10 Companion Plants for Zucchini (With Pictures)
Zucchini is the king of summer squash with a mild flavor that comes alive when you cook it. Companion planting with zucchini can help enrich the soil, attract pollinators, and repel pests. Let’s check out some of the best plants you can plant with zucchini.
The Top 10 Zucchini Companion Plant Choices
Beans have been used as companion plants with zucchini and other squash for ages by Native Americans. They would plant beans, corn, and squash together as ‘Three Sister’ crops, so named because the three thrive together. Beans help fix nitrogen levels and balance pH levels in the soil. In return, the prickly leaves and stems of zucchini help fend off pests.
Corn is the third sister plant that does great with zucchini, attracting pollinators from miles around to help fertilize plants. Zucchini covers a lot of ground area, acting as a mulch and crowding out invasive weeds that might compete for nutrients.
Corn, like zucchini, does best with lots of sunlight and high nitrogen levels, which beans help provide in a Three Sisters crop. Lastly, corn can act as a living trellis for your zucchini plants.
Peas and squash are natural allies, with peas adding valuable nitrogen to the soil around them. It takes careful planting to reap these benefits when growing summer squash like zucchini, though.
For the best results, plant your peas in the early spring when your zucchini is young and particularly needs nitrogen. In ideal conditions, your peas will be ready for harvesting right before your zucchini needs space to expand.
Zucchini has a bad habit of producing tons of yellow flowers instead of fruit when there aren’t enough pollinators nearby. Borage helps fix that issue, luring bees and other pollinators to your zucchini with their edible, cucumber-flavored leaves. Their colorful blue flowers bloom in the summer, and bees are especially attracted to them. Best of all, they reseed year after year once planted.
Dill is an aromatic herb mainly grown for its savory seeds, which give dill pickles their signature flavor. What most don’t know is that dill can help your zucchini and other plants!
Dill is a favorite of many pollinators, including butterflies, bees, wasps, mantises, and more. Even better, garden pests like aphids and spider mites hate the scent of dill and will stay away from your delicious zucchini.
6. Hubbard Squash
Specifically, the blue hubbard squash is a perfect squash companion for your zucchini because it attracts pests away from your precious zucchini. Squash bugs, cucumber beetles, and other squash-loving pests will flock to the hubbard squash and leave your zucchini alone. For this reason, it’s great near zucchini, but we wouldn’t suggest putting it too close.
Beloved by cats everywhere, catnip can also be brewed into an herbal tea to soothe sore throats and relieve anxiety. Known for its fragrant minty scent, catnip planted around the edges of vegetable gardens can help repel garden pests like aphids, spider mites, and more.
Bothersome mammals will typically avoid it too, but cats love the stuff. They’ll go right to catnip plants, but it will prevent them from digging in the soil. That can be perfect if you have outdoor cats or if your neighbors do.
For a cheery and practical addition to your garden, consider planting some sunflowers. They can act as a trellis support for zucchini vines, which saves space because they’d otherwise sprawl all over the soil.
This method can also help your zucchini become more productive when staked. Choose smaller, lighter zucchini species to reduce the strain on the sunflowers’ stalks.
Beautiful sunset-colored nasturtium flowers planted near zucchini will attract all manner of wildlife, including beneficial pollinators and destructive pests. They’ll even trap smaller bugs like aphids and whiteflies.
Nasturtium blooms for a long time, from spring to autumn, and will keep your zucchini well-protected from nasty bugs.
10. French Marigold
Elegant marigolds can attract pollinators and predator bugs, which feast on aphids and other squash pests. Marigold is also known to repel dastardly nematodes, which can really do a number on the soil around your zucchini plants. Some other pests it keeps away from your zucchini include cucumber beetles, loopers, and most squash bugs.
Worst Companion Plants for Zucchini
Some plants sap nutrients from your zucchini or have other characteristics that make them poor companion plants. Let’s check out a few below so you know what to avoid when planting your veggies this season.
Zucchini is the most well-known summer squash, but it’s vulnerable to pests and benefits from nitrogen-rich soil. The Three Sisters crop with beans and corn is a classic way to grow zucchini, but there are tons of other plants you can use to help your zucchini grow safe and healthy.
Featured Image Credit: MonikaP, Pixabay