Guide to Watermelon Companion Plants
Growing plants alongside each other in many different combinations can have plenty of benefits! If the plant you’re growing is a watermelon, you may be looking for a guide to watermelon companion plants.
Watermelon plants need sandy, loose soil with pH levels between 6.0 and 6.8, 8 hours of full sunlight, and a temperature of 65-95 degrees to produce excellent fruit. With these needs in mind, plants like marigolds, nasturtiums, and radishes make suitable companion plants for watermelons.
Updated: August 28, 2023.
In this article, we’ll go over the proper growing conditions for watermelon, then list a few great companion plants for watermelon based on the benefits companion plants can provide!
What Are the Proper Growing Conditions For Watermelon?
Looking to get the most out of your watermelon plant? Companion plants are an important step in this process, but first, you should make sure your watermelon has everything it needs in its natural growing conditions. These are listed below:
Soil – Watermelon crops are the healthiest when the soil they are grown on is sandy and loam-based. This loose texture allows the roots of the watermelon plant to get enough air and circulation to avoid rot due to moisture or an excessively warm temperature.
pH Levels – Watermelon plants need some acidic content in their soil, which is measured by the pH levels of the soil mixture. These should be a balance no lower than 6.0 and no higher than 6.8. This way, a watermelon’s fruit will be the sweetest and juiciest it can be!
Sunlight – Almost all plants need sunlight, but watermelon plants particularly thrive on it! In fact, watermelon should be given at least 8 full and complete hours of sunlight that is unobstructed by shade every day. Without sunlight, you’ll find yourself in possession of watermelon leaves and vines but no flowers and certainly no fruit.
Nutrients – One of the main nutrients that a watermelon plant will need is nitrogen, especially when first growing. However, once the plant is old enough to flower, it is important to make sure it gets more potassium and phosphorus in its fertilizer to produce the best melons.
Temperature – When a watermelon plant is growing, it must be kept at a warm temperature not only above ground but in the soil content of the plant, too. The ideal temperature for a watermelon plant is 65 degrees at the lowest and 95 degrees Fahrenheit at the highest. Anything outside this range will stunt the growth of the plant.
Water – Because the soil of a watermelon plant is best kept wet, and the plant itself needs enough water to produce juicy melon fruits, the best amount of water to give your crop is around 1 or 2 inches of water a week.
With the correct growing conditions for your watermelon, nothing should stop the plant from becoming healthy and fruit-producing to your satisfaction! Still, companion plants, as discussed below, can also be very beneficial.
Best Watermelon Companion Plants
Now that we know what a watermelon plant needs to grow properly, we can assess which plants they can benefit from as neighbors in your garden or farm!
Here is a list of some of the most popular companion plants for watermelons:
Let’s take a closer look at each of these companion plants and see how they can benefit the watermelons you’re growing.
One of the superheroes of companion plants, marigolds, come in a large variety of species and colors. They may be beautiful and smell great to us gardeners and farmers, but did you know that marigolds are incredibly stinky and unpleasant to most harmful pests?
It is true! Marigolds are like kryptonite to bugs that would love to ruin your watermelon crop, including, but not limited to, cucumber beetles, whiteflies, and the dreaded aphids!
The best way to plant a marigold is as if it were a fence bordering your watermelon crop and keeping the nasty bugs out; don’t plant them right on top of or in the same pot as your watermelon plant.
Bush Beans and Peas
Bush beans and peas are similar to watermelons in that they love lots of wholesome sunshine, soil that is well-drained, and soil within a very similar pH level range to watermelon soil. This makes them an ideal companion to share space with watermelon crops!
Not only that but bush beans and peas help in affixing atmospheric nitrogen into the watermelon plant’s soil. Get ready for a wonderful surprise: your watermelon plant can be fertilized naturally with bush beans as its companion!
It is important to note, however, that if you plan on planting alliums, another companion plant, to watermelons, you should not also plant bush beans and peas nearby. This is because alliums actually harm the growth of the legumes that bush beans produce.
Also note that beans and peas should not create a shadow for watermelons, which require full sun for best growth, except perhaps during the hottest summer days.
Hint: Planting corn and beans together next to watermelons provides natural support for beans.
Nasturtium is an absolutely gorgeous flower! It is not only fabulously easy to cultivate in a garden but smells peppery and delightful. It is important not to plant nasturtiums with watermelon directly but a little further away from the crop.
This is because the most beneficial thing about nasturtiums in regards to how they help your watermelon plants is that they actually attract aphids. The idea is that the aphid pests will be so busy enjoying the smell of the nasturtiums that they won’t bother feeding on your watermelon plants.
Finally, watermelons have many great things going for them, but attracting pollinators is not one of those great things. Having a nasturtium or two around the watermelon plot will do a much better job of drawing pollinating insects toward your garden.
Radishes are a diverse, easily-grown, and quick-maturing plant that make great companions to most plants, and watermelons are no exception! One of the main things that a radish contributes to the health of your fruit plants is covering the ground and suppressing weeds.
Radishes also contribute the same useful function to the garden as nasturtiums, though they may not be considered as pretty as the bright flowers: radishes attract aphids, redirecting the pest’s attention.
This may sound a little risky, inviting aphids near your garden at all, but not to worry! Radishes also bring lacewings and ladybugs around, who eat aphids, so it is truly another win-win as a companion plant.
Alliums are useful to plant in any large garden. Not only are they great companions to watermelons because their canopy of leaves will not overshadow the sunshine-needing watermelons, but they repel aphids, too.
One thing sets alliums apart from the previous companion plants listed, which also repel pests, and that is this simple fact: alliums can also repel bigger predators. Deer and rats would be more than happy to sink their teeth into your garden, but once they catch a whiff of alliums, they’ll be much less likely to cause your crops trouble.
Remember, though, as previously stated, alliums should not be grown with the highly beneficial bean plants. Though they can offer watermelon plants great benefits when planted separately, alliums and beans tend to sabotage one another when planted together.
Lettuce is useful to plant with a watermelon because not only is it a diverse crop that benefits from some of the same growth conditions, like soil levels and sunlight, but it is also a short crop. This means that, although it has wide leaves, it will not create too much shade over watermelon vines and deprive them of too much sunlight.
Lettuce is best used as a companion to watermelon by interplanting. This means that you can plant lettuce, deter weeds during the watermelon’s development, and then harvest the plant in time to make room for the watermelon’s flowering maturity.
Corn and watermelon, when grown together, can create a mutually beneficial relationship in the garden, making corn a good companion plant for watermelon for several reasons:
- Shade and Sunlight Balance: Corn grows vertically, reaching significant heights. As it does so, it provides dappled shade for watermelons, especially during the hottest parts of the day. This shade can be particularly beneficial in preventing sunburn on the watermelon fruit and in ensuring that the plant doesn’t suffer from excessive heat. Watermelon plants, in contrast, are low-growing with a sprawling habit, meaning they won't interfere with corn's sunlight needs.
- Space Utilization: Corn, with its tall and relatively narrow growth, utilizes vertical space in the garden. Watermelon, being a vining plant, spreads horizontally across the ground. When these two are grown together, they maximize the utilization of both vertical and horizontal spaces, ensuring that neither plant crowds the other out.
- Living Mulch: The broad leaves and sprawling nature of watermelon can serve as a kind of living mulch for corn. This means that the watermelon vines can help suppress weed growth, which would otherwise compete with corn for nutrients and water. The shade provided by watermelon leaves can also help retain soil moisture, benefiting both plants.
- Pest Deterrence: While not a guaranteed method, companion planting often leverages the diverse range of scents and physical structures of different plants to deter pests. Growing corn alongside watermelon can potentially reduce the chances of certain pests favoring one plant type and overrunning it. The diversity of plants can interrupt the feeding patterns of some pests.
- Improved Soil Structure: The deep roots of corn can help in breaking up compacted soil, allowing for better water and air penetration. This can benefit the watermelon, which has more shallow roots. Good soil aeration promotes healthy root development, which is essential for watermelons to produce large, juicy fruits. Corns are often combined with beans, providing them with support, while beans fix additional nitrogen in the soil.
Corn as a companion plant for watermelon not only makes efficient use of garden space but can also offer protection, improved growing conditions, and potential pest deterrence.
However, gardeners should ensure that both plants receive adequate water and nutrients, as both corn and watermelon can be heavy feeders. Proper spacing and monitoring will ensure that both thrive together.
Sunflowers and watermelons, when cultivated together, can form a harmonious relationship that benefits both crops.
This compatibility underscores why sunflowers are considered effective companion plants for watermelons:
- Shade and Temperature Regulation: The broad leaves of the sunflower can provide essential shade for watermelons during scorching summer days. By offering intermittent shade, sunflowers help in protecting watermelon leaves and fruits from the extreme midday sun, preventing sunburn and excessive heat exposure. This shade can also assist in maintaining a cooler and more consistent soil temperature, which is beneficial for watermelon growth.
- Pest Deterrence: Sunflowers are known to attract a variety of beneficial insects, like ladybugs and predatory wasps, which prey on common pests. By bringing these beneficial insects into the garden, there's a better chance of keeping pest populations in check. Furthermore, sunflowers can act as a trap crop for certain pests, diverting them away from more vulnerable plants like watermelon.
- Improved Soil Health: Sunflowers have deep root systems that can break up hard and compacted soils. This action aids in improving soil structure, which in turn benefits watermelons by promoting better root penetration, water drainage, and aeration.
- Pollinator Attraction: Sunflowers are magnet plants for bees and other pollinators. Their bright, large flowers are easily accessible nectar sources. By drawing in a higher number of pollinators, the chances of effective pollination for watermelons and other plants in the vicinity increase, leading to better fruit set and yield.
The cultivation of sunflowers alongside watermelons can lead to enhanced growing conditions, reduced pest problems, and efficient use of garden space.
However, care should be taken to ensure that sunflowers, which can be heavy feeders, don't excessively compete with watermelons for nutrients.
Regular fertilization and soil checks can help maintain a balance beneficial to both plants.
Oregano, though often celebrated for its culinary contributions, offers a multitude of benefits in the garden, particularly when grown in tandem with crops like watermelon.
Its compatibility with watermelon makes it an interesting and effective choice as a companion plant for several reasons:
- Pest Deterrence: One of the primary reasons gardeners value oregano as a companion plant is due to its potent scent. This aroma can deter various pests and insects that might otherwise be attracted to watermelon plants. By masking the smell of watermelon or confusing pests with its strong aroma, oregano acts as a natural repellent.
- Beneficial Insect Attraction: While oregano might deter some pests, its flowers are known to attract beneficial insects, particularly pollinators and predatory insects. Hoverflies, parasitic wasps, and ladybugs are just a few beneficial insects that oregano can draw into the garden. These insects can help in pollinating the watermelon flowers and controlling pest populations, ensuring a healthier crop.
- Ground Cover: Oregano, being a low-growing herb, can act as a living mulch, covering the soil around watermelon plants. This can help suppress the growth of weeds that might compete for nutrients and water. Additionally, it aids in conserving soil moisture and regulating soil temperature, ensuring a more consistent environment for watermelon growth.
- Improved Soil Health: Oregano is relatively undemanding and can thrive in various soil conditions. Its root system can help maintain soil structure and prevent erosion, especially in regions prone to heavy rains or winds.
- Disease Prevention: Some studies suggest that certain aromatic herbs, including oregano, might have antifungal properties. While this doesn't mean they can completely prevent plant diseases, the presence of such herbs might reduce the prevalence of certain fungal pathogens in the garden.
Integrating oregano into a watermelon patch can serve multiple purposes, from pest deterrence to promoting an overall healthier garden ecosystem.
It's a low-maintenance herb that, besides its companion planting benefits, provides fresh flavoring for culinary dishes, making it a valuable addition to any garden.
Dill, with its feathery leaves and distinctive aroma, is more than just a culinary herb; it's also a valuable companion plant in the garden.
When grown alongside watermelon, dill can offer several advantages that enhance the growth environment and protect the sprawling melon vines:
- Attracting Beneficial Insects: Dill is renowned for its ability to attract a host of beneficial insects. Its small yellow flowers are magnets for pollinators like bees and butterflies, which can help ensure effective pollination of watermelon flowers, leading to a good fruit set. Moreover, dill attracts predatory insects like ladybugs, parasitic wasps, and lacewings, which are natural enemies of various garden pests. By drawing these beneficial creatures, dill can help in keeping harmful pest populations under control.
- Pest Deterrence: The potent scent of dill can act as a deterrent for certain pests. This aromatic herb can mask the appealing scent of watermelon plants, making it more challenging for pests to locate their preferred host. By confusing or repelling pests with its aroma, dill can offer a level of protection to neighboring plants.
- Complementary Growth Habits: Dill tends to grow vertically with a relatively small footprint, while watermelons are sprawling vines that spread horizontally. This means that both plants can coexist without significantly competing for space, allowing gardeners to make the most of both vertical and horizontal garden space.
- Soil Health: Dill, being a deep-rooted plant, can help improve soil structure by breaking up compacted layers. This can be beneficial for watermelon, which prefers well-draining soil. The presence of dill can promote better water infiltration and root penetration for watermelon plants.
- Cultural and Historical Significance: In some traditional farming systems, dill has been cultivated alongside melons, not just for its direct companion planting benefits but also for its culinary and medicinal properties. The two have coexisted in gardens for centuries, reflecting a harmonious relationship both in the soil and on the table.
Dill serves as an excellent companion for watermelon by providing a protective and enriching environment.
It's a testament to the beauty of companion planting, where diverse plants come together to create a balanced and thriving ecosystem.
Mint, a fragrant and fast-spreading herb, has found its place in many gardens not just for its culinary uses, but also for its attributes as a companion plant.
When paired with watermelon, mint offers several synergistic benefits that can enhance the overall health and productivity of the garden:
- Natural Pest Repellent: Mint is famed for its strong aroma, which can act as a deterrent against many garden pests, such as aphids, whiteflies, and even some types of beetles. When mint is planted nearby, its scent can mask the attractive smell of watermelon plants, thus reducing the likelihood of these pests targeting the melons.
- Attracting Beneficial Insects: While certain pests may be repelled by mint's fragrance, many beneficial insects are attracted to it. Mint flowers are a food source for various pollinators like bees and butterflies. By attracting these pollinators, mint can indirectly assist in the better pollination of watermelon flowers, promoting fruit set and yield.
- Ground Cover: Mint, being a vigorous grower, can spread rapidly and cover the ground effectively. This natural ground cover can suppress weed growth by outcompeting unwanted plants, ensuring that watermelon plants have less competition for water and nutrients. Additionally, the ground cover can help retain soil moisture, benefiting the water-intensive growth needs of watermelon.
- Improved Garden Biodiversity: Introducing mint to a watermelon patch can enhance the garden's biodiversity. A diverse garden often equates to a healthier garden, as it can break pest cycles and create a more resilient ecosystem.
- Culinary Companionship: Beyond the garden, watermelon and mint also complement each other in the kitchen. Many dishes and beverages combine the refreshing taste of watermelon with the cool flavor of mint, adding a culinary dimension to their garden partnership.
However, it's worth noting that while mint offers several benefits as a companion plant, gardeners should be aware of its invasive nature. It can spread quickly and might become problematic if not contained.
Using methods such as planting mint in buried containers or regularly trimming its runners can help manage its growth and ensure that it remains a beneficial, rather than disruptive, companion to watermelon.
Garlic, a beloved culinary staple, is more than just a flavorful addition to dishes.
Its characteristics as a companion plant have been recognized by gardeners for its multifaceted benefits. When garlic is planted in proximity to watermelon, several advantageous interactions can occur:
- Pest Deterrence: Garlic emits a strong aroma that can deter various garden pests. This scent can act as a natural repellent against pests like aphids, spider mites, and even some larger pests like deer. As a result, watermelon plants, which may be susceptible to certain pests, benefit from this aromatic shield that garlic provides.
- Fungal Disease Prevention: Garlic possesses natural fungicidal properties, and its extracts have sometimes been used as organic treatments against fungal infections. By planting garlic nearby, there might be a reduced prevalence of certain fungal diseases in the surrounding area, helping to protect watermelon plants from potential infections.
- Soil Improvement: Garlic, as it grows, has the potential to deter harmful nematodes in the soil, which can affect various plants, including watermelons. Its root exudates might be responsible for this suppression, thereby improving the soil health and creating a more conducive environment for watermelon growth.
- Pollinator Attraction: While garlic is primarily grown for its bulbs, allowing a few plants to flower can attract beneficial pollinators. The spherical, intricate flowers of garlic can lure in bees, which might then also pollinate neighboring watermelon flowers, ensuring a better fruit set.
- Intercropping Benefits: Cultivating garlic, which grows upright and occupies minimal horizontal space, with sprawling watermelon vines can be an efficient use of garden space. This combination ensures that the garden isn't overly crowded and that both plants have ample room to thrive without significant competition.
Garlic, with its strong aromatic properties and natural ability to deter pests and diseases, makes for an effective companion to watermelon.
Its low-profile growth habit also ensures that the watermelon vines have enough space to spread out. However, as with all companion planting strategies, it's essential to monitor the plants' health and ensure that they are receiving adequate water, nutrients, and care.
Catnip, renowned for its intoxicating effects on felines, has attributes that extend far beyond the amusement of pet owners.
As a companion plant, catnip brings a set of advantages to the garden, especially when grown alongside watermelon:
- Natural Pest Repellent: Catnip is notably effective at repelling a variety of garden pests. The plant contains a compound called nepetalactone, which is not only the source of its allure for cats but also acts as a repellent for various insects. Pests such as aphids, squash bugs, and even more voracious ones like the Colorado potato beetle can be deterred by catnip. By planting catnip near watermelons, these pests may be less likely to infest and harm the melon plants.
- Beneficial Insect Attraction: While catnip repels many pests, its small lavender-colored flowers can attract beneficial insects. Pollinators, including bees and butterflies, can be lured in by catnip blooms, helping to ensure effective pollination for nearby watermelon flowers. Additionally, predatory insects that feed on pests might also be drawn to the garden by catnip.
- Disease Prevention: The aromatic properties of catnip may play a role in preventing or reducing the occurrence of certain fungal diseases in the garden. A garden rich in diverse scents and aromas can disrupt the ability of fungal spores to locate their preferred hosts, offering some level of protection to plants like watermelon.
- Versatility and Growth Habit: Catnip, being a perennial herb, establishes itself quickly and returns year after year. It can act as a form of ground cover, suppressing weeds and conserving soil moisture – both of which can benefit watermelon growth. Furthermore, its growth pattern doesn't compete excessively with the sprawling nature of watermelon vines.
- Garden Aesthetics and Diversity: Introducing catnip to a watermelon patch not only adds a layer of protection but also enhances the garden's visual appeal and biodiversity. A diverse garden often translates to a healthier ecosystem, with various plants playing roles in maintaining balance.
Catnip offers multifaceted benefits as a watermelon companion. From pest deterrence to attracting beneficial insects and promoting a balanced garden ecosystem, its presence can be instrumental in nurturing healthier, more productive watermelon plants.
Onions, with their pungent aroma and layered bulbs, have been cultivated for millennia not just for their culinary value but also for their beneficial attributes in the garden.
When onions are grown alongside watermelon, a series of synergistic interactions can optimize the health and yield of both crops:
- Pest Deterrence: The potent scent of onion plants can serve as a natural deterrent against various pests. Insects that rely on scent to locate their host plants can be confused or repelled by the strong aroma of onions. This masking effect can protect watermelon plants from pests that might otherwise be attracted to them, such as certain beetles or aphids.
- Disease Prevention: Onions have natural antifungal properties, which can help in reducing the prevalence of certain soil-borne fungal diseases in the garden. By planting onions interspersed with watermelon, there is the potential to create a less hospitable environment for these pathogens, safeguarding the health of the watermelon vines.
- Efficient Use of Space: Onions grow upright and have a relatively compact growth pattern, whereas watermelon plants spread out horizontally as they grow. This complementary growth habit allows for efficient utilization of garden space, with onions occupying the vertical space and watermelons covering the ground.
- Soil Health and Structure: Onion roots can help in improving soil structure, allowing for better water infiltration and aeration. This can be beneficial for watermelon plants, which thrive in well-draining soils.
- Cultural Practices: Historically, many farming traditions have embraced the practice of intercropping or companion planting. Onions have been a popular choice in these systems due to their broad-spectrum repellent qualities. The pairing of onions with crops like watermelon is a reflection of the age-old wisdom that recognizes the protective aura onions can provide to neighboring plants.
Onions can serve as vigilant sentinels in a watermelon patch, offering a protective barrier against potential pests and diseases. Their non-competing growth patterns and the improved garden ecosystem they foster make them valuable companions for watermelon, ensuring both crops have the best chance to flourish.
Cabbage, along with its close relatives like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, belongs to the Brassicaceae family.
These cruciferous vegetables are not only nutritionally valuable but also have specific qualities that can make them good companions for watermelons in the garden. Here's why:
- Pest Diversification: Cruciferous plants, including cabbage, attract a different set of pests than watermelons. By planting them together, you create a diversified pest environment, which can prevent a massive infestation of any one pest type. For instance, while cabbage might attract pests like the cabbage worm, these pests are not typically interested in watermelons. This diversification can help break pest cycles and reduce the overall pest population in the garden.
- Ground Cover and Microclimate: Cabbage and its relatives have broad leaves that provide shade to the soil below. This natural ground cover can help in retaining soil moisture, reducing the rate of evaporation and benefitting watermelons, which thrive in consistently moist soil. Additionally, the shade from these leaves can create a cooler microclimate during extremely hot days, offering some protection to watermelon plants.
- Efficient Space Utilization: While watermelons grow horizontally, spreading out their vines, cabbage and its kin have a more compact and vertical growth pattern. This complementary growth habit ensures efficient use of garden space, preventing excessive competition for nutrients and water.
- Soil Health: Brassicas, including cabbage, have deep roots that can penetrate compacted soil layers. This action can help in improving soil structure and aeration. Better soil structure will, in turn, benefit the watermelon's expansive root system, ensuring a healthier growth environment.
- Biodiversity and Resilience: Introducing diverse plant species to a garden invariably leads to a more robust and resilient ecosystem. This diversity can deter the proliferation of specific pests or diseases and promote a balanced, healthier garden environment.
While cabbage and watermelon might seem like an unlikely pairing at first glance, their combined presence in the garden can be beneficial. Through efficient space utilization, diversification of pests, improved soil health, and a more balanced ecosystem, cabbage and its relatives can enhance the overall well-being and productivity of a watermelon patch.
Basil, with its delightful aroma and versatile culinary uses, also plays a pivotal role in the realm of companion planting.
When basil is situated alongside watermelon in the garden, the duo can engage in mutualistic interactions that bolster their health and productivity:
- Natural Pest Deterrence: One of basil's most notable features is its strong fragrance, which can act as a repellent against various pests. Aphids, mosquitoes, and certain beetles are known to be deterred by basil's aroma. Planting basil nearby can, therefore, help protect watermelon plants from these pests. The scent of basil can mask the appealing smell of watermelon plants, making it harder for pests to locate their desired host.
- Attracting Beneficial Insects: While basil might repel certain pests, it's an attractive plant for many beneficial insects. The flowers of basil can lure pollinators like bees and butterflies. Their presence ensures better pollination for the watermelon flowers, increasing the likelihood of a healthy fruit yield. Additionally, certain predatory insects that feed on harmful pests might also be attracted to a garden containing basil.
- Anti-Fungal Properties: Basil possesses certain compounds that exhibit anti-fungal characteristics. Planting it alongside watermelons can potentially reduce the risk of fungal infections in the area, offering a layer of protection to the sprawling watermelon vines.
- Complementary Growth: Watermelon plants spread out and occupy a significant ground area, while basil grows upright, occupying minimal horizontal space. This growth compatibility ensures that neither plant overshadows or outcompetes the other, allowing both to thrive simultaneously.
- Enhanced Garden Aesthetics and Biodiversity: Introducing basil to a watermelon patch adds not only an aromatic appeal but also a touch of color, especially when basil blooms. The varied green shades of both plants and the contrasting shapes of their leaves make for a visually appealing garden patch. Moreover, diverse plantings often lead to a healthier ecosystem by interrupting pest cycles and promoting balanced growth.
In essence, basil acts as both a protector and enhancer when grown alongside watermelons. Its aromatic presence deters pests, its blooms attract pollinators, and its growth habit complements that of watermelon, ensuring that the garden is not just productive but also harmoniously balanced.
Poppies as companion plants for watermelons offer a range of benefits, including:
- Pest Deterrence: Poppies can act as a deterrent for certain pests that might otherwise target watermelon plants. Some pests are repelled by the fragrance and texture of poppy plants. By interspersing poppies with watermelon plants, gardeners can reduce the concentration of pests in one area, and thus minimize the damage to the watermelons.
- Attracting Beneficial Insects: Poppies are known to attract beneficial insects like bees and hoverflies, which play a crucial role in pollination. A higher pollination rate can result in a better fruit set and a more productive watermelon patch. Moreover, some of these beneficial insects are predators to harmful pests, acting as a natural form of pest control.
- Soil Health and Moisture Retention: Poppies have a root system that can help improve soil structure over time. This network of roots can assist in maintaining soil porosity, ensuring that water infiltrates more evenly and efficiently. This is beneficial for watermelon plants, which require consistent moisture levels, especially during the fruiting stage.
- Biodiversity: Introducing poppies alongside watermelons increases the diversity in the garden. Biodiversity often means a healthier ecosystem, as it can create a balance that makes it harder for any single pest or disease to dominate.
- Aesthetic and Functional Appeal: Beyond the technical advantages, poppies provide aesthetic appeal with their vibrant flowers, which can make the garden more visually attractive. Their bright flowers can also act as a marker, signaling where watermelon plants are located in a large garden.
Poppies and watermelons can coexist harmoniously in a garden setting, offering both functional and aesthetic benefits. Gardeners should, however, always observe the specific needs of each plant, ensuring that they are provided with the necessary space, nutrients, and care.
Using sage as a companion plant for watermelons has several advantages, including:
- Pest Deterrence: One of the most significant advantages of planting sage alongside watermelons is its ability to repel pests. Sage emits a strong aroma which many garden pests, such as cucumber beetles and whiteflies, find undesirable. These pests can transmit diseases to watermelon plants or directly damage the fruits and foliage. By keeping these pests at bay, sage helps in safeguarding the watermelons.
- Enhanced Growth Environment: The aroma emitted by sage not only deters pests but can also mask the scent of watermelon plants. This olfactory camouflage can be an added protection, making it harder for pests to locate their desired plants.
- Attracting Beneficial Insects: While sage repels several unwanted pests, it also attracts beneficial insects. Beneficial predators like ladybugs and hoverflies are drawn to sage and can keep pest populations under control. These beneficial insects can prey on aphids and other pests, providing a natural form of pest control.
- Soil Health: Sage is a hardy plant that can grow in various conditions. Its root system can aid in maintaining good soil structure, ensuring that water and nutrients are distributed more evenly. This can be beneficial for watermelon plants, which thrive in well-draining soil conditions.
- Biodiversity Benefits: Including sage in a garden with watermelons increases biodiversity. A diverse garden ecosystem often results in a healthier environment since it's harder for diseases and pests to take over when there's a balance of different plants and insects present.
- Aesthetic Value: Besides the functional benefits, sage, with its silvery-green leaves and attractive flowers, provides a contrasting aesthetic to the broad, green leaves of watermelon plants. This contrast can make a garden space visually appealing.
Planting sage alongside watermelons offers both protective and aesthetic benefits. The aromatic properties of sage play a pivotal role in shielding watermelon plants from potential pests, while also adding visual diversity to the garden.
As always, it's essential for gardeners to consider the specific needs and preferences of each plant to ensure optimal growth conditions.
Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) is an herbaceous perennial plant with bright yellow flowers and aromatic, fern-like foliage.
When used as a companion plant for watermelons, it offers several advantages:
- Natural Pest Repellent: Tansy is particularly noted for its ability to repel a range of pests. Ants, cucumber beetles, and various types of flying insects tend to avoid areas where tansy grows. This is especially beneficial for watermelon plants, which can be susceptible to damage from these pests. Keeping these pests at bay can reduce the risk of them transmitting diseases or directly damaging the watermelon plants and fruits.
- Attracting Beneficial Insects: While tansy can repel certain pests, it also attracts beneficial insects. Predatory insects, such as ladybugs and lacewings, are drawn to tansy. These beneficial insects can prey on harmful pests, like aphids, providing a natural form of pest control in the garden.
- Disease Prevention: Tansy has been observed to have anti-fungal properties. By planting tansy near watermelons, there's a possibility of reducing the prevalence of certain fungal diseases, ensuring healthier growth of the watermelon vines.
- Biodiversity and Ecosystem Balance: Introducing tansy alongside watermelons contributes to increased biodiversity in the garden. A varied ecosystem often leads to a healthier environment, as it creates a balance, making it challenging for a single pest or disease to dominate.
- Aesthetic Appeal: Beyond the functional benefits, tansy, with its clusters of golden-yellow button-like flowers, can add a splash of color to the garden, complementing the sprawling green of watermelon plants.
However, while tansy can be beneficial as a companion plant, it's essential to approach its use with caution.
Tansy can be invasive in some areas, spreading rapidly and potentially crowding out other plants.
Additionally, all parts of the tansy plant are toxic when ingested, so it should be planted in areas away from pets and children.
Tansy can serve as a useful companion plant for watermelons, offering protection against pests and diseases while enhancing the garden's visual appeal.
However, its growth should be managed to prevent it from becoming invasive, and its toxic nature should be kept in mind.
Using parsley as a companion plant for watermelons can be beneficial in several ways, including:
- Beneficial Insect Attraction: Parsley, when allowed to flower, attracts beneficial insects like hoverflies and predatory wasps. The larvae of hoverflies are voracious consumers of aphids, which can be pests to many garden plants, including watermelons. By drawing these beneficial insects into the garden, parsley indirectly aids in keeping detrimental pest populations in check.
- Natural Pest Deterrent: The aromatic nature of parsley can help in deterring certain pests. In some cases, strong-smelling herbs, like parsley, can mask the scent of plants that pests are drawn to, making it harder for them to locate their target. This can act as an olfactory camouflage for the watermelon plants, protecting them from potential threats.
- Soil Health: Parsley has a fine, intricate root system that can help in preventing soil compaction. This can be beneficial for watermelon plants, which require well-draining soils to thrive. Moreover, as parsley decomposes, it can add essential nutrients back into the soil, benefiting the watermelons growing alongside.
- Biodiversity Enhancement: Incorporating parsley with watermelons boosts garden biodiversity. A diverse garden often fosters a balanced ecosystem, making it less susceptible to massive outbreaks of diseases or pests. The combination of varied plant species can lead to a more resilient garden environment.
- Aesthetic and Culinary Benefits: Parsley's vibrant green foliage provides a contrasting aesthetic to the broad leaves of watermelon vines, enhancing the garden's visual appeal. Additionally, parsley is a popular culinary herb, which means you're not just growing it for the benefits it brings to watermelons but also for its flavorful addition to various dishes.
Parsley, with its ability to attract beneficial insects and deter pests, can serve as a valuable companion to watermelons. Its contributions to soil health, garden biodiversity, and culinary uses make it a multifunctional addition to any garden where watermelons are grown.
Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus) are flowering plants known for their unique, dragon-shaped blossoms that come in a variety of vibrant colors.
While they're often chosen for ornamental purposes, when used as companion plants for watermelons, they can offer several advantages:
- Natural Pest Deterrent: Snapdragons can serve as a trap crop, especially for aphids. Aphids are attracted to snapdragons, which can divert them away from more valuable crops like watermelons. By concentrating the aphids on the snapdragons, it becomes easier to manage and control these pests, reducing the risk they pose to watermelon plants.
- Beneficial Predator Attraction: While snapdragons attract aphids, they also become a hotspot for beneficial predators such as ladybugs and lacewings. These insects feed on aphids, and having a concentrated source of food (thanks to the aphid-attracting snapdragons) can increase their presence in your garden. This natural predation can help maintain a balanced ecosystem and reduce harmful pest populations.
- Pollinator Attraction: Snapdragons are known to attract various pollinators, including bees and butterflies. Their bright and fragrant flowers act as a magnet. Ensuring a steady flow of pollinators in the garden can indirectly benefit the watermelon plants, as these melons also require pollination for fruit set.
- Biodiversity and Ecosystem Benefits: Introducing snapdragons to a watermelon patch increases plant diversity. A diverse garden often leads to a more balanced and robust ecosystem, making it harder for any single pest or disease to dominate. The varied plant life can contribute to healthier soil and a more resilient garden environment.
- Aesthetic Appeal: Beyond the functional advantages, the addition of snapdragons provides a burst of color and visual interest, complementing the sprawling green of watermelon plants. This can make the garden space more enjoyable and visually pleasing.
While snapdragons are primarily grown for their ornamental value, they also offer functional benefits when planted alongside watermelons.
Their ability to attract both pests and their predators can lead to a natural balance, ensuring that watermelons remain relatively unharmed. Plus, their vibrant presence adds an aesthetic touch to the garden.
Dwarf Bee Balm
Dwarf bee balm (Monarda), with its aromatic leaves and striking flowers, is a member of the mint family and is known for attracting a plethora of pollinators.
When used as a companion plant for watermelons, it brings several benefits:
- Pollinator Magnet: One of the standout features of dwarf bee balm is its ability to attract pollinators, especially bees and butterflies. Watermelons require pollinators for successful fruit development. By planting dwarf bee balm nearby, the increased traffic of bees can lead to more effective pollination of watermelon flowers, ensuring a better fruit yield.
- Natural Pest Repellent: Like many aromatic herbs, dwarf bee balm can act as a deterrent to certain pests. The strong scent from the plant may mask the attractive scents of the watermelon plants, making it harder for pests to locate them. This olfactory camouflage can provide a protective shield for the watermelons.
- Beneficial Insects: Beyond bees and butterflies, dwarf bee balm can attract other beneficial insects that act as predators to harmful garden pests. For instance, hoverflies, which are drawn to bee balm, have larvae that feed on aphids and other soft-bodied pests. By attracting these beneficial predators, the plant aids in naturally keeping pest populations under control.
- Soil Enrichment: Dwarf bee balm, like other members of the mint family, has a root system that can help improve the soil structure over time. This root structure can assist in ensuring consistent moisture levels and better aeration, conditions that are conducive to watermelon growth.
- Aesthetic Value: The vibrant flowers of dwarf bee balm can provide a splash of color in a garden predominantly green from watermelon vines. The visual appeal can be a boon for gardeners looking to elevate the aesthetic of their space.
Obviously, dwarf bee balm offers multifaceted benefits as a companion to watermelons. Also, its ornamental beauty can enhance the overall appeal of the garden.
Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) is a popular herb known for its fresh, tangy flavor used in a variety of dishes.
Apart from its culinary appeal, cilantro offers a host of benefits when used as a companion plant for watermelons:
- Pest Deterrence: Cilantro emits a strong aroma that is not favored by certain pests, making it a natural repellent. Pests like spider mites and aphids, which can be problematic for watermelon plants, are often deterred by the scent of cilantro. By interplanting cilantro with watermelons, it helps reduce the likelihood of these pests settling in the garden.
- Attracting Beneficial Insects: While cilantro can repel harmful pests, it is also adept at attracting beneficial insects. When cilantro goes to seed (also known as bolting) and produces flowers, it draws in a range of beneficial insects like ladybugs, lacewings, and parasitic wasps. These predators help in naturally controlling pest populations.
- Enhanced Pollination: In addition to predatory insects, cilantro flowers are known to attract pollinators such as bees. Increased bee activity around watermelon plants can boost the rate of pollination, leading to a more consistent and fruitful harvest.
- Improved Soil Health: Cilantro, with its relatively deep root system, can help in breaking up compacted soil. This assists in better aeration and water penetration, both of which are beneficial for the root systems of watermelon plants, allowing them to access nutrients and moisture more efficiently.
- Biodiversity and Balance: Incorporating cilantro with watermelons increases plant diversity in the garden. A more diverse garden often equates to a more balanced and resilient ecosystem. When a range of plants is present, it becomes harder for any single pest or disease to dominate and cause significant damage.
- Culinary Benefits: Beyond the gardening advantages, having cilantro nearby means fresh herbs are always on hand. Cilantro can be used in various dishes, complementing the refreshing taste of watermelon in summer salads or salsas.
Cilantro offers a combination of protective and beneficial properties that make it an excellent companion for watermelon plants.
Its dual ability to deter pests and attract beneficial insects, along with its contributions to soil health and pollination, renders it a valuable ally in the garden. Plus, its culinary utility is an added bonus for any gardener-chef.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some questions that are frequently asked about watermelon companion plants, the answers to which you may find helpful!
What should you not plant next to the watermelon?
The worst things you could plant next to your watermelon crop are similar plants like squash, cucumbers, or even potatoes. This is because the same types of pests tend to enjoy all four of these plants.
If you plant them all near one another, it will simply wind up being a buffet to pests like aphids, spider mites, and the like!
Can watermelons be planted next to tomatoes?
Watermelons and tomatoes share many of the same needs in terms of growth conditions, such as nutrients, sunlight, temperature, and even water.
Therefore, it can be tempting to plant these crops near to one another, whether because your plot of land is limited in space or because it makes caring for them more convenient.
However, although tomatoes can be planted next to watermelons, two concerns to watch out for are the pests that may enjoy having tomato food and watermelon food so conveniently close to one another, as well as the fact that both tomatoes and watermelons need lots of space to grow properly. Make sure they aren’t crowding one another out!
What happens if you plant watermelons too close together?
Your watermelons need enough room to spread their large leaves and photosynthesize; without this room, watermelon plants tend to crowd each other out in a competition to get the most sunlight and water.
This can lead to watermelon plants failing to grow or even produce fruit.
What cross-pollinates with a watermelon?
Watermelons are part of the Citrullus lanatus family, meaning they can cross-pollinate with other plants in the same family. Watermelon plants cannot cross-pollinate with cantaloupes or honeydew fruits, no matter how similar they may seem.
What happens if you plant a cucumber next to a watermelon?
When a cucumber plant is planted too close to a watermelon plant, you’ll be in danger of an increased amount of pests.
This is because cucumbers are close in plant-family terms to watermelon. This means that their vines won’t intertwine, but they will be a tempting meal to the same types of bugs.
Also, because they are in the same family, sometimes honeybees and bumblebees can cause cross-pollination between cucumbers and watermelons, resulting in fruit that is bitter.
How many watermelons can one plant support?
The common, single watermelon plant at full size can hold up to 4 fruits at most and 2 fruits at least. This is provided that the plant is healthy, with little to no pest damage or rot of any kind, and has plenty of space to grow.
What do you put under watermelon?
If you’ve noticed watermelon plants with a strange barrier between the actual fruits and the soil, you’ll be happy to learn why this is an intentional move on the farmer's or gardener’s part.
A watermelon plant needs a barrier of cardboard, straw, or sometimes plastic to keep the watermelons from rotting or catching diseases.
Can you plant cantaloupe with watermelon?
Watermelon plants and cantaloupe may not cross-pollinate because they are actually in different plant families, but they likely will not cause each other to become unhealthy as long as they’re given plenty of space instead of crowding one another.
Therefore, it is a perfectly acceptable idea to plant watermelons and cantaloupe on the same plot of land!
Can pumpkins and watermelon plants be planted together?
Watermelons and pumpkins are actually a part of the same family of plants called “cucurbitaceae,” otherwise known as “cucurbits.”
Cucurbits all need similar growing conditions, so as long as there are enough nutrients, water, and sunshine to go around, pumpkins and watermelons will be perfectly happy growing side-by-side. Just make sure to watch out for pests!
Few Final Words
To sum it all up, watermelons produce the best fruit and thrive not only when given plenty of sunshine, one to two inches of water a week, and loose soil but also the added benefit of protective companion plants.
Some of these plants, like radishes and alliums, can repel predators like aphids and even deer.
Other plants, such as lettuce, do a great job of clearing the ground of weeds without hampering the watermelon’s growth.
Bush beans can even do your fertilizing job for you when it comes to growing watermelons! Whichever variety you choose, it is hard to deny how helpful a good companion plant can be!