Carrot Companion Plants: 17 Plants to Grow With Carrots

Thinking of adding some companion plants with your carrots this season but aren't sure what to plant? Carrots can be successfully grown alongside a number of different plants, but some are better pairings than others. In this article, organic gardening expert Logan Hailey examines her favorite companion plants that you can grow with your carrots this season!

carrot companion plants

With their crisp crunch, high beta carotene, and sweet aftertaste, carrots are a garden classic. They are one of those crops that is always worth the garden space and effort. In fact, once you taste a sweet garden-fresh carrot, you’ll probably never want to eat the bland grocery store carrots again.

But there’s a reason so many people avoid growing carrots: they’re not quite as easy as radishes, spinach, or other garden veggies. They are finicky about germination and soil moisture. Plus, they’re subject to a variety of pests like root maggots, carrot flies, wireworms, and rodents.

Luckily, these umbel-family roots can be easily paired with flowers and other veggies to repel pests and improve their growth. You can even get more yields from a small space by tucking carrots into unused parts of the garden. With a few simple rules, companion planting with carrots is a breeze. Let’s dig our favorite carrot companion plants and how to plant them for the perfect symbiosis:

What Grows Well with Carrots?

Onions and carrots
Some of the best-known companion plants for carrots are onions, green onions, lettuce, tomatoes, and marigolds.

Carrots pair well with companion plants that have a strong fragrance (to repel pests and rodents) and complement them in regards to space and timing. Some of the most popular pairings include onions, scallions, lettuce, tomatoes, and marigolds.

The most important considerations when interplanting carrots are:

Plant Height

Carrots are low-growing root veggies that prefer full sunshine. They don’t do very well when grown too close to tall neighbors. Carrots grown in shade will have weaker greens and smaller roots.

Timing

Carrots can take from 70 to 90 days to mature to their full size. If you want to maximize the space and benefits of interplanting, pay attention to the lifespan of their companions. Will they take up the bed for most of the time as the other crop grows? Or will the companion be ready to harvest first?

Root Zone

Being a root crop, they need plenty of loose, deep soil to extend their long orange roots downward. If companion plants also have a deep tap root or a lot of underground root mass (like potatoes), this may interfere with their nutrient uptake and growth.

They will form funky shapes around rocks and other roots. If you want straight, large carrots, be sure that their root growth won’t be impeded by a companion.

Fertility Requirements

Carrots have low to moderate fertility requirements. They tend to do best in soils with plenty of potassium and phosphorus-rich compost. Excess nitrogen can lead to split roots, therefore it’s best to choose companions that suck up surrounding nitrogen or match their fertility needs.

Soil Needs

Of all your garden veggies, carrots love sandy, loose soils the most. This makes it easier for them to dig their long crisp roots into the soil. Interplanting with crops in heavy, poorly drained soils can lead to low yields.

Plant Family

In general, carrots are best kept away from other members of the parsley plant family (called Apiaceae or Umbelliferae) such as celery, parsnip, coriander, dill, and parsley. These cousins can attract the same pests and diseases. They can also readily cross-pollinate, which can be problematic if you plan to save your own seeds.

In summary, carrots prefer companion plants that won’t shade them out or compete with their root space, and grow in loose, well-drained soil with minimum nitrogen fertility.

17 Plants to Grow With Carrots

Germinating carrots can be the bane of any gardener’s existence. Getting the perfect depth, spacing, and soil moisture while trying to keep weeds out of the bed can be quite difficult for these slow-growing root crops.

Fortunately, while they may be finicky about their water and soil needs, they aren’t too picky about their friends. Here’s the best flowers, herbs, and vegetables to plant with carrots.

Flower and Herb Companions

First, we take a look at flower and herb companions. You’ll find many plants here that provide symbiotic companion plant benefits whether they are grown in ground, or grown in containers. Let’s take a deeper look!

Marigolds

marigolds grow next to carrot planting
Marigolds are able to repel many pests in your vegetable garden.

One of the most popular annual flowers in any garden, marigolds are the quintessential garden companion plant. They get along with just about every crop you can grow, have a strong pest repellent fragrance, and magnetize an abundance of beneficial insects.

Plus, their vibrant orange and yellow flowers add a burst of beauty to your green-topped carrot patch. The lovely smell of French Marigolds (Tagetes spp.) helps deter carrot rust fly and psyllid (a sap-sucking insect that damages young seedlings). These flowers are also known to improve the carotenoid and sugar contents of their roots.

Benefits

Repel pests and improve root quality.

How to Plant It

Because marigolds take 55 to 100 days to mature, they can be sown right around the same time or before your carrots are planted. They are great for surrounding the margin of a bed or planting at the end of rows. Keep carrots at least 8-12” from neighboring marigolds.

Oregano

Oregano
Oregano repels nematodes and rust flies due to its essential oil content.

Thanks to their strong essential oils like thymol and carvacrol, this spicy Italian herb can deter nematodes and rust flies from your garden. Anecdotal reports even assert that oregano improves the flavor of carrot roots as they grow. Better yet, they make a delicious combo in the kitchen. 

Benefits

Repel pests and enhance flavor.

How to Plant It

Oregano can be direct seeded in the garden at the same time, about 10-12” from the nearest root. They do great on the four corners of a raised bed with carrots planted in the middle.

Cilantro

Cilantro
Cilantro is the exception to growing with herbs from the parsley family.

Although it’s not typically recommended to grow carrots with other parsley-family cousins, cilantro is an exception to the rule. This cool-weather herb compliments cilantro in regards to seasonality, height, size, and days to maturity.

Its flowers are excellent for attracting predators of carrot whiteflies, rust flies, aphids, nematodes, and lygus bugs. As a result, cilantro acts like a natural biocontrol haven with natural pest prevention.

Benefits

Flowers attract beneficial predatory insects.

How to Plant It

Because most of cilantro’s benefits come after it blooms into what’s technically called “coriander”, you will actually want to encourage cilantro to bolt in your vegetable garden. This herb loves the same cool spring or fall weather as carrots, so it can be seeded or transplanted at the same time.

Borage

Borage
Borage is a well-known companion plant for many vegetable crops.

With its deep nutrient-scavenging roots and vibrant star-like flowers, borage is a workhorse of a companion plant. It is a bioaccumulator, which means it pulls up trace minerals and micronutrients to benefit your crop. It also deters pests and attracts beneficial insects.

Benefits

Improves plant nutrition, deters pests, and attracts beneficials.

How to Plant It

Borage plants can grow very large, so they are best kept on the margins or row ends of your carrot plantings. Avoid planting borage too close to delicate seedlings.

Daffodils

Daffodils
Daffodils perfectly repel rodents, squirrels, mice and even deer.

While daffodils may seem like an unusual companion for an annual vegetable, hear me out on this one: Daffodils are an old-time farmer’s secret weapon against rodents. These bulbous flowers are actually poisonous to squirrels, voles, mice, and even deer.

They hate the smell and bitter taste of the flower bulbs. If you are growing carrots in a greenhouse or raised bed, you can plant daffodils all around the outer area to help prevent rodents from digging in.

Benefits

Deter rodents.

How to Plant It

Never plant daffodils in your carrot beds, as they will quickly take hold and come back year after year. Instead, keep them on the margin like a protective barrier against rodents digging into beds and chomping on their roots.

Rosemary

Rosemary
Rosemary is best planted on the margins of your garden to repel pests.

This fragrant perennial herb is perfect to keep on the margins of your garden so it can work its magic without invading into carrots’ space or shading them out.

Benefits

Mask scent and deter pests.

How to Plant It

Avoid planting rosemary in annual beds with the carrots themselves. Instead, keep it on the border within a few feet of your garden beds.

Vegetable Companions

Now that we’ve examined flowers and herbs, let’s take a look at some of the best veggie companions. Whether you are growing your carrots in garden beds, in-ground, or growing them in containers, each of these veggies can make great garden companions.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes
Carrots attract parasitic wasps that help fight tomato worms.

There is a reason a whole book on companion planting is titled “Carrots Love Tomatoes”. This classic combo is a match made in heaven for several reasons:

  • Tomatoes tend to be grown in the center of a bed.
  • This works because carrots make use of margin areas.
  • Tomatoes produce a natural insecticide called solanine that repels pests.
  • Mature tomato plants provide shade on hot summer days.
  • Carrots attract parasitic wasps to help control tomato hornworms and caterpillars.
  • There is anecdotal evidence that tomatoes improve carrot flavor.

Benefits

Maximize space, repel pests, and provide subtle shade.

How to Plant It

Direct seed at the same time as you transplant young tomato plants. First, plant the tomatoes in the center of the bed, then seed in rows at least 10-12” from the tomatoes. Be sure that carrots have their own irrigation setup to ensure even germination and prevent tomatoes from robbing them of water.

Onion

Onion
Onions, with their pungent smell, repel pests.

Carrot flies tend to be the main pest of these coveted roots and onions have the lovely benefit of deterring these pesky flies from your veggie patch. The pungent sulfury smell of onions is to thank for its pest-repellent properties. It also has a shallow bulbous root that won’t interfere with plant growth.

Benefits

Repel pests and compatible root zone.

How to Plant It

Onions take 100 to 175 days to mature, so they will be in the ground longer than your carrots. Both can be planted at the same time or you can plant carrots a couple weeks after sowing onions. Either way, ensure that your onion row is at least 6” from their rows.

Scallions

Scallions
Scallions have a pungent odor that can repel pests.

Another Allium-family companion known for its pest-repellent properties, scallions are the perfect quick crop to grow while carrots are getting established.

At just 60 days to maturity (or less if started from “onion sets”), scallions are rapid growers with unassuming, non-competitive foliage and roots. Their strong smell can deter pests and give you a quick herby harvest from a small space.  

Benefits

Repel pests and maximize space.

How to Plant It

Interplant scallions alongside rows, leaving at least 6” between the plants. Scallions can also be used to “encircle” a carrot bed by planting them along the entire margin like a forcefield of protection.

Lettuce

Lettuce
Lettuce is an excellent companion plant for carrots as it does not compete with them in terms of nutrients or root arrangement.

A notoriously light feeder, lettuce is a lovely companion because it helps you get more “bang for your buck” from a small space. While lettuce may not provide any major benefits, it simply grows quickly and makes use of unused space.

These two comrades have complimentary growth patterns: lettuce is very shallow rooted and leafy on top, while carrots utilize deep underground space and have frilly tops.

Benefits

Maximize space and yields.

How to Plant It

You can plant lettuce as close as 3-6” from carrots. If you are growing head lettuce, carrots can even grow up between the grid-like pattern of the mature heads. Lettuce will be ready to harvest first, so be sure you don’t disturb your carrots during harvesting.

Leeks

Leeks
Leek has a pungent aroma that masks the smell of other vegetables, protecting them from pests.

Like onions and scallions, leeks mask the smell of other vegetables to make it harder for pests to find them. Their unique pungent aroma is specifically effective at repelling carrot flies.

Benefits

Repel carrot flies.

How to Plant It

Leeks are one of the longest-season crops around (up to 150 days), so you can potentially sow two successions of carrots in a leek bed. Begin by seeding at the same time that you transplant leeks. After pulling the first round of carrots out, you could sow another set for fall harvest.

Either way, be sure that rows are at least 8-12” from the base of leeks. The only complication comes when you need to mound up leeks (to blanch the white stalks). For best results, wait to hill up your leeks until the first round of carrots have been harvested (otherwise you may accidentally bury them).

Bush Beans

Bush Beans
Bush Beans Beans are quiet companion plants that do not compete with carrots and slowly release soil from nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

While carrots don’t like big flushes of nitrogen fertilizer (it can crack them), beans provide a subtle slow-release form of organic nutrients from nitrogen-fixing bacteria in their roots. They are also quiet neighbors that don’t pose any competition.

Benefits

Add nutrients and maximize yields.

How to Plant It

Seed bush beans 3-4” apart from each other at the same time as seeding carrots. Keep rows about 6” away from the row of beans, only on the south-facing side of the planting. While bush beans don’t grow incredibly tall, they could still shade out other plants if you aren’t careful.

Radish

Radish
The radish does not compete for nutrients due to their shallow roots.

Radishes are the easiest and quickest veggie you can grow. This means they pair well with nearly everybody in the garden. As a companion, they have complimentary root structure because they stay in the shallow top inches while carrots dig down deep. Radish tops are about the same size, so they pose no risk for competition or shading.

Benefits

Maximize yields in a small space.

How to Plant It

Seed radishes 4-6” right next to carrots. You can sow 2 to 3 successions of radishes within the time span of one planting. Just be careful not to disturb the roots when you weed or harvest the radishes (I like to use my thumb and forefinger to hold the base of a carrot plant in place while pulling up anything nearby).

Beets

Beets
Beets contribute to loosening the soil, which has a positive effect on the carrots’ growth.

Carrots and beets taste great in stews and roasts together, and they also work well in the garden! Beets loosen up the soil with their large bulbs and taproots. I especially love the elongated golden or daikon varieties that dig deeper than standard round reds.

Benefits

Maximize yields and loosen soil.

How to Plant It

Plant beets in the same cool weather season as carrots. Remember that beets grow quite large greens, so keep them at least 8-10” from your rows.

Spinach

Leafy Spinach in garden bed
Spinach is an excellent neighbor, as it does not compete with its roots and stays low to the ground.

A lowkey green that enjoys cool-weather, spinach does quite well when planted with carrots. It stays low to the ground and doesn’t have deep roots that can interfere with other plants.

Benefits

Maximize yields and biodiversity.

How to Plant It

Sow baby spinach 4-6” away from rows of carrots. You can cut the spinach and come again a few times, or even plant several successions of baby spinach in the same bed.

Turnips

Turnips
Turnips have similar growth needs, including cool climates and moisture.

Like beets and radishes, turnips are an easy complementary pair to carrots. They love the same cool seasons and consistent moisture. I prefer ‘Hakurei’ or Japanese sweet white turnips for their superior fresh eating.

Their shallow round roots are the opposite of carrots’ long, deep ones. Their greens also have a slightly spicy mustard-like smell that could help repel pests.

Benefits

Maximize yields and biodiversity.

How to Plant It

Sow Japanese turnips at the same time, approximately 4-6” from rows and harvest turnips when roots are just a few inches in diameter. Other turnips may grow too large to reliably pair this close to carrots.

Cabbage

Garden grown cabbage
Cabbage adds variety to your carrot beds and distracts pests from their smell.

The the perfect low-growing brassica, cabbage makes a great companion to plant with carrots. Although it doesn’t attract or repel anything in particular, it adds diversity to a bed and distracts potential pests from the smell of carrots. They also taste great in soups together!

Benefits

Maximize yields and biodiversity.

How to Plant It

Due to their wide open floret leaves, cabbage plants can grow up to 18” in diameter, so it’s best to give carrots plenty of space around their perimeter so they don’t get shaded out. Sow at least 12” from baby cabbage plants at the time of planting.

Avoid Planting These With Carrots

Fennel
Fennel will compete for nutrients in the soil.

Carrots are fairly easy-going in the garden, but they don’t get along with everybody. Avoid planting carrots with these crops: 

  • Fennel: Due to certain chemicals it releases in the soil, it’s not a good companion.
  • Dill: Dill can actually produce compounds that stunt carrot growth.
  • Parsnips: Parsnips are from the same family and may attract the same pests.
  • Cucurbits: These plants will likely overtake carrots if planted closely.

Final Thoughts

If you’re craving the sweet, refreshing crunch of an ultra-flavorful garden carrot, don’t forget to plan your carrot plantings in advance. These delightful roots love the cool spring and fall seasons and take 70 to 90 days to mature. This leaves ample time for pairing with other cool-weather loving crops like cilantro, leeks, onions, beets, and spinach.

But if you’re craving summer carrots, tomatoes also make a great companion thanks to their dappled shade canopy. Just remember to give carrots a bit of distance from their companions and ensure the full bed has plenty of water. Carrots hate moisture stress, shade or root zone competition.

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