Companion Planting Turnips: The Best and Worst Plants for a Great Harvest

Successful gardening involves relationships between soil, plants, sun and among plants themselves. For many years, gardeners have practiced companion planting to improve the health of the different plants in their garden. Companion plants is equal parts art and science. In this article, we will explore how plants form partnerships, working together to deter pests, enrich the soil, and bolster each other’s growth and specifically how to go about companion planting turnips.

A good companion plant will improve both the health of the turnip, as well as improve the other plants growth as well. In this article, I also discuss more details on companion planting for turnips including which plants thrive alongside them, which ones should be kept at a distance, and how to maximize the potential of this garden favorite.

Here at the Backyard Farming Connection, we’ve been experimenting with companion plants for over a decade and turnips are one of the easiest crops for use to grow here in New Hamshire. Below you can see complete information about what we’ve learned about companion planting turnips over the years.

You can see an overview of some of the best companion plants in this COMPANION PLANTING CHART.

Looking for other articles about companion planting? Check out our guides on companion planting:

Companion Planting Turnips


Introduction to Companion Planting Turnips

For avid gardeners, the early season greens and roots of turnips signify the arrival of the growing season and the anticipation of savory dishes. For many years I didn’t plant turnips because I didn’t love the taste – now I’ve found that if you harvest them early they are much better to eat! This means I’ve been working them back into the companion planting system in my garden.

Turnips interact uniquely with nearby plants in several ways, and when strategically positioned in a garden, turnips can serve multiple purposes. They not only support the growth of other plants but also act as a natural defense against specific pests.

Other plants can also enhance the growth of turnips, helping get a more prolific harvest. But why does companion planting with turnips matter?

  • Firstly, comprehending these relationships can save gardeners time and resources by reducing the reliance on chemical pest control and fertilizers. An orderly garden, where turnip companions are thoughtfully placed, can help to promote overall health in the garden.
  • Secondly, these interactions can lead to a more abundant yield, both for turnips and their neighboring companions. With the right companions, turnips can thrive.

Benefits of Turnip Companion Plants

Turnips are a root vegetable and also can act as beneficial companion plants in the garden ecosystem. Turnip companion planting allows you to take advantage of the benefits below.

Turnips Attracts Beneficial Insects: Turnips emit a fragrance and flowers that attract a variety of beneficial insects. These insects, in turn, serve as natural predators against many common garden pests. By inviting these beneficial allies, turnips indirectly reduce the need for chemical interventions in the garden.

Repels Pests: While they can attract beneficials, they also can repel certain pest since certain pests find them off-putting. Gardeners have observed fewer issues with pests like aphids when turnips are part of the garden landscape. This means that neighboring plants benefit from this natural shield, reducing damage and promoting robust growth.

Natural Ground Cover: Beyond their pest-repelling qualities, turnips offer another hidden advantage. Their lush leaves blanket the garden floor, acting as a living mulch. This “green mulch” conserves soil moisture, limits excessive evaporation during hot spells, and suppresses the proliferation of unwanted weeds. Companion planting turnips helps to take advantage of this weed suppression.

Soil Enrichment: With their deep-reaching roots, turnips can access nutrients from deeper soil layers that often go untapped by other plants. As turnip leaves drop and decompose, they recycle these nutrients, benefiting the surrounding plants. This is a great reason to leave turnip leave that you aren’t using right in the garden.

Best Turnip Companion Plant Options

In the world of companion planting, certain plants share a relationship with turnips, bolstering each other in many ways. Below are some of the best companion plants for turnips.


Turnips and carrots form a classic pairing. In the garden, they complement each other well since turnips’ foliage provides shade for carrots, preventing them from overheating in the sun, while carrots, with their deep taproots, help break up the soil for turnip growth.

We also find carrots slow to germinate and by interspersing carrot and turnip seeds it helps us know where to weed around the carrots.

Companion Planting Turnips: Carrots


The delicate leaves of lettuce enjoy the protection offered by turnip leaves’ shade. In return, lettuce acts as a living ground cover, minimizing weed growth around turnips. This is a pairing we’re experimenting with this year in our garden.

Companion Planting Turnips with Lettuce


Turnips and onions share a beneficial relationship, with turnips deterring aphids that often trouble onion crops. Onions, with their pungent aroma, can help repel pests that might affect turnips.

Onions are one of our favorite companion crops to plant in the garden and we often place them around the garden to help with pests.

Companion Planting Turnips with Onions


Marigolds are a companion planting powerhouse! They are some of the most beneficial plants in the garden. Planting marigolds alongside turnips can help protect them from unwanted visitors while adding a splash of color to the garden.

Almost every crop benefits from planting marigolds in the garden and we like to put them at the end of our rows.

Companion Planting Turnips with Marigolds
Companion Planting Turnips with Marigolds


Turnips and radishes, both from the Brassicaceae family, make excellent companions. They can be planted together to maximize space and deter pests that affect this plant family.

Bad Companion Plants for Turnips

Just as some plants benefit turnips, others do not coexist well when planted near aech other. These interactions can result from various factors such as competition for nutrients or chemical incompatibilities. Knowing which plants to keep at a distance from your turnip patch can significantly impact the overall health and productivity of your garden.


While potatoes are a staple in many gardens, they are not the best companions for turnips. Both plants have a high demand for nutrients, potentially leading to competition and reduced growth for both.

We’ve also found that in our garden, potatoes are prone to bugs and this negatively impacted our turnips the year we planted them close.


Members of the Brassica family, including cabbage and broccoli, are generally not recommended as neighbors for turnips. Competition for nutrients or potential soil pH clashes can hinder their mutual growth.


Beans, though beneficial in some companion plantings, may not be ideal companions for turnips. They can compete for nutrients and potentially impede the growth of turnips.


Tomatoes, like turnips, are heavy feeders, and their close proximity could result in nutrient competition. Moreover, turnip leaves, which can be toxic, should be kept from making direct contact with tomato fruits.

By carefully selecting the plants you place near turnips, you can create a healthier and more productive garden. While companion planting provides valuable insights, it’s essential to observe your garden’s unique dynamics and make adjustments based on the specific needs and responses of your plants.

Learn about companion planting turnips
Tomatoes are a bad companion plant with turnips

Using Companion Planting to Plan your Garden

Once you know the best companion plants for turnips, it’s time to use this information to help you plan your garden each year.

Planning your garden with companion planting involves careful consideration of plant compatibility, growth habits, and pest management strategies. Start by selecting a list of crops you want to grow and then research their ideal companions and potential antagonists.

You will want to consider Implementing techniques like interplanting, where compatible crops are grown together, or creating beneficial plant groupings. Additionally, use companion plants strategically to deter pests or attract beneficial insects, reducing the need for chemical interventions.

I like to draw out my garden and use a companion planting chart to help create a yearly garden plan the takes companion plants in mind. Remember that these are guidelines and there are times when you will need to ignore the best turnip companion plants and do what works best for your garden.

Regular observation of your garden’s dynamics and adjusting your planting scheme accordingly will help foster a thriving, harmonious ecosystem that maximizes both yield and sustainability.


Here, we address some of the most common queries about turnip companion planting, ensuring you have a comprehensive understanding for your gardening journey.


While both turnips and cabbage belong to the Brassica family, it’s generally advisable to keep them apart. They have similar nutrient requirements and may compete for resources, potentially compromising their growth.


Turnips thrive in well-draining soil with full sunlight, although they can tolerate partial shade. Ideally, place them at the edges or corners of your vegetable plots, ensuring their large leaves do not overshadow smaller neighboring plants. Keep them away from plants with which they might compete or clash.


Absolutely! Turnips and lettuce make excellent companions. The turnip’s leaves provide shelter for lettuce, preventing wilting during hot spells, while lettuce acts as a natural ground cover that helps suppress weeds around turnips.


It’s best to keep turnips and broccoli separated in the garden. Both plants belong to the Brassica family and may compete for nutrients and space.


Turnips and carrots are compatible and can be planted together. Their complementary growth habits and nutrient needs make them suitable neighbors in the garden.

Final Thoughts for Companion Planting Turnips

Companion planting may seem complicated but with the right information you can foster relationships between plants, and incrase health and overall yield.

Turnips, with their broad leaves and culinary versatility, offer more than just a source of delectable roots. They actively attract beneficial insects, turning your garden into a sanctuary that naturally wards off pests. Nevertheless, like any natural ecosystem, balance is key. Knowing which plants to avoid planting near turnips ensures that all members of your garden community thrive.

With each planting season, the insights gained from growing and observing turnips and their companions will only deepen, leading to a more bountiful and vibrant garden. It’s important to record what works and what doesn’t in your garden to take full advantage of companion planting turnip.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get a FREE copy of the ebook: The Modern Homestead and access to our community exclusively for backyard gardeners and homesteaders.

Just straight up homesteading ideas sent directly to you.

Learn more about the Modern Homesteading Academy, a low cost series of ebooks and mini-courses.


This will close in 15 seconds