub, cucumbers are one of my favourite foods but I've never had success growing them.

    • Ben Zoltak profile image

      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Voted up and awesome, can't wait to try radishes and sunflower. Surprised you wouldn't eat/harvest the commingled radishes? I eat everything including the dandelion and wood sorrel! Haha. I used nasturtium, marigold (bloomed way to late) and mixed tiny cherry tomatoes with my cukes, they did well. Now if only there was a way to counteract the leftover black walnut residual in my soil...

      Great essay.


    • Hui (蕙) profile image

      Hui (蕙) 5 years ago

      I always feel that plants have their own thinking way to make their own lives, which is not supported by my professors. But they are amazing! The cucumber in the picture is the best!

    • ComfortB profile image

      Comfort Babatola 5 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      Companion Plant, who knew? Never occurred to me that a plant may need another plant in other to thrive better. There's never an end to learning new things here on HP.

      I haven't planted in a while, but when I do start, I'll give this a try. Thanks for a great hub, and congrats on the HOTD award!

    • NCBIer profile image

      NCBIer 5 years ago

      I had never heard of companion plants before but it makes perfect sense. I am going to try some of these tips this year and hopefully get a better harvest than in years past. Thanks for the hub!

    • Mr Archer profile image

      Mr Archer 5 years ago from Missouri

      Very informative hub! I tried my hand a couple of years ago at planting a garden. I went overboard with different plants and didn't get all of what I desired. But the green beans, potatoes, tomatoes, and especially cucumbers for pickles did great. Last year I doubled the size but halved the types. Then came the infestation of groundhogs. As a result, I got almost nothing. Lessons learned will tell me this year how I do. It is such fun, and the benefits are wonderful. I will try some of your tips this year for sure. Thanks.

    • leahlefler profile image

      Leah Lefler 5 years ago from Western New York

      I may plant cucumbers in our raised beds this year... I'll definitely think about adding some beans to the same bed for the nitrogen fixation! Great hub, and congratulations on HOTD!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      Interesting to learn more about growing cukes! I think ladybugs eat the cucumber beetles' eggs. Congrats on your Hub of the Day award for timely info re planning for the coming garden season!

    • DemiT profile image

      DemiT 5 years ago from Greece

      Great information!! I am planning to plant cucumbers this year and this is exactly the kind of information I need.

      Thanks for the info!

    • CZCZCZ profile image

      CZCZCZ 5 years ago from Oregon

      This is a very informative hub about companion plants. We love to grow cucumbers in our backyard garden and will take some of these suggestions to heart in order to maximize our efforts. Thanks for the great detail!