Choosing the right companion plants for your crops can increase yields, improve the soil, and prevent infestations of pests. When choosing companion plants for cauliflower, your main concern will be deterring bugs.
Below is a selection of the best cauliflower companion plants suitable for balcony gardening.
Like all alliums, shallots help deter pests because of their strong scent. We’ve chosen shallots over, say, onions because of their size. You’ll still need a pretty sizable container (such as this) for growing cauliflower and shallots together, but it’ll be a lot smaller than if you were using onions.
Celery can help to attract beneficial insects, including ones that prey on aphids and other pests. One thing to note about using celery as a companion plant for cauliflower is that it loves water. As such, you’ll need to make sure you keep the pot sufficiently moist. However, celery doesn’t need loads of nutrients, meaning there’s more for the cauliflower.
Legumes (peas and beans) are great cauliflower companion plants. They deposit nitrogen into the soil, which cauliflower loves because it’s a very heavy feeder. Also, vertical-growing plants provide shade for shorter crops, keeping them cool in sunny environments.
Herbs can be tricky companion plants, but sage and thyme work well with cauliflower. They attract pollinators and other beneficial insects while hiding the smell of cauliflower from pests. If you plant thyme in the same pot, it’ll provide ground cover for the cauliflower to keep its roots cool. That said, keeping it in a nearby pot is also fine.
Nasturtium is a favorite amongst gardeners because it’s a trap crop. Its main benefit as a cauliflower companion plant is to draw pests away, although this won’t work for the white cabbage moth. Luckily, celery prevents the moth from doing its thing, so be sure to use both.
The most basic rule for cauliflower enemies is to not keep it in the same soil as other heavy feeders. This isn’t a massive concern with balcony gardening, as you won’t often be growing more than one plant to a container.
That said, it’s possible to grow tomatoes and other plants in the same container. Like legumes, you can grow them vertically, giving you soil space for shorter plants. However, tomatoes are big nitrogen feeders, meaning you could end up with stunted crops.
Strawberries essentially do the opposite job to nasturtiums. The berries are great at attracting slugs and snails, which can wreak havoc on your cauliflowers. If you do decide to grow strawberries, keep them well out of the way (such as in a hanging planter).
Cauliflower will get on with a lot of crops in the garden, providing they don’t compete for nutrients. As such, your companion plants for cauliflowers should be light feeders that ideally deter (or at least don’t attract) unwanted bugs.