A Guide to Companion Planting Arugula

I love exploring companion planting in our garden and have been paying attention to what plants grow best next to each other. I’ve found that companion planting is half art and half science and takes constant experimenting to get things right. In this guide I’ll explore the best methods for companion planting arugula as well as what plants don’t do well alongside arugula.

If you are new to companion planting or want an overview of companion planting – you can check out my companion planting chart and overview.


Quick Answer: Best Arugula Companion Plants

Arugula, also known as rocket or rucola, is a leafy green vegetable with a distinctive peppery flavor. It belongs to the Brassicaceae family, which includes other vegetables like cabbage, kale, and broccoli. As a low growing vegetable it does best with low growing companion plants including lettuce, radishes, nasturtium, basil, dill, cilantro, marigolds, and garlic. Many of these plants are companion planting powerhouses and do well with many plants in the garden.

Understanding Companion Planting

Companion planting has been practiced for many years but is still not fully understood (and likely will never be fully understood). Centuries of gardeners have recognized that planting certain plants next to each other in the garden leads to stronger plants and a greater harvest. Since these exact relationships between plants are complicated and change based on a number of different things – how wet your soil is, what pest problems are present, how much sun the plants get, etc. The best way to use companion planting in the garden is to follow a few basic principles and then use trial and error to see what works best.

I have been expermenting with companion planting for many years and while I do get specific with some plants, my favorite way to ensure success is to plant a few key crops around my garden including garlic, marigolds, nasturtium, and some herbs. Creating a diverse garden helps to decrease pest problems and is one of the Permaculture principles we try to apply to our garden.

I’ve found that companion planting can help in a few specific ways. Here are are few of the benefits of general companion planting

  • Pollination and good bugs – this is less important with arugula since you are not trying to pollinate a flower, but many flowering plants help attract ‘good bugs’ to the garden.
  • Repel Bad Bugs – I have found this a slightly exagerated benefit of companion planting. The biggest impact is that by not planting things next to each other you don’t get an entire group of plants that are wiped out by a bug infestation. Some of the biggest pests that impact arugula are: Flea beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, ants, aphids, thrips, leafminers, whiteflies and lepidopterous larvae.
  • Make nutrients available – Some companion plants, like legumes (e.g., peas and beans) are excellent at making nitrogen available. This process increases the availability of nitrogen in the soil for neighboring plants. Additionally, certain companion plants, known as dynamic accumulators, have deep root systems that access nutrients deep in the soil. When these plants die or are cut back, their decomposing leaves release nutrients back into the soil, enriching it and making these nutrients available to nearby plants.
  • Living Mulch -The final way that companion plants can benefits each other is by acting as a mulch to help shade out weeds, retain moisture and decrease soil erosion. As they decompose, they contribute organic matter to the soil, enriching it with nutrients over time. This is one reason I like to plant lettuce and radishes tightly with arugula to manage weeds.
Companion Planting Arugula
Companion Planting Arugula

Companion Planting Arugula

Beliw is a list of some of the best crops for companion planting arugula.

  1. Lettuce: Arugula and lettuce have similar growing requirements and make good companions in the garden.
  2. Radishes: Radishes grow quickly and can help break up soil for the slower-growing arugula. Plus, they repel certain pests like cucumber beetles.
  3. Nasturtiums: These flowers not only add color to the garden but also attract beneficial insects and deter pests like aphids.
  4. Basil: Basil can improve the flavor of arugula and also repel pests like mosquitoes and flies.
  5. Dill: Dill attracts beneficial insects like ladybugs and hoverflies, which prey on aphids and other pests.
  6. Cilantro: Cilantro attracts beneficial insects and can also provide some shade for arugula in hot weather.
  7. Marigolds: Marigolds repel many garden pests and also attract beneficial insects.
  8. Garlic: Garlic can deter pests like aphids and repel some soil-dwelling pests.

Plants to Avoid Plantings with Arugula

Arugula is generally a pretty easy going vegetable that does well with many plants, but there are a few plants to avoid planting alongside. Most of these plants are either vigorous growers (like mint) or plants that inhibit growth (like fennel)

Here are a few plants to avoid:

  1. Brassicas: Arugula is a member of the Brassicaceae family, which includes cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and mustard greens. Planting these crops together might attract similar pests and diseases, leading to increased competition for nutrients and space.
  2. Mint: Mint is known for its vigorous growth and tendency to spread rapidly. It can potentially outcompete arugula for resources and space in the garden.
  3. Fennel: Fennel can release chemicals into the soil that inhibit the growth of nearby plants, including arugula. Additionally, fennel might attract certain pests that could also affect arugula.
  4. Wormwood: Wormwood contains compounds that inhibit the growth of nearby plants. Planting arugula near wormwood might negatively affect its growth and development.
  5. Parsley: While parsley itself isn’t harmful to arugula, it might attract similar pests. Some gardeners prefer to keep parsley and arugula separate to prevent potential pest issues.
Companion Planting Arugula
Companion Planting Arugula

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