Want your pumpkin to thrive and bring massive yields?
Then bring the best pumpkin companion plants to the garden.
Sounds counterintuitive, right? Why would I plant my pumpkin with other species? Wouldn’t that cause issues?
Well, it doesn’t. In nature, pumpkins thrive even when there are tons of plants around. And if they are the right ones, it enjoys some benefits that it wouldn’t if planted alone.
At the same time, bringing the wrong species can also be harmful. You’ll want to avoid those.
That’s why we want to show you which ones to bring, which ones to dismiss, how to get the best out of companion planting, and more. Care to learn? Then keep reading!
Benefits of Companion Planting for Pumpkin
Emulating a natural environment gives pumpkin the chance to grow as if they would in nature. With suitable species, they will not only grow safely but also prosper. Here’s why:
1. Chemical-Free Growth
Plants interact with each other. We may not see it as these interactions are often chemical and invisible. But they happen. And the results are fantastic.
Healthy gardens with the right species in combination produce more sustained growth without causing any side effects. This would avoid the use of artificial chemicals and methods that could come with side effects.
2. Sustained Pollination
Cucurbits like pumpkin depend on pollination to blossom and give fruits. When pollinator-attracting plants are around, pumpkin produces fruits faster.
Pollination is also helpful to ensure a better harvest. The more pollinators around, the more fruits and the bigger they will be.
3. Pest-Free Development
Alongside attracting pollinating insects, some plants also bring pest-eating ones around. This will either reduce or eliminate pests completely. This prevents diseases and keeps the plant growing sustainably.
4. Surprising Better Taste
Some plants produce unique chemicals that are absorbed by the soil. Then, the ground transports them to other plants around. When you get pumpkins close to these chemical-producing plants, they end up tasting surprisingly better.
There are many other benefits from planting pumpkin with quality companions. We’re going to explain what each companion offers below. Keep reading for more!
How to Get the Most out of Companion Planting?
Cucurbits are an easy-to-grow breed. They can grow pretty much anywhere as long as the conditions are not extreme. However, you can improve their chances of providing bigger yields with the right approach. Here are some tips to consider:
- Keep them in warmth environments (preferably over 61 degrees Fahrenheit)
- Ensure complete light exposure (they need at least 6 hours of sunlight per day)
- Grow them with plenty of space around (at least 2 square feet per plant)
- Never let them starve or go thirsty (especially with companions around)
Plants that have similar needs as pumpkins will provide the best benefits and grow a lot more sustainably.
Best Companion Plants for Pumpkin
With the benefits of companion planting and the basics of growing pumpkin in mind, let’s take a look at the species you should consider:
1. Aromatic Herbs
Some herbs produce a significant amount of chemicals that are useful in the growth of cucurbits. Among them, you can find tansy and hyssop that give a slight potassium boost to the soil.
Other herbs like marjoram and oregano cover the ground, keeping it cool. They also attract hoverflies that eat pests like aphids.
And other aromatic herbs like chives and chamomile have attractive flowers for pollinators, ensuring more sustainable fruiting.
We put it alone because borage is not strictly aromatic. By itself, it attracts a lot of pollinators due to its gorgeous flowers.
The benefit comes mainly from the vast array of pollinators it attracts. From bees to butterflies and many others, some of them are even pest deterrents.
Although root vegetables are not ideal companions (more on that later), carrots are decently safe for most cucurbits.
But this only happens when the carrot flowers. This attracts tons of bees and other pollinators. To get the most out of carrots alongside your pumpkin, you’ll have to plant them way before the cucurbits.
If done correctly, the pollinators brought by the carrots will improve the fruit growth of the pumpkins.
NOTE: If planted too close, carrots can actually be harmful. So be careful.
Because corn grows large and sturdy, it allows vining plants to form a trellis. Because pumpkins and other cucurbits adore making trellis, they will appreciate having corn around.
In turn, the pumpkin will help the corn grow further by keeping the soil moist and cool. Simultaneously, pumpkins prevent weed from taking place, allowing the corn to grow and spread safely. You will have double the advantage by growing these two together.
5. Korean Licorice Mint
You can plant pretty much any type of mint alongside your pumpkins and enjoy a higher number of pollinators coming around.
But among the many mints, it is the Korean Licorice Mint that works at its best. Their unique blue-purple blossoms attract pollinators of all kinds, ensuring the pumpkins grow sustainably and provide a better harvest.
There’s no doubt about the effectiveness of lavender when it comes to attracting bees and other pollinators. For that reason, it makes for an almost perfect addition to any pumpkin crop.
What sets lavender apart is its ability to change the fruit’s taste a bit. While not always noticeable, it may have a slight boost in sweetness that makes any pumpkin more flavorful.
Few flowering plants can deter pests like marigolds. They’re among the most used worldwide because of this benefit. Interestingly, they work perfectly with the vines that pumpkins produce.
One of the different pests they repel includes irritating aphids. This also includes nematodes that feed on the pumpkin and often cause root diseases.
It’s worth planting marigolds close to the plant itself for better results. Even better, it is intercropped to ensure every pumpkin plant enjoys this benefit.
Another flower you should consider is the nasturtium. The super-bright orange on the flowers attracts a considerable number of pollinators. But at the same time, they attract pest-eating insects.
You will notice a lot more bees and butterflies around. Similarly, you will see how fewer squash bugs feast on the pumpkin plants.
Another underrated benefit is how ladybugs love nasturtiums. They will eat aphids, beetles, and whiteflies.
Legumes are among the most beneficial plants that pumpkins can grow up with. Thanks to the vast amount of nitrogen they produce, the soils end up a lot richer for the pumpkin to grow non-stop.
It’s wise to plant peas to pumpkins, preferably beforehand. The way they gather nitrogen from the air and start sharing it through the soil is simply unbeatable.
This includes pretty much all peas, going from snow peas to sugar snap peas and even English peas.
10. Pole Beans
Similar to peas, beans are legumes that help fix the soil when planted before. However, it is the pole bean species that works best for this.
Because beans produce an almost uncountable amount of nitrogen, pumpkins will grow almost non-stop alongside.
Most bean plants are also viny. This allows both the pumpkin and beans to grow together nicely without stopping each other’s growth.
The green foliage of radishes attracts many pests, like flea beetles and aphids. For that reason, it works as an excellent trap crop alongside your pumpkins, attracting the pests away from your cucurbit.
It’s worth mentioning that radishes planted too close to your pumpkins can actually cause harm as a type of root crop. But at the proper distance (3 to 4 feet away) can be extra helpful.
Yet another pollinator-attracting plant, the sunflower brings an immense number of bees around. Your pumpkins will have no reason to stop pollinating.
Similarly, the thick stalks of the flowers may work as a trellis base for the viny foliage. This improves growth slightly and gives the plant some blossoming support.
Almost every tomato species grow in the same conditions as the pumpkin. The advantage comes from space efficiency.
Because pumpkin is a viny plant that grows close to the floor and tomatoes are also viny but tend to grow taller, they complement each other rather well. If too close together, however, it may cause unnecessary tangling of the vegetation. So keep them at least 2 feet apart.
Worst Companion Plants for Pumpkin
While the pumpkin plant grows pretty much anywhere, some plants may affect their growth. If they aren’t far enough to not be considered companions, they may cause all kinds of effects. Here are some of these bad companions to stay away from:
Pretty much all brassicas eat away so many nutrients from the floor that pumpkins end up with nothing.
They fight so fearlessly for the same nutrients that both plants may eventually suffer from stunted growth. Generally, however, brassicas end up growing sustainably while pumpkins stay small.
If you don’t have to suffer any cross-pollination, then you will keep other cucurbits away.
This includes plants like cucumbers and zucchinis.
Big cucurbits like watermelons, muskmelons, and melons themselves may also fight for nutrients.
And even worse, they all suffer from the same pests. Planting different cucurbit species together can be fatal for the entire vegetable garden.
3. Root Vegetables
Those veggies that produce large yields underground are often too hungry, eating away most nutrients and allowing no space for the pumpkin to thrive.
It’s worth knowing that root vegetables are not harmful if they’re planted sufficiently far. But if they’re too close, the pumpkin will hate them.
4. Vining Plants
Placing several vines together can cause a lot of tangles and unnecessary confusion when trying to harvest.
It’s now time to give your pumpkins the neighbors they want!
It is not a 100% sure thing that your pumpkins will grow better than before or produce more yields. But there are higher chances of that happening if you plant them alongside the right partners.
So don’t waste any change and get the best pumpkin companion plants in your vegetable garden now! There are tons of benefits to enjoy and no time to lose!