Arugula has this nice pungent and peppery scent that many people love. If you are fond of it, then you should plan to grow arugula in your own garden. In that case, you should be aware of some of the best arugula companion plants so that you can increase your chances of successfully growing arugula.
What is Arugula?
Arugula refers to a group of plants also recognized as salad rocket, Italian cress, rucola, and rocket. It came from the Mediterranean – after which, it gained recognition for being one of the best ingredients to add to various dishes in different parts of the Western world.
It belongs to the Brassica family, which is the reason why its likes and dislikes are similar to the plants that are also members of it. This full-flavored salad green continues to impress those who use it as it is capable of providing a peppery punch to their dishes.
You can use it in making pesto and pizza. Also, the peppery leaves of arugula tend to infuse a spicy yet nice zing not only to salad mixes but also to sauteed dishes and sandwiches.
The Best Companions for your Arugula Plants
Arugula is famous for having the ability to grow fast. It is also one of those crops that can handle cool weather. It is resilient to a lot of things. However, you can further make it more resilient and grow it successfully in your vegetable garden if you plant it along with other plants that are beneficial to it.
Among these great companion plants for arugula are the following:
Among the most popular alliums are chives, garlic, and onions – all of which make the best arugula companion plants One reason why they are good arugula companion plants is that they have this natural fragrance capable of deterring pests that snack on your leafy greens.
These pests include aphids and cabbage whitefly. To get this benefit from companion planting, sow arugula seeds between onions. Sowing arugula in your vegetable garden rows is the best way to do it.
Your choices for excellent arugula companion plants here include the pole beans and the bush beans. The reason is that both bush and pole beans are capable of fixing nitrogen within the soil. Beans fix nitrogen in the soil, making the soil more nourished.
You can also expect bush beans to provide shade to certain plants, especially arugula, which is a plant that loves the cool weather. This is a good thing if you want to extend or prolong the harvest season as it can help prevent premature bolting.
Note, though, that if you plan to grow beans, you should avoid using any of the allium family together with them. The reason is that beans and alliums are not good companion plants.
The upward growth of cucumbers means that they will be able to leave plenty of free space for other plants to grow. You can use this garden space to grow arugula.
Cucumbers also make fantastic arugula companion plants in the sense that it has this leaf spread capable of shading the latter once the hot season comes. This is good as it ensures that your arugula plants do not bolt prematurely.
There is also a high chance for your arugula to grow really well if you plant it along with its famous companion plants, like beetroot, spinach, and leaf beet. All these can help shade your arugula from the harsh heat.
Keep in mind that arugula finds the cool weather more favorable, so ensuring that it stays shaded can help make it productive when the weather is too hot. This is what beetroot can provide as a great companion plant.
Any nasturtium plant or flowers will act as sacrificial crops for your arugula. All you have to do is to plant them several feet from the arugula. In case aphids come near your garden, the bright nasturtium plants and flowers will attract them.
This means that they will not come close to your arugula plants. Nasturtium flowers are also good nearby plants for arugula in the sense that they have a short stature that forms a ground cover habitat meant specifically for beneficial beetles and spiders.
Radishes also make great arugula companion plants as they serve as effective sacrificial plants. One thing that these companion plants can do for you is to attract a lot of beetles who are fond of snacking on leafy salad greens, like arugula.
You can expect them to feed on the radish leaves instead. Also, some say that if you grow radishes close to arugula, there is a high chance for them to lessen their woody textures.
Related: Radish Companion Plants in the Garden
If you are still unfamiliar with chervil, note that it refers to an annual herb known for its delicate taste that is quite the same as anise or licorice. It is a fantastic ingredient in soups, pasta dishes, and salads.
As a companion plant, chervil seems to do well when grown not only with other herbs but also with arugula and carrots. Companion planting arugula with it is a good idea as it has the ability to attract predatory wasps and deter slugs. This can also benefit other nearby plants.
If you are looking for easy-to-grow herbs that are also among the best companion plants for arugula, then those in the mint family are among your best choices. Mint has this strong aroma capable of protecting your arugula from harmful pests, such as cabbage whites.
Just be careful when growing mint along with smaller and younger arugula, though. The reason is that mint also has this vigorous growth habit that may chock the small and young crops. To use mint for companion planting arugula, it would be best to plant it in containers or pots.
Companion planting arugula together with Brassicas, like Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, and turnips. Note that arugula has this tendency to bolt when exposed to the harsh heat of the sun during the summer.
You may want to sow arugula seeds during the early spring together with other cool-weather and seasonally appropriate members of the Brassica or cabbage family to prevent that from happening. These companion planting combinations can help prevent black flea beetles from attacking your arugula.
Aside from acting as an effective tonic for every plant growing close to it, chamomile also serves as an incredible attractor for hoverflies, wasps, and bees. They efficiently attract hoverflies and pollinators that can prevent unwanted pests from coming near your arugula.
Attracting these good pollinators is one of the major advantages of companion planting. Moreover, it is aromatic, thereby disguising arugula plants from the harmful and damaging cabbage white.
For sure, you may have already heard about how pretty petunia flowers are, especially since they come in various colors. It also serves as a beneficial arugula companion plant as it has properties that can repel garden pests, including aphids and leafhoppers.
Petunias can also give your garden more charm as they are truly beautiful. This makes it really useful when companion planting it with the arugula plant.
Poached eggplants also make great additions to your garden considering the fact that they are capable of attracting hoverflies and other beneficial insects that can fight aphids. By making them grow around your arugula, you can surely prevent aphids from penetrating your garden.
Planting Arugula – What Can You Not Plant Next to Arugula?
While there are several plants that serve as favorable companions for arugula, there are also those that may harm it. In that case, here are the plants you should avoid growing when planning to plant arugula in your garden and practice companion planting.
Those that belong to the nightshade family are among the worst companion plants for arugula as they have different needs and requirements. Some of them are tomatoes, eggplants, and pepper.
What they need is a more acidic soil compared to the ones needed by arugula. This makes it harder to find the right balance that will benefit both plants, so avoid planting arugula with them. Planting them together can, therefore, cause both plants to suffer from damage.
While strawberries serve as good ground covers, they are not that good companions for arugula. The reason is that they have this spreading growth pattern, which may only invade the space of your arugula. Even if your arugula, fortunately, survives, it will not still receive enough shade when the hot season comes, causing it to bolt prematurely.
Never plant potatoes near arugula. The reason is that similar to nightshade plants, potatoes are also heavy feeders. This means that they may only compromise the growth of your arugula if you grow them together.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I plant arugula and lettuce together?
Yes. Just like spinach and leaf beet, lettuce also makes a good arugula companion plant because it aids in shading arugula. The two are also fond of cool conditions, making it beneficial to grow them together.
Related: Companion Plants for Lettuce
Can you grow arugula and kale together?
Yes. Kale is also a brassica, which makes it a fantastic companion plant for your arugula.
Related: Growing Companion Kale Plants
Can you plant cucumbers with arugula?
Yes. It is a well-known plant that acts as a good ground cover, which means it shades any plant surrounding your arugula. This also helps in minimizing soil evaporation.
What are the common garden pests afflicting arugula?
The most common garden pests that may harm arugula are flea beetles. You can lessen the presence of these beetles and repel pests that only cause poor growth to your plants with the help of floating row covers. You can also plant trap crops, like radishes, to deter any flea beetle from coming near your arugula.
Sowing companion plants, like nasturtiums, marigolds, and yarrow, can also help in attracting beneficial insects, like ladybugs and predatory wasps. This aids in controlling the population of harmful and unwanted insects.
In general, arugula is one of those plants that are very easy to grow. You can even expect it to grow regardless of where you sow and plant arugula seeds. Increase the chance for very successful and healthy growth by learning about the best arugula companion plants and making them grow together.