Eggplant (Solanum melongena) is a tropical perennial in the nightshade family. They produce a large purple fruit that is used as a vegetable in the kitchen. Many eggplant growing issues can be improved by using eggplant companion plants.
The origin of eggplants isn’t known but evidence suggests it came from India, Africa, or South Asia. The first written account of eggplant is from 544 AD in a Chinese book about agriculture.
Interestingly a myth developed in the 1200s suggesting eggplants caused insanity. This prevented people from consuming it for hundreds of years. It was still a common belief in the 1800s.
While eating eggplant won’t drive you crazy, dealing with eggplant insect pests might. Companion planting with eggplant will help you keep the insect pests away.
Below we will cover the benefits of companion gardening with eggplant. We’ll also give you a list of the best and worst plants to grow next to eggplants.
Benefits Of Companion Gardening With Eggplant
Companion plants provide natural benefits to each other. You can use companion planting to solve a variety of gardening issues. They can improve soil, repel insects, and help prevent plant diseases.
Eggplants have a variety of insect pests that feed on them and decrease growth. Insects that harm eggplants include:
- Colorado potato beetles
- Flea Beetles
- Leaf-footed bugs
- Spider mites
- Stink bugs
Many gardeners will spray eggplants with pesticides to prevent insect damage. However, companion plants will help deter many of these pests, reducing the need for chemicals.
Eggplants are also impacted by a handful of plant diseases. They can suffer from bacterial wilt and blights. Companion planting can help reduce fungi and bacteria in the garden. They’ll help keep eggplants healthy.
Things To Consider When Companion Planting With Eggplant
There are several things to keep in mind when choosing plants for companion gardening with eggplants. You want to make sure they won’t steal nutrients, water, or sunlight that eggplants need to grow. It’s also best to consider plants that have similar growing needs so both plants can thrive together.
While many plants will improve the growth of eggplant, some plants can harm it. They can attract pest insects or increase diseases in the garden. That’s why certain plants should be avoided if you’re growing eggplant.
The Best Eggplant Companion Plants
Here’s our list of the best plants to consider for companion planting with eggplant. Some will improve the soil while others will decrease various pest issues. Choosing a variety of plants will maximize the benefits of companion gardening.
Legumes like beans make wonderful companion plants. They incorporate nitrogen from the air into the soil. Plant beans with eggplants to provide extra nutrients for eggplant growth.
Consider adding coriander to your eggplant companion garden. It will help eggplants by repelling Colorado potato beetle and spider mites.
Dill will help protect your eggplants from the Colorado potato beetle. Several predators of the beetle are attracted to dill. By increasing predators, you’ll prevent Colorado potato beetle damage without pesticides.
Marigolds are a wonderful companion plant. When it comes to eggplants, they’ll help repel flea beetles and Colorado potato beetles. Nematodes are also repelled by marigolds. They also help by attracting insect pollinators.
Peas are another nitrogen-fixing plant you can grow with eggplant. They’ll increase nitrogen levels in the soil to give eggplants an extra boost for growing.
As spinach grows, it releases the chemical saponin into the soil. Saponin can kill bacteria and fungi. Spinach will help protect your eggplants from diseases caused by bacteria and fungi.
Thyme is an aromatic herb that repels many insects. It makes a great companion plant for eggplants. It will help deter hornworms and whiteflies. Thyme will also attract insect pest predators to feed on unwanted pests.
Terragon is another herb that produces a strong scent. It will help keep insect pests away from your eggplants.
The Worst Eggplant Companion Plants
These are the plants that can actually cause issues for eggplants. Avoid planting them near your eggplant so you don’t run into issues.
Fennel isn’t good for eggplant because it will outcompete eggplant for nutrients in the soil. This is why fennel can stunt the growth of eggplants.
When geraniums are planted near eggplants, it can cause disease issues. Research has shown geraniums can increase root rot and leaf blight in eggplants.
Potatoes are heavy feeders that require a lot of nutrients and water. They will steal nutrients and water from eggplants, negatively impacting eggplant growth.
Radishes are another plant that flea beetles love to eat. Don’t plant radish near eggplant or you increase the odds of attracting flea beetles.
You can use the chart below to help you plan your eggplant companion garden.
|Beneficial Eggplant Companion Plants||Benefit||Detrimental Eggplant Companion Plants||Detriment|
|Beans||Increase nitrogen||Fennel||Competes for nutrient|
|Coriander||Repels spider mites, increases predators of Colorado potato beetle||Geraniums||Increases root rot and leaf blight|
|Dill||Increases predators of Colorado potato beetle||Potatoes||Competes for nutrients and water|
|Marigolds||Repels insect pests, attracts pollinators||Radishes||Attracts flea beetles|
|Spinach||Prevents fungi and bacteria|
|Thyme||Repels hornworms and whiteflies, attracts insect pest predators|
|Tarragon||Repels insect pests|