9 of the Best Companion Plants for Broccoli

But here’s what happened to my rhubarb: The broccoli grew so big it blocked out every ounce of light. To compensate, rhubarb’s leaves grew as big as elephant ears and the stalks became long and floppy.

Not an ideal companion-gardening landscape. I ended up moving the rhubarb to a completely different area.

But since I want to be growing my favorite cruciferous vegetable again next year, I started to wonder… what companion plants go best with broccoli? And is rhubarb really one of them?

Why Your Broccoli Needs Companions

Brassica Oleracea Vs. italica aka broccoli can take up a lot of space in your garden. But it has a secret to share with you: If you choose the right plants to seed it with, they can all grow together.

Even better, many of these taste great when eaten with companion plants.

Broccoli-Potato-Shallot Soup with a Lettuce, Celery, and Spinach Salad, anyone?

Yum! The cultivar I grew this summer, ‘De Cisco’, grows two to three feet tall and two feet wide, making it an ideal companion for lettuce, spinach, and chamomile—all of which benefit from a little shade. It happens.

‘Di Cisco’

You can find ‘De Cicco’ seeds available at True Leaf Market.

‘Montbello Hybrid’

For a slightly more compact cultivar that pairs well with other sun-loving companions — such as beets, celery, shallots, and rhubarb — try the ‘Montebello Hybrid,’ a sprouted variety from Burpee.

‘Montebello Hybrid’ spreads to 20 inches and grows up to 24 inches tall.

See 13 of our favorite varieties here.

Best Companion Plants for Broccoli

Now, let’s find out why these nine plants are perfect companions for your broccoli.

1. Beet

Here’s why beetroot and broccoli make a perfect pair: Brassica leaches calcium from the soil in a way it can never get enough, while beetroot (Beta vulgaris) doesn’t need nearly as much.

Plant the two together and you won’t have calcium-deficient broccoli, as you might sow it with carrots and tomatoes.

Just make sure there is a solid 15 inches of space between the beetroot and broccoli so that what happened to my rhubarb doesn’t happen to your beetroot.

For tasty tops and luscious, deep red roots, try ‘Lutz Green Leaf,’ they’ll be ready to harvest in 65 days.

‘Lutz Green Leaf’ Beets

Find large, delicious ‘Lutz Green Leaf’ beet seeds available at Eden Brothers or read about our favorite varieties here.

And if you need a refresher, check out our guide to growing beets.

2. Celery

This year in my garden, my celery (Apium graveolens) grew tall, strong, and tender. The plants held their own in the garden, and didn’t let any of the surrounding greens overpower them.

I should have planted them among my brassicas!

While much of what is suggested in companion planting is more on the mythical side of things and difficult to prove with cold, hard science, some gardeners swear that celery improves the flavor of broccoli.

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So why not try raising both at once?

‘Pascal’ celery

You can find open pollinated ‘Pascal’ celery seeds at Eden Brothers.

And don’t forget to read our complete guide to the best tips for growing celery at home.

3. Chamomile

If you love herbs, try planting chamomile with your broccoli. Like celery, chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) is said to improve its flavor.

Chamomile attracts bees and other pollinators to your garden. Plus, it makes an excellent tea. Nothing calms an aching stomach like chamomile.

You should sow chamomile seeds about eight to 12 inches away from your broccoli plants to give the flowers room to grow.

How lovely would it be to see delicate white and yellow blooms growing among your vegetables?

German chamomile

You can find German chamomile seeds in a variety of packet sizes available at Eden Brothers.

And read more about growing your own chamomile here.

4. Lettuce

One of the more frustrating aspects of a string of sunny days, at least among gardeners, is how quickly greens sprout when this type of weather is in the forecast.

You’ll go out to the garden to pick some lettuce for your lunch salad, only to find that your plant is flowering.


That’s why lettuce (Lactuca sativa) and broccoli make a great pairing. The large leaves provide shade for your lettuce, which doesn’t strictly need shade, but it also doesn’t protect against a little sunlight.

In fact, the added shade helps it bolt on so quickly.

Lettuce Leaf Blend

Try this Leaf Lettuce Blend from Eden Brothers. It includes eight different varieties of lettuce in a range of colors and textures.

And don’t forget to read our guide to learn more about growing the best lettuce.

5. Potato

Maybe you absolutely love growing potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) but feel frustrated by the amount of vegetables that can’t grow with them: tomatoes, peppers, carrots, cucumbers, sunflowers, onions, and the list goes on. it occurs.

But guess what can grow from potatoes? Broccoli!

It is said that while potatoes absorb a lot of nutrients from the soil, they do not do well when planted next to broccoli, as the two have different nutritional needs.

Potatoes need plenty of magnesium and phosphate, while broccoli loves calcium and nitrogen.

Since the two plants don’t take up each other’s nutrients, they both grow happily – as long as you keep up with the fertilizing!

‘Red Luna’

Find delicious ‘Red Luna’ potatoes in packs of 10 tubers, available at Burpee.

And read our guide for expert tips on growing the best potatoes.

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6. Rhubarb

After my introduction, you might be surprised to see rhubarb (Rheum rhbarbarum) on this list. But really, I’m glad I put the two together in the beginning.

See how close my rhubarb plant was to my broccoli? not good. I underestimated how big they would be! Photo by Laura Melchor.

Rhubarb deters the cabbage whitefly (Allerodes brassiere), which attaches itself to broccoli leaves and produces a clump of babies, rendering the leaves inedible.

It’s not a problem if you don’t plan to eat the leaves, but you should eat them whole, because you can — they’re delicious and nutritious. And they are huge compared to the Taj.

You’ll feel more rewarded for your efforts if you eat the whole plant — leaves, crown, stems and all. Trust me on this.

The odor of rhubarb leaves, which are loaded with toxic oxalic acid, is also said to repel whiteflies and other leaf-eating insects.

Just make sure you don’t plant these companions too close to each other like I did.

Instead, make sure you allow at least 12 to 18 inches of space between your rhubarb and broccoli, and they’ll be fine.

‘Victoria’ rhubarb

You can buy your ‘Victoria’ rhubarb seeds online from Burpee.

Yes, you read that right! You can grow rhubarb from seed! I have three flourishing rhubarb plants that I grew from seed about eight months ago, and I’ve already pruned the rhubarb from the canes. so satisfying!

7. Rosemary

For a no-fuss herb that will soldier through all kinds of weather and even help keep pests away from your broccoli, plant rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus) in your garden.

According to horticulturist Misty Kuseris of Burke Nursery and Garden Center in Burke, Virginia, rosemary repels cabbage moths (Memestra brassicae) and cabbage loopers (Trichoplusia nii), both of which can bore holes through your leaves and crowns. And pests can accumulate throughout. Plants while they’re at it.

If you want to break off some rosemary stems and scatter them around your broccoli plants, their spiky leaves can help keep slugs and snails away, too, at least according to horticultural lore.


Find rosemary seeds available at Eden Brothers.

And read our guide to learn how to plant and grow rosemary in your garden.

8. Shallots

I used to like onions very much. But I could never use a whole bulb in one meal, so I always had half an onion stashed somewhere in the fridge.

Since this onion always looses its flavor after a day or two, I’ll finish it…after a few weeks…

I know. Total. And what a waste!

But recently, I started growing shallots (Allium cepa var. aggregatum and A. oschaninii), which are basically small, aromatic, not very pungent onions.

And I fell in love with him. They taste wonderful in a variety of dishes, and each bulb is large enough in terms of size to make an omelet or soup, so I don’t waste garden goodness nearly as much as I used to.

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So if you haven’t grown your own shallots yet, check out our growing guide, and plant some near your broccoli. Like chamomile and celery, shallots are also said to enhance the flavor of your favorite green vegetable.

seed shallots

You can find ‘Holland Red’ seed small onions for planting in the garden available at Burpee.

9. Spinach

I love adding spinach to my son’s berry smoothies. It’s the only way he’ll eat the greens! That’s why I planted spinach in my garden this summer… but not next to my broccoli.

I must have, guys. I should have.

Why? Because my spinach (Spinacia oleracea) has bolts you wouldn’t believe. I couldn’t use it fast enough: It turned into tall erect stems with thick stalks and progressively smaller leaves.

If I had planted it next to my broccoli, it would have felt calm and cool instead of stressed and edgy, resting in the shade of the giant leaves.

Next summer, I’ll plant my spinach just six to eight inches away from my broccoli plants to give them some nice shade until the heat of summer.

‘Virofle’ spinach

If you want to try it too, plant ‘Virofle’ spinach seeds, available at Eden Brothers.

And don’t forget to read our guide to growing this classic leafy green vegetable.

bad fellow

While these nine plants grow excellently when planted alongside broccoli, there are some things you should never plant near it.

First, avoid planting any other brassicas nearby. Because they have lower nutrient requirements and attract the same types of pests, planting broccoli, kale, cauliflower, and so on all together can cause problems.

Some gardeners avoid planting strawberries, corn, tomatoes, peppers, and any cucurbits alongside broccoli, as these plants are heavy feeders. They will compete with broccoli for the same nutrients.

A Friendly Vegetable—With a Few Exceptions

Companion planting is often a mixture of garden folklore and science, and we can learn a lot from trial and error by experimenting with different combinations.

With these nine good companions, you should now be armed with some ideas of what to plant with your broccoli this season.

And don’t forget to check out our complete guide to growing broccoli to get started!

Do you have any buddies planting accidents or miracles to share? Let us know in the comments below!

And for more information about growing broccoli in your garden, check out these articles:

Photo by Laura Melkor © Ask the Experts, LLC. All rights reserved. See our TOS for more details. Product photos via Burpee, Eden Brothers and True Leaf Market. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock.