You might not put much thought into what you plant next to your peppers – but you should! Companion planting is an ancient practice that is now backed by science, and can be a huge game changer in your garden.
Companion plants can greatly increase the health of your poblanos by attracting beneficial insects, repelling pests, encouraging cross-pollination, and more. Some great poblano pepper companion plants include Queen Anne’s lace, basil, white clover, marigolds, garlic, and other peppers.
Read on to learn all about these companion plants- as well as two plants to avoid!
What is a companion plant and why are they important?
The first year I planted my own garden, I did extensive research on my USDA Hardiness Zone, the projected last frost date, and even which varieties of my favorite vegetables were native to my area. All that and I never even considered what plants should go alongside the ones I really wanted. The next season I learned about companion planting, and my garden thrived!
Companion plants are plants that you plant in tandem with others in order to increase the health of your garden. Companion plants can attract beneficial insects, repel pests, make your garden prettier, and so much more! Most importantly, companion planting is an eco-friendly way to make your garden happier.
Companion plants can serve many purposes, such as:
- To attract insects
- To repel pests
- To complement the aesthetics of your garden
- For cross-pollination
Other purposes include fixing nitrogen, providing ground cover, and providing shade.
A time-tested example of companion planting is the pairing of corn, beans, and squash by the Iroquois and Cherokee people. They were seen together so often that they are referred to as the Three Sisters.
The beans fix nitrogen in the soil for the corn and squash. The corn provides a trellis for the beans to wind up. And the squash leaves “squash” weeds by providing ground cover.
“Good bugs” aka beneficial insects are necessary to keep “bad bug” populations at bay. Aphids are common on peppers and can reduce yields and lead to the untimely demise of your previous prize producer.
On top of the injury aphids cause by feeding on your peppers, they can also vector viruses, serving up a double-whammy.
When companion planting to attract beneficial insects, it’s important to plant more than just one insect-attracting plant. You’ll want a variety that blooms at different times of the year to make sure these insects always have a nectar supply.
The reason that companion planting is superior to pesticides is that, despite their name, they get rid of more than just pests! Pesticides get rid of the bad guys too. Why hurt beneficial critter populations when you can let nature do its thing instead?
The best companion plants for poblano peppers
It’s common knowledge that pollinators are necessary for your garden to thrive, so it follows that having flowers around can improve the likelihood of pollinators visiting your plants. It may be less apparent that certain flowers or even other garden staples grow better together. These are called companion plants.
The best companion plants for poblano peppers include:
- Queen Anne’s lace
- White clover
- Other peppers
Each of these plants uniquely complements poblano peppers. Buckle up, because we’re about to dive head-first into the science behind these companions!
Queen Anne’s lace
There’s more to this gorgeous flower than meets the eye.
Queen Anne’s lace is a great poblano pepper companion plant. It attracts beneficial insects that will prey on pests while simultaneously pollinating your poblanos!
Queen Anne’s lace is the ultimate flower to attract beneficial insects. What are beneficial insects? Good question!
Beneficial insects are either pollinators, predators to pests, or both.
The Queen Anne’s lace “flower” that you see is actually an umbel – a collection of tiny flowers full of nectar! The “nectaries” are even fully exposed.
Queen Anne’s lace is best at attracting syrphid flies, which prey on insects like mealybugs and aphids. Syrphidae are also incredible pollinators – a win-win!
Who doesn’t love basil?
Basil is the perfect poblano pepper companion plant if you’re looking to repel mosquitoes and save valuable space.
Basil is commonly planted with vegetables to save space and repel insects.
Basil essential oil has been proven to exhibit “both mosquito repellent and larvicidal activity.”
Luckily, this fragrant plant doesn’t need to be distilled into an essential oil to repel mosquitos. Its strong volatile oils will do the trick just fine.
White clover will create a beautiful green carpet in your garden – and serve a purpose!
If you’re looking for a cover crop that will attract ladybugs to prey on aphids, look no further! White clover is the perfect cover crop companion plant for poblano peppers.
Ladybugs are the number one predator of aphids, so you want them in your garden! Plus, who doesn’t like the good luck of a ladybug landing on them?
Meanwhile, white clover fixes nitrogen and keeps down weeds as a cover crop. It also creates a beautiful green oasis in between your poblanos.
Marigolds are one of the most popular flowers out there, despite the fact that their powers are unbeknownst to many gardeners!
Marigolds are essential to any garden because they repel mosquitoes, allowing you to enjoy and tend to your garden more frequently! They’re also incredibly aesthetically pleasing. In all, marigolds are a beautiful and practical poblano pepper companion plant.
Marigolds are proven to reduce mosquito bites.
Marigolds are beautiful and can thrive in a variety of environments, blooming all summer long.
They’re commonly planted in bulk, inherently increasing their ability to ward off mosquitoes.
While this doesn’t necessarily aid your poblanos directly, it will help you enjoy your garden more easily – perhaps inadvertently allowing you to prune, stake, and take care of your poblanos more often!
Garlic is a kitchen staple that should be in every garden.
Garlic is the most obvious poblano pepper companion plant if you’re looking to save space in your garden! By utilizing interplanting, you can have both garlic and poblano peppers without changing the spacing needs of either plant.
Garlic is a great companion plant and is useful for what is known as interplanting aka planting crops between each other to save space.
Garlic takes up very little space and is great to plant between properly spaced poblanos.
To plant your garlic, bury individual cloves 5 inches deep in the fall, with the tip pointing up. Keep track of where you planted your garlic so you can plant your poblanos accordingly come growing season!
You also have the option of planting the garlic in the spring when you plant your poblanos, but this will result in smaller bulbs.
While you can use your garlic in culinary dishes, it also has many traditional medicinal properties and is a time-tested home remedy for a variety of ailments.
If you want to experiment, planting other peppers with your poblanos is the way to go.
Other peppers are a fantastic poblano pepper companion plant if you’re a plant nerd who wants to have some fun! When poblano peppers and other peppers cross-pollinate, the resulting pepper seeds will contain both genes – providing you with a mystery crop come next season.
You may think that planting other peppers next to poblanos will lead to unique-tasting peppers due to cross-pollination. While this is true, there’s also more to the story.
Cross-pollination can and will take place, but it won’t affect your peppers this growing season.
So what does cross-pollination do? It changes the genes of the seeds! Save the seeds and next year you can have mystery peppers – there’s no saying which traits will be kept!
Keep track of which peppers you planted so you know where your seeds came from.
What NOT to plant next to poblano peppers
Now let’s go over the no-nos.
Plants that you should not plant next to poblano peppers include:
Want to know why? I’m here to tell you!
While kohlrabi may be an underrated crop, it’s best to be avoided in this case.
Kohlrabi should not be planted next to poblano peppers. Kohlrabi is infamous for attracting pests. It will also compete with your poblanos for nutrients.
Kohlrabi is a unique cruciferous vegetable, in the same family as broccoli, cabbage, and kale.
Kohlrabi is a pest magnet, and you’ll end up with secondhand pests all over your poblanos.
Likewise, kohlrabi has similar nutrient requirements as poblanos. You may think this is a good thing for companion plants, but actually, it just means they’ll be competing for nutrients – ultimately making both plants less happy.
Lots of gardeners love to grow beans because they’re easy and plentiful. But we have some bad news.
Beans should not be planted next to poblano peppers. Beans require large amounts of nitrogen, but excess nitrogen will stunt the growth of your poblanos. In addition, vining bean varieties can choke out your peppers.
On the opposite site of kohlrabi’s issue, having nutrient needs that are too different is also a negative factor. Beans need a lot of nitrogen, but too much nitrogen stunts poblano peppers.
Likewise, vining beans may choke your poblanos if the beans aren’t properly staked.