The Ultimate Guide to 45+ Great Companion Plants for Spinach

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Are you looking for ways to improve your spinach harvest and grow healthier plants? Consider companion plants for spinach! There are numerous companion plants that can help your spinach thrive and produce a bountiful harvest.

Image of spinach and marigolds with the text: The ultimate guide to 45+ great companion plants for spinach

Knowing which companion plants to choose for your spinach can be a bit overwhelming as there are SO many options available. I've broken down this big list of 35+ great companion plants for spinach into categories and give specific examples so hopefully it's a little less intimidating!

I also have included tips and best practices for successful companion planting, so you can create a thriving garden that produces abundant spinach and other crops. So let's dive in and explore the wonderful world of companion planting for spinach!

What is Companion Planting?

Companion planting is a centuries-old gardening technique of planting different crops in close proximity to one another for a variety of benefits. It involves strategically pairing plants that can work together in a symbiotic relationship, where one plant may offer benefits to the other such as pest control, soil nutrient exchange, or complementary nutrient profiles.

Companion planting can be a great way to naturally control pests and diseases in your garden, as well as also helping to improve soil health and fertility. By planting certain crops that work well together next to each other, you can help support the growth of all the plants in your garden.

Why grow companion plants for spinach?

Companion plants for spinach can provide many benefits. They can help deter pests and attract beneficial insects, which can reduce the need for pesticides. Companion plants can also improve soil health and nutrient availability, which can boost the growth and overall health of your spinach plants.

Planting certain herbs and flowers alongside your spinach can enhance the flavor of your harvest and create a more visually appealing garden. Companion plants for spinach can also provide some shade for this leafy green vegetable, which is much appreciated when warm weather shows up.

Yet another benefit is that planting companion plants with your spinach is a great way to utilize all of your garden space. (or as much as possible) By interplanting you can really maximize your garden space if you only have a small space to garden in.

35 + Companion Plants for Spinach

I've broken this list of companion plants for spinach down into several broad categories. Many are grouped by plant family, and some are just single plants.

Flowers

Flowers are probably my favorite companion plants and some of the best companion plants for your garden. I enjoy going out to the garden and seeing their bright pops of color peeking out from all the green. I also love knowing that their pretty yellows, oranges, and reds will help to bring beneficial insects to my garden.

• Marigolds

Two of the most common varieties of marigolds are the French Marigolds and African Marigolds. French Marigolds are a smaller in stature and bloom size, while African Marigolds are known for blooms up to 4 inches across.

Both varieties make wonderful companion plants for spinach (and your entire vegetable garden). They have a unique fragrance that seems to act as a deterrent for many insect pests. They also attract beneficial insects that help control the harmful insects such as lady bugs or parasitic wasps.

Honestly, if I could only choose one companion plant for my garden it would marigolds!

• Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums make such good companion plants because they have so many uses! They are beautiful and their vibrant colors will attract many beneficial pollinators to your garden.

They are useful for trap cropping! Aphids appear to love nasturtiums more than about anything, and aphids are one of the most common spinach pests. You can see how these flowers can help keep bugs away from your spinach.

Nasturtiums also make a good companion plant because they are edible as well!

Picture of beautiful yellow, orange and red nasturtiums
Nasturtiums make good companion plants for spinach.

• Other Flowers

Other flowers that make good companion plants are:

  • Borage – trap crop and attracts beneficial pollinators
  • Zinnia – dwarf of regular, attracts beneficial insects, another big favorite of mine
  • Sweet Alyssum – sweet smelling which attracts pollinators

Note: A lot of websites will recommend planting tansy as a companion plant for spinach. While it can be beneficial to the soil, tansy is also quite toxic and it's not something I can recommend for your homestead.

Alliums

Alliums are a group of plants known for their strong scents that are perfect for deterring unwanted pests. They make very good companion plants for spinach. Some of the best allium options are:

  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Leeks
  • Shallots
  • Chives

Garlic is well known for deterring aphids, flea beetles, spider mites, and more! Leeks work pretty well at deterring carrot rust flies.

Brassicas

Next on our list of companion plants for spinach are brassicas. Spinach and brassicas grow well together. They do not compete with each other for nutrients. Their root systems are in different depths of the soil, so they won't be competing with each other for water either.

Members of the brassica family and spinach can be planted near each other or to make the best use of a small space, plant them intermingled with each other! Spinach will appreciate the shade provided by the taller brassica crops when warm weather shows up. You can also plant spinach in late summer after many of your brassicas are harvested.

• Radishes

Radishes are probably the most common brassica to be planted with spinach and for good reason. Radishes make great companion plants for spinach because they act as a trap crop for leaf miners!

Radishes grow quickly, so start drawing leaf miners away from spinach quickly. Even though the leaves of the radish may be damaged, the root will be virtually untouched and you can still harvest a radish crop.

• Other Brassicas

There are many other options in the Brassica family for your garden. Try growing some of these with your spinach for all the companion plant benefits:

  • Brussels sprouts
  • Collard Greens
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Mustard greens

Cucurbits

This family of plants work well as companion plants for spinach simply for the fact that they grow well together and grow in different times of the year so are useful for succession planting as well. Cucurbits include the following types of plants:

  • Squash (zucchini, summer squash, spaghetti squash)
  • Melons (cantaloupe, watermelon, etc)
  • Pumpkins
  • Cucumbers

One thing you need to be mindful of if you want to grow cucurbits and spinach together is that as the vines of these plants really take off, they can get massive. Usually, by the time this happens, your spinach is about done for the summer.

For the cucurbits that grow into more of a bush, spinach will grow well in the partial shade that the leaves give. As with brassicas, the spinach roots will be growing at a different soil depth, so they won't be fighting each other for water and nutrients.

Herbs

Herbs are such fun plants to grow in your garden in general as they add so much flavor to your foods. When you add in the fact that they are excellent at deterring pests as well as attracting beneficial insects, well… they are just rockstars.

  • Dill – I'm starting the list with dill because I want to make sure you take note of it. Dill is a wonderful companion plant when YOUNG. Do not start your dill unit your spinach is about 1/3 grown. Mature dill can potentially cause the plants around it to become stunted. There are other great choices for herbs that don't require getting the right timing, so it may be best to plant your dill away from other plants altogether.
  • Basil – Repels pests like aphids, flies, and mosquitoes, which can help protect your spinach from damage.
  • Parsley – A nutritious herb that attracts beneficial insects like hoverflies and parasitic wasps, which help control aphids and caterpillars.
  • Thyme – A hardy herb that repels pests such as cabbage worms and flea beetles, which can damage spinach leaves. Its lovely scent adds a pleasant fragrance to your garden while providing protection to your spinach crop.
  • Oregano – A fragrant herb that acts as a natural pest repellent, deterring pests like aphids and spider mites.

These herbs not only serve as natural pest deterrents but also create a pretty garden with their different textures and colors. Planting them alongside your spinach can help promote a healthy and thriving garden ecosystem

Leafy Greens

While some leafy greens will compete for nutrients with spinach, there are some that will grow really well together.

• Lettuce

Lettuce and spinach are bff's and I plant them together every year. This leafy vegetable doesn't deter pests or anything like that, they are just really happy to hang out together. They have similar requirements and growth habits so it makes them easy to grow together. Plus by growing both, you'll diversify your salad bowl!

Some other leafy greens that work as good companions for spinach are:

  • Swiss Chard
  • Kale
  • Arugula

Remember when growing leafy greens and spinach together to space your plants properly. Overcrowded plants can lead to disease and no one wants that!

Nightshades

Nightshades are a group of plants that include okra, tomato plants, eggplants, and pepper plants, and they make excellent companions for your spinach.

  • Pest Control: Some nightshade plants, such as tomatoes, produce natural compounds that act as repellents to certain pests, including aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites. By planting tomatoes near spinach, you can help protect the spinach from these common pests.
  • Complementary Nutrient Profiles: Spinach and nightshades have different nutrient requirements. While spinach is rich in iron, calcium, and magnesium, nightshades like tomatoes are abundant in vitamins A and C. By growing them together, you can create a balanced nutrient exchange in the soil, ensuring both plants have access to the nutrients they need.
  • Shade and Support: As nightshade plants grow taller, they can provide shade to the lower-growing spinach, protecting it from excessive sunlight or heat stress. Some nightshades, like peppers and eggplants, can provide support to the spinach plants, preventing them from sprawling on the ground and facilitating better air circulation.

Growing spinach alongside plants of the nightshade family can be really beneficial for your spinach, even extending the harvest into the warm summer season.

Nightshades such as tomatoes make excellent companion plants for spinach

Peas and Beans

Peas and beans make really great companions for your spinach. They are known as nitrogen fixers, which means they actually take nitrogen from the air and add it to your soil. Nitrogen plays a crucial role in producing lovely leafy greens. The good news is that spinach is a leafy green and getting a good dose of nitrogen will leave you with very happy spinach.

Some great choices for adding these legumes to your garden are:

  • Snow peas
  • English peas
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Bush beans (aka green beans)
  • Pole beans

Growing spinach at the base of your peas or pole beans is also a good idea as it can help keep weeds at bay and keep the soil cool.

But Wait… There's MOre

This last section is just a catch-all of the plants that didn't fit into other categories, but still make great companion plants for spinach.

• Strawberries

Strawberry plants are great companions for spinach for several reasons. Strawberries grow low to the ground while spinach grows upright. Inter-planting them maximizes your garden space.

The dense foliage of a strawberry plant provides shade to keep the soil cool and retain moisture as well as weed control. Strawberries also release a natural compound that is known to repel some insects such as aphids.

And my favorite reason to grow strawberries as companion plants for spinach? The absolutely delicious salads you can make with them!

• Carrots

Carrots are the last (but not least!) vegetable on this list of companion plants for spinach. Carrots are root vegetables, so, of course, take up a lot of space underground. Spinach does most of its growing above ground, so combing them makes for a good use of space in your garden.

Spinach provides mutual benefits to carrots by shading the ground around them to keep the soil cool and maintain moisture. Carrots help to break up the soil and create a well-draining environment to keep spinach from getting water-logged.

• Beets

Beets are another early spring crop that pair well with spinach. They work very similar to redishes in they can act as a trap crop, but you still get a harvest of vegetables. Beets and spinach can be intre-planted to maximize space as well.

Living mulch is so beneficial for your garden!

• Other Ground Cover

You can also grow ground cover as companion plants for spinach and the rest of your garden. This is known as living mulch and is something I somewhat stumbled across last year.

Long story short, I had some tomato plants that were just struggling to hang on. My straw mulch had some seeds in it and self-seeded. I left it to grow because I figured it would suppress weeds. Well… low and behold, those tomatoes started THRIVING. I am implementing in the garden this year as well.

Living mulch is so beneficial to your garden! Some ideas for ground cover or living mulch are:

  • Crimson clover
  • White clover
  • Roman chamomile (bonus, you can use it as an herb and it attracts beneficial insects)
  • Vining crops (sweet potatoes, cucumbers, and any with smaller leaves that won't choke out your spinach)
  • Buckwheat, wheat, oats, rye, millet (either chop and drop before they make seed or just let it self-seed for next season)
  • Alfalfa

Just be sure to take into consideration the height of your spinach (or other crops you're growing) and the height of the ground cover.

THat's a lot of companion plants!

Whew, ok, that was a long list. I would have happily discussed each and every one, but that would have been a VERY long read.

Instead, drop in the comments what your favorite companion plants are or which ones you are planning to grow this year!

FAQ's

Some plants that do not grow well with spinach are fennel (It doesn't really play well with most), potatoes (it will win the nutrient and water competition), and mature dill (it will stunt other plants).

Yes! Marigolds make amazing companion plants for spinach and just about any other garden plant.

Yes! There are a variety of herbs that make great companions for spinach including oregano, parsley, basil, and cilantro.

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