Nothing is more synonymous with summer than watermelons! If you plan to cultivate this endeared refreshing summer fruit, consider growing watermelon companion plants rather than monocropping. It offers a multitude of benefits, including free pest control, source fertilizer, and simply maximizing the space of your garden. Worry not about having mistakes, as this article covers all fundamental information and answers some basic questions, from what to plant with watermelon to whether you can plant watermelon and cantaloupe together. The key to growth is good friends. Let’s find out which friends your watermelons need!
Benefits of Companion Plating with Watermelon
Watermelon companion planting is scientifically proven to:
- Deter insect pests, fungal diseases, and suppress weeds
- Attract pollinators and beneficial insects
- Enhance resistance to Fusarium wilt
- Increase land use efficiency
- Improve soil nutritional and microbial properties
The best benefit for your watermelon is your love of course. You're your plant's best companion, don't forget!
Best Watermelon Companion Plants
Get to know the best companion plants for watermelon listed below!
If you are a fan of veggies, here are some of the vegetables worth trying:
Because of lettuce's shallow-rootedness, this short-season crop does not interfere with the watermelon's. It also helps suppress the growth of weeds and keep the soil moist. Plant lettuce seedlings anytime, spaced at 20-30 cm (8-12 in), and you will harvest your juicy leafy veggie in less than 5 weeks!
Plant radish seedlings or sow seeds into the well-prepared soil in spring or fall, approximately a meter (3 ft) apart from the watermelon's rows. Worry not about aphids, as this root crop sacrifices its leaves to be the target rather than the watermelon. In addition, it helps keep your watermelon grove free of weeds and cucumber beetles!
Deep within its roots lies a colony of nitrogen-fixing bacteria that shares some free nutrients with your watermelon without compromising its needs! It also helps deter major pests and retard the growth of unwanted weeds. To get the maximum benefits, plant bush beans in April-June, spaced 5-7 cm (2-3 in) apart and a meter (3 ft) from watermelon rows.
If your purpose this cropping season is to efficiently utilize all the spaces and to make your garden crop-diverse, consider the corn-watermelon tandem! The cob density can be increased by intercropping maize into watermelon and wheat. Sow maize seeds at the same planting date as watermelons in April-June and keep a safe distance of at least a meter between rows so that the tall corn stalks cannot cast shadows on watermelons.
Like other legumes, cowpeas can improve the soil nutritional status by making phosphorus and nitrogen available to its companion! In addition, beneficial microorganisms, which play a vital role in root health, are also happy with the cowpea's presence. Sow cowpeas seeds between the 2-meter rows (7 ft) of watermelon in April or May or 2-3 weeks beforehand.
Aside from deterring pests and suppressing weeds, carrots are a good filler crop that maximizes land use efficiency. Just fill the spaces between your watermelon patch to make the most of your small backyard. If you plan carrots as companion crops, plant them approximately 2 months after growing watermelons in April.
Yum! When's harvest?
Herbs are already a staple in your kitchen spice, so we have selected the best of the best:
Before you ask, yes, onions are herbs!This all-time herb grows in extraordinarily tight spaces and can simultaneously improve the nutrient uptake of watermelon. Plant onion seedlings or sets about 15-20 cm (6-8 in) apart from the watermelon plants. They will deter pests like aphids and repel certain insects while adding flavor to your dishes.
Not only does basil add a delightful aroma to your garden, but it also repels mosquitoes and flies. Plant basil seedlings or sow seeds around your watermelon plants, keeping a distance of about 30 cm (12 in) between them. Harvest the leaves as needed for cooking or for making pesto.
Dill attracts beneficial insects like ladybugs, lacewings, and wasps, which prey on pests that could harm your watermelon plants. It also helps improve the flavor of nearby plants. Plant dill seeds or seedlings near your watermelon, about 30-45 cm (12-18 in) apart.
Mm, herbs… Fragrant!
Flowers not only beautify your garden but can also provide numerous benefits when planted alongside watermelon:
Marigolds are known for their ability to repel nematodes, aphids, and other harmful insects. They also attract pollinators and beneficial insects. Plant marigold seedlings or sow seeds around the perimeter of your watermelon patch or between rows, spacing them about 15-30 cm (6-12 in) apart.
Nasturtiums are excellent companion plants that repel aphids, squash bugs, and striped cucumber beetles. They also add a pop of color to your garden. Plant nasturtium seeds or seedlings around your watermelon plants, maintaining a distance of about 30 cm (12 in) between them.
Sunflowers provide shade and act as a living trellis for vining watermelon varieties. Their tall stems and large flowers attract pollinators and beneficial insects. Plant sunflower seeds in the outer edges of your watermelon patch, giving them enough space to grow and support the watermelon vines.
Flowers are not only a delight to the eye, they can be very useful, too. Especially for watermelons!
If you are looking for less-known plants, we have selected some of the best plants that perform well with watermelon:
Also known botanically as Portulaca oleracea, common purslane helps mitigate saline stress in watermelons if saltwater infiltration is a problem in your area. To get the maximum buffer against salt toxicity, purslane should be planted 30 cm (12 in) next to watermelons during the cropping season.
Planting sorghum in between watermelons can help buffer the effects of drought if water is a significant constraint in your garden. It can be sown at the same cropping period as watermelons with a space of at least a meter between rows.
The bright yellow flowers lure beneficial insects and pollinators to hover around your backyard, and in return, the watermelons smother the weed space to grow. Sow okra in between 2-meter spaced rows (7 ft), your summer vine fruit.
Groundnuts or peanuts are watermelon's best friend. Planting peanuts can reduce the disease risk and provide free nitrogen to your watermelon plants. For optimal growth, it is recommended to intercrop peanuts with watermelons inserted in between 120 x 120 cm spacing.
What's advantageous about oregano is they are easy to cultivate and can even grow profusely! It helps pests turn away due to its potent smell. To ensure the healthy growth of watermelons, it's crucial to trim branches and prevent overcrowding. Container planting is another viable option to consider.
These plants might have only made it to the "other" section, but they are no losers. Pay them some attention, they deserve it!
Sugar Baby Watermelon Companion Plants
You would never go wrong with the following companion plants for your 'Sugar Baby' watermelons:
Is a salad veggie highly recommended for novice beginners because of its rapid growth. It does not compete and requires only a tiny space to thrive. To plant, scatter seeds as soon as it gets warm in spring on the void areas or at least 20 cm apart from the watermelon rows.
If you are looking for slender types of herb to be planted with your watermelon, leeks should be on your priority list. Competition with light and pests should not be a problem. In spring, plant leeks approximately 25-40 cm (10-16 in) apart from each plant and 60 cm (24 in) between watermelon rows.
Its fragrant scent repels most watermelon bugs. Because it regrows yearly, spent flowers and dead branches should be clipped. They are best planted along garden aisles or borders to accentuate the area with its flowers, attracting pollinators.
Like thyme, sage should also be trimmed annually to maintain its shape and make it healthy, along with watermelons. Being a perennial, it prefers permanent spots such as garden edges and requires little watering. Its potent smell also keeps pests at bay.
These greenies are real sugar babies… But they are not here to steal your watermelon's nutrients. They are here to nourish them.
Bad Companion Plants for Watermelon
If you ask, "Can you plant watermelon and pumpkins together?" let's find out below with the list of worst melon companion plants:
This refreshing watery fruit is at the top list of what not to plant with watermelon. It belongs to the same family of watermelons that will make your garden more attractive to cucumber beetles. Another disadvantage is its vines can grow profusely and may cast a shadow on your sun-loving watermelons.
Also belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family – the botanical group of watermelons, squash, pumpkin, and cantaloupe – zucchini will also lure beetles that feast on leaves. So, can you plant squash and watermelon together? The answer would be a big no!
Can you plant watermelon next to tomatoes? The direct answer would be no. Tomatoes can grow bushy and can block sunlight to watermelon leaves. It is also known to be a heavy feeder and might compete with the available soil nutrients.
This tuberous crop is one of the bad companion plants for watermelon. It needs a particular cultivation practice, including a separate loose bed raised over the ground for its tubers to grow, while watermelons can be planted contrastingly in a flat garden. Moreover, it draws melon aphids, which we do not want to happen!
Yes, yes, we know these are yummy. Your watermelon, however, would not appreciate the company of these green friends. Stay away!
How to Choose the Best Companion Plant for Your Watermelon?
Whether undecided or not, here are the tips to help you choose the best companion plant for watermelon:
- Choose plants with short growing periods.
- You will always go right if you plant herbs because they are a pest's nightmare.
- Maximize the space by growing sleek plants like onions, garlic, or leeks if the garden area is constrained.
- Select cowpeas, bush beans, and other legumes to take advantage of free fertilizers.
Picking all the right friends is diffucult, but not impossible. Stick to the healthy choices.
Rules of Watermelon Companion Planting
The following rules will guide you to select the best companion plants not listed above:
- Let there be light! Light is one of the determinants of choosing the best couple for your watermelon. If it has broad leaves and an umbrella-like canopy, consider discarding the idea of planting it next to your sun-demanding watermelons.
- No sibs together. As previously mentioned, crops with the same botanical line should not be planted together. This is because they have the same "scent" profile, which makes them too attractive and vulnerable to any foraging pests.
- Different nutrient needs. This guiding principle encompasses plants with varying appetites for essential nutrients. For example, legumes are not that hungry for plant food, making them less likely to compete with watermelons.
- Something smelly. If you notice a plant is odoriferous, it is a good candidate for companion planting. Insects have sensitive smell receptors that will disorient them toward finding the right host plant if this fragrant plant is emitted.
Phew, the boring part is over! Just kidding, our rules are never boring.
Mistakes to Avoid in Your Watermelon Partner Planting
Avoid committing the most common mistakes with companion planting for watermelon:
- Overcrowding. Companion cropping is not just stuffing your watermelons' spare spots but maintaining a suitable distance. Follow the proper plant spacing to prevent high disease incidence and light competition. Also, trim the dead and sickly leaves to maintain a healthy garden.
- Not fertilizing or preparing the soil. One of the prerequisites of companion planting is to make the soil fertile enough to support plant growth. Hence, we advise incorporating organic materials such as compost or sprinkling a slow-release complete fertilizer during the cropping season.
- Improper watering. While companion cropping helps conserve soil moisture, it still needs a good weekly soak. Drench a generous amount until the soil is saturated enough, approximately every 3-5 days or when the earth appears dry.
Everyone makes mistakes. However, people that read our blog, make them less often. Facts.
Can You Plant Different Watermelons Together?
Technically, you can plant two different watermelons together if you want. But ensure to choose a variety resistant to a specific pest as a precaution in case of an infestation.
What Is the Best Place to Plant Watermelon?
The best place to plant watermelon is where it can get full sunshine. It needs a lot of sun to assimilate sugars to make its fruit bigger, sweeter, and juicer.
Can You Plant Watermelon and Cantaloupe Together?
Both belong to the same family, meaning they likely share pests and diseases. If you want to cultivate them simultaneously, it would be best to plant intercrops between their rows.
Can You Plant Watermelon and Pumpkins Together?
No, you can't plant them together. Watermelons are close relatives of pumpkins so it is deemed incompatible. You can maximize your companion planting benefits if you avoid cultivating closely-related plants.
Can You Plant Watermelon and Pumpkins Together?Can You Plant Watermelon Next to Tomatoes?
No, tomatoes are considered incompatible to be planted next to watermelons. They are heavy feeders as the favorite summer fruit. In addition, its growth habit can turn into a large bush that can shade the main crop.
Give your watermelons some company, and watch them grow up happily in your garden. Watermelon sugar is the taste of the summer!