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20 Best Companion Plants for Kale

companion plants for kale
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / ilegalni

As either a new or experienced gardener, you may be wondering what the best companion plants for kale are. We'll show you the best vegetables, herbs, and flowering plants that you can use.

Companion plants are crops that are planted within close proximity to one another. In doing so, the two different plants provide a number of mutual benefits to each other. Some of these benefits can include:

  • Pest control
  • Encouraging beneficial insects and reducing the chances of infestation
  • Soil improvement
  • Improved levels of pollination
  • Increased crop productivity and growth, as well as potentially enhancing flavors
  • Additional support like weed control, erosion control, water, and shade retention, as well as structural support  

If you’re unsure where to start when creating your first vegetable garden, a good place to start is to grow vegetables in pots. Alternatively, you may prefer to start your companion planting journey through window sill or pot planting in one large pot, which may be more suitable if you live in an apartment or would prefer to grow indoors. If you are planting indoors in your apartment, you can start with these vegetables that are easy to grow in pots.

As well as planting in separate pots indoors, you also have the option of using one big pot. Doing so will allow you to have more freedom when experimenting with plant placement.    

Planting some herbs and vegetables together can help to improve the overall health of your garden, with many gardeners finding the method of companion planting useful. Companion planting also means that you won’t have to end up resorting to pesticides.

When planting your companion plants, you should plant them within two to three rows of each other, or even closer if you desire.

Why Are Some Companion Plants Better Than Others?

The right companion plants can attract pollinators.
The right companion plants can attract pollinators.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / MolnarSzabolcsErdely)

Some plants are better companion plants than others for the following reasons: 

  • Nutrients: Certain companion plants have a specific bacteria in their roots which helps to make the nitrogen in the soil more ‘readily available’ for your kale. A good example of this is peas.
  • Encourage Growth: Certain companion plants encourage the growth of your kale in other ways. For example, not competing for the same nutrients or providing shade. Kale only needs a few hours of sunlight per day.  
  • Insect Repellents: Some plants are better companion plants than others as their bright colors or strong smells confuse potential pests, helping to ward them away and stop them from inflicting further damage.
  • Requirements: Many of the companion plants for kale have the same requirements in terms of the amount of watering and sun that they need. 
  • Traps: Some plants offer a tastier alternative to kale, helping to ward off any potential pests.

Best Herbs as Companion Plants for Kale

Mint is one of the best companion plants for kale — and you can even use it in the kitchen, too.
Mint is one of the best companion plants for kale — and you can even use it in the kitchen, too.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / congerdesign)

Some herbs serve as better companion plants for kale than others. We’ve compiled a list to show you the best companion herbs for your kale to help you get the most out of your garden.

  1. Garlic
  2. Dill
  3. Mint
  4. Marigolds  
  5. Rosemary
  6. Sage
  7. Thyme
  8. Coriander

If you’d like, you can also practice companion planting with just herbs. This can help you figure out what works best for your garden.

Vegetables as Companion Plants

Many vegetables are great choices to plant next to kale.
Many vegetables are great choices to plant next to kale.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Thisabled)

When it comes to helping your kale flourish, there’s a wide variety of vegetables to choose from. Using these vegetables will hopefully help to improve the quality of your kale, as well as your overall garden. Here are some of the best companion plants for kale that we would recommend:

9. Artichokes: Peas and cabbage can also be useful to plant next to artichokes. 

10. Celery: The aromatic leaves of celery plants help to ward off pests. 

11. Cucumber: Helps to entice pollinators and helps to create a good growing environment.

12. Lettuce: This vegetable benefits from having mostly vegetables planted near it.

13. Onion: Onions can help to deter pests away from your plants.

14. Peas: These are good companion plants for kale because they increase the availability of nitrogen in the soil, which consequently helps the growth of other vegetables in the surrounding soil.  

15. Potatoes: Again, potatoes help to increase the availability of nitrogen in the soil.

16. Spinach: A good companion plant to help to fill up space near your kale. 

17. Radishes: Radishes help repel bad insects.  

Leeks and chives are also some of the best companion plants for kale, as the oils and strong scents they produce help discourage pests such as aphids.

Which Flowering Plants Are the Best Companion Plants for Kale?

Sweet Alyssum: A non-edible companion plant for kale.
Sweet Alyssum: A non-edible companion plant for kale.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Bluesnap)

Surprisingly, flowering plants can also be beneficial for your kale. Before you begin planting, it is important to consider the growing conditions that the flowers will need. 

For example, for your companion plants, choose flowering plants that need the same amount of sunlight and moisture. With that in mind, here are the best flowering plants to use with your kale:

18. Marigolds: Their strong scent attracts beneficial insects. However, if you have any pets it is important to keep in mind that marigolds can be mildly toxic to dogs when ingested, and can also cause irritation to their fur and skin. You also need to ensure that the soil is well-drained to help the marigolds thrive.  

19. Sweet Alyssum: These flowering plants are best planted in between rows of kale. If you’re looking for a pet-friendly alternative, then sweet alyssum is a good option as it is non-toxic for dogs and cats

20. Nasturtiums: These flowering plants help suppress and remove weeds. However, they can be slightly toxic for cats and dogs. 

Rather than planting entire rows of a plant around your kale, you should mix it up a little. This helps to reduce the spread of slugs and other pests, as well as reducing the risks of disease. 

    What Plants Should Not Be Planted With Kale?

    Some companion plants enable pests to spread more easily.
    Some companion plants enable pests to spread more easily.
    (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / jggrz)

    There are some plants that should not be planted with kale as they can enable pests to more easily jump from one plant to the next. The companion plants you should avoid planting with your kale include the following: 

    • Cauliflower 
    • Broccoli
    • Brussel Sprouts 
    • Kohlrabi 
    • Swiss Chard
    • Tomatoes    
    • Strawberries 
    • Cucumbers 

    Read more: 

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