Flower Companions for Tomatoes

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

For the last 20 years I've been planting marigolds along the border of my tomato plants. I'm tired of marigolds. Are there any annuals that are a detriment to the growth of tomatoes that I should avoid? I have a flat of white allysum but not sure if the scent would attract bad guy bugs.

Rocky Point, NC

Try petunias, poached egg plant (it's a flower, not a veggie) and potted nasturtimuns.

Salem, NY(Zone 4b)

Toni, just curious why you've been growing marigolds, I assume the Tagetes ones, near your tomatoes.

I ask b'c while the Tagetes marigolds can be marginally helpful with nematodes, you don't have any nematode problems in your area. Besides, for the tagetes to do anything they have to be planted as a cover crop and then tilled in in the Fall which takes the garden area out of production for a whole season.And a lots of folks have problems with marigolds attracting spider mites.

I guess what I'm asking is are you planting something that you think will help the tomatoes or are you just wanting to plant some flowers that look pretty?


Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

Hi Carolyn, seems like way back some time I read about the marigolds/nematodes connection and ran with it. I've been planting marigolds ever since thinking it was doing some good for the tomatoes. What I didn't know was the tilling in part. Oh well, I'm more of a flower gardener than veggie grower. Flowers are my thing. Veggies get relegated to the back area of the garden and I keep it small. I have 6 tomato plants this year that I bought (taking a break from seed starting) and 1 cherry tomato volunteer from last years polish Pokusa. 6 broccoli and just planted some cucumber seeds and yardlong beans yesterday.

Soooo in answer to your question, I just want to plant some flowers that look pretty! ;)

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

Hi jinxi, I had the poached egg plant a couple years ago, cutest little thing, like a tiny fried egg!

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

I've read someplace borage or carrots are good,Although I don't think as much about letting carrots bloom as I might.
Any way there are a few herbs that bloom that go well with tomato plants,I imagine someone could direct you to more companion planting charts.The folks at this site are pretty helpful.

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

Found this on a Companion Planting Chart so I think the alyssum will be okay with the veggies.

SWEET ALYSSUM: Direct seed or set out starts of sweet alyssum near plants that have been attacked by aphids in the past. Alyssum flowers attract hoverflies whose larva devour aphids. Another plus is their blooms draw bees to pollinate early blooming fruit trees. They will reseed freely and make a beautiful groundcover every year.

Salem, NY(Zone 4b)

Carrots as in Louise Riottes book Carrots love tomatoes? ( wink) Now we're getting into companiion planting of which I have a very dim view, sorry about that but I've tried lots and using controls have been never impressed.

Borage is a lovely blue flower but also attracts insect pollinators which is OK if you're not saving seeds or bagging blossoms at the start of the season.

Thye truth is that while i love my tomatoes my first love is perennials and I've bred mini-roses and daylilies. My maternal grandparents had the largest nursery in the Albany/Troy/ Schenectady, NY area and I worked there summers as well as working at home on the farm as well. No, I didn't get paid at either place for it was expected of me to help out.

Carolyn, who has two flats of newly ordered perennials right now b'c with no snow cover this past winter I lost quite a few.

Saylorsburg, PA(Zone 6a)

I have borage which reseeds each year, both the blue and the white variety. While I do save some tomato seeds, it never occurred to me that leaving borage near tomatoes I planned to collect from was a bad idea! I'm glad I read this thread because I guess I will have to re-transplant some of the borage to sites where I don't care about collecting seeds! I had planted it mainly because it supposedly deters hornworms. The strawberries and squash will appreciate it!

Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

i started borage from seed..and they are out there now..near my tomatoes..
:) to carolyn.. !
love the sky blue flower colour..
didnt think of saving the borage seed though garadore..
i move my tomatoes around in vegy garden yr to yr..so i think saving some
borage seed would be a good idea..thanks !!!
i dont save tomatoes seed though..
happy gardening ....

Saylorsburg, PA(Zone 6a)

I don't save the borage seeds. The borage just reseeds on its own and I transplant them where I need them. They don't like to be transplanted but when small it is easier! However, you certainly can save the seed and then sprinkle them where you want them for the next year!!

Westbrook, CT(Zone 6a)

Park advertises their Golden Guardian marigolds as capable of destroying nematodes in the soil that harm tomatoes. I didn't know what nematodes did but I tried planting those marigolds a few years ago. They grew into a great tangle that was larger than their advertised 2-foot height, made it hard to reach the tomatoes to weed and feed them, and had only tiny orange flowers. I didn't notice any difference in the tomatoes that year, so I tossed the remaining 500 seeds in the packet and didn't try again. Perhaps it takes several years to show a difference, and I was too impatient.

I do occasionally sow a few nasturtiums in available gaps among the vegetables. I like them, but it is hard to blend their colors with the regular inhabitants of the flower beds.

Salem, NY(Zone 4b)

Don, interplanting Tagetes type marigolds, the only ones that have a nematocide as well as being a dead end trap crop doesn't work.

The whole garden area needs to be planted with them for a whole season and then till them under and the end of the season.

The best thing to do is if one has Root Knot Nematode problems, as those who live in warm weather areas with preferably sand soils where the ground doesn't feeze deeply, is to keep adding organic matter to the soil and that b'c the nematodes spread from one sand grain to another via the water shell around each grain and the father apart the grains are the less the nematodes can spread.


Westbrook, CT(Zone 6a)

Thanks for the explanation, Carolyn.
I realized later that our winters are cold enough that we probably don't have nematode problems, but I fell for the advertising hype. Anyway, I wont be interplanting marigolds again.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

If you had them you would know it. I had them one year when some left over construction sand was put in my garden. There is no mistaking the damage they do. We are warm enough but our soil is rock not sandy. Th Ag agent had never seen them here before.

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