Companion plants for arugula are fairly easy to set up on a balcony. Our main goals with these companion plants are to deter (or distract) pests and to keep the arugula cool and healthy.
So, here’s a quick roundup of the best arugula companion plants for balcony gardening.
Pole or bush beans grow vertically and have plenty of soil space, making them great companion plants for arugula. Beans return nitrogen to the soil, which is a big help here, and they provide plenty of shade for arugula’s delicate leaves.
A planter box with a built-in trellis (like this) would be ideal for keeping beans and arugula together.
Borage isn’t a common garden herb, but it’s useful as a companion plant for arugula. Like beans, it provides shade and also repels pests. Better yet, it attracts predator insects, too.
You don’t need to grow it in the same pot as arugula, but if you want to, any standard planter will be fine.
Marigolds are almost universal companion plants. They help with arugula by attracting hoverflies, which prey on aphids and greenflies. Marigolds also repel nematodes, but you’ll need to plant them in the same pot for that benefit.
Spinach is a different kind of arugula companion plant. Rather than providing growing benefits, it simply enjoys the same conditions. Plus, you can harvest them at the same time in the same way and use them in salads together!
Like beans, cucumbers work as arugula companion plants by providing shade. The trellis planter suggested above will work well here, too.
Nasturtiums are a must-have for any balcony gardener. It’s a trap crop, meaning it’ll draw slugs and other pests away from your precious arugula plants. A railing planter (like this) will be perfect providing it’s near your crops. Much like spinach, you can pick the young leaves for salads.
Arugula has a few enemies in the garden, including:
Arugula is a brassica, so avoid planting it with any others (broccoli, cabbage, etc.). They compete for the same nutrients and are vulnerable to the same diseases.
The main issue with strawberries is that they’re perennials, so you shouldn’t plant them with annuals (like arugula). Annuals will take up soil space, and the plants could impede one another’s growth.
Plants like tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, etc. are all nightshades and prefer acidic soil. Arugula, however, likes neutral soil. While this won’t have a major impact, planting them together means you won’t get the best from either.
Arugula is pretty easy to grow and works best as a cut-and-come-again crop. As such, it should be fine to grow on its own in pots, although some of the arugula companion plants given above work best when they share the same soil. However you choose to plant it, you’ll be blessed with peppery salads all year round!