Cucumber Companion Plants

The Cucurbit family includes many vining and bush types of fruit that thrive in hot and sunny conditions. Cucumbers are almost an obligatory crop in every edible garden and can be grown vertically to conserve space or left to sprawl across raised beds. Growing cucumbers over archways and trellises makes for a decorative focal point in an edible garden and can dramatically increase space to interplant more crops or pollinator-friendly plants. 


All cucumbers grow as true annuals, completing their entire life cycle in one growing season. To regrow the same cucumber the next season, seeds can be collected from fruits left to ripen on the vine late in the summer. Seeds can be planted the following spring when the soil has warmed in the spring. 

Cucumbers need full sun exposure and consistently moist soil to develop tasty fruits. In climates with cool summers, cucumbers may need to be grown in a hoop house or greenhouse to achieve decent yields. Fertilizing is also necessary throughout the growing season. Cucumbers are hungry plants and only produce flowers and fruit when the soil is rich. Mulching at the base of the vines with organic compost helps to feed the plants steadily through the summer while helping the soil retain moisture in between waterings.  

Shrubs To Plant With Cucumbers

Cucumbers are not often planted in mixed shrub borders. Established shrubs are not likely to thrive in consistently moist soil, which cucumbers require for good growth. Cucumbers also need rich soil, which can encourage fast, but weak growth in shrubs. Over time, the weak overgrowth can make shrubs more susceptible to pests and diseases. 

Perennials To Plant With Cucumbers

Grow cucumbers as a companion plant for perennial vegetables such as asparagus, rhubarb, and artichokes. The cucumber vines can be left to scramble on the ground and become a very effective ground cover to help suppress weeds throughout the season. Cucumbers grown vertically up a trellis or arbor can be underplanted with perennial herbs such as thyme, oregano, agastache, or chives, which have a long flowering season to attract beneficial pollinators. 

Annuals To Plant With Cucumbers

Annuals in the kitchen garden often serve dual purposes of being edible and ornamental. Cucumbers can be grown on a trellis or arbor to provide shade to raised beds below, along with a decorative design element. Root vegetables like carrots, radishes, beets, and turnips can be planted at the base of upright-growing cucumbers to save space and maximize crops in a small garden. The partially shaded space also allows lettuce, spinach, and other delicate greens to grow during the hottest portion of the summer without the risk of them bolting early. 


Several flowering annuals are useful catch crops for drawing pests away from cucumbers. Plant nasturtiums, cosmos, sunflowers, and dill in a separate part of the garden, well away from cucumbers. The catch crops will keep aphids, squash beetles, and other pests from infesting your vegetable beds. 

Best Companion Plants For Cucumbers in Containers

Smaller vining and bush varieties of cucumbers are great for growing in a planter to save space or to make harvesting easy. Combine other edibles to create an instant and portable kitchen garden. Patio-type tomatoes, basil, and butterhead lettuce make wonderful filler and spiller plants in a planter with cucumbers twining up a central support. For a floral display, bush-type cucumbers can be planted with ornamental annuals such as sweet alyssum, calendula, petunias, or calibrachoa to attract pollinators and provide long-lasting color in the summer. 

Potted cucumbers require regular watering, usually daily during hot weather, to support fruit production. Fertilize containers once a week with a diluted liquid fertilizer to replace nutrients lost over time.

Plants Not To Grow With Cucumbers

Cucumbers can release substances in the soil that can suppress the growth of other plants. This allelopathy, as it’s termed, is useful for suppressing weeds, but it can limit companion planting with some vegetables and herbs. Cucumbers can severely stunt the growth of potatoes sharing the same bed. Both plants will compete for nutrients and moisture in the soil. Cucumbers should also not be planted with the herbs sage and rue, as these can make cucumber fruits taste bitter. 

If you are a seed saver, you should not grow more than one variety of cucumber in the same garden bed or near each other. In fact, all plants in the cucurbit family (e.g. squash, melon, pumpkin) tend to cross-pollinate, resulting in seeds that may not retain the taste or growing habit of the parents. Of course, if you have no interest in saving seed, there is no risk in planting multiple cucurbits together.


Photo by F. D. Richards, unmodified, Flickrcopyright CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED

Best Plants To Grow With Cucumber

Plant beneficial annuals, such as nasturtiums, calendula, and sweet alyssum, near cucumbers to increase cropping and deter insect pests. Ensure any plants growing near cucumbers enjoy full sun and moist soil without being overly aggressive or competitive. The shade under cucumbers growing vertically is a great spot to grow a late-season crop of delicate salad greens.