20 Perfect Companion Plants to Grow With Watermelons

Are you looking for a few companion plants to grow with your watermelons this season? There are plenty of different options to choose from. In this article, gardening expert Kayleigh Brillon looks at her favorite plants to grow with watermelon this season!

watermelon companion plants

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Watermelons are giant, juicy, and delicious. They’re a staple for many gardeners and a favorite summer treat. But what about all those vines?

If you have limited space, you might not want to dedicate half your garden to plants that will only produce 2-4 fruits each! Fortunately, you can make the most of your space with watermelon companion plants.

Companion planting is an easy way to make your garden work double overtime while you sit back and relax. Choose your plants wisely, and you’ll see happy plants that grow stronger and bigger because of their neighbors!

But, again—what about those vines? Surprisingly, you can companion plant with watermelons despite how much space they take up and no matter what watermelon variety you’ve decided to grow. Let me show you how a little planning will make your plants go a long way.

About Companion Planting

View of the vegetable garden. The vegetable garden has several rows of green onions, watermelons, zucchini, potatoes and mint.
Companion planting involves putting plants together to benefit each other.

Companion planting isn’t a new thing; it’s been around for centuries, if not millennia. It’s the practice of putting plants that benefit each other together in the same area so they can reap the benefits. While growing one type of plant in one area may be easier for you (this is called monoculture), it doesn’t benefit the ecosystem much.

If you plant watermelons by themselves, you’ll have plenty of space for watermelons to grow. But, if you plant watermelons with nasturtiums and beans, you can have fewer aphids attacking your melons, and your melons will grow more vigorously thanks to the nitrogen-giving legumes.

YouTube video
Check out this video to learn about how the science of companion planting actually works.

The watermelons aren’t the only thing reaping benefits, though; they act as a ground cover for the beans and flowers to keep them protected.

Companion planting is part of the practice called permaculture, which, put simply, is letting nature do its thing!

Watermelons as Companion Plants

Close-up of ripening watermelons next to growing bell pepper bushes. The fruits of watermelons are large, oval-shaped, pale green in color with dark green stripes. Watermelon leaves are large, coarse, lobed, with deep distinct veins.
Watermelons have good and bad traits when it comes to companion planting.

Before you choose companion plants for your watermelons, you should probably understand how watermelons behave around others. They have good traits and bad traits, so they’re not a good neighbor towards everything.

Benefits

Watermelons can keep weeds down to a minimum by choking out unwanted plants. They’re really only helpful once they have long vines, so weeds could be a problem when the plants are young. Still, you won’t have to spend as much time weeding in the summer!

The long vines can also prevent wind blowing away all your soil. If your garden isn’t protected from the wind, watermelons can help you out. The vines and roots can also prevent water from washing away soil, so the melons can help with damage control if you have torrential rain.

Disadvantages

Do you know how I said they could choke out unwanted plants? Well, they can choke out desired plants, too. While intercropping is possible, you must be strategic and ensure the vines don’t get out of control. Companion planting may look like plants along the borders or in containers if your melons are a little rowdy.

Watermelons are thirsty and hungry. You’ll need to water them a lot (they’re watermelons, after all!) and give them some extra fertilizer or compost here and there. Plants that don’t like frequent feedings won’t work well in the melon patch, so you’ll have to consider that.

Companion Plants for Watermelons

There are plenty of watermelon companion plants to choose from. Here are some of the best choices. Remember, a good neighbor to watermelons won’t compete with root space and nutrients or shade out the plant.

Basil

Close-up of a growing basil. Basil leaves are large and flat, bright green in color, ovoid in shape. The leaves are located opposite each other on the stem.
Plant basil near your watermelon patch to repel pests like thrips.

Basil is a friend to many in the garden. Its strong scent keeps away many pests, including thrips, which can try to make their home on your watermelon plants. Plant basil between watermelon rows or on the borders of your patch to throw insects off the scent.

Basil has a shallow root system and can have a bushy growth habit. It shouldn’t negatively affect your watermelons if you space them appropriately, but you can always plant them in a container nearby if you have any concerns.

Beans and Peas

Close-up of a growing bean bush in a sunny garden. The bean is a herbaceous plant with elongated green leaves divided into three leaflets. The leaves are large, wide, dark green. The pods are long, green, and contain many oval seeds.
Plant bush or pole beans and peas next to watermelons to provide a nitrogen boost.

Bush and pole varieties of beans and peas are no-brainer companion plants thanks to the nitrogen-fixing roots. They take nitrogen from the air and store it in their roots, which then deposit it into the soil as they decompose. When planted before watermelons, you’ll give them a nitrogen boost that will help them develop sturdy vines. And when planted next to watermelon, beans don’t compete for the soil’s nitrogen as they’re pulling it from the air!

You might think pole varieties and vines don’t mix, but it’s a longstanding relationship. The Three Sisters method of agriculture traditionally used by Native Americans placed corn, pole beans, and squash altogether, and you can use this same method with watermelons instead of squash

Corn or sunflowers act as a natural trellis for the legumes, legumes provide nitrogen, and watermelons act as a ground cover.

Cabbage

Close-up of growing rows of cabbages in a sunny garden. Cabbage is a leafy vegetable with a round head of densely packed leaves that is light green in color. The leaves are smooth and broad, with a slightly waxy texture.
Plant cabbage or any other brassica at the ends of watermelon rows to act as a trap crop for pests.

Since cabbage is so large, you won’t want it too close to your watermelons, but it’s still a good companion to keep around as a trap crop for pests. Many insects that like watermelons also enjoy a good cabbage, including flea beetles, cabbage loopers, aphids, beet armyworms, and thrips.

Plant cabbage at the ends of your watermelon rows to prevent them from getting in the way of the roots and vines. Many insects should flock to the cabbage, so you should see reduced damage on your melon plants. It’s up to you if you want to try to harvest the cabbage or let the critters have it.

You can also use any other brassica, like collard greens, kale, or broccoli.

Cilantro

Close-up, top view of growing cilantro. Cilantro is an annual herbaceous plant with thin green stems and finely dissected bright green leaves.
Plant cilantro between watermelon rows to repel pests and attract beneficial insects.

Cilantro works well with watermelons because they won’t compete for space or create too much shade. You can plant it between or on the ends of watermelon rows.

This lovely-scented annual attracts beneficial insects like lacewings and ladybugs, especially when it goes to flower. These insects will eat pests like aphids and other soft-bodied insects that wreak havoc on your melon patch, so you’ll want to include this plant for sure!

Corn

Close-up of a ripe corn kernel in a sunny garden. Corn has a tall, upright stem covered with long, narrow bright green leaves that grow alternately on the stem and form a sheath around the stem. Kernels grow on a central stalk and are covered with husks.
Use corn as a natural trellis for beans or peas in a watermelon patch.

Corn is a good plant to include in your watermelon patch if you’re trying the Three Sisters method I mentioned earlier. Use it as a trellis for beans or peas, so you don’t have to worry about putting up trellises yourself.

Corn and watermelons share many of the same pest problems, like thrips and aphids, so you may encounter more pest pressure if you don’t take preventative measures. This is why you’ll also want to include plants that repel these bugs and why companion planting is such a great method.

Dill

Close-up of dill growing in a row in the garden. Dill (Anethumgraveolens) is an annual herbaceous plant with feathery green leaves that are thin and lacy in appearance. The leaves are arranged alternately on the stem and finely divided into filiform segments.
Plant dill between watermelon rows to attract ladybugs and other aphid-eating insects.

Ladybugs love dill almost as much as they love aphids, so you’ll want to plant a few of these near your watermelons. Other aphid-eating insects will flock to it, too. Watch out, aphids!

Dill won’t compete too hard for nutrients and water, and its growth habit won’t interfere with the melon vines. It works well between watermelon rows and shouldn’t grow vigorously enough to become a problem, especially if you’re constantly harvesting from it.

Dwarf Bee Balm

Close-up of a flowering Dwarf Bee Balm plant in a garden bed. Monarda didyma 'Panorama Red Shades' is a compact herbaceous perennial plant. The leaves are opposite, fragrant, lanceolate, with serrated edges. The foliage is dark green in color and has a slightly hairy texture. The flowers of the Dwarf Bee Balm plant are collected in dense spherical inflorescences. The individual flowers are tubular and surrounded by colorful, papery, rose-red bracts.
Plant the compact dwarf variety of bee balm around the garden to attract beneficial insects.

Bee balm is a gorgeous flower with eye-catching fluffy flowerheads. All sorts of beneficial insects will stop at this flower, so you might as well stick it all around the garden!

The dwarf variety is the best for planting with watermelons because of its compact growth habit. It will stay self-contained and won’t get too tall, so overcrowding won’t be much of a concern.

Garlic

Close-up of growing rows of garlic in a sunny garden. The garlic plant produces long, thin leaves that emerge from the base of the plant and grow in clumps. The leaves are flat, linear, and green in color.
Use garlic as a pest control plant between watermelon rows.

Garlic has a pungent scent that many insects don’t like, so it’s a good plant to keep around for pest control purposes.

Unless you’re growing elephant garlic, the small bulbs should easily fit between watermelon rows. Don’t let it get too close to watermelon roots, though, or they’ll start competing for water and nutrients.

Lettuce

Close-up of growing rows of lettuce in the garden. This annual plant produces large, broad, smooth leaves that are bright green in color and with a waxy, delicate texture, arranged in a rosette at the base.
Lettuce is a beneficial companion plant for watermelon, as it grows quickly to prevent weeds.

Lettuce is a great companion plant because it serves several purposes. Plant lettuce and watermelon seeds at the same time. The lettuce will grow quicker and act as a ground cover to prevent weeds, which will help your watermelon seedlings out.

You don’t have to worry about overcrowding because your lettuce will be ready to harvest by the time the watermelons need space.

Marigolds

Close-up of blooming marigolds against a blurred background. Marigolds have blue-green, feathery, fern-like leaves. Marigold flowers are medium sized, bright red-orange with a double row of petals surrounding a central disc of bright yellow.
Marigolds repel insects, control nematode populations, and serve as a trap crop for watermelons.

Marigolds are great companions to almost everything in the garden, including watermelons. They repel several insects, including tomato hornworms, squash bugs, and mosquitoes. They also help control nematode populations in the soil and act as a trap crop for many pests, including aphids.

Marigolds have a compact growth habit that will work well in a watermelon patch. You can plant them on the borders or in between rows, and they won’t compete for space.

Mint

Close-up, top view of a mint plant in the garden. Mint is a perennial herbaceous plant with oval green leaves with serrated edges.
Mint is effective in repelling aphids and flea beetles.

Mint works wonders when it comes to repelling aphids and flea beetles, but this aggressive grower needs to be contained! Keep it in a container or in a raised bed nearby, and make sure its underground runners don’t infiltrate your watermelon bed. (I thought I had my mint under control, but I was wrong!)

Keeping mint nearby is also convenient for dinner time because mint in a watermelon salad is delicious.

Nasturtium

Close-up of a flowering Nasturtium plant in the garden. This perennial has rounded, water lily-like leaves of green color. The flowers are medium, funnel-shaped, bright orange.
Nasturtium is an attractive trap crop that effectively keeps pests like aphids and caterpillars away.

Nasturtium is a popular trap crop, and for a good reason. It’s certainly one of my personal favorites because I love its unique leaves and bright flowers. But aside from its beauty, the plant attracts many pests, and planting it near your watermelon can keep aphids and caterpillars away from your melons.

This flower has a compact growth habit that shouldn’t get in the way of your watermelons, but it’s best to plant them in a container or on the end of rows.

Onions

Close-up of rows of ripe onions in a sunny garden. Onions have edible bulbs and leaves. Litsia are long, tubular, bluish-green in color. The bulbs are round and have a papery outer layer that protects the juicy, white inner layers.
Onions, like garlic, can repel pests with their strong scent and can be grown near watermelons.

Like garlic, onions are great companions that repel various pests with their strong scent. Depending on what kind of onion you grow, you can get them pretty close to your watermelons without any problems.

Green onions and chives will fit nicely between rows, but bulbing onions will need to be on the ends of rows away from watermelon roots. The large bulbs will interfere with the shallow watermelon roots, and both plants will be unhappy.

Oregano

Close-up of a growing Oregano plant in a garden. It is a perennial herbaceous plant with small, oval-shaped, greyish-green leaves and a slightly hairy texture. The stems are long, thin, upright, with a brown-purple tint.
Oregano can be a good companion to watermelons because they have different root depths.

Oregano can grow quickly and sprawl up to 18 inches wide. You may think it won’t work well with melons, but they’re actually decent companions. Watermelons have a shallow root system but grow a bit deeper than oregano roots.

So, when planted nearby, oregano takes the water it needs, and the watermelons take the rest of it, which helps the oregano not get overwatered. Pretty neat how they help each other out!

Poppies

Close-up of blooming poppies in a sunny garden. The leaves of the poppy plant are grayish green in color, deeply dissected, with a rough, slightly hairy texture. The flowers are large, bright red, with large papery petals and a protruding central box with black seeds.
Poppies are a great companion plant because they attract pollinators without casting too much shade.

Poppies are short plants that don’t get too bushy, so they’re good companions to watermelons because they won’t cast too much shade. They attract many pollinators, like bees and butterflies, so you’ll want them around to help your melons get pollinated.

Pair these with another recommended flower, and you’ll have a beautiful garden bed!

Radishes

Close-up, top view, growing radishes in rows in the garden. The plant has pale green oval leaves with slightly serrated edges and edible rounded pink bulbs.
Radishes can maximize limited garden space and serve as a trap crop for aphids.

You can make the most of your limited space with radishes. Plant watermelon and radish seeds at the same time, and you’ll be able to harvest the radishes before watermelons need space. Continually plant them near your watermelons to act as a trap crop for aphids.

Choose a small variety like the Early Scarlet Globe so you won’t have to worry about the root interfering with melon roots. Some radish varieties are huge and won’t make good companions.

Sage

Close-up of sage in a sunny garden. Sage is a perennial herbaceous plant with greyish-green, oblong leaves and a slightly hairy texture.
Sage is a good companion to watermelons due to its pest-repelling abilities and shallow roots.

You may notice that many herbs are good companions because of their shallow roots and pest-repelling powers, and sage is on that list of pals. It can repel flea beetles and cabbage loopers, both of which can be found bugging your watermelon plants.

Sage has water needs similar to oregano, so you can plant it close to watermelons as I described earlier. The sage will take the water it needs, and the watermelons will take the rest.

Snapdragons

Close-up of blooming Snapdragons plants against a blurred background. The plant has colorful tubular flowers and characteristic foliage. The leaves are medium green in color and spear-shaped with serrated edges. The flowers come in a variety of colors, including pink, red, yellow, and white, and are characterized by their unique shape, reminiscent of a dragon's mouth.
Plant snapdragons near watermelons to attract pollinators.

Snapdragons are beautiful flowers that will grab your attention. It also grabs pollinators’ attention, so you’ll want to plant them near your melons!

These flowers can reach up to 15 inches tall and 3 feet wide, so they’re best used on the ends of watermelon rows away from the roots to prevent competition. They won’t cast too much shade, so they’re a good plant to keep around.

Sunflowers

Close-up of blooming sunflowers in a sunny garden against a blue sky. Sunflowers are annual plants that have large, showy flowers and edible seeds. Sunflower leaves are large, rough, heart-shaped, dark green. The flowers are large, flat, rounded, with bright yellow petals surrounding a dark central disc filled with small edible seeds.
Sunflowers are a good replacement for corn in the Three Sisters method of gardening.

Sunflowers are a great alternative to corn if you decide to use the Three Sisters gardening method. Sunflowers grow tall, sturdy stems that won’t have any problems holding up pole beans and peas and won’t cast too much shade on the watermelons. Ensure that your beans and sunflowers are watered at the base to reduce the risk of powdery mildew!

Many insects flock to sunflowers, so you’ll see pollinators and pest predators. They’ll also add a bright pop of color to your watermelon patch, which is a nice added bonus!

Tansy

Close-up of a flowering Tansy plant against a blurred background. The plant has upright stems covered with fern-like green leaves. Tansy flowers are small, button-like, yellow. They grow in groups and are flat-topped.
Tansy is a toxic flower that attracts pollinators.

Tansy is a beautiful flower that pollinators can’t get enough of, but it’s often overlooked by gardeners because it’s toxic and considered a noxious weed in some areas. Keep this one in a container and handle it with gloves, and you’ll be good to go!

This flower will bring bees, butterflies, parasitic wasps, and hummingbirds to your garden, meaning more plants will be pollinated, resulting in more watermelons.

Final Thoughts

Watermelons don’t have to be the only thing you grow in one area. There are so many compatible combinations to try out! Companion planting is a smart way to garden, so choose a couple of your favorite plants and watch the plant friendship flourish.

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