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I live in Austin, Texas, and peach trees are unusually popular here. After seeing them everywhere, I started thinking about getting one and wondered what plants would be good to have near it in the garden. So, I did some research. Here’s what I found to be the best companion plants for peach trees.
The best companion plants for peach trees include comfrey, dandelions, lavender, and rosemary. Ideally, companion plants attract pollinators, build healthy soil, repel pests, and are visually appealing. Depending on their shade tolerance, some companion plants can be planted under the tree itself.
So, while these are a few great options for companion plants, what are some others, and what exactly do they do to help peach trees? Let’s take a further look.
Comfrey’s leaves are extremely rich in nitrogen, which makes them great for mulching. It’s also a trap for slugs and other insects, which prefer to dwell within its cool leafy depths instead of other plants in your garden. Comfrey even attracts pollinators with its blue-purple flowers. This makes comfrey a multipurpose companion plant for peach trees.
True comfrey is an important plant in herbalism and traditional medicine, which often uses dried or ground-up portions of its root to treat stomach aches and toothaches.
But another variety called Russian comfrey is useful in the garden, too. Its long taproot breaks up soil and brings nutrients up from the lower soil.
Comfrey is a sturdy perennial and is hard to remove once it is established, so plan its placement carefully!
Nasturtiums are edible, beautiful, fast-growing, and are great companions for peach trees because they also attract aphids away from the tree.
Additionally, the flowers on nasturtiums attract pollinators, which increases the chance these pollinators will also pay a visit to your peach tree’s flowers while they’re in full bloom.
Nasturtiums come in a wide range of colors, and their sand-dollar-shaped leaves are attention-grabbing. They also have no problem growing in poor soil, as long as it’s well-draining.
You can interplant nasturtiums with any plant on this list for added color and interest next to your peach tree.
Chamomile is a great companion plant because it’s easy to grow, fixes nitrogen in the soil, attracts beneficial insects, and grows well in partial shade.
There are two main types of chamomile: German (Maricaria recutita) and Roman (Anthemis nobilis). Both are beneficial to have as companion plants.
First, chamomile helps fix the nitrogen in the soil by bringing up nutrients from deeper in the soil. Their flowers attract beneficial insects such as hoverflies, ladybugs, beneficial wasps, and honey bees.
If you weren’t aware, many of these helpful bugs are predatory to pests. For example, ladybugs are a natural predator of aphids and will help keep their populations down.
You can plant chamomile underneath or near the peach tree. For best results, plant on the north or west side of the tree to allow for partial shade during the hot afternoon sun.
Chamomile also grows well with mint and basil (two other great companions for peach trees).
4. Lavender and Rosemary
These two aromatic plants are both amazing companions for almost any plant, especially peach trees.
Lavender and rosemary are hardy perennials and have a high resin content, which means that their leaves and flowers are usually too tough and oily to be of interest to pests like deer, rabbits, or squirrels. Additionally, their fragrant purple flowers are highly appealing to beneficial insects like bees.
Rosemary usually blooms early, around the same time as peach trees. This blooming timing can greatly benefit the peach tree’s pollination.
Lavender is also known for repelling ticks and fleas due to its strong oils, and may even drive away mice too.
Both of these plants like hot, dry conditions, which makes them great choices for gardens that experience intense summer heat or in Mediterranean climates such as California and Spain.
Like just about everyone else, I once thought dandelion was a weed. But what is a weed other than a grass that you don’t want?
Dandelion’s yellow flowers are extremely valuable as early forage for pollinators, and its leaves are almost as rich in nitrogen as comfrey.
And like comfrey, dandelions have a long, sturdy taproot that brings up nutrients like nitrogen from deep in the soil to the upper layers where they are more available to other plants, including your peach tree.
Dandelions also naturally protect your soil from erosion and extreme temperatures, and generally—are a highly effective mulch.
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Wildflowers are an amazing companion plant for peach trees, mainly because they attract a variety of beneficial insects, such as pollinators. Common pollinators for peach trees include bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
The wildflower’s variety of colors is visually appealing to pollinators and provides a good mix of nectar they can use as energy.
So, which flowers are classified as wildflowers?
Wildflowers are defined as any flower that has not been genetically manipulated.
- Bee Balm
- Queen Anne’s Lace
- Purple Coneflower
- Meadow Cranesbill
- Black-Eyed Susan
An increase in pollination for peach trees means more fruiting, bigger fruits, and fewer fruit drops.
You can plant a single wildflower variety or interplant a mix to have a wide range of colorful flowers in your garden.
Marigolds are a well-known companion plant for fruit and vegetable gardens (especially for potatoes), but they’re an excellent companion plant for peach trees as well as they help manage the soil-borne populations of nematodes.
These nematodes often afflict home gardens and have no available chemical pesticide. Luckily, marigolds, are natural repellents towards nematodes because they produce a substance called alpha-terthienyl, which is deadly for the nematodes.
Planting several marigolds under or near your peach tree will reduce the nematode population and keep them from making knots in the roots of the tree.
They’ve also been used as a cover crop in India for many hundreds of years in areas where nematode populations are high.
Just make sure that you plant a true marigold from the genus Tagetes, not Calendula, which sometimes goes by the same common name. The LSU College of Agriculture recommends the ‘Tangerine’ variety.
Basil is a great option for a peach tree companion and it can be grown in just about any climate (even indoors!). It also grows well with chamomile and mint.
If you let your basil plant flower, it’ll attract many pollinators—which also visit your other flowering plants.
Basil is also known for repelling thrips, mosquitoes, and fruit flies.
However, basil can have some issues and attract some pests that will eat the basil leaves.
My mom recently had this issue with her basil plants in Ventura, California (pictured above). After losing quite a few basil plants to bugs and worms, she found that Bonide’s organic bug spray worked well for her. If you’re also having issues with pests eating your basil plant, check out Bonide’s Organic Bug Spray on Amazon.
Sage is known as a useful companion plant for its attractiveness to pollinators as well as pest repelling properties. It helps repel snails, beetles (such as black flea), and cabbage moths. Many of these pests are also known to eat a large variety of garden plants, especially potatoes.
However, flowering sage is notably helpful in attracting large numbers of pollinators. For this reason, keep flowering sage plants around your peach tree (ideally within 25 feet and no more than 50 feet away).
Not only is sage a great companion plant for peach trees, but also for brassicas such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts, as well as carrots and strawberries. Other herbs that grow well with sage are thyme, rosemary, and oregano.
Avoid planting sage near rue, cucumbers, or onions.
10. Garlic, Onions, and Chives
Garlic, onions, and chives have natural anti-fungal properties. Since peach trees are vulnerable to fungal infections, planting chives nearby will help support a fungus-free environment.
They’re also great at repelling certain pests such as aphids, mites, maggots, as well as rabbits and deer. They’re so effective at this that some deterrents are even made from these plants.
Additionally, their roots are relatively shallow, growing to a depth of 12-18″. This makes them good companion plants since they won’t interfere or compete with the peach tree’s shallow roots.
Chives also bloom in spring and summer with beautiful purple flowers. They’re easy to care for, and have a ton of uses in the kitchen!
What Not To Plant Near Peach Trees
Avoid planting nightshade plants or those with deeper roots near peach trees. Nightshade, such as tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers, have been known to introduce disease to peach trees. Additionally, plants with deeper roots like potatoes can damage and compete with the peach tree’s shallow roots.
Another plant to avoid planting near peach trees are raspberries due to their vigorous growth. They can not only compete with the peach tree’s nutrients but also hinder the tree’s root growth. This is because 90% of the peach tree’s roots grow in the first 2 feet of the ground.
For this reason, it’s best to plant other trees, including fruiting varieties at least 25 feet away from the peach tree.
Overall, there are more friendly companion plants than not, so as long as you avoid the above plants your peach tree should grow and fruit well.
Where Do You Plant Peach Tree Companion Plants?
For companion plants that need more sun, such as marigolds, daisies, and rosemary, consider planting them outside of the tree’s canopy. Others such as clover, sweet alyssum, and chives like partial sun and can be planted underneath the peach tree.
As mentioned above, companion plants can be planted just about anywhere, as long as they don’t damage the tree’s shallow roots and are within 50 feet of the tree to maximize pollination results.
Do You Need To Plant 2 Peach Trees?
The majority of peach trees are self-pollinating and don’t need a second tree for cross-pollination. However, cross-pollination can boost the amount of fruit, the size of fruit, and lead to fewer fruit drops. For best results, plant multiple peach trees or companion plants no more than 50 feet away from each other.
Most peach and tart cherry varieties are self-fertile and can be expected to bear fruit with pollen from the same tree or another tree of the same variety.The University of Maine, Cooperative Extension
If you can grow two or more peach trees, you shouldn’t have an issue with pollination or fruiting (assuming other needs such as water, sun, and nutrients are met). However, if you’re growing a single tree, such as a potted peach tree, you can still pollinate its flowers by hand.
To pollinate by hand, use a clean toothbrush, paintbrush, or q-tip, and lightly brush from flower to flower in the springtime. By transferring pollen from one flower to another, you’ll increase the chance those flowers will become fertilized and develop into fruit.
More Flowering Companion Plants for Peach Trees
In addition to the flowering plants mentioned above, you can plant some of these flowers to draw pollinators to your peach trees and help promote a good harvest: