Just as humans are social creatures and drawn to each other for a variety of reasons, many garden crops benefit from companion planting. Take cucumbers, for instance. Choosing the right cucumber plant companions will help the plant thrive much like human companionship. While there are some plants that grow well with cucumbers, there are also others that can impede development. They may crowd the plant or hog water, sun and nutrients, so knowing the most suitable companions for cucumbers is important.
Why Cucumber Companion Planting?
Cucumber companion planting is beneficial for a number of reasons. Companion plants for cucumbers create diversity in the garden. Generally, we tend to plant tidy rows of just a few plant species, which isn’t how nature is designed. These groupings of similar plants are called monocultures.
Monocultures are far more susceptible to insect pests and disease. By increasing the diversity of the garden, you are mimicking nature’s way of minimizing disease and pest attacks. Utilizing cucumber plant companions will not only lessen potential attack, but also shelter beneficial insects.
Some plants that grow well with cucumbers, such as legumes, can also help enrich the soil. Legumes (such as peas, beans and clover) have root systems that colonize Rhizobium bacteria and absorb around 20% of the sugar the plants produce, which is then turned into nitrogen. Some of the nitrogen goes towards nurturing the legume, and some is released into the surrounding soil as the plant decomposes. The nitrogen is then available to any companion plants that are growing nearby.
Plants That Grow Well with Cucumbers
Plants that grow well with cucumbers include legumes, as mentioned, but also the following:
Other flowers, besides sunflowers, may also be beneficial planted near your cukes. Marigold deters beetles, while nasturtiums thwart aphids and other bugs. Tansy also discourages ants, beetles, flying insects and other bugs.
Two plants to avoid planting near cucumbers are melons and potatoes. Sage is not recommended as a companion plant near cucumbers either. While sage shouldn’t be planted near cucumbers, oregano is a notorious pest control herb and will do well as a companion plant.