Watermelons are a beloved summer fruit thanks to their refreshing taste. But did you know that selecting the right companion plants can enhance their growth, deter pests, and even intensify their flavor?
By harnessing the power of symbiotic relationships between plants, gardeners can create a positive environment that maximizes the potential of their crops.
Cultivating a thriving garden is so much easier when you understand the art of companion planting. However, choosing the right companion plants isn’t always the easiest task.
If you’re planting watermelons in your backyard, you may not know which plants are the best companions for them.
In this article, we will identify a range of companion plants that thrive alongside watermelons.
Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a novice, this article will help you choose the best companion plants to enhance your watermelons and deter pests.
Watermelons are great companion plants, so you will be spoiled for choice!
Things To Consider
Before you start purchasing any companion plants for your watermelons, you need to take a few things into consideration first.
Watermelons are great plants to grow in your backyard, but they do require a few circumstances to grow at their best, and this will influence your companion plants.
The vast majority of watermelons require a lot of space. The exception to this is bush-type watermelons, but the more common versions of watermelons are grown on the ground.
The amount of space watermelon plants need is not necessarily related to the size of the watermelon itself, as even the smaller varieties like to branch out!
You also need to ensure that watermelons have lots of sun. They should not be planted in any shade, and this includes shade that is caused by taller plants.
Keep in mind the direction of the sun, and where it hits your garden, and make sure your watermelons get all the sun they need.
We will list the best companion plants for watermelons by breaking them down into categories. Whether you’re looking for a plant to help with pollination, deter pests, or add nutrients to the soil, we have some plants for you!
Best Watermelon Companion Plants For Pollination
Watermelons are self-pollinators, as they have both male and female flowers on each plant. They don’t need pollen from another plant to reproduce, but do need a little help to move the pollen around.
The type of pollen on watermelons is very sticky, so it doesn’t naturally move or get carried by the wind. Instead, it needs insects to move it around.
This is typically done by bees who carry the pollen on their bodies from the male flowers to the female flowers so that the watermelons can reproduce and produce even more delicious watermelons!
This means that planting other plants that attract bees is very important. Watermelons won’t attract many bees on their own, so you need to attract them with other plants instead.
In general, plants and flowers that are hybridized cultivars don’t attract insects.
Some of the best plants for attracting native bees are wildflowers. Wildflowers have become a big favorite with gardeners in recent years, and you can create wonderful gardens with them.
Look at the wildflowers that are native to your area and consider planting a strip of them near your watermelons. They may not attract many honey bees, but they will get other species of bees that will also do the job wonderfully.
Our favorite plants for helping watermelons to pollinate are:
These plants are either continuous or intermittent blooming and are big favorites with bees. They’re also very pretty plants as well, so you’re sure to love how they look in your garden!
These plants can be a little delicate and can get muscled out by watermelons, however, so make sure that you have given your watermelons enough room to spread out.
If the watermelons don’t have all the space they need, they may crush the other plants instead of growing happily beside them.
Best Watermelon Companion Plants For Nutrients
Watermelons need a good supply of nitrogen in the soil, so some of the best companion plants for watermelons are ones that will ensure the soil has the right amount of nitrogen. For this, we recommend:
- Bush beans
- Pole beans
Be careful with pole beans, however, as planting these incorrectly can lead to casting shade on your watermelons. Take notice of where the sunlight falls in your garden and make sure that your bean trellis does not block the sun.
It’s best to plant your trellis so that it faces north or east. This will allow all the strong midday sun to hit your watermelons, as they need this sun to survive and become their best!
Best Watermelon Companion Plants For Deterring Pests
Like any other plant, watermelons are also prone to pests. Pests can cause trouble in your backyard for a couple of reasons, as they will not only eat their way through your watermelons, but they can transmit viruses.
Any infection that one plant faces will soon spread throughout your garden as these pests move from plant to plant.
This is why it’s best to ensure that you don’t get any pests in your garden that will attack your watermelons. The most common pests that target watermelons are aphids and cucumber beetles.
Specifically, the aphids you need to avoid are the melon aphid (Aphis gossypii.) This is also commonly known as the cotton aphid.
When it comes to cucumber beetles, there are two varieties that you need to watch out for. These are the striped cucumber beetle and the spotted cucumber beetle.
You need to especially be careful with the striped cucumber beetle, as these can transmit a deadly virus throughout your plants.
The plants we recommend for taking care of cucumber beetles are:
Luckily, there are also several plants you can choose for your backyard that will deter these aphids. They can also steal the attention of aphids, so they will pass over your watermelons! We recommend planting:
As you can see, nasturtiums are included on both lists, so these should be your first priority for companion plants to avoid pests.
There are many different species of nasturtium. The Jewel series is the tallest, so you may want to avoid these as they can throw your watermelons into the shade.
However, the Alaska series and Peach Melba plants are great choices.
Worst Watermelon Companion Plants
As there are good companion plants for watermelon, it is only natural that there will also be plants that make for bad companion plants. This is especially the case when it comes to trying to deter pests.
The pests that attack watermelons also attack other plants, and you should avoid planting other plants that they prefer as this will only attract more to your garden.
As the name cucumber beetle suggests, this pest in particular likes cucumbers and other plants that are part of the Cucurbitae family. This means that you should avoid planting:
- Summer squash
- Winter squash
All of these will just encourage cucumber beetles to make a home in your garden and feast on your plants.
Other plants that we recommend avoiding include:
There are a variety of reasons why this second list of plants is not recommended. Potatoes, asters, sunflowers, and roses will all attract different species of aphids to your garden that can attack your watermelons.
These aphids aren’t the two we identified earlier, but they will still go to lunch on your watermelons!
Tomatoes and peppers both have very dense foliage. This means that they will be competing with your watermelons for space, and it can lead to problems with air reaching the roots and soil as it should.
In this article, we introduced the best companion plants for watermelons. Choosing the right plants is very important as they can help with pollinating your watermelons by attracting bees to your garden.
Some plants will also work to deter pests from eating your watermelons, and others can add much-needed nutrients into your soil.
We also included a short list of plants that we recommend avoiding, as they can attract pests or make it more difficult for your watermelons to grow.