32 Companion Plants To Grow With Potatoes

Are you looking for the perfect companion plant for your potatoes this year? There are plenty of different plants you can grow with potatoes, and a few that you should avoid. In this article, organic gardening expert Logan Hailey examines her favorite potato companions, and the plants you should also avoid!

potato companions

Potatoes are a staple crop around the world that can be especially rewarding in your garden. Growing these beginner-friendly tubers allows you to test out unique pink, purple, or buttery smooth varieties while enjoying the higher nutrient content of homegrown spuds.

However, potato roots are not immune to issues: bugs, weeds, pathogens, and soil issues can wreak havoc on your spuds. Whether you’re trying to beat those pesky Colorado potato beetles or maximize your yields from a small space garden, companion planting can drastically improve your potato crop.

These strategic pairings improve crop growth and yields. They also make your garden more resilient in the face of common garden challenges like pests, weeds, and diseases. Let’s dig into our favorite potato companion plants as well as the plants that are better kept at a distance.

About Companion Planting

Vegetable Garden With Spray Hose Watering Plants
Co-planting mimics a natural ecosystem that combines several types of crops in one space.

Sometimes called intercropping, companion planting is a time-tested technique used by ecological gardeners and farmers for centuries. It aims to mimic natural ecosystems by integrating multiple species of vegetables, herbs, and flowers in one space.

Drawing on ancient symbiotic plant interactions, this method of organic gardening is all about planting mutually-beneficial combinations of plants in the same beds. The result? A more beautiful, vibrant garden with healthier crops and less reliance on fertilizer, pesticides, or weed control.

Instead of the common single-species “monoculture” of mainstream farms, this creates a biodiverse “polyculture” with an abundance of plants working together in your backyard.

Potato Companion Planting Benefits

Companion plants can bring a wide range of benefits to your potato patch. Some of these benefits include added fertility and pest reduction. Let’s look at each benefit in additional detail.

Added Fertility

Nitrogen-fixing legumes and mineral-mining companion plants can add a major boost to your spuds. They basically provide free fertilizer.

Pest Repellant

The strong aromas of certain flowers and herbs help keep pesky insects and rodents away from potatoes. At the same time, they can draw in bees and butterflies to help nearby fruit and vegetable crops.

Pest Control

Certain companion plants attract predatory insects that feast on the pests you hate. From parasitic wasps to lacewings to hoverflies, these beneficial insects feast on the nectar of companions and then dart over to your potatoes to knock out any pest threats you may be dealing with. This form of conservation biocontrol is like an ecological checks and balances system.

Biodiversity

More diversity is linked to greater resilience in the face of climate, pest, and weather challenges.

Maximizing Small Space

Gardeners without much room are always looking for ways to get higher yields from a small area. Companion plants are the secret to making the best use of your garden area by cleverly playing with crop timing, trellising, spacing, and interplanting.

Ground Cover

Some of the best companions also dual-function as a ground cover. They grow low to the soil and help conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and provide habitat for beneficial insects. Predatory beneficial beetles happen to be one of the greatest tools for controlling Colorado potato beetles, and they happen to love hiding out in ground cover crops.

Top Companions For Potatoes

Finding the perfect companion for your potatoes is a bit like a compatibility test. You want to make sure that both plants can grow in the same conditions without competing too much for water or nutrients.

It is also important to consider their growth habits and timing: Will one shade out the other? Will the roots of the companion interfere with potato tuber development? Do they mature in roughly the same period of time or will one need to be planted first?

With all of this taken into account, here are our favorite potato companions and how to plant them for maximum success: 

Flower Companions

While potatoes don’t need pollination, they certainly benefit from the abundance of predatory insects that flowers attract. Certain blooms are irresistible to beneficial insects like parasitic wasps, predatory stink bugs, and ladybugs.

Yarrow

White Umbrella Blossoms Growing From Tall Stems
The beautiful, small flowers of yarrow collect in an umbrella and attract beneficial insects.

Yarrow is a beautiful native wildflower with big umbrella blossoms that magnetize all sorts of hungry beneficial insects. At the same time, the essential oils of the flowers repel pests.

The deep roots of yarrow plants help break up and loosen the soil to help potatoes to grow larger, more uniform tubers. The yarrow taproot also accumulates minerals from lower soil profiles to make nutrients more available to nearby potatoes.

Benefits

Attract beneficial predatory insects, adds nutrients, and loosens soil.

How to Plant it

Any variety of yarrow can be used, however I prefer the classic white native wildflower. Seed yarrow liberally along the margins or row ends of potato beds.

Plants can also be scattered between potatoes as long as you keep them somewhat pruned (you can harvest the beautiful yarrow stems for bouquets and herbal teas). Keep yarrow at least 12” from its neighboring spuds.

Marigolds

Bright Yellow and Orange Flower Blooming in a Garden
One of the most popular companion plants in your garden is marigolds, which repel pests with their scent.

Also known as Tagetes spp., marigolds are one of the most important companion plants in the vegetable garden. They aid nearly every crop with their pest-repelling fragrance and the compounds released from the roots to suppress root knot nematodes.

This means fewer pests feeding on your potato foliage and a reduced risk of blemishes and damage to your potato tubers. Marigolds also add vibrant colors that will thrive alongside potatoes in the heat of the summer.

Benefits

Repel pests, deter nematodes, and attract beneficial insects.

How to Plant it

Plant marigolds every few feet in your potato patch at the same time as you bury your seed potatoes. Leave 12-18” of space to ensure the marigolds don’t get overgrown by potatoes.

While Mexican marigolds are phenomenally abundant and beautiful, French marigolds are the more compact version that is typically preferred for companion planting. If you choose the Mexican variety, keep them on the margins or row ends so they don’t shade out the crop.

Nasturtiums

Cheery Orange Flowers With Water Droplets
This wonderful ground cover flower is a well-known aphid suppressor in the vegetable garden.

These playful rainbow flowers are members of the morning glory family known to aid in suppressing aphid populations. This is accomplished through a chemical they express in the air that repels insects, which protects themselves as well as other plants in the garden.

They also attract an abundance of hoverflies, ladybugs, and parasitic wasps that help keep hungry bugs off your potato foliage. The spicy aroma also repels pests or lures them away from the crop. Nasturtiums are also one of the most popular flower companions in vegetable gardens.

Benefits

Attract beneficial predators and act as a trap crop.

How to Plant it

These vigorous flowers vine up to 10 feet tall and can spread out very far. Keep them confined to a nearby fence or perimeter that isn’t directly in your potato bed.

If nasturtiums begin to inadvertently attract potato beetles or other pests, you can use it more as  “trap” crop that gets destroyed as soon as it has completed its job of luring bugs away from your potatoes.

Sweet Alyssum

Tiny Purple Flowers Blooming on a Central Stem
Sweet alyssum is an indispensable garden companion that attracts predatory insects and pollinators.

An all-around workhorse in the garden, sweet alyssum is a lovely low-growing flower that perfectly compliments potatoes. The little white nectar-rich blossoms are addicting to predatory insects and pollinators.

This flower is scientifically proven to prevent aphid infestations and act as a groundcover around your potato plants. With its shrubby, mound-like growth, alyssum will suppress weeds while simultaneously housing a habitat for beneficial predatory beetles that keep Colorado potato beetles in check.

Benefits

Repel pests, attract beneficial predators, and weed-suppressing groundcover.

How to Plant it

Alyssum is remarkably easy to grow from seed or transplant. Plant about 12” away from neighboring potato plants, or scatter seeds as a protective barrier around a potato bed.

Because alyssum is not very aggressive in its spread, I typically say “the more the merrier!” Sow it freely around your garden for better biocontrol and a beautiful weed-battling groundcover.

Borage

Bright Blue Flowers Hang in Bloom on Long Stems
This plant is able to extract nutrients from the soil that are useful for your potatoes.

If you want to improve mineral nutrient access for your potatoes, loosen the soil, and attract pest-eating insects all at once, borage is the companion for you! Its deep taproot is very complimentary to potato tubers because it “mines” nutrients from deep in the soil and breaks up compaction layers.

With its star-shaped vibrant blue flowers, borage is an aesthetically pleasing complement to flowering potatoes. (Did you know that once potatoes begin to flower above ground it is typically a sign that the tubers are nearing maturity below-ground?)

Benefits

Attract beneficial predatory insects, loosen compaction, and accumulate nutrients.

How to Plant it

You can seed or transplant borage at the same time as potatoes. Plant alongside your crop with at least 18” between the plants. Each borage plant can grow quite large (up to 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide), so be sure they are kept at the corners or edges of your potato patch.

Petunias

Colorful Flower Petals Bursting in a Garden
One of the underestimated companion plants is petunia, which can help get rid of hornworms and aphids.

Petunias are an underrated companion with lots of pest-deterring benefits for potatoes. They can help keep aphids, hornworms (yes, tomato hornworms can also go for potatoes!), and potato bugs away. Plus, they’re gorgeous border plants that add a burst of ornamental color to the garden.

These annual flowers come in an array of colors and patterns that bloom all summer long. They do best in full sun and in well-draining soil. Petunias are incredibly easy to grow and care for, making them a very popular option in flower beds as well as vegetable gardens as a companion plant.

Benefits

Repel pests and attract predatory insects.

How to Plant it

Petunias are widely available as transplants from nurseries. Plant them in hanging baskets, border beds, or planter boxes nearby your potato patch.

Tansy

Vibrant Yellow Flowers Growing Atop Tall Stems
This herb, considered a weed, can actually reduce the number of potato beetles and Japanese beetles in your garden.

Though it’s commonly considered a weed, tansy is an herb that really helps cut down on pest pressure from potato beetles and Japanese beetles. It is also beneficial for cultivating a pollinator-friendly ecosystem in your garden and has even been used as an anti-parasitic herb in humans and animals.

Tansy is especially useful for those tough soil areas of the garden where nothing else seems to thrive. Just be sure it isn’t invasive in your area. 

Benefits

Repel pests.

How to Plant it

You can choose blue or yellow tansy and plant in a planter box or on borders of your garden. Don’t plant directly in raised beds or potato rows.

Herb Companions

Many of the herbs that taste so delicious in potato recipes are also incredible symbiotic plants for the garden. Most of them work as pest repellants, though some attract the right insects to fight off bugs that can cause harm.

Cilantro/Coriander

Flat Leafed Herb Growing in a Garden
Coriander has a strong aroma that can attract beneficial insects and repel pests.

When you eat its leaves, it’s called cilantro. But when it goes to flower and then seeds, it’s called coriander. Either way, this crop is beneficial in all its forms thanks to its strong aroma and umbel flowers that beneficial insects love.

Cilantro keeps aphids, spider mites, and beetles of all kinds away from potatoes as well as tomatoes and their cousins. Simultaneously, the beautiful flowers bring in the predators to keep pest populations in check.

Benefits

Repel pests and attract predatory insects.

How to Plant it

Seed cilantro in the early spring in a thin row or bulk sowing in the bed where you plan to plant potatoes. Cilantro is more cold hardy than potatoes, but spuds tend to go in the ground 3-4 weeks before the last frost. As long as the two planting periods overlap, your sure to experience some benefits of interplanting with cilantro.

Catmint

Purple Flowers Blooming From Aromatic Herb
Catmint produces purple small flowers and has a minty scent that repels aphids and Japanese beetles.

This aromatic herb has gorgeous violet-blue flowers and a strong minty flavor without the aggressive growth of standard mint. The plants grow very quickly and create nice low-growing mounds that are great for interplanting.

Catmint is known to deter aphids, Japanese beetles, and many other pests. It tolerates drought, heat, and even partial shade, so you don’t have to worry about sacrificing your best garden spots to reap the benefits of this herb.

Benefits

Repel pests.

How to Plant it

Seed or transplant catmint in the spring, ensuring at least 12-18” of space from neighboring potato plants. While it can be grown as an annual, catmint is best kept in perennial beds for enjoyment year after year.

Basil

Bolting Aromatic Herb in a Sunny Garden
Fragrant and flavorful basil grows to the height of potatoes and does not compete.

Basil thrives in the same moderate moisture, full sun, and well-drained soil as potatoes. It can grow to about the same height as a potato plant and doesn’t pose any threats or competition.

The spicy delicious aroma of basil repels many common pests including hornworms and flies. Though gardeners commonly do not want it to flower or bolt (this causes the herb to go bitter), the flowers do attract lots of beneficial predators when in bloom.

Benefits

Repel pests and attract beneficial predators.

How to Plant it

Basil loves warm weather just as much as potatoes. Seed or transplant around the same time. As long as you leave at least 12” of space from its neighbors, you can scatter basil plants throughout a potato crop or keep them on the perimeter. Don’t forget to enjoy some delicious roasted basil mashed potatoes while you’re at it!

Chamomile

Close up of Small Flowers With White Tiny Petals and Large Yellow Centers
Chamomile attracts beneficial insects and improves the essential oil content of other herbs.

When grown alongside other plants, chamomile is known to improve the essential oil content of other herbs and potentially help with potato vigor. It attracts beneficial hoverflies and predatory wasps.

Chamomile is often grown as an herb in the garden. It’s popular as a tea, and has other uses outside of the garden.

Benefits

Attracts beneficial insects.

How to Plant it

Chamomile is very easy to start from seed, so it’s best direct sown or started indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost. Transplant into the garden right after the last frost date in herbal border beds or on the ends of potato rows.

Parsley

Gardener Picking Flat-Leafed Herb From a Garden
Parsely is able to repel potato beetles and prevent the emergence of weeds.

Parsely goes just as well with potatoes in the garden as it does in the kitchen. This classic Italian aromatic herb is great at repelling harmful potato beetles. Its low-growing habit is nice for holding in soil moisture and preventing weeds.

When it goes to flower, the blossoms also attract predatory hoverflies to keep aphid populations in check. Parsely does a good job of encouraging the growth of other plants, including potatoes.

Benefits

Repel pests, attract beneficials, and act as a groundcover.

How to Plant it

Choose from curly “moss” parsley or the standard flat leaf Italian type. Parsley grows 9-12” tall and can tolerate a bit of shade from potatoes. Plant it about 12” away from neighboring spuds or make an herbal perimeter of parsley around your raised beds.

Thyme

Aromatic Herb With Small Purple Flowers
Thyme is a ground cover plant that suppresses weeds and repels pests with its aroma.

This classic herb is yummy in roasts and really helpful when planted near potato mounds. Thyme is known to improve the flavor of spuds. Thanks to the strong essential oil called thymol, it also repels harmful pests.

When it flowers, it attracts Syrphidae hoverflies that can keep sap-sucking insects in check. The low-growing habit allows thyme to spread and create a beneficial ground cover that can suppress weeds, conserve moisture, and maintain a more stable soil temperature.

Benefits

Repel pests and groundcover.

How to Plant it

I prefer creeping thyme for its exceptionally lowkey growth habit that won’t overcrowd potato plants. Seed or transplant about 6-12” from potatoes, preferably on the drier southern part of mounds. It also makes a great pathway plant between rows.

Lovage

Herb With Flat Leaves and Large Roots Growing in a Garden
The strong roots of a lovage plant that loosens the soil and also attracts predatory insects that repel pests from your garden.

Lovage is an underrated herb that is known to improve the health and vigor of nearly any plant it is grown next to. It has a nice strong taproot that can help loosen soil for easier tuber development in your potato crop.

The yellow dill-like flowers are great for magnetizing hungry predatory insects that will keep pests off nearby crop leaves.

It can also be a “trap crop” for tomato hornworms, which will be easier to spot on its celery-like foliage (just don’t forget to scout and kill hornworms at least once a week during the summer months!)

Benefits

Attract beneficial insects, loosen soil, and act as a trap crop.

How to Plant it

Lovage can be sown in early spring when the danger of frost has passed. It prefers to grow in clumps and needs at least 10-12” of space from neighboring spuds.

Oregano

Close up of Herb Used in Cuisine and Medicine
Thanks to its strong aroma, oregano repels pests from your potatoes.

Spicy and fragrant, oregano has a strong scent great for confusing potato pests and keeping them away. It is deer resistant and makes a great groundcover. When it flowers, the blossoms of oregano are an important nectar source for beneficial predators like lacewings.

This herb has antiseptic and antifungal properties. Having these beneficial attributes make oregano an excellent plant for intercropping for nightshade plants, such as potatoes, as well as brassicas, and other plants.  

Benefits

Repel pests, attract beneficials, and groundcover.

How to Plant it

Plant oregano in the four corners of a potato raised bed or alongside potatoes in a border herbal bed. It can become woody if grown as a perennial, so keep this in mind when deciding where you put it and how often you plant to prune it.

Flax

Bright Blue Flowers Blooming on a Sunny Day
Flax has wonderful blue flowers that attract pollinators and other beneficial insects.

Commonly known for its use in growing linen, flax (Linum usitassiumum) is also a beneficial garden plant. It produces beautiful purplish-blue flowers that repel potato beetles and attract beneficial insects.

In addition, flax produces an oil that is known to protect potatoes and other root vegetables, such as carrots or radishes, from harmful insects. This plant also makes the garden pop with its vibrant color.

Benefits

Repel potato beetles.

How to Plant it

Because flax can grow up to 3 to 4 feet in all directions, its best for borders and row ends. Ensure that flax doesn’t crowd or shade out your potato plants.

Vetch

Soft Pink and White Flowers Blooming in a Garden
This plant is a nitrogen fixer that improves the soil and suppresses weeds.

Vetch is a very popular cover crop and green manure known for its ability to fix nitrogen and improve soil quality. Because potatoes are moderate to heavy feeders, they will really appreciate the added boost when grown next to vetch or planted in a bed after vetch has been used as a cover crop.

As previously mentioned, vetch is commonly used as a ground cover. Because of this use, it grows low enough to the ground so that other plants cannot sprout, even unwanted plants. This vigorous leguminous annual is also great at suppressing weeds. 

Benefits

Adds nitrogen, suppresses weeds, and improves soil.

How to Plant it

Sow hairy vetch seeds in your potato beds the fall before planting to accumulate lots of nitrogen and biomass. You can also grow it alongside spuds during the main season, as long as you keep it mowed or out of the potato rows themselves.

Vegetable Companions for Potatoes

When you really want to get the most out of your garden beds, planting multiple edible crops in one bed can improve the growth of your spuds and diversify your meals. The key is finding other veggies that prefer similar growing conditions and/or have complementary growth habits.

Corn

Close Up of Husks Growing on a Stalk
Corn can improve the flavor of potato tubers.

Both corn and potatoes date back thousands of years. They are staples in the garden and serve as the base of many dishes around the globe. Growing corn with potatoes may improve the vigor and flavor of the tubers.

If you are looking to maximize the space in your garden, this combo is the way to go. Potatoes grow underground with fairly stout roots with little space needed above the soil. Corn grows tall and has shallow roots. Planting them together helps them take advantage of their opposite needs.

Benefits

Improve vigor and maximize yields.

How to Plant it

Corn and potatoes have similar days to maturity. Seed the corn at the same time as you plant seed potatoes, leaving 1-2 feet between the corn and potato plants.

I’ve found that corn is best grown in a row alongside potatoes so that it doesn’t interfere with hilling and mounding the spuds.  As long as the corn isn’t sown so densely that it shades out the spuds, this can be a very successful match.

Beans

Long Vegetables Growing on Tall Stalks in a Garden
Legumes are excellent companions for many horticultural crops as they are able to fix nitrogen.

Whether they’re green beans or shelling beans, nitrogen-fixing legumes are awesome companions for potatoes. Spuds love the nutrient boost green beans provide under the ground.

Legumes also help out their comrades by deterring Mexican bean beetles. These pests are among some of the most harmful to potatoes.

Benefits

Improve vigor and add nitrogen.

How to Plant it

Both bush beans and pole beans can work for this interplanting combo. If you choose the latter, be sure that the pole bean trellis is on the north side of the potato mounds so it doesn’t shade them out.

Bush beans have a similar height and days to maturity as potatoes. Plant them at the same time and keep 18-24” of space between crops.

Peas

Sweet Vegetables Growing Along a Vine
Peas have nitrogen-fixing bacteria that improve the soil, which positively affects the growth of potatoes.

Like beans, peas make nitrogen more bioavailable in the soil. This is thanks to their symbiotic alliance with nitrogen-fixing bacteria, Rhizobium. Hungry potato plants are eager to soak up the extra nutrients.

Potatoes also can enjoy a reduced risk of Colorado potato beetle infestation thanks to the peas’ distractions. These pesky bugs are known for their ability to wipe out a potato crop.

Benefits

Improve vigor, add nitrogen, and deter pests.

How to Plant it

Whether you choose sugar snaps or shelling peas, be sure that your trellis is on the north side of the potato plants and out of the way of the mounds themselves. Direct sow peas in the spring around the same time as potatoes.

Leeks

Tall Vegetables Growing in Rows of a Garden
Leeks do not compete for nutrients with potatoes and repel pests with their smell.

Potato leek soup isn’t the only combo with leeks that just makes sense. This shallow-rooted allium compliments potatoes in the garden without risking competition for water or nutrients.

As well as being a good spud buddy in the garden, the strong aroma repels pests. This same smell can even help with the disease resistance of its fellow vegetable plants.

Benefits

Repel pests and maximize space.

How to Plant it

Leeks are a notoriously long season crop that needs to be seeded in the very early spring long before your potatoes get in the ground. But if you time your leek transplanting with the potato seeding window, these two can overlap seasons in the same bed.

Give leeks at least 12” of space from neighboring potatoes. As an added benefit, both crops enjoy being hilled up, so they can be planted on a mound together.

Garlic

Tops of Bulbous Plants Growing in Rows
The sulfurous odor of garlic repels bad insects, including aphids.

Garlic is another allium with a strong sulfurous smell that deters aphids and beetles. It has shallow roots and elongated stems that compliment potatoes’ growth habits.

Some studies have even found that intercropping garlic and potatoes can help prevent late blight. It can even be more effective than fungicides. Garlic is easy to grow, and can be grown into the fall in some climates.

Benefits

Prevent blight, repel pests and maximize space.

How to Plant it

Garlic is traditionally sown in the fall and will have started sprouting in the spring around the time you plant potatoes. You can harvest out some garlic as “green garlic” and sow potatoes in the spaces, or simply plant a mound of potatoes alongside the garlic row, leaving at least 6-12” between each crop.

Scallions

Tall Green Onion Plants Growing in a Vegetable Garden
Scallions have a pungent odor that repels pests in your garden.

Another name scallions go by is green onions. They have a similar effect as garlic and leeks, but they are quicker to get in and out of the garden.

These slender vibrant toppings are lowkey and easy to sneak into anywhere in your potato patch for added pest repellant properties. They have shallow roots that do not require much room to grow, giving the potato more space to thrive.

Benefits

Repel pests and maximize space.

How to Plant it

Plant onion sets or scallion transplants in bunches of 3-5 about 10-12” away from young potato plants.

Onions

Onions
Onions, along with garlic, leeks, and green onions, prevent thrips and aphids.

Several studies have also indicated that intercropping onions and potatoes can help keep certain insects at bay. The strong sulfurous smell has the same effect as garlic, leeks, and scallions at preventing leaf damage from thrips and aphids.

There are several types of onions to grow in the garden that range from sweet red to more odorous yellow. The high sulfur content of yellow onions is probably best for repelling insects, but any onion should do the trick!

Benefits

Repel pests.

How to Plant it

Seed or transplant onions in rows alongside your potato crop, at least 18” from neighboring spuds.

Eggplant

Bright Purple Vegetable Growing in the Sun
Eggplant has similar growing requirements to potatoes, making it a neutral companion plant.

Another nightshade-family crop, eggplant has a neutral effect on potatoes but enjoys the same growing conditions. Full sun, well-draining soil, and moist conditions are ideal for both vegetables.

It is important to make sure to rotate the crops after planting one nightshade family plant. Planting these in the same space can reduce the nutrients and weaken the growth of future plants.

Benefits

Maximize harvests.

How to Plant it

Transplant eggplants and potatoes at the same time, at least 18-24” apart. Ensure that other beneficial companions are incorporated into the bed.

Peppers

Bright Red Vegetable Growing in a Greenhouse
Pepper is an excellent companion plant for potatoes as it has the same growing conditions and does not compete with them.

Peppers have a stout bushy growth and long maturity window. They also enjoy the same growing conditions as potatoes. There are several types to choose from that range from sweet papers to insanely spicy. They all should have similar compatibility with potatoes.

Though they are also nightshades, they can be interspersed with alliums and herbs to create a more diverse planting. Just be sure to rotate crops after planting.

Benefits

Add diversity and maximize harvest.

How to Plant it

Give peppers 18-24” from potatoes and avoid planting them where they may get mounded up. Ensure there is plenty of fertility for both crops. Add other non-nightshade companions for maximum success.

Lettuce

Heads of Green Vegetables Growing in a Sunny Garden
Lettuce is another popular companion plant that grows well in the shade provided by potato bushes.

Spring lettuces are quick and easy to grow. They don’t require much fertility or water and need little maintenance. There are a number of reasons they make good companion plants with potatoes.

They also enjoy a little shade from neighboring potato plants. The heads can be pulled out as soon as the spuds start to take off. These two are excellent buddies in the garden.

Benefits

Cultivate unused space early in cropping period.

How to Plant it

Seed or transplant lettuce right after potatoes begin to emerge. When grown as baby heads or baby greens, this will give you a quick crop from the same bed before the potato foliage gets too large.

Cabbage

Close up of Head of Green Vegetable
Cabbage and potatoes have similar soil requirements, making them mutually beneficial neighbors in the garden.

There are many sources that advise against interplanting potatoes with brassicas. However, I once again will propose that this can be a mutually beneficial combo when done correctly.

Cabbage has more shallow roots than potatoes. They also have a low, sprawled growth habit that enjoys similar soil conditions. 

Benefits

Maximize diversity of yields.

How to Plant it

Transplant cabbage seedlings 24” or more from potato mound rows. Make sure there’s plenty of fertility for both crops.

Red Radish

Red Root Vegetable With Tall Green Foliage
Red Radish does not compete with potatoes because they have different rates of development.

Radishes are another brassica that is often not advised to interplant with potatoes. They have large roots that are typically red but can also be white, purple, pink, yellow, green, or black.

For a quick and easy 30-day crop, radishes make use of bare ground while potatoes are still developing. This makes them great neighbors within the vegetable garden.

Benefits

Maximize growing space.

How to Plant it

Seed radishes as soon as your potatoes begin to sprout from the ground. They can be sown fairly close because you will be pulling them out as soon as the roots reach 1-2” in diameter.

Turnips

Freshly Harvested Root Vegetable
Plant turnips using bare soil until the potatoes have sprouted.

Though turnips are also root vegetables and commonly associated with potatoes and carrots, they are actually more closely related to radishes. These are also brassica vegetables that grow in bulbs underground.

Young salad turnips can be harvested small and grown just like radishes to utilize bare soil while potatoes take off. These are a good option if you are looking to maximize the space in your garden.

Benefits

Maximize growing space.

How to Plant it

Hakurei turnips are the best variety for this use. Seed them 6” from baby potato plants and harvest just as the spuds begin to overtake them.

Sweet Potatoes

Gardener Holding Freshly Harvested Yams
Sweet potatoes have the same growing requirements but are best planted in adjacent rows.

Though it may seem as though they are related, sweet potatoes are not related to potatoes. However, sweet potatoes grow very similarly. They both need full sun, well-draining and moist soil, and have many similar companion plants.

While I wouldn’t recommend putting them in the same bed, they could be grown in adjacent rows with similar soil types. Many of the other plants listed here will benefit both sweet potatoes and regular potatoes.

Benefits

Maximize diversity.

How to Plant it

Plant seed potatoes and sweet potato slips at the same time, leaving a minimum of 36-48” of space between the two crops.

Horseradish

Close up of Spicy Fragrant Leaf
One of the best companion plants for potatoes is horseradish, which repels many common potato pests.

We saved the best for last! Horseradish is one of the all-around best comrades for potatoes. Its spicy flavor repels potato beetles, aphids, potato bugs, whiteflies, and caterpillars.

Underground, the allyl isothiocyanate oil compounds emitted by the root increases disease resistance while simultaneously loosening the soil. These strong antibacterial and antifungal properties make it a popular option as a companion plant in many gardens.

Benefits

Repel pests, improve disease resistance, and loosen soil.

How to Plant it

Seed horseradishes around the edges of your potato growing area.

Avoid Planting These With Potatoes

FLowering Zucchini Growing in a Garden
Squash grows throughout the area, which can adversely affect potatoes making them susceptible to powdery mildew.

Potatoes are relatively easy to please and get along with most crops, but these species are best kept in another part of the garden:

  • Asparagus: This rhizome-spreading perennial can quickly overtake potatoes.
  • Squash: Squash has a tendency to ramble and overgrow anything in its path.
  • Fennel: Fennel is slightly allelopathic and may stunt the growth of potatoes.
  • Sunflowers: These vibrant flowers grow tall and can shade out garden potatoes.
  • Tomatoes: Tomatoes are from the same family and will compete for nutrients.

Final Thoughts

Potatoes are eager to please and readily grow alongside a wide diversity of herbs, flowers, and other veggies. As long as they have the fertility, sunlight, moisture, and pest protection they need, you can harvest tremendous yields of spuds from a small space. These companions help reduce problems and increase your chances of success.

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