19 Companion Plants For Potatoes (And What Not To Plant Nearby)

Companion plants are like friends – they’re there to support you. In addition, companion plants deter pests and provide nutrients to the soil, keeping the surrounding plants healthy.

The best companion plants for potatoes include culinary herbs like chives, thyme, and basil, vegetables like onion, beans, celery, and corn, and flowers like nasturtium and marigold. Avoid planting potatoes nearby brassicas, carrots, and squash.

If you want to know more about the best companion plants for potato plants, keep reading. This article will cover the perfect and not-so-perfect companion plants for potato plants. 

Companion plants for potatoes
19 companion plants for potatoes (and what not to plant nearby)

Potato Companion Plants: The Basics

Potatoes are also known as Solanum Tuberosum, which are members of the Solanaceae family. The Solanaceae family is known as nightshades which contain plants like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. These plants benefit from companion plants such as cilantro and basil. On the other hand, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower (brassica family) can stunt the growth of potatoes.

West Virginia University also comments that companion planting is beneficial for soil health, space-saving, and insect management.

Chives - companion plants for potatoes
19 companion plants for potatoes (and what not to plant nearby)

1. Chives

Chives are an excellent companion plant for potato plants because they attract bees which pollinate the potato plant. Furthermore, chives can improve the flavor of potatoes and increase the number of potatoes produced by the plant. And when you’re ready for a delicious baked potato, you don’t have to reach too far to grab some chives as a fresh topping!

Thyme - companion plants for potatoes
19 companion plants for potatoes (and what not to plant nearby)

2. Thyme

Thyme is an excellent companion plant for potato plants because it keeps Armyworm Moths away. Armyworm Moths wreak havoc on potato plants by laying eggs that develop into larvae. These larvae eventually devour and kill the plant. In addition, because thyme plants are so short, they make excellent groundcovers or living mulch. When rainwater splashes onto the potato plant’s leaves, the groundcover protects them, preventing soil-borne illnesses. 

Basil - companion plants for potatoes
19 companion plants for potatoes (and what not to plant nearby)

3. Basil

Basil is a great companion plant for potato plants because it contains a strong smell that masks the scent of the potato plant, preventing pests like thrips from finding and destroying the plant. In addition, basil helps improve the flavor of potatoes.

Garlic - companion plants for potatoes
19 companion plants for potatoes (and what not to plant nearby)

4. Garlic

Garlic helps repel mites, flies, and other harmful pests, making them excellent companion plants for potato plants. While garlic is usually harvested in early summer before the potatoes are at peak production, repelling these pests while the potato plants are young can prevent the pests from laying eggs in and around the potato plants, lessening the pest pressure on the potatoes in late summer and early fall.

Parsley - companion plants for potatoes
19 companion plants for potatoes (and what not to plant nearby)

5. Parsley

Parsely deters pests such as aphids, spider mites, armyworms, earworms, and beetles, making it a perfect companion for potato plants. It’s also a mainstay of many potato salad recipes, making for a lovely little potato salad area of the garden.

Cilantro - companion plants for potatoes
19 companion plants for potatoes (and what not to plant nearby)

6. Cilantro

Cilantro is an excellent companion plant for potato plants since it repels pests like aphids and attracts bees when allowed to flower. As a result, the bees can pollinate both the cilantro and the potatoes. The cilantro can act as a ground cover between potatoes, and you’ll get coriander seeds as a bonus!

Tomato - companion plants for potatoes
19 companion plants for potatoes (and what not to plant nearby)

7. Tomatoes

Tomato plants and potato plants are very similar and make great companion plants for each other. They’re both members of the nightshade family and can even be grafted into one plant (usually called a “pomato”). Keeping potatoes and tomatoes in the same area of the garden means they’ll both benefit from a full sun location and that year-to-year crop rotation is simplified as you don’t have to account for two different soil areas that have recently hosted nightshades (and some of the common soil-borne diseases that affect them).

Beans - companion plants for potatoes
19 companion plants for potatoes (and what not to plant nearby)

8. Beans

Beans are a great companion plant for potato plants since they attract beneficial insects to the garden. Bush beans are usually easier to grow around potatoes as they stay compact in the garden space.

Celery - companion plants for potatoes
19 companion plants for potatoes (and what not to plant nearby)

9. Celery

Celery plants in the garden are surprisingly fragrant and can repel garden pests like cabbage butterflies. These plants are also rather maintenance-intensive, meaning you’ll be in that area of the garden frequently which makes it easy to do some quick potato hilling while you’re in the neighborhood.

Corn - mutually beneficial plant partner for potatoes
19 companion plants for potatoes (and what not to plant nearby)

10. Corn

Corn is another staple garden crop that grows well beside potatoes. It is thought to decrease the risk of common soil-borne plant diseases like verticillium wilt and fusarium wilt. These sturdy plants are also somewhat tolerant to soil disruption beside them. Corn is a bit odd in the companion planting world as it is generally planted beside potatoes but not near other nightshades like tomatoes (or near celery).

Marigold - companion plants for potatoes
19 companion plants for potatoes (and what not to plant nearby)

11. Marigold

Marigolds are excellent companion plants for potato plants since they help to keep nematodes at bay. Nematodes are tiny worm-like critters that attack the potato plant’s roots, often causing harm and potentially seriously harming the plant. Marigolds can also repel whiteflies from the garden while attracting beneficial insects like parasitic wasps and hoverflies.

Pepper - companion plants for potatoes
19 companion plants for potatoes (and what not to plant nearby)

12. Peppers

Since pepper plants are nightshades, they make great companions for potato plants because they enjoy similar conditions. They also attract larger pollinators and potentially birds who may hunt harmful garden insects.

Onion - companion plants for potatoes
19 companion plants for potatoes (and what not to plant nearby)

13. Onion

Onions and other members of the allium family repel aphids, cabbage worms, and slugs, making them excellent companion plants for potato plants. The strong scent of these plants remains through the heat of summer when pest pressure on potatoes can be particularly intense, making them excellent neighbors.

Buckwheat - companion plants for potatoes
19 companion plants for potatoes (and what not to plant nearby)

14. Buckwheat

Buckwheat is an excellent companion plant for potato plants since it serves as nutrient-rich compost. Buckwheat is a “cover crop,” which means its sole purpose is to cover the soil versus being harvested.

Before planting your potatoes, sow the buckwheat. You’ll want to do this 6-8 weeks before planting your potatoes. When your buckwheat plant starts sprouting flowers, cut the plant down to the soil line. If you allow it to sprout seeds, it has the potential to take over the entire garden. After sowing the buckwheat, cut it up, and leave it on top of the soil to provide nutrients for your future potato plant.

Cowpeas - companion plants for potatoes
19 companion plants for potatoes (and what not to plant nearby)

15. Cowpeas

Cowpeas are an excellent companion plant for potato plants because they help to keep pests like the Green Stink Bug at bay. Cowpeas are highly attractive to Green Stink Bugs, and they prefer them to potato plants. If you notice a few Green Stink Bugs on your potato plant, remove them and place them in a bowl of soapy water. 

Lettuce - companion plants for potatoes
19 companion plants for potatoes (and what not to plant nearby)

16. Lettuce

Lettuce is a small, relatively unobtrusive plant that’s easy to tuck around potato plants. Lettuce has shallow roots that won’t compete with the potato plants for space and nutrients (which is key for potato production). Lettuce is also very quick to grow, meaning it can be successively sown even while potato hills are being created nearby.

Nasturtium - companion plants for potatoes
19 companion plants for potatoes (and what not to plant nearby)

17. Nasturtium

Nasturtium prevents aphids from attacking your potato plant because Nasturtium is highly attractive to aphids. This “trap” plant is used to distract aphids away from potatoes and other target plants in the garden. The spicy, pepper-like scent may also deter harmful flying insects.

Radish - companion plants for potatoes
19 companion plants for potatoes (and what not to plant nearby)

18. Radishes

Because they attract flea beetles, radishes make excellent companion plants. Planting radishes near your potato plant, for example, can keep flea beetles from eating the potato plant’s leaves since they will eat the radish leaves instead.

Peas - companion plants for potatoes
19 companion plants for potatoes (and what not to plant nearby)

19. Peas

Peas are an excellent companion plant for potato plants since they enrich the soil with nitrogen before the potatoes are planted. Nitrogen is beneficial to potato plants and is a necessary macronutrient for leaf development.

Kale plants - brassicas in the garden
19 companion plants for potatoes (and what not to plant nearby)

Bad Companion Plants To Avoid Planting Near Potatoes

The worst companion plants for potato plants are Kale, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Collards, Fennel, and Kohlrabi. Kohlrabi, for example, can restrict the growth of potato plants.

Furthermore, plants such as brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, etc. (brassica family) are harmful to potato plants.

Mature fennel plants can also hinder the development of potato plants. Swallowtail Butterflies, which lay eggs on potato plants, are also attracted to fennel. As a result, when the eggs hatch, they transform into caterpillars that feed on nearby potato plants.

What can you not plant next to potatoes?

The best companion plants for potatoes include culinary herbs like chives, thyme, and basil, vegetables like onion, beans, celery, and corn, and flowers like nasturtium and marigold. Avoid planting potatoes nearby brassicas, carrots, and squash.

What grows well with potatoes?

Avoid planting potatoes nearby brassicas, carrots, and squash.

Resources

Wondering which variety of potatoes to plant? Here are some articles to help decide!

References

Companion planting, West Virginia University

More vegetable plants for your garden

Wondering what else would thrive in your garden? Check out these posts about vegetable gardens!

Mary Jane Duford
Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane Duford is a gardening expert and founder of Home for the Harvest. She's also an engineer and certified permaculture garden designer. Mary Jane has been featured by publications such as Real Simple, Mother Earth News, Homes & Gardens, Heirloom Gardener, and Family Handyman.