13 Best Companion Plants for Cucumbers

cucumbers

The Spruce / K. Dave 

Cucumbers are exuberant plants with vines that can sprawl over a lot of space—the healthier the plant, the more space they seem to take up. But, there are several other garden plants that fare well alongside these vivacious vines and make great companion plants for cucumbers. The best companion plants help deter pests and do not compete with cucumbers for water or nutrients.

Learn which garden plants make the best cucumber companions, and which ones should be kept at a distance.

What Is Companion Planting?

Companion planting is the practice of planting different species together based on their ability to enhance one another's growth, offer some form of pest protection, or other advantages.

Sometimes this is a matter of choosing plants with different growth habits that do not compete with one another for space, or it can mean choosing companions that have different nutrient needs in order to make efficient use of soil. Ideally, companion plants help ward off destructive insects, making garden pest management easier.

Some companion planting simply involves common sense—making sure that taller plants don't provide too much shade to low-growing plants, for instance. Strategic companion planting is especially important in small gardens or wherever careful space planning is needed. 

Benefits of Companion Planting

Seasoned gardeners swear by companion planting because it increases the health and productivity of crops like cucumbers. Benefits of companion planting for cucumbers and other plants include:

  • Repelling insects
  • Deterring certain diseases
  • Minimizing competition for space, nutrients, or water
  • Providing stability for climbing plants (some plants, like sunflowers, are tall and strong enough to support other plants' vines)
sunflowers
The Spruce / K. Dave

Best Companion Plants for Cucumbers

A variety of vegetables, flowers, and herbs make excellent companions for cucumbers.

  • Peas, cornbeans, and lentils: These plants' root systems increase nitrogen in the soil, which will benefit your cucumber plants, as well as other garden plants.
  • Radishes, beets, carrots, and onions: These root vegetables work well with cucumbers because they do not spread and compete for space; the majority of their growth occurs beneath the soil. Also, root vegetables and cucumbers both thrive in well-tilled soil.
  • Marigolds and nasturtiums: These flowers help repel beetles, thrips, and other destructive insects.
  • Sunflowers: These tall, sturdy flowers can act as natural trellises for cucumber vines.
  • Oregano and dill: Both of these herbs repel insect pests, and dill attracts beneficial predatory insects to the garden to help rid it of pests.
nasturtium
The Spruce / K. Dave  

Worst Companion Plants for Cucumbers

Just as some plants are good companions together, there are also those that should not be allowed to reside side-by-side. 

  • Potatoes: These tubers compete with cucumbers for nutrients and water, so they should not be planted together.
  • Sage: This herb has been reported to stunt the growth of cucumbers, so plant it elsewhere.
  • Mint: Most varieties of mint are overly aggressive in garden beds and can infringe on both the space for cucumbers, as well as its nutrients.
  • Melons: These fruits attract insect pests that also feed on cucumbers, so keep these similar plants apart in the garden.
watermelon
The Spruce / K. Dave