Bell Pepper Companion Plants: 33 Plants to Grow With Bell Peppers

Thinking of planting bell peppers with some other garden plants this season, but aren't quite sure what to plant with them? In this article, gardening expert and former organic farmer Logan Hailey examines the best companions for bell peppers in your garden, as well as what not to plant with them!

bell pepper companion plants

Whether you prefer them crisp and fresh with a hummus dip, or sauteed and seasoned in tacos, bell peppers are one of the most coveted garden vegetables. They pair well with other crops both in the kitchen and the garden. However, these sweet peppers are notably expensive in stores and at farmer’s markets, so why not grow them yourself?

Bell peppers tend to be more challenging than other crops. They need a long growing season (up to 90 days!) and have finicky pollination requirements. Plus, getting them to ripen while simultaneously combatting pest and disease issues can be a struggle.

Luckily, you can use strategic interplanting with herbs, flowers, and other veggies to enhance the growth and yields of your bell pepper plants while reducing the risk of problems. Let’s dig into our favorite companion plants for bell peppers, as well as a few crops to keep at a distance.

Bell Pepper Companion Planting Benefits

bell pepper and tomatoes grows in the garden
Companion planting has benefits in pest control, improved pollination, fertilization, and disease prevention.

Companion planting is an age-old technique for strategically pairing multiple species of plants together in the same growing space. These plants form a symbiotic relationship above and below-ground by providing mutual benefits to each other.

The potential benefits of companion planting include:

Pest Control

The most popular reason for companion planting is to attract beneficial predatory insects that can eat the pests attacking your crop. This creates a more natural ecosystem in your garden so you don’t have to rely on pesticides or sprays to control bugs. These plants provide a habitat for the predatory “good” bugs to hang out when they’re not munching on pepper pests. In scientific terms, this is called “conservation biocontrol” because it is a built-in biological control rather than an external chemical control.

Pest Repellant

Whether above or below ground, certain companions have strong aromas and plant compounds that repel pests from your pepper plants. This helps prevent outbreaks in the first place and adds another layer of damage prevention.

Improved Pollination

Without bees, bell pepper flowers aren’t able to set fruit. Although the plants are technically self-fertile (you don’t need two plants to cross-pollinate), they still need the help of pollinators. Companion flowers and herbs lure in bees to get the job done.

Free Fertilizer

Legumes like beans and peas are the most well-known fertility companions because of their ability to “fix” nitrogen and make it available to your crop. However, there are several other companion plants that can act as “bioaccumulators” by using their deep root systems to bring important mineral nutrients to the upper soil layers for peppers to utilize

Disease Prevention

Select companion species to deter pathogens (disease-causing organisms) with certain compounds that they release in their roots or leaves. Diseases can cause problems, like black spots in your pepper plants. This means reduced reliance on fungicides and less risk of diseases taking hold of your pepper crop.

Improved Vigor

Just like humans, some friends simply make us better. Companion plants can make most other plants grow faster and stronger.

Sun Protection

Bell peppers are heat resistant and love the sun. But afternoon sun can be harmful if there’s too much. When there isn’t enough leaf cover and the sunshine is extra harsh, sun scald can reduce yields and quality of the fruit. A companion crop could provide slight shade to help prevent this issue.

Optimized Space

If you’re gardening in a small space, you want to get the most out of every square foot. Interplanting allows you to maximize your garden space over time so that you can harvest a greater diversity of crops from the same amount of soil.

When selecting the best companions, you want to consider the types of issues that you may deal with in your pepper patch. Selecting one or more companion species and properly planting it alongside your peppers can help reduce the risk of significant damage to the crop.

Our Favorite Companions

The two most important considerations for companion planting are: the spacing and timing of each crop. Improper planning or competition for resources could result in a companion plant accidentally harming rather than helping your peppers. Here are our top species and advice on how to create a complimentary relationship in the garden.

Herbal Companions

Culinary and medicinal herbs tend to be just as great for the garden ecosystem as they are for our bodies. Most of the plants on this list are readily available in just about every garden center or nursery and are manageable in the garden.

Basil

Aromatic Herb Growing in a Sunny Garden
Basil can make a great companion for many reasons.

Thanks to their similar growth habits and temperature preferences, basil and bell peppers are like a match made in heaven. Basil (Ocimum basilicum) loves hot weather and sunshine just as much as peppers. It grows in a stout bushy habit that won’t shade out or invade your pepper plants as long as it is kept at a 12” distance.

In terms of pest repellant benefits, basil is a fragrant powerhouse. It repels aphids, whiteflies, and hornworms by releasing aromatic compounds. When it flowers, basil attracts an abundance of pollinators and beneficial predators straight to your pepper patch.

Intercropping with this bee-attracting herb has been scientifically proven to enhance pollination and yield of bell pepper crops. Just keep in mind that you will have to let some of your basil bolt, or flower, in order to experience this benefit.

Benefits

Repel pests, boost pollination and improve yields.

How to Plant It

Direct seed or transplant basil about a week after your peppers go in the ground. Leave about 10-12” from the neighboring crop. I typically intersperse the plants within the row or just plant a long row of basil alongside the peppers (because can you really have too much pesto?) You can choose Italian basil, Thai basil, or holy Tulsi basil for similar effects.

Just be sure to let some of the plants flower (the flowers are edible too!) Basil naturally wants to bolt in hot weather, but pinching the tips during harvest will halt flowering. I prefer to let every other plant go to flower while I keep the neighboring basils in a leafy, bushy state for herb harvests.

Scallions

Green Onion Plants Growing in a Garden of Rich Soil
Scallions are able to repel pests such as five-spotted hawks.

Also known as green onions, scallions are a staple garnish that is quick and easy to grow in the garden. As pepper companions, they use their allium-family powers (namely, sulfurous compounds) to repel harmful pests like the five-spotted hawk moths which can lay tomato hornworm larvae on all the tomato-family crops.

Scallions are quick to mature and can be tucked in virtually anywhere in your pepper patch. They don’t pose a risk of competing with your plants for nutrients and they don’t mind a little bit of shade alongside pepper bushes.

Benefits

Repel pests.

How to Plant It

Start scallions in seed trays in clumps of 3-5 seeds or direct sow in the garden a week or two after you transplant your peppers. Alternatively, you can use onion set starts to get a super quick green onion harvest. Leave 4-6” of space between scallions and neighboring baby plants. You’ll have them harvested by the time the peppers start to get big.

Cilantro/Coriander

Coriander Leaves in Dappled Sunlight
Cilantro is a useful companion plant for peppers as it can help attract pollinators.

This essential salsa ingredient happens to have some great benefits in the garden. Although cilantro leaves have a pest-repelling aroma on their own, this herb actually becomes the most compatible with peppers once it bolts and flowers.

The white umbel blossoms are magnets for pollinators and beneficial insects like hoverflies, ladybugs, and parasitic wasps. This means that cilantro can help improve your yields while simultaneously keeping pest populations in check. 

Benefits

Repel pests, attracts predator insects, and boosts pollination.

How to Plant It

Seed cilantro liberally around the your baby pepper plants, leaving 6-12” of space. It also does great in the partial shade between a row of tomatoes and a row of peppers.

Parsley

Flat-leafed Hern Growing in a Garden
The smell of parsley leaves repels pests.

Commonly known as an Italian herb, parsley comes in both curly and flat-leaf types. The smell of the leaves is equally as pest-repelling as cilantro, but one again, the real benefits come from the flowers.

Parsley blossoms attract predatory insects such as wasps and hoverflies. These insects feast on any aphids, thrips, and other harmful bugs that may have set up camp in pepper plants.

Benefits

Repel pests and attracts predator insects.

How to Plant It

Parsley averages about 9-12” tall and doesn’t mind some shade from taller pepper plants. Keep it at least 12” away from neighboring crops by interspersing it into pepper rows or creating an herbal protective perimeter around a raised bed.

Oregano

Culinary Herb Growing in a Garden as Ground Cover
This herb is a ground cover plant that repels pests from peppers.

Oregano is a spicy, fragrant herb that confuses pests and deters them away from peppers. It grows low to the ground and is deer-resistant, making it a perfect groundcover and bordering ornamental for your garden.

When allowed to bloom, the pastel pink and white oregano flowers are an important nectar source for predatory insects like lacewings (whose larvae can eat a whopping 1,000 aphids per day!) With oregano surrounding your peppers, hopefully you’ll never need to worry about an aphid outbreak.

Benefits

Repel pests and attract lacewings.

How to Plant It

Seed or transplant oregano around the margins of your peppers. Leave 8 to 10” between the crops to allow for the oregano to spread. You can prune it back as often as needed to keep it lower to the ground.

Dill

Yellow Flowers Blooming From Herbaceous Plant
Dill has a strong aroma that repels many pests from camping out.

You need it for pickled cucumbers, but it also puts on a great show as a pepper companion. This carrot-family herb has a zesty aroma to repel pests of all kinds. Young dill plants can improve the vigor and growth of almost any crop they’re planted next to.

But once those babies grow up and bolt into the sky, their big umbel flowers really get the beneficial party started. They lure in beneficial predator insects and pollinators from near-and-far.

Benefits

Improve vigor, repel pests, attract beneficial insects, and improve pollination.

How to Plant It

Dill is an unassuming herb that isn’t finicky about space or water. With its lacey foliage and slender stems, it shouldn’t pose any competition risk for your peppers. Tuck it anywhere in your pepper planting with at least 6” to spare. Let it flower into its full glory and leave the blossoms to set seed so you can use them in pickling recipes.

Marjoram

Close Up of Herbaceous Leaves
Marjoram is an excellent companion plant, attracting beneficial insects and pollinators.

Commonly used as a spice in Italian seasoning blends, marjoram is an underrated herbal companion plant. It has a strong piney or citrus aroma that deters flies, thrips, and aphids.

It isn’t as spicy as oregano, but it flowers just as profusely to draw in those important pollinators and beneficial predatory insects. Butterflies and bees especially love marjoram’s tiny pink and purple flowers, which potentially means more pollination for your peppers.

Benefits

Deter pests and attract beneficial predators as well as pollinators.

How to Plant It

Marjoram typically reaches its maximum height around 12 to 24”, but it can spread up to 18” wide, therefore it’s important it has plenty of space from your pepper plants. I like to seed marjoram in the corners of raised beds or in bordering perennial herb beds. You can establish it in the spring before your pepper planting (ideal for a longer flowering window) or at the same time as peppers go in the ground.

Chamomile

Blanket of White Flowers With Yellow Centers
The smell of chamomile can attract many beneficial insects.

Chamomile is known for its relaxing, soothing effect on the human body. It is commonly used in teas and specialty oils. These flowers emit a floral frangrance that makes it such a popular plant.

In the garden, its resinous blossoms and leaves rich in essential oils are sure to attract an abundance of beneficial insects. Hoverflies, predatory wasps, and bees love chamomile and will quickly take to aiding nearby pepper plants.

Benefits

Attract beneficial insects and pollinators.

How to Plant It

Direct seed chamomile in the garden around the same time as you plant peppers. It can grow relatively tall and unwieldy, so I prefer to keep it on row ends, raised bed corners, or border herbal beds.

Rosemary

Flavorful Herb Growing in a Garden
Due to its strong aroma, rosemary prevents pests from reaching other plants.

This Mediterranean native thrives in hot, dry climates with poor, well-drained soils. The fragrance is distinctive, used widely in culinary and medicinal applications. Not only will rosemary work well in the garden with bell peppers, they can also be used in a dish together.

With its fragrant aroma, rosemary can make it more difficult for pests to find your pepper plants. Rosemary is grown as a perennial in hardiness zones 7 and higher.

Benefits

Masks peppers’ scent and repels pests.

How to Plant It

Never plant rosemary (or any perennial herb) directly in your annual vegetable beds. It can grow fairly tall and bushy, in turn shading out your crops. Instead, reap the benefits of this companion by growing it in ornamental border beds within a few feet of your pepper patch.

Floral Companions

Flowers perform far more functions than mere beauty! These comrades can drastically improve the ecological balance of your garden while boosting pollination rates, yields, and natural resilience against pests.

Sweet Alyssum

Delicate White Flowers Growing on a Sunny Day
These incredibly fragrant flowers attract pollinators and beneficial insects to your garden.

The quintessential companion plant, I keep sweet alyssum planted in every garden bed with every crop. It is truly a workhorse in the garden that gets along with most other garden veggies. As a low-growing, gentle shrub, sweet alyssums’ abundance of nectar-rich blooms are addicting to pollinators and beneficial insects.

This flower is scientifically-proven to prevent aphid infestations by attracting voracious pest-eaters like ladybugs, parasitic wasps, lacewings, and hoverflies. At the same time, alyssum’s stout mound-like growth can help suppress weeds beneath your pepper plants.

Benefits

Attract pollinators, create habitat for beneficial insects, and suppress weeds.

How to Plant It

Seed or transplant this easy-to-grow flower anywhere in the garden. I often put it every couple of feet along a pepper row. It is not aggressive or invasive, so you can scatter seeds liberally as a protective barrier around veggie beds.

Phacelia 

Purple Flowers Blooming in Sunshine
Phacelia, although not very popular among companion plants, is able to attract more bees than any other flower. 

If you struggle with pepper pollination, you don’t need to resort to hand-pollinating! Instead, just plant pollinator-magnetizing comrades to do the work for you. Though there are many flowers that attract pollinators, some are simply superior.

Phacelia is a lesser-known companion plant and cover crop that attracts more bees than any flower you’ve witnessed. Its fern-like lacey foliage and curled purple blossoms are super beautiful and irresistable to beneficial insects.

Benefits

Improve pepper pollination and yield.

How to Plant It

Phacelia can grow up to 3 feet tall, so it is best sown in its own patch nearby peppers. You can do this at the same time as you plant peppers, ensuring at least 24” of space between the crop and flower. Phacelia takes 45 to 60 days to start flowering, but will bloom all summer long until cold weather hits. When it dies at the first frost, phacelia creates a lovely fluffy straw-like mulch for suppressing weeds the following season.

Borage

Blue Starflowers Growing in a Garden
Borage is one of the most popular companion plants for almost every vegetable in your garden.

With its blue star-like flowers and deep taproot, borage is a perfect companion. It is known as a bioaccumulator, which means it pulls minerals and micronutrients from deep in the soil up to the surface levels for bell peppers to use.

Its broad leaves shade out weedy competition while its blooms attract beneficial predators and deter pests. Borage will have to be planted each year as it grows as an annual.

Benefits

Improve mineral nutrient, repel pests, and attract beneficials.

How to Plant It

Borage can grow very large and self-seed, therefore it needs to have space to create its own little “colony”. Plant borage in the corners or row ends of pepper beds. It also does great in herbal borders. Be sure peppers have at least 24-36” of space from this flower.

Marigolds

Orange Flowers Blossoming in a Flower Bed
These cheery flowers are able to increase fruit yield and reduce the number of pests.

Marigolds (Tagetes spp.) are the most data-backed companion plants in the garden. As a well-researched companion for tomatoes and potatoes, marigolds seem to drastically benefit the entire Solanaceae family with improved yields and reduced pest pressure.

They have a strong pest-deterring fragrance to keep whiteflies, aphids, and other bugs at bay. They also release compounds from their root zone that supress nasty root knot nematodes. Marigold teas have even been researched for its antifungal use in suppressing leaf blight of bell peppers.

Also known as the key flower of Dia De Los Muertes celebrations, marigolds are vibrantly beautiful. They come in an array of colors and sizes, but the French Marigolds seem to be best for companion planting because they are shorter and more compact.

Benefits

Deter pests, suppress nematodes, attract beneficials, and use as a natural antifungal spray.

How to Plant It

Plant marigolds every few feet throughout your pepper patch at the same time as you transplant pepper seedlings. Provide 12-18” of space between the crops. Opt for the compact French version if you are low on space. If you prefer the larger Mexican marigolds, keep them on the margins of pepper beds to prevent shading or competiton.

Calendula

Cheery Yellow Flowers Growing in a Garden to Repel Insects
Calendula has a strong scent that can repel unwanted insects in your garden.

Though it is sometimes confused as “pot marigold”, Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is a different plant entirely. Known for its use as a healing topical herb, calendula’s vibrant resin-rich flowers have a pest-repelling aroma and an affinity for attracting beneficial insects like predatory wasps and bees.

It can be very useful for keeping tomato hornworms, nematodes, thrips, and beetles off your peppers. This is also an edible flower that looks beautiful as a summer garnish or water infusion.

Benefits

Repel pests and attract beneficial insects.

How to Plant It

You can sow calendula’s “C-shaped” seeds liberally throughout the garden in the spring. I prefer to interplant them at every row end and bed corner around my pepper plants for extra pest protection. As the flowers expire, you can crumble more seeds into the ground for a continuous self-sowing floral show.

Sunflowers

Close Up of Bright Yellow Flower on a Sunny Day
Sunflowers are an excellent biocompanion for peppers that are able to attract beneficial insect predators and bees.

Good old-fashioned sunflowers may seem like a surprising friend for sun-loving peppers. However, these tall-growing blooms are remarkably beneficial biocontrol agents for bell peppers.

They provide tons of pollen and nectar to predator insects to manage pests. At the same time, they draw in all the bees you’ll need for pepper pollination. Strategically-placed sunflowers can even help prevent sun-scaled of your peppers in the harsh heat of summer.

Benefits

Feed predatory insects, attract pollinators, and protect from sun scald.

How to Plant It

Choose dwarf sunflowers or plant full-size sunflowers 3-4 feet away from peppers (on the north facing side). They can be seeded in the late spring when the weather has thoroughly settled, right around the time you transplant peppers.

Cosmos

Colorful Wildflowers Growing in a Meadow
These magnificent colorful flowers will not only delight you with their beauty but also attract pollinators.

An American native wildflower, cosmos are one of the easiest flowers you can grow. They bloom abundantly throughout the season, bringing bees and predatory insects straight to your pepper patch.

Green lacewings (known as the “aphid lions) are particularly obsessed with orange-flowered cosmos. This flower can also significantly increase pepper pollination (which means greater quantity and size of fruits).

Benefits

Attract beneficial insects and pollinators.

How to Plant It

These wildflowers can grow up to 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Keep them out of your pepper beds, instead seeding in clump plantings nearby.

Yarrow

Pink Flowers Growing as Companion Plant
Yarrow has a honey aroma that attracts predatory insects.

Another native wildflower, yarrow has a sweet honey-like smell, white umbel blossoms, and fern-like foliage. It is a ladybug’s best friend and is scientifically-proven to be one of the best biocontrol companion plants.

Yarrow’s aroma and nectar are absolutely irresistable to beneficial braconid wasps (don’t worry, they won’t sting people), ground beetles, damsel flies, and syrphid flies. All of these predators help keep aphids, caterpillars, and other pests in check.

Benefits

Attract beneficial insects and pollinators.

How to Plant It

While there are many varieties of colorful ornamental yarrow available, I’ve found that the classic white wild-type seems to work best for companion planting. Keep in mind that yarrow can grow into a large bush and actually thrives in poor soils. Seed it on the row ends or in border beds a few feet away so that predators can hop between yarrow flowers and your pepper plants.

Petunias

Pink and White Flowers Blooming in a Sunny Garden
Petunias are an underrated companion plant that can repel aphids and hornworms.

This unlikely companion plant is usually grown as an ornamental. These annuals come in a vast range of colors that bloom in trumpet-shaped flowers all throughout the summer. They are loved by gardeners and are one of the top flowers you will find in gardens.

On top of adding a bust of color to the garden, petunias deter pests like aphids and hornworms incredibly well. For this reason, they work excellently as a companion plant in warm climates.

Benefits

Repel pests.

How to Plant It

Purchase any color of petunias from a nursery and transplant in the spring in ornamental garden beds, hanging baskets, or planters near your peppers.

Nasturtiums

Bright Orange Flowers Growing in a Container
These flowers can repel pests and also serve as an edible garnish.

These morning-glory family flowers put on a rainbow display that suppresses aphid populations while luring in ladybugs, hoverflies, and wasps. The blooms are slightly spicy, making them a deterrent for pests but flavorful as an edible garnish.

Nasturtiums also grow in full sun so they will thrive in a garden with bell peppers. They are commonly grown as trap crops in the garden, with the added appeal of their cheery colors. They also attract pollinators and other beneficial bugs.

Benefits

Act as a trap crop and attract beneficial insects.

How to Plant It

Nasturtiums are eager, vigorous vines that can get up to 10 feet tall. Instead of planting them directly alongside peppers, give them a trellis or fence closer to the margin of the garden. If the nasturtiums begin luring pests away from your peppers like a “trap crop”, pull out the infested plants and dispose of them.

Wildflower Blend

Colorful Flowers Growing Wildly in a Field
Wildflower Blend will create a natural habitat for beneficial insects.

If you want the most hands-off companion planting possible, opt for a wildflower mix native to your region. You can simply broadcast (toss) these seeds into a bare part of the garden and give them a bit of water to take off.

Mixes can include a few or dozens of species particularly adapted to your area. They will provide nectar and habitat for beneficial predators and pollinators that will boost the ecological resilience of your pepper plantings.

Benefits

Attract predatory insects and pollinators to improve pepper yields.

How to Plant It

Broadcast wildflower mixes a couple yards away from pepper beds, keeping them confined to margin areas that won’t enroach on vegetable growing space.

Vegetable Companions

Combining different varieties and species of veggies in the same space increases biodiversity while maximizing the use of your garden beds. If you have a small-space or container garden, you’ll definitely want to try interplanting with your bell peppers to get the most “bang for your buck.” Most of these veggie crops have similar growth requirements or a complimentary growth habit.

Hot Peppers

Spicy Chilis Growing in a Vegetable Garden
Bell peppers and hot peppers need the same growing conditions.

Hot peppers are in the same nightshade family. This means that they require the same fertility, sunlight, and soil. However, hot peppers tend to take longer to grow than bells.

There are several different varieties of hot peppers. The one you choose to plant with bell peppers depends on the spice level of the pepper you prefer. More than one type can also be planted for variety.

Benefits

Maximize yields and diversity.

How to Plant It

Plant hot peppers alongside or interspersed with bell peppers at the recommended spacing for the variety (typically 12-18”). They can be seeded indoors and transplanted in the garden around the same time.

Carrots

Colorful Root Vegetables Freshly Harvested
Carrots are great companions as they are root vegetables and don’t compete for nutrients.

While bell peppers are shallow-rooted and bushy, carrots have slender deep roots and lowkey foliage. They take around the same amount of time as peppers to mature (90 days or so), therefore you can pull out your carrots right around the time peppers start producing mature fruits.

Carrots can require a little more skill to grow, but they are usually worth it. Home-grown carrots are better-tasting than store-bought carrots. These tasty root vegetables can be tucked into unused areas of the garden, especially near bell peppers, where they have space to grow.

Benefits

Loosen soil, maximize space, and distract pests.

How to Plant It

Direct seed carrots when you plant peppers. Give them about 6” from the base of pepper plants and provide ample irrigation.

Lettuce

Heads of Leafy Vegetables Growing in a Garden
No matter what kind you pant, lettuce grows well in the shade of other plants.

Lettuce is a quick-growing, light-feeding crop that won’t compete for nutrients. They grow low to the ground in heads of flavorful leaves. Because they thrive in the dappled shade, they do well planted under pepper bushes in the heat of summer.

Although lettuce does not provide many benefits, they make a great addition to a vegetable garden to maximize space. It also pairs well with bell peppers in a salad!

Benefits

Utilize shade, maximize space, and improve biodiversity.

How to Plant It

Seed or transplant lettuce 1-2 weeks after planting peppers. Lettuce can be grown in a row directly alongside peppers, leaving 6-10” of space for heading varieties.

Beans

Legume Plants Growing in a Sunny Garden
Beans are able to saturate the soil with nitrogen, which is critical for plant growth.

Like all Fabaceae (legume-family) crops, beans make nitrogen available to hungry pepper plants. The symbiotic relationship between beans and nitrogen-fixing Rhizobacterium happens in the root zone.

Whether you choose green beans or shelling beans, they will bring nitrogen up to your pepper roots for bigger, more vigorous plants. They also do not compete for other nutrients in the soil.

Benefits

Free nitrogen fertilizer.

How to Plant It

Beans can be sown at the time of pepper planting. Proivde 4-6” of space between each bean plant and at 8-12” from neighboring pepper plants.

Peas

PeaPods Growing on Vines on a Sunny Day
Peas also provide atmospheric nitrogen for their companions.

Just like beans, peas make atmospheric nitrogen available to nearby plants. Bell peppers need nitrogen to grow, so peas make an excellent companion plant for this necessary nitrogen in the soil.

Along with providing nutrients to the soil, peas also require similar growing conditions. They both thrive in full sun for 8+ hours a day. Both vegetables should be planted in well-draining soil as well.

Benefits

Free nitrogen fertilizer.

How to Plant It

Seed summer peas in a row on the northern side of peppers with at least 12” of space between them. This will allow you to properly trellis the peas without risking shading out your pepper pllants.

Beets

Tops of Red Root Vegetable Plants Peeping Up From the Soil
Beets help to loosen the soil for other plants.

With their bulbous roots and edible greens, beets loosen the soil for peppers while adding additional yields to a small growing space. These underrated root crops can mature in as little as 50 days, meaning they’ll be ready to harvest just as slow-growing pepper plants begin to take off.

There are several varieties of beets that can be grown alongside bell peppers. Round reds and elongated golden varieties will provide different results as far as loosening the soil, but the job will get done.

Benefits

Add biodiversity, loosen soil, and maximize space.

How to Plant It

Seed beets 6” or so from the base of neighboring pepper plants.

Radishes

Radishes
The radish has peppery leaves that repel pests.

Radishes are known as the easiest beginner gardener crop. They are perfect for impatient growers that want to get an early harvest from their pepper beds while they wait for the bell peppers themselves.

The peppery Brassica leaves of radishes also deter pepper pests. They also are small in size so they can fill in gaps in the garden. These veggies make a great companion plant for any garden.

Benefits

Deter pests and maximize space.

How to Plant It

With just 30 days to maturity, you can seed up to 3 successions of radishes during a bell pepper’s growth cycle. Sow them 6-8” from the base of radish plants and provide even irrigation for both crops.

Baby Greens

Young Leaves of Vegetables in a Garden
Quite often, baby greens are used in spring and summer salads.

Baby greens mixes are a spring and summer delicacy. They grow super quickly and offer a diverse range of textures, flavors, and colors. They all go well together in a salad, and in the garden.

Sometimes I simply mix together leftover lettuce, kale, spinach, and mustard seeds, then sprinkle them in rows or clumps in pepper beds. This will make use of unutilized soil that would otherwise be bare while waiting for peppers to grow to their full size.

Benefits

Maximize space and biodiversity.

How to Plant It

Like radishes, you can enjoy several rounds of baby greens during the lifecylce of a pepper plant. Seed them 6-12” from pepper plants in a row or clump. When they are about 6” tall, begin harvesting by grasping a handful in your palm and cutting at the base. Leave a couple inches of stem at the bottom to encourage re-growth for a second harvest 1-2 weeks later.

Chard

Green Leafy Vegetable With Red Veins
These easygoing greens are sown to bring biodiversity to your vegetable garden.

Whether rainbow or Swiss, chard is an easygoing green that is related to beets. There are multiple varieties, all of which are easy to grow and prefer sunny gardens. They provide wonderful flavor in the kitchen and some benefits in the garden.

Chard can be sown in the same way as beets for extra biodiversity, color, and maximum use of space. It is a low-growing vegetable that can grow in partial shade, under the bushes of bell pepper plants.

Benefits

Maximize space and biodiversity.

How to Plant It

Seed or transplant chard 12” from pepper plants. Harvest outer leaves regularly by snapping at the base of the stem and come back for repeated harvests throughout summer and fall.

Garlic

Gardener Holding Freshly Harvested Garlic
Pungent garlic is an excellent companion as the smell can repel pests.

Garlic is probably the most popular allium on the planet for a reason! It can be used in just about every cuisine of cooking. Its delicious aroma makes your mouth water just by thinking of it. However, there are many that do not like this smell.

Aside from being popular in the kitchen, garlic adds some mega benefits as a companion plant in the garden. This pungent sulfur-rich allium repels pests and makes use of underutilized growing space.

Benefits

Repel pests and maximizes space.

How to Plant It

Garlic operates on the opposite time scale as peppers— it is planted in the fall and harvested in the summer. This means you can get your garlic seed in the ground while nearby peppers are finishing off their last round of fruiting before the cold sets in. Just be careful that you don’t disturb newly planted garlic once you remove spent pepper plants from the garden. I prefer using loppers to just cut them off at the base and leave the roots intact to feed the soil ecosystem below.

Onions

Tops of Allium Plants Peeping up Form the Soil
Onions do not compete with bell peppers and repel aphids, thrips, and whiteflies.

Another allium-family favorite, onions have a strong smell to keep whiteflies, aphids, thrips, and beetles away from your pepper plants. These lowkey crops don’t pose any competition risk for your peppers and have a complimentary growth pattern that loosens the soil for more accessible pepper root establishment. 

Onions come in many different colors, sizes, and smells. If you are planting onions simply to repel pests, opt for yellow onions. They have the highest level of sulphur, which is what bugs hate.

Benefits

Repel pests, loosen soil, and maximize space.

How to Plant It

Seed or plant onion sets at the same time as peppers. Plant them in a row 6-10” from the nearby pepper seedlings and provide consistent irrigation for both crops.

Tomatoes

Red and Green Fruit Growing on a Staked Vine
Tomatoes and bell peppers prefer to grow in the same conditions.

Although they are from the same family (which means they technically attract the same pests), tomatoes are a great companion for peppers because they enjoy the same conditions. You can grow peppers in the partial shade of trellised tomatoes to help prevent sun scald on the fruits.

Tomatoes are one of the most popular companion plants in vegetable gardens. They produce solanine, which is a natural insecticide. Bell peppers tend to grow shorter than tall tomato vines, so they cool the soil for these tasty fruits. As an added bonus, the flowers that bloom from tomato plants attract pollinators.

Benefits

Maximize space, yields, and provide partial shade.

How to Plant It

Maintain at least 24” of space between peppers and tomatoes. If you are planting peppers near a trellis, keep them on the southern side. Read more about how to strategically companion plant tomatoes and peppers in this article.

Eggplant

Deep Purple Vegetable Growing On a Plant in a Vegetable Garden
Eggplants make great garden neighbors as they prefer lots of light and leave behind rich soil.

Lastly, a good old-fashioned eggplant can make a nice friend for peppers. These crops are about the same size and from the same family. They both leave the heat, rich soil, lots of sunshine, and continuous water.

Intersperse them for added diversity on your plate and in the garden. Since eggplant is a low-growing plant, it can be added to unused space between other vegetable plants. It also helps that eggplant is a garden staple for its nutrition, ease, and versatility.

Benefits

Maximize space and diversity.

How to Plant It

Eggplants mature in about 70-80 days, while bell peppers take closer to 90. They can be sown and transplanted at the same time, keeping 12-18” of space between every plant. I like to alternate them throughout the row and surround with a diversity of beneficial herbs or flowers listed above.

What You Shouldn’t Plant

Sweet Red Fruit Growing on a Vine With Sunshine
Strawberries are not the best companion in the garden as they can reduce the growth of pepper plants.

While many plants aid in pepper growth, some can significantly harm your bell pepper crop. Keep these plants in separate parts of the garden from your bell peppers:

  • Fennel: Fennel is known to have allelopathic properties that suppress growth.
  • Strawberries: This perennial fruit can reduce the vigor of pepper plants.
  • Brassicas: Brassicas and peppers are both notoriously heavy-feeding crops.
  • Potatoes: They are from the same family, and can attract similar pests.
  • Corn: Corn tends to overshadow sun-loving peppers and reduce their yields.
  • Squash: Summer and winter squash can grow aggressively and take over.

Final Thoughts

Given their versatility and high price tag, bell peppers are an extremely rewarding and economical crop to grow in the garden. The challenges of pests, diseases, fertility, and sun scald can be significantly reduced with companion planting. Plus, companion plants add a major boost to pepper yields by luring in more pollinators to hop between their flowers.

Just be sure that your peppers retain plenty of space and water to fuel their own growth. When in doubt, keep companion plants at a farther distance than you think.

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