Just like people, all plants have strengths and weaknesses. Again, just as with people, companionship fosters our strengths and minimizes our weaknesses. Companion planting pairs two or more types of plants for the mutual benefit of each other. In this particular article, we’re going to delve into cauliflower companion planting. What cauliflower companion plants grow well with cauliflower? Let’s learn more.
Companion Planting Cauliflower
Before we talk about the specific plants that grow well with cauliflower, let’s look at exactly what companion planting is. As mentioned, companion planting is when two or more species are planted together for their mutual benefit. Sometimes this enables plants to uptake nutrients more efficiently or sometimes certain plants act as natural pest repellents or beneficial insect attractors.
Choosing the correct plant to benefit another mimics nature’s symbiotic relationship in the ecosystem. In nature, there is no mistake when you find certain types of plants commonly growing together.
One of the oldest and most commonly known companion plantings is called “The Three Sisters,” comprised of corn, pole beans, and squash. The Iroquois had been applying this growing principle for three centuries prior to the arrival of the first settlers. The trio sustained the tribe by not only providing them with a balanced diet but spiritually as well. The Iroquois believed that the plants were a gift from the gods.
Metaphorically speaking, the Three Sisters support each other much as real-life sisters do. The beans used the corn as support while engendering nitrogen, which can then be used by the corn and squash. The beans also grow up through the sprawling squash, effectively knitting the three together. The large leaves of the squash provide shaded areas that cool the soil and retard weeds and also keep nibbling critters away with their prickly stems.
But, I digress. Let’s get back to cauliflower companion plants.
Cauliflower Companion Planting
Beans, celery, and onions are all excellent choices when companion planting cauliflower. Beans and cauliflower are an ideal combo. Both plants deter pests and attract beneficial insects. Celery also attracts beneficial insects and is a water hog, which means while it may utilize plenty of water, it leaves more nutrients in the soil for the cauliflower. While onions and cauliflower are a great combo, they are not if you throw beans into the mix. Beans and onions do not mix, so avoid planting beans too if you want to grow cauliflower and onions.
Other veggies that are recommended for companion planting with cauliflower include:
Some herbs, such as sage and thyme, are also beneficial to cauliflower. Their strong scents deter some pests while their aromatic flowers attract bees.
Besides avoiding the combination of cauliflower, onion, and beans, there are other plants that are not recommended for cauliflower companion planting. Peas and cauliflower do not mix well. The peas will stunt the growth of cauliflower. Strawberries are taboo too. Strawberries (and I can attest to this) are notorious for attracting slugs.
Tomatoes are also not recommended for growing near cauliflower. They need a tremendous amount of nutrition, which will lessen the amount the cauliflower has available.