Nasturtium (Tropaeolum) flowers should be included in every garden because these cheerful plants are so easy to grow and will brighten your garden up from summer until late autumn with gorgeous yellow and orange flowers.
These triple-threat plants are often included in vegetable gardens, fruit crops, and even ornamental gardens because they can boost your yields and fight off pests, they are edible and have medicinal properties.
In this guide, we are going to take a look at some of the best plants to grow with your nasturtiums if you want to enjoy all the benefits these useful plants have to offer.
What to Plant With Nasturtiums
One of the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to nasturtium care is their growing conditions.
Nasturtiums can be grown in partial shade but need 6 – 8 hours of full sun to flourish and bloom. They also need to be established in well-draining soil and poor soil conditions are preferable because too many nutrients will result in more foliage development and fewer flowers.
If you pair nasturtiums with companion plants that don’t have similar growing conditions, you could have a tough time keeping your plants alive and healthy.
It is also important to consider the different nasturtium varieties. There are about 80 different species of nasturtiums which include annuals, and perennials; some varieties form bushes while others are telling or vining plants.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the best combinations to make when you are pairing nasturtiums with other plants.
The Brassica Family
All members of the brassica family (Brassicaceae) are excellent companion plants for nasturtiums because these plant species will promote each other.
Brassica plant varieties like cabbage, broccoli, kale, and cauliflower are all nutrient-hungry plants that will quickly deprive other plants of minerals. This creates an ideal growing environment for nasturtiums since these plants grow best in poor soil conditions.
At the same time, the nasturtiums will serve and protect your brassicas. The nasturtiums will act as trap crops to lure garden pests like cabbage moths, and Japanese beetles away from your cabbages.
These pests will feed on nasturtiums while your other plants stay pest free. The nasturtiums will also attract pollinators to increase the yields of your valuable crops.
You can grow nasturtiums amongst brassicas because they won’t compete for nutrients and those beautiful blooms will look wonderful as they peek out from around the vegetables.
The nasturtiums will also act as a ground cover to keep the soil around brassicas cool and to keep weeds from sprouting.
Tomatoes (Solanum Lycopersicum) and nasturtiums can also be grown together if you want to save your valuable crops from pests and can boost your tomato yields.
Tomatoes are vulnerable to a great many pests like flea beetles, aphids, tomato hornworms, spider mites, and many other pests.
Growing nasturtiums in a bed next to your tomato plants can protect your tomato yields because the nasturtiums will act as a trap crop and all of these pests will flock toward this herb plant.
Your nasturtiums will also attract beneficial insects like butterflies and bees that can help pollinate the tomatoes for greater yields.
It is also great that you can add nasturtium flowers with their peppery flavor to create a delicious and beautiful tomato salad.
It is usually best to establish a row of nasturtiums a little bit away from your tomatoes. This way, you can remove the plants if the trap crop becomes too infested. In a compact garden, you can consider trailing nasturtiums that you can grow vertically so you can free some space in your garden.
Cucumbers (Cucumis Sativus) are terrific for companion planting with nasturtiums. These nutrient-hungry plants will create an ideal growing environment for nasturtiums but can be plagued by pests like cucumber beetles, squash bugs, whiteflies, aphids, and others.
The nasturtium plant will act as a trap crop to lure destructive pests away from the cucumbers and will keep these common pests from devouring your delicious vegetables. The nasturtium’s flowers will also attract beneficial insects that can pollinate cucumbers for increased yields.
Many gardeners believe that nasturtiums enhance the taste and flavor of cucumbers.
Gardeners should however be careful when planting nasturtiums with cucumbers because both are bushy plants that can take up a lot of space. It is usually best to grow your cucumbers on a trellis so they won’t take up too much space.
Bushy nasturtium varieties can be grown at the base to keep pests away and to act as a ground cover to keep weeds from sprouting in your vegetable garden.
Fruit trees are not exactly vegetables but they are terrific nasturtium companion plants. Nasturtiums can benefit your fruit garden in many different ways.
You can grow nasturtium plants next to all sorts of fruit trees like apple trees, pear trees, orange trees, lemon trees, and many others.
The bright nasturtium flowers will attract beneficial insects like pollinators to your garden so your trees can bear plenty of fruits. These plants will also attract other beneficial insects like parasitic wasps that will ward off pests that might feed on your fruits.
The nasturtium growths will double as a living mulch around the base of the fruit tree and can keep weeds from sprouting.
While you are adding nasturtiums to your fruit plantation, you should keep their sunlight needs in mind. Nasturtiums can grow well in dappled shade underneath a tree but won’t produce as many flowers.
It is ideal to establish nasturtiums around your fruit lanes or to get trailing nasturtiums that you can trail right into the fruit tree.
Marigold flowers (Tagetes) are excellent for companion planting with nasturtiums in flower gardens or vegetable gardens because the marigolds will protect your sacrificial crop of nasturtiums and can boost your garden’s defenses.
Marigolds are known for their insect-repelling properties. These plants produce a strong fragrance that can repel pests like mosquitos, cabbage worms, and other pests and they secrete the alpha-terthienyl substance that kills nematodes in the soil. The fragrance of bright marigold flowers also does a good job of attracting beneficial insects.
When you grow marigolds in your nasturtium garden, you can protect your trap crop from all the pests they lure away from your vegetables. This can help the nasturtiums survive for longer.
Both of these floral plants need plenty of sunlight and they are drought tolerant which is perfect for those who prefer xeriscaping. Marigolds and nasturtium flowers are both bright yellow, orange, or reddish in hue and will complement one another brilliantly in a flower bed.
See more: Marigold companion plants
Onions (Allium cepa) are terrific plants to add to any type of garden including vegetable gardens and flower beds. This is mainly because onions have a strong odor that is helpful for repelling all sorts of pests on vegetable plants.
You can safely grow any member of the onion family and nasturtiums together to enhance the pest-controlling properties of your garden. This edible plant doesn’t take up a lot of space, it doesn’t need too many nutrients and it can grow very well in the same garden bed as nasturtiums.
Many gardeners prefer to grow onions in a row in front of nasturtium plants so the nasturtiums won’t overshadow your onions. It can also be good to grow onions next to a nasturtium trellis.
These two plants have similar growing requirements and they are both quite drought-tolerant. With a plantation of nasturtiums and onions all around your vegetable garden, you can enjoy organic gardening with significantly fewer garden pests.
Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is a healthy vegetable plant that is packed with iron and other nutrients which can give you a boost in health. But this leafy green plant can be vulnerable to a great many pests.
Growing nasturtiums next to spinach can help protect your crop from harmful pests like sap-seeping aphids, leafminers, crown mites, and other problems. The nasturtiums will lure most of these bugs and pests away from your spinach so those edible leaves can grow healthy and strong.
There are quite a few varieties of spinach and most of these varieties are naturally beautiful and very easy to grow.
When you are growing nasturtiums and spinach together, it is usually best to leave a little bit of room (about 12 inches) around spinach bushes because spinach leaves can branch out quite a bit. A lot of gardeners recommend growing nasturtium plants in a row beside spinach because spinach needs more water than drought-tolerant nasturtiums.
It is also best to grow baby spinach varieties beside nasturtiums with plenty of room between them because nasturtiums can become quite bushy and can deprive spinach of sunlight.
Carrots (Daucus carota) and nasturtiums are good companions because nasturtiums will repel the common carrot fly that often attacks carrot crops. Nasturtiums will also lure other pests like cucumber beetles and aphids away from your carrots.
Many gardens also love to grow carrots and nasturtiums together because the nasturtiums will keep the soil nice and moist.
These two plants won’t compete for space since carrots have most of their development below the ground while nasturtiums spread out above the ground. The carrot leaves are also tall enough to reach beyond the nasturtium growths so your carrots will receive enough sunlight.
If you are growing a tall nasturtium variety with carrots then you might want to keep your rows separated so your carrots can receive some light. You can offer carrots and nasturtiums the same amount of water since they do have similar watering needs.
What NOT to Plant with Nasturtiums?
Most plants get along great with nasturtiums. There are, however, a couple of plants that can affect nasturtiums negatively or that simply don’t grow well in the same garden bed as these florals.
Let’s take a look at some of the worst companions for nasturtiums.
Fennel is a herb that shouldn’t be grown alongside most plants including nasturtiums. This is because fennel naturally stunts the growth of many other plants.
When you grow these two plants in the same garden bed, your nasturtiums won’t develop quite as well and aren’t too likely to flower.
Low Profile Plants
Nasturtiums can grow quite vigorously and some are even considered invasive because they can easily take over garden beds.
When nasturtiums start to overrun your garden bed, they can deprive low-profile plants that are used for ground covers of needed sunlight.
If you are going to add ground covers or plants that are low in stature such as strawberries, creeping phlox, or dwarf species to your garden, then you should be careful to trail the nasturtiums away from these plants or establish them in separate rows to prevent overcrowding.
You can safely plant nasturtium plants with a huge variety of other plant species and they are suitable for any garden type since these plants are edible and beautiful at the same time. The nasturtium benefits can make a huge difference in ornamental and agricultural gardens.
We hope that our guide helped you find some great plants to pair with your nasturtium seedlings. If you want to know what else to pair with other crops then you should have a look at some of our other companion planting guides. In these guides, we help you find all the best companions for just about any type of plant.
See more: What does nasturtium flower symbolize?
*image by EsinDeniz/depositphotos