10 Companion Plants for Jalapenos (with Pictures)
Jalapenos are great plants to grow at home. In good conditions, a healthy jalapeno plant can produce numerous peppers over a season. Multiple jalapeno plants can produce dozens of peppers in a single summer. If you like spicy, that can be an excellent thing for your garden. The question then becomes, what to plant with your jalapeno peppers?
Jalapenos make great companion plants, and they can be planted alongside numerous different herbs and vegetables that can be used in your home kitchen. However, not every plant is a good companion for jalapenos.
Here are ten great companion plants for jalapeno peppers and five that should absolutely be avoided at all costs.
What Jalapenos Need to Thrive
The 10 Great Companion Plants for Jalapenos
|Why They’re a Good Fit:||Provides living mulch for your peppers|
Carrots are a great vegetable to grow in a garden. As long as you space them properly and have an earth base deep enough, carrots will happily grow alongside peppers like jalapenos. Carrots are a great vegetable with many at-home uses, and if you plant them in the ground, they don’t have too many moisture issues. Carrots are great for helping to space out your peppers. Carrots also help create a living mulch around your plants by keeping weeds at bay with their deep root systems and above-ground leaves.
|Scientific Name:||Spinacia oleracea|
|Why They’re a Good Fit:||Provides weed control|
Spinach is a great companion for jalapenos. Spinach is a short plant that provides a lot of cover around the jalapeno. It can help space out the areas between your jalapeno plants. Spinach can also add greenery to otherwise blank spaces in the garden. Jalapenos can be tall and spindly, and adding a large amount of spinach can help keep weeds away from your other producing plants. Spinach and jalapenos also do not directly compete for sunlight or nutrients. These two plants require similar amounts of water and sunlight, making them a natural pairing.
|Scientific Name:||Solanum melongena|
|Why They’re a Good Fit:||Adds bulk and color|
Eggplant is a great plant to put alongside jalapenos to add some added vegetable calories and color to your garden. Eggplants take longer to mature than jalapenos, so you can get multiple crops of peppers from your garden before the eggplant finishes growing. The result will be plenty of vegetables for the kitchen, a nice contrast of deep green, light green, purples, and reds. Eggplant is unobtrusive and can grow alongside jalapenos without any issues interrupting either one’s production.
|Scientific Name:||Cucumis sativus|
|Why They’re a Good Fit:||Can be pickled with jalapenos|
Cucumbers are low-key vegetables that are easy to grow. Cucumbers do need more water than jalapenos, so you must be careful with water distribution. But cucumbers are another low plant that fits in nicely next to tall pepper plants. You can also pickle cucumbers to create pickles. Jalapenos can also be pickled. You can make a brine for both cucumbers and jalapenos in order to get some variable pickled items. If you’ve never tried pickling jalapenos, it is a great time to try.
5. Other Types of Peppers
|Why They’re a Good Fit:||Similar needs|
Unsurprisingly, jalapenos will grow well with other types of peppers. Spicy peppers are all relatively similar in their soil, sun, and water needs. You can plant a variety of spicy peppers in the same plot as long as you keep them spaced appropriately. Jalapenos can grow with poblano or chili peppers with ease. They all have similar requirements and will produce spicier peppers based on the amount of water they receive.
|Scientific Name:||Anethum graveolens|
|Why They’re a Good Fit:||Great for canning seasoning|
Dill has two great benefits as a companion plant for jalapenos. First, dill is a perfect flavoring agent for canning or pickling. Adding some dill to a canning brine can really bring out the flavors of your cucumbers or jalapenos. Second, dill helps the soil retain moisture and beats back weeds by being a low covering herb. It is important to note that while dill is a great companion plant for jalapenos, it is a terrible companion plant for carrots. You cannot choose both dill and carrots as companion plants for your jalapenos.
|Why They’re a Good Fit:||Keeps soil cool|
Pumpkins, or any other type of gourd or squash for that matter, make great companion plants for jalapenos. If you let pumpkins grow on the ground, with no climbing trellises or sticks, the pumpkins will spread out and cover the ground with large leaves. The leaves will help keep the soil cool, which is especially good in the summer when the strong sun can bake jalapeno’s roots. Jalapenos are also able to grow up and through the leaves of the gourds on the ground, where they will get plenty of sun above the pumpkins.
|Scientific Name:||Allium sativum|
|Why They’re a Good Fit:||Keeps pests away|
Garlic is a delicious root vegetable that is a perfect addition to a jalapeno garden. Garlic develops small bulbs that grow underground and sprout very shallow root systems. It is small enough not to interfere with the structures of the nearby jalapeno plants. Jalapenos will also benefit from garlic’s repellent properties. Garlic’s smell is repulsive to all sorts of bugs that would love to eat your plants, including slugs, beetles, and aphids. The addition of garlic also guarantees that your cooking will have some real kick between it and the jalapenos.
|Scientific Name:||Ocimum basilicum|
|Why They’re a Good Fit:||Helps pollinate nearby jalapenos|
Basil is a popular herb that grows well with jalapenos. Basil is easy to grow, adds a low plant to grow next to the taller pepper plants, and is a popular herb. Basil also produces small white flowers that attract bees and other pollinators. These pollinators can also help to pollinate your jalapenos. Basil also has an odor that is repugnant to common insect pests that might want to eat your jalapenos.
|Scientific Name:||Origanum vulgare|
|Why They’re a Good Fit:||Helps keep soil moist and healthy|
Oregano, like basil, is a great herb to plant with jalapenos. Oregano rarely grows over 24 inches in height and is easy to trim back and collect herbs for your kitchen. Oregano also likes to spread out after they have grown to full height, which will help give some ground cover around your jalapenos. This cover helps protect the soil and lock in moisture during dry spells. Oregano also attracts pollinators to the garden with its abundant number of small flowers.
The 5 Worst Companion Plants for Jalapenos
|Scientific Name:||Pisum sativum|
|Why They’re a Bad Fit:||Nutrient competitors|
Peas are direct nutrient competitors for jalapenos. Both peas and jalapenos require a large amount of the same nutrients, like nitrogen. Peas and jalapenos will be trying to take the same nutrients from the soil at the same time, which will leave the soil depleted and both plants struggling to get what they need. Good companion plants will have low nutrient needs or different nutrient needs from jalapenos.
|Scientific Name:||Phaseolus vulgaris|
|Why They’re a Bad Fit:||Sunlight competitors|
Beans grow in a similar way to jalapenos. That might make you think that they would be good companions, but you would be wrong. Beans grow to a similar height and shape as jalapenos. They also use similar types of nutrients. That means that if you plant these two near one another, they will be in direct competition for sunlight, water, and nutrients. That is not what you want from a companion plant.
|Scientific Name:||Foeniculum vulgare|
|Why They’re a Bad Fit:||Needs lots of space|
Fennel might not seem like a plant that needs a ton of space to thrive, but it does. Fennel has a defense mechanism where it seeds the soil with a toxic compound to keep competing plants away. That means that the area around your fennel will be hostile to other plants like jalapenos. You can still theoretically grow both, but you will need to keep an ample amount of dry buffer space between them so that the fennel does not interfere with the pepper production of your jalapeno plant. The safest bet is to probably skip the fennel.
|Scientific Name:||Brassica oleracea|
|Why They’re a Bad Fit:||They are direct competitors|
Broccoli, and other brassica vegetables, use a heavy nutrient load to grow large and dense. Jalapenos also draw a heavy nutrient load to create their peppers. That means planting broccoli too close to your jalapenos can create intense competition that will drain the soil of key nutrients and leave both plants struggling to thrive. It is best to keep these two vegetables completely separate in order to give them the best chance at producing.
|Why They’re a Bad Fit:||Disease vector|
Strawberries are bright and delicious, but they are awful companions for jalapenos. Strawberries can carry and spread a fungal disease known as verticillium. This disease causes wilt and can lead to plant death. Jalapenos are very susceptible to this disease, and if you plant strawberries in the same area, there is a chance that the disease will spread to your peppers and cause them to wilt and die.
There are plenty of great plants to put alongside your jalapeno peppers. There are also some plants that should absolutely be avoided for the best results. Good companion plants will help your jalapenos produce numerous peppers throughout the summer, while poor companions will try and out-compete your plants for sunlight, water, and nutrients, leading to lower yields. Choosing the best companion plant will depend on your tastes, goals, and the size of your garden.
Featured Image Credit: GregReese, Pixabay