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Lettuce is one of those plants that you can quickly grow and easily harvest. You can enjoy that regardless of the type of lettuce you grow – whether it is a leaf or Romaine lettuce.
It is possible to maximize the growing capabilities and your harvest of lettuce plants in your garden if you do companion planting.
Quick Facts About Lettuce
- Botanical/scientific name: Lactuca sativa
- Type of plant: Annual; vegetable
- Sun exposure: Partial sun, full sun
- Size: 6 to 12 inches tall and wide
- Type and pH level of soil: Rich, loamy, and well-drained; neutral, acidic – pH level should be 6 to 7
- Bloom time: Seasonal
- Native area: Mediterranean
- Hardiness zones: USDA 2 to 11
Lettuce Companion Planting Benefits
Growing lettuce with the best companion plants for it can definitely promote its better and healthy growth. If you are still unaware of what this gardening method is all about, it refers to placing different crops close to each other. This is so they can complement each one’s vigor, growing capabilities, health, and flavor symbiotically.
Companion planting is also all about separating those plants with a sort of growth and development that may antagonize the other. If you grow lettuce companion plants together, there is a high chance that it can benefit through the following:
- Improves soil nutrients – Some companion plants for lettuce, like beans, peas, and legumes, can nourish the soil that’s necessary for them to grow well. Most of them can even add nitrogen, which is necessary for making the plants grow healthily.
- Promotes rapid growth and better flavors/taste – There are also certain plants, like chamomile, summer savory, and marjoram, capable of releasing chemicals that can stimulate the quick growth of lettuce. These released chemicals also help improve the flavors of the produce.
- Provides a thick ground cover – You can also take advantage of beneficial plants, like oregano and thyme, as they are known for providing a thick ground cover for lettuce. The reason is that they spread across the ground. Moreover, this type of companion plant maintains a lower soil temperature and protects lettuce from the harsh effects of the sun.
- Prevents the growth of weeds – Alternating sprawling and upright plants can help provide a thicker cover across the majority of your garden’s open land. This is effective in preventing weeds from invading your gardening soil.
Lettuce Companion Plants
To promote the healthy and rapid growth of lettuce in your garden, here are some of the most beneficial companion plants for it:
If you decide to grow asparagus, it is advisable to leave a bit of this crop so it will continue to grow in your vegetable garden. This will let the plant store sufficient energy for the following year.
What is great about the remaining asparagus is that you can expect them to grow tall while spreading out leaves resembling those of ferns. This makes them incredible sources of natural shade for your lettuce, especially if this vegetable gets overly exposed to the afternoon sun.
The fact that asparagus can provide shade is an advantage as it prevents your lettuce plants from wilting, which makes it good for companion planting.
Bush and Pole Beans
You can also expect beans, peas, and legumes to be compatible with not only lettuce but also other vegetables. Whether they are pole beans or bush beans, they can guarantee positive effects when planted near lettuce.
One advantage of bush and pole beans is that they can nourish the soil, which is good in the production of higher amounts of yield. Note, though, that it is not advisable to plant beans in soil with plants that are already ill. The reason is that the already existing ailment may also affect the beans.
It would also be a great idea to plant nasturtiums together with lettuce. The reason is that this companion plant can drive hungry caterpillars away from your lettuce plants as well as Brassicas, like broccoli and cabbage.
You can also plant these adorable flowers close to your crops, especially if you want to attract aphids. This may be counterintuitive but note that several gardeners feel like it is a good idea to grow the nasturtium at a slight distance from their garden so they can attract the aphids, thereby preventing them from coming near their crops.
Nasturtiums are also beneficial in the sense that they can lure away blackfly from the fava beans if you also have this plant in your garden.
Onions are also among the lettuce companion plants that you have to consider growing in your vegetable garden. Onions can benefit your lettuce and other leafy crops as they can deter and repel insects and pests, including aphids and beetles.
Note that just like other alliums, onions have the advantage of emitting a scent capable of serving as a repellant. You can also expect onions to mask or conceal the odors released by other crops. This may confuse pets and drive them away.
Note, though, that onions may have a negative effect on the family of beans, legumes, and peas, especially when it comes to growing and cultivating them. This makes it necessary for you to avoid mixing onions with beans and other crops that are suitable for planting with lettuce.
This is also especially true for those vegetables that belong to the cabbage family. You need to separate them from onions.
Tomatoes are also good companion plants for lettuce as they are among those that can provide sufficient shade for it. Lettuce also serves as an effective mulch for tomatoes. This is crucial as it aids in retaining moisture in the soil that is essential in making tomatoes grow healthily.
With the ability of tomatoes to tolerate and handle the full sun well, they can definitely give your lettuce the shade it needs for proper protection. You can assure lettuce and tomatoes a productive and healthy growing season by ensuring that the soil stays moist.
It would also be best to plant the seeds of lettuce after your tomatoes are already 6 inches and above tall.
Beets fall under the root crop category. This means that beets are capable of using underground space for the proper and healthy growth of their produce.
Meanwhile, lettuce features shallow roots. Expect this plant to grow crops on top of the soil. Such qualities can make growing lettuce and beets close to each other beneficial.
One reason behind this is that beets and lettuce will no longer compete for nutrients in just one area. You can, therefore, maximize the space in your garden by planting lettuce and beets together.
Carrots are also among those plants with a deeper growth in your garden soil compared to lettuce. Carrots tend to draw nutrients and moisture from various levels so they will not compete with the crops for them.
One more thing that you should know about the two is that lettuce tends to grow and mature quicker compared to carrots. This makes it possible for you to harvest them every day.
You can, therefore, choose to plant one row of the lettuce crop in between every other of your plant carrots. By doing that, carrots and lettuce will begin working well together. You can also enjoy their aesthetically pleasing foliage.
Carrots and lettuce are also among those vegetables that you can combine because of their positive nutritional, biological, social, and economic effects. Carrots can benefit from this companion planting method as they can prevent the invasion of weeds.
In addition, both carrots and lettuce, when planted together, can help in maximizing the space in your vegetable garden.
Similar to the carrot plant, there are also several aromatic herbs that serve as good companion plants and are friendly to lettuce – among which are garlic and chives. What’s good about these herbs is that they can create stinky barriers designed to drive away aphids from your crops.
There are also aromatic herbs, such as cilantro, that can attract beneficial insects while repelling harmful pests. You can also expect the scent and aroma of herbs, like sage, hyssop, and mint to repel slugs.
With them in your garden, you will surely have incredible powerhouses that can promote the beautiful and healthy nourishment of your plants.
Make sure to also consider including garlic in your garden filled with lettuce. The reason is that garlic serves as an effective and powerful barrier plant that can drive out aphids.
A wise tip is to plant garlic in between each row of your crop so you can use it in deterring aphids from penetrating the leaves of lettuce.
Squash and Melons
If you decided to grow baby lettuce, then keep in mind that it is a rapid grower. Meanwhile, both squash and melons require a longer time for them to spread out in your garden completely. This means that squash and melons are among those slow-growing plants.
By planting baby lettuce near slow-growing plants, namely squash and melons, you will have an easier time during the harvest period. You can harvest your lettuce while the squash and melons are still preparing to take over the space in your garden.
You can, therefore, make squash and melons a part of your garden along with lettuce if you want to maximize space.
Compared to lettuce, radishes tend to grow faster. With that, radishes are also great companions for the crop as this means you can use them in marking the rows of the lettuce that tend to grow slower than them.
You can just plant some seeds of the radish along the row of lettuce. After that, expect radishes to germinate rapidly. When that happens, the row where the lettuce is will soon follow the growth of radishes.
There is also a possibility for the radish crop to benefit from being near lettuce. The reason is that the technique of planting them together in your garden will result in a softer radish that produces better flavors capable of lasting the entire summer.
Dill is also one of the most beneficial and good companions of lettuce. The reason is that dill benefits a lot of plants – among which are lettuce, onions, and asparagus. You can plant dill along with lettuce and beans to attain more than just one benefit.
By planting the three together, you can expect the beans to provide impressive fertilizing benefits. The dill tends to be protective as it repels pests that eat or feed on lettuce, like cabbage loopers, spider mites, and cabbage worms. Lettuce, on the other hand, has great mulching capabilities.
You can, therefore, use dill in managing pests naturally, thereby preventing you from having to spend money on pesticides.
Marigolds are also good companions for your lettuce as they tend to be self-sacrificial in the sense that they attract slugs. This means that they will feed on them instead of your lettuce.
One example of marigold that you can plant along with lettuce is calendula, which can also attract pests that will not affect the lettuce. Marigolds also contribute to guarding your lettuce against being devoured by pests.
Similar to marigolds, mint, and other herbs, basil also serves almost the same purposes. The reason is that basil works in improving the taste of all plants that you decide to grow together with it.
One plant that can enjoy this specific benefit from basil is lettuce. You will enjoy better flavors from your lettuce produce plus there is a high chance for them to be free from mosquitoes if you plant it together with basil.
As summer crops, eggplants thrive during weather conditions and seasons that are not good and healthy for your lettuce – one of which is the hot, summer season. In that case, have this summer crop planted near your lettuce.
That way, you have an assurance that the eggplant will be taking the space over once the harvest of lettuce is over.
What Should You Avoid Planting with Lettuce?
While there are companions that can give your lettuce crops favorable benefits if you plant them together, there are also those that you have to avoid specifically. Among them are:
- Cabbage Family (Brassicas) – Try to avoid crops that belong to the cabbage family. Avoid growing lettuce near Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, and other plants related to cabbage. Remember that while some lettuce varieties can help brassicas and cabbage when it comes to growth, they have certain root secretions capable of preventing the germination of lettuce seeds.
- Parsley – Another plant to avoid companion planting with lettuce is parsley. The reason is that it has a high chance of growing into a bushy plant, making it easier for it to crowd the lettuce that grows close to it.
- Fennel – Companion planting fennel with lettuce is not also a good idea. The reason is that it is not compatible with several other plants, including beans, peas, and lettuce. It tends to stifle the growth of other plants, potentially leading to their death.
- Foxglove – You should also avoid planting foxglove near lettuce. The reason is that they tend to attract foxglove aphids that may attack lettuce and infect most vegetable plants. You have a higher chance of enjoying a high harvest if you do not cultivate foxglove along with lettuce.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What can you not plant with lettuce?
Never plant those that will not be able to benefit lettuce near it. These include the ones that belong to the cabbage family, like broccoli, as well as parsley, fennel, and foxglove.
What can I plant next to lettuce?
You will be glad to know that lettuce is friendly to a lot of plants, making it perfect for companion planting. This means that there are many types and species of plants that you can grow along with it.
Among them are pole beans, bush beans, carrot, radish, aromatic herbs, squash, melons, garlic, beets, tomatoes, and onions.
Can you attract beneficial insects through companion planting?
Yes. As a matter of fact, companion planting promises to attract beneficial insects that can support the proper and healthy growth of your crops and vegetables.
You can attract pollinators, such as ladybugs and bees, to your garden so they can help in pollinating your crops.
Can you plant cucumbers with lettuce?
Yes, cucumbers are among the most beneficial companion plants for lettuce. Cucumbers are great for your crops because they provide shade that serve as protection from full sunlight.
Just remember that cucumbers have the tendency to take up a lot of space, so make sure that they do not end up overshadowing your lettuce starts. This will ensure that both well continue to grow well in your garden.
Growing lettuce along with other fruits, crops, and vegetables in just one garden can contribute a lot in planting more in just minimal space. Fortunately, there are many lettuce companion plants, including radish, carrot, beans, and peas, among many others that are mentioned in this article.
With that, you will never run out of choices on the plants that you can grow well alongside lettuce and maximize the benefits of companion planting.