Peppers are one of my absolute favorite vegetables to grow. Last spring, we grew our peppers in a raised bed and did a ton of trial and error to see which companion plants benefited our pepper plants the most. Here’s what we found.

Reminder: This article goes for all kinds of peppers such as bell peppers and spicy peppers!

  1. Carrots
  2. Alliums
  3. Nasturtium
  4. Basil
  5. Radishes
  6. Cilantro
  7. White Clover
  8. Spinach
  9. Marigold
  10. Dill

Companion Planting Pro Tips (Before You Start)

Layers of companion plants in a food forest graphic by couch to homestead

Companion planting is selecting specific plants to place together for benefits such as increasing pollination or controlling pests. Sometimes these benefits are one-sided, while others are mutual.

A famous example is The Three Sisters—planting corn, beans, and squash together. The corn provides a trellis for the beans to climb, the squash provides a ground cover, and the beans fix nitrogen in the soil. Plus, all of them provide food!

Here’s how to get the most from companion planting:

  1. Find your USDA hardiness zone
  2. Select plants that do well in your zone
  3. Choose the plants that fit each niche or layer in the graphic above (canopy, understory, herb layer, etc.)
  4. Plant support species first to establish a microclimate and build the soil. For example, before planting fruit trees, grow nitrogen-fixing trees, shrubs, and flowers. Plant one nitrogen fixer for each productive plant (such as fruit trees or berry bushes).

Now, let’s take a look at the best companion plants, their benefits, and other tips to place them in your garden.

1. Carrots

Carrots growing

Carrots are biennial root vegetables, but are commonly grown as annuals, and grow in zones 3-10. They are known as pepper companion plants as they break up compact soils and repel some pests such as flies.

Keep in mind that carrots need rich, loose, and well-draining soil. It’s fairly common for carrot growers to accidentally get baby carrots because the ground is too hard or compact for the root to grow (this happened to us).

However, the ground will loosen naturally over time as the roots of plants penetrate it. Roots are also great at slowing and holding groundwater.

Pro-tip: You can cut the carrot tops off and replant them. They’ll quickly regrow new carrot roots!

Along with alliums, plant carrots with tomatoes, lettuce, and legumes. Avoid planting carrots near radish, parsnip, and dill.

2. Alliums

onion plant

Garlic, onions, and chives are all part of the same family (Allium) and, no surprise—they’re more potent-smelling than most plants. The scent from these plants commonly repels pests such as aphids, mites, and maggots, as well as rabbits and deer from plants (source).

This is likely due to their naturally occurring sulfur, which is great at repelling pests and reducing plant diseases.

If fungal or bacterial diseases do take hold on your plant, garlic cloves can also be mixed into organic sprays along with neem oil and applied as a treatment.

Alliums have many other companion plants, but avoid planting them with legumes and other alliums.

Garlic, chives, and onion plants also have shallow roots that typically don’t exceed 12-18″, making them a good companion to grow next to your pepper plants.

These three plants all do well in both full sun and partial sun. But, if you’re in a warmer climate, consider planting them on the east side of your fruit tree—so the tree shades it from the hot, west sun.

For more pest-repelling companion plants, visit my other post: 7 Companion Plants That Repel Pests

3. Nasturtium

wild nasturtium growing near our fruit trees
Wild nasturtium growing near our fruit trees

When we first saw nasturtium growing near our garden, we thought they were a weed and we removed most of them. Today, we know better and welcome their many benefits.

Nasturtiums are a favorite for pollinators such as hummingbirds (they love the long, super sweet flowers), but they make a great living ground cover, reducing evaporation and protecting the soil from the elements and erosion.

Another benefit of nasturtium is it attracts pests such as aphids and cabbage worms away from other plants.

Plant nasturtiums along with fruit trees (and other fruiting plants), legumes, tomatoes, asparagus, and brassicas (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale).

For bonus pest controlcompanion plant nasturtium with dill, calendula, and cosmos.

Avoid planting nasturtiums with squash and other vining plants such as grapes since they get tangled and compete.

This flower’s short roots also mean that it’s not difficult to remove if you decide to part ways with it. As a bonus, their roots won’t compete with the pepper plants’ roots.

So, if you’d like a ground cover that attracts many pollinators (especially hummingbirds), plant nasturtium as your pepper plants companion!

4. Basil

basil growing

Basil helps to repel harmful pests such as thrips, mosquitoes, and flies due to its strong scent. The presence of basil can reduce the likelihood of pest infestations around pepper plants, providing a natural form of pest control.

Basil is also believed to improve the overall health and flavor of pepper plants when grown nearby. Some gardeners note that basil may enhance the growth and yield of peppers, making it a beneficial addition to the garden.

Both basil and peppers thrive in full sun and well-drained soil, allowing them to coexist without competing for resources. Planting basil around pepper plants also contributes to a more diverse and attractive garden setup.

It’s important to make sure that basil is not planted too closely around pepper plants to maintain good air circulation and prevent potential fungal diseases. Regular harvesting and pruning of basil can help manage its growth and benefit the health of both the basil and the peppers.

5. Radishes

Radishes are quick-growing vegetables companions for pepper plants. Radishes can help deter various pests, such as flea beetles and aphids, that might otherwise target pepper plants. The radishes act as a trap crop, luring these pests away from the peppers due to their rapid germination and growth.

Growing radishes alongside peppers can also help break up the soil with their deep roots, improving soil aeration and drainage. This can benefit pepper plants, which thrive in well-drained soil conditions. The improved soil structure allows for better root growth and nutrient uptake in pepper plants.

Radishes and peppers share similar growing conditions—they both appreciate full sun and well-drained soil. This compatibility allows them to be grown together without significant competition for resources.

6. Cilantro


Cilantro is highly effective companion plant of pepper plants due to its ability to repel various pests that might harm pepper crops. Cilantro emits a strong aroma that deters aphids, potato beetles, and spider mites, providing natural pest control that reduces the need for chemical pesticides.

Cilantro also attracts beneficial insects such as ladybugs and hover-flies, which are natural predators of harmful pests. This increased presence of beneficial insects helps to maintain a balanced ecosystem in your garden, further protecting pepper plants from pest infestations.

Cilantro and peppers are compatible in the garden as they both thrive in full sun and well-drained soil. Planting cilantro near peppers can improve the overall health of the pepper plants without competing for essential nutrients or space.

7. White Clover

white clover

White clover is a a great pepper plant companion, primarily due to its ability to fix nitrogen in the soil. As a nitrogen-fixing plant, white clover absorbs nitrogen from the air and converts it into a form that is usable by neighboring plants. This natural enrichment of the soil with nitrogen supports the growth of pepper plants, which require a good amount of nitrogen for healthy development.

In addition to improving soil fertility, white clover acts as a living mulch. It covers the ground with a dense mat of foliage that retains soil moisture and suppresses weeds. This ground cover helps maintain an even soil temperature and keeps the roots of pepper plants cool and moist, conditions that are ideal for their growth.

White clover also attracts beneficial insects such as bees and predatory wasps, which are vital for pollination and controlling pest populations. The presence of these insects can enhance the overall health and productivity of the garden.

8. Spinach

young spinach plants with lots of wood chip mulch

Spinach makes an amazing companion for pepper plants due to its ability to thrive under similar growing conditions while offering multiple benefits. Growing spinach alongside peppers can enhance soil health and help maintain an optimal growing environment.

Spinach is a quick-growing crop that helps suppress weeds by covering the soil quickly, reducing the need for frequent weeding. This natural weed suppression helps keep the garden tidy and reduces competition for nutrients and water, benefiting the nearby pepper plants.

Additionally, spinach has a shallow root system, which allows it to coexist with peppers without competing aggressively for soil nutrients. This compatibility is beneficial as both plants can thrive without hindering each other’s growth.

The presence of spinach also helps to keep the soil moist by shading the ground with its leaves. This shade helps reduce soil moisture evaporation, ensuring that both the spinach and the peppers have access to the water they need to grow.

9. Marigold

marigold flowers

Marigolds are well-known in the gardening world for their ability to repel a variety of pests that can harm pepper plants. These vibrant flowers emit a strong fragrance that is effective in deterring nematodes, aphids, and other insects that might target pepper crops. This natural pest-repelling quality reduces the need for chemical pesticides, making marigolds an environmentally friendly choice for organic gardening.

Marigolds also attract beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and bees, which help control pest populations and pollinate other plants in the garden. This increases the biodiversity of the garden, enhancing both plant health and productivity.

In addition to their pest control properties, marigolds are easy to grow and can adapt to various soil conditions, though they prefer well-drained soil and full sun—conditions that peppers also thrive in. This makes them compatible as companion plants, as they do not compete heavily with peppers for nutrients.

10. Dill

dill flowers

Dill also has a great ability to attract beneficial insects. This herb is particularly good at drawing in ladybugs, lacewings, and beneficial wasps, which are predators of many pests that harm pepper plants, such as aphids and spider mites. By enhancing the population of these beneficial insects, dill helps naturally control pest levels, reducing the need for chemical interventions.

Dill has a deep taproot that can help loosen compacted soil, improving soil structure and aeration. This benefit can enhance water and nutrient uptake for neighboring pepper plants, which share a preference for well-drained soil.

Dill also acts as a trap crop for certain pests. For example, it can attract tomato hornworms away from pepper plants, providing a form of natural pest management. However, it’s important to monitor and manage the dill planting to avoid attracting pests that could become a problem if left unchecked.

Similar Posts