If you’re trying to take your gardening skills to the next level, you need to try companion planting. This ancient practice is known to increase the yield and overall health of your plants and is as simple as pairing the right plants together while keeping others as far away as possible. This way, you promote a harmonious growing environment similar to the one that would occur naturally in the wild.
Today we’ll teach you all you need to know about eggplant companion plants. Although this veggie might not be the most popular, when prepared right, eggplants make wonderful and unique dishes full of flavor and color. Besides, its flowers are just as showstopping as their fruit, so you’ll have a vibrant and colorful garden as a bonus.
What Is the Best Companion Plant for Eggplant?
Eggplants are considered to be a bit dramatic and love to be the star of the show, or, in this case, the garden. But surprisingly, they can be mixed with a wide range of plants.
Eggplants are members of the nightshade family, which includes tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers, so they’re considered some of the ideal companion plants. However, being from the same family, they are also too similar for their own good, and they are affected by the same pests and diseases. To fight this, crop rotation, proper spacing, and adequate companion plants are great ways to reduce the risk of damage.
In general, plants able to deter pests and attract pollinators without casting too much shade and stealing the show are the best companion plants for eggplants.
Best Companion Plants for Eggplant
If you’re wondering what exactly can be planted next to your eggplants and why, here is a list of some of the best companion plants:
Considered an all-around favorite when it comes to companion planting, marigolds will deter all sorts of beetles and attract pollinators, as well as secrete a compound that keeps whiteflies and aphids away. Aim to plant them at the same time as you transplant your eggplants onto the soil.
Besides offering you beautiful blossoms and embellishing your garden, petunias are a great way to increase diversity while attracting beneficial insects that will aid with your crops’ pollination.
Known to repel pests and attract pollinators, this flower is also believed to repel fungal diseases. It is advised to grow them on a trellis behind your eggplants.
Also known as Pot Marigold, it will populate your garden with all kinds of good bugs, from pollinators to predatory bugs. As a bonus, it also has medicinal and culinary uses.
Eggplants and spinach engage in a symbiotic relationship. Spinach will provide ground cover and improve eggplant’s health, while eggplants provide the much-needed shade spinach requires during hotter months.
This root vegetable will loosen the soil and improve the aeration of the roots of surrounding plants. It needs to be planted either in early spring or fall, just make sure not to disturb them when you add in other plants, such as your eggplants.
Much like the majority of herbs, thyme’s strong scent will keep insects away and protect your plants from pest damage.
This herb works as an insect magnet, both for good and bad bugs. This way, it keeps your eggplants and surrounding plants safe. Some gardeners also claim it enhances eggplant growth.
With its star-shaped edible blue flowers, pollinators, especially bees, will flow toward your garden and aid with pollination. It is also known to aerate the soil and bring deeper minerals closer to the surface, supplying those with shallow roots. Just remember that borage grows tall and can cast shade onto eggplants, so maintain a safe distance.
Again, yet another herb capable of deterring pests and creating a protection field around your garden and, especially, your eggplants.
There are mixed opinions about this legume. Due to its growing habits, it can potentially overshadow eggplants and stunt their growth, but this can be fixed by planting them with enough space between them. On the other hand, it helps fix much-needed nitrogen in the soil, and green beans can even keep pests like potato beetles away.
Where Is the Best Place to Plant Your Eggplant?
Despite their slightly demanding nature, eggplants are not too picky about where you decide to grow them. As long as they get full sun and well-draining fertile soil, they’ll be happy.
They can be grown in containers, as long as they offer enough room for their roots, and they can be grown in raised beds that are at least 12 inches (30 cm) deep but preferably 18 inches (45 cm).
What to Plant with Eggplant — Best Companion Plants
Here are a few references of what grows well with eggplant, depending on where you decide to grow your eggplants:
Part of the same family, both hot and sweet varieties have similar needs as eggplants. Hot peppers particularly have the advantage of aiding in controlling fusarium infections and improving soil conditions.
Another family member with great potential, although there are some mixed opinions. Since they can grow tall and develop dense foliage, shading might be an issue, as well as competing for nutrients. This can easily be fixed by planting them with enough space away from eggplants and providing enough food for both crops.
From keeping pests away to working as a ground cover and even improving eggplant flavor, the only downside is mint tends to get a bit out of control. This is why it’s such a great option for containers, where its spread can be easily controlled.
Much like mint, oregano will also grow as much as it can. On a brighter note, this herb repels pests like aphids, cabbage moths, and spider mites and attracts pollinators.
In Raised Beds
Garlic and onions are notorious for their repellent abilities and will protect your garden from pests. They also don’t compete with eggplants. Chives are even thought to improve flavor.
With shallow root systems, fast growth, and little nutritional demands, they make great eggplant companions, as they won’t compete with them, will grow throughout the summer, and be done by the time eggplants begin fruiting.
This cool weather legume will help fix nitrogen in the soil and aid eggplant growth. It should be planted before eggplants and can later be cut to make room for them.
What Not to Plant With Eggplant?
Refrain from planting any of these near your eggplants:
Fennel releases harmful substances into the soil that mess with plants’ growth, so keep it as far as possible from your eggplants.
Since they’re heavy feeders, pairing them with eggplants might lead to insufficient nutrients, damaging your eggplants' health.
Much like pumpkins, melons will feed intensively, reducing nutrient supplies in the soil and compromising your eggplants.
Despite being from the same family, potatoes can cause more damage to eggplants than other nightshades. Since they’re affected by the same pests, there is an elevated risk of potato beetles.
Rules of Partner Planting for Eggplant
Now that you know what to plant, here are some extra tips to ensure your success:
- Find the best spot in your garden and give it to your eggplants. They are fussy plants and will need a lot of attention and care. Set them up for success from the start.
- Shade is your eggplants’ worst enemy. Always make sure your plants are getting as much sun as possible, otherwise, their growth will be stunted.
- Crop rotation is especially important for nightshades. This will prevent the soil from being deployed of nutrients and reduce the risk of family-specific diseases.
Mistakes to Avoid in Your Companion Planting
Whatever you do, try to avoid:
- Overcrowding – plants enjoy having space to grow freely, and they don’t want to feel claustrophobic. This also creates the perfect environment for fungal and bacterial diseases.
- Competition – food and water are detrimental to any plant’s health, so make sure you give each one what it needs and avoid forcing them to compete for survival.
How to Increase Eggplant Yield?
Now that you’ve prepared the foundations for a balanced garden, here’s what you can do to maximize your eggplant production:
- Rich, well-draining, fertile soil is a must. Make sure to provide constant moisture and fertilize often, as this veggie is a heavy feeder.
- Eggplants will not produce flowers or fruit if temperatures are under 20 ºC (68 ºF). The ideal temperature is 24 ºC (75 ºF). Also, they need at least 6 hours of sunlight.
- Pinch out the growing tips to encourage bushier and fuller plants.
- Restrict each plant when it comes to fruit-bearing to no more than 6 to 8 fruits. This will make sure it has enough energy to produce good quality crops.
- Although eggplants are self-pollinating plants, natural pollinators will aid this process. Also, if you have a low number of pollinators, you might have to aid your plants manually with the help of a paintbrush.
- Make sure to harvest the fruit when it’s not yet too big, as it will become riddled with seeds and develop a bitter taste as it grows bigger.
Can You Plant Two Eggplants Together?
Yes, of course. There is no better eggplant companion than a twin. All you need to keep in mind is that they need to have enough space between them to grow comfortably, as well as enough resources such as water, light, and food for both. This is particularly crucial when planting in containers.
Can I Plant Zucchini and Eggplant Together?
Although this is not the ideal pairing, it can definitely work. If you decide to plant these together, keep in mind that eggplants should always be tended to more attentively than any other plant. Also, zucchini tends to get mildew, so you’ll have to be extra vigilant.
Can Eggplant and Tomatoes Be Planted Together?
Opinions differ on this since shading and competing for the same resources might be a problem. But as long as you keep an eye out for pests, feed them well, and make sure they have enough space between each other, they’ll most likely grow well together.
Can You Plant Eggplant and Peppers Together?
Yes. This fellow nightshade has similar needs to eggplants and can grow side by side, provided they have enough food for both. Hot peppers particularly are also a great aid in controlling fusarium infections and improving soil conditions.
Can We Grow Eggplant and Cucumbers Together?
As long as they are planted at a reasonable distance from each other to prevent eggplants from getting too much shade, these can be paired. They both have similar needs, so you’ll have to make sure you feed them well so they don’t compete for food.
Can You Plant Lettuce With Eggplant?
For sure. Lettuce has shallow roots, little nutritional demands, and grow fast enough to be gone by the time your eggplant begins fruiting. They’re a great choice for companion planting, as they won’t compete or interfere much with eggplants.