The Worst and Best Rhubarb Companion Plants

Rhubarb is a cold-hardy perennial vegetable that will produce a harvest of delicious stalks year after year. This is one of our favorite crops that require minimal care once they are established. We are continuously expanding our patch of rhubarb and currently have about 8 plants which gives us plenty to harvest for baking, jams and more.

Rhubard is a tart vegetable that is usually eated cooked in crisps, muffins, simple syrups, drink, and more.

In this guide we will share the best rhubarb companion plants for rhubarb as well as bad companion plants for rhubarb. These recommendations are based on our personal experience companion planting rhubarb as well as extensive research about how to grow the best rhubarb plants.

  • Rhubarb leaves are poisonous when eaten in large quantities.

You can also learn more about how to grow Rhubarb in our Growing Guide.

You can also find more guides on companion planting in your homestead garden:

Free Rhubarb Companion Plants Chart


What is Companion Planting?

Companion planting is a time-honored technique that involves planting different plant species in close proximity to create a mutually beneficial ecosystem. This can lead to benefits for both plants and can also help to maximize space and production in the garden.

Many of the commonly used companion plant combinations have been handed down over the years and are the result of years of trial and error, while other companion plants are based more directly on scientific studies. Exactly how you use companion planting in the garden will take some of your own trial and error.

Some of the benefits of companion planting include:

  • Natural Pest Control: Certain plant combinations help repel pests and insects, reducing the need for chemical pesticides and promoting a healthier, eco-friendly garden environment.
  • Improved Plant Health: Companion planting can enhance soil fertility and nutrient uptake, leading to healthier and more robust plants.
  • Maximized Garden Space: By strategically planting compatible species together, you can optimize space and increase overall yield in your garden.
  • Weed Suppression: Some companion plants act as natural weed suppressors, minimizing weed growth and competition for nutrients.
  • Enhanced Pollination: Attracting pollinators like bees and butterflies through companion planting can significantly improve fruit set and yield for many plant species.
  • Disease Prevention: Certain companion plants have properties that can help prevent the spread of diseases, protecting vulnerable plants in your garden.
  • Support for Climbing Plants: Companion planting can provide natural support for climbing plants, reducing the need for artificial trellises or stakes.
  • Repelling Harmful Nematodes: Certain plants have the ability to repel or suppress harmful nematodes, protecting susceptible plant roots.
  • Seasonal Succession Planting: Companion planting allows for seamless seasonal succession planting, maximizing the use of your garden space throughout the year.
  • Enhanced Aroma: Mixing fragrant herbs and flowers in your garden can create a delightful and aromatic atmosphere.
  • Complementary Growth Habits: Combining plants with different growth habits can optimize resource utilization and create a balanced garden ecosystem.
  • Protection from Wind and Sun: Taller plants can offer shade and windbreak for more delicate or sun-sensitive companions, providing a microclimate that supports their growth.
  • Beneficial Habitat for Beneficial Insects: Attracting beneficial insects through companion planting can help control harmful pests naturally.
See more about Companion Planting for a Better Harvest.

What are the benefits of Companion Planting Rhubarb?

Using companion plants for rhubarb offers some advantages for the rhubarb plant as well as the surrounding plants. One of the key benefits lies in rhubarb’s natural pest-repelling properties, is that it emits substances that deter certain insects, helping to protect neighboring plants from potential bug issues. We’ve found that rhubarb is easy to grow in our garden and most of the benefits of companion planting rhubard actually improves the other crops, not neccessarily the rhubarb.

When strategically placed alongside heavy feeders like beans or tomatoes, rhubarb acts as an effective weed suppressor. The deep root system of rhubarb also aids in improving soil structure and nutrient retention, making it an excellent companion for nutrient-hungry crops. I also like to harvest the leaves when I am collecting the rhubarb and drop them in place in the garden as a weed mulch. Rhubarb leaves are big are excellent at shading our weeds.

Rhubarb Companion Plants
Rhubarb Companion Plants

The Best Rhubarb Companion Plants

Below you can see what to plant with rhubarb to improve the harvest of both the rhubarb and the other crops. This list include the best rhubarb companion plants


Plants in the Allium family make a great rhubarb companion plant. Alliums are one of our favorite companion plants in general and they help to act as a natural deterrent, keeping bothersome pests like aphids, whiteflies, and weevils at bay, and even discouraging slugs. Alliums can even help protect agains larger animals like rodents.

We grow chives and other alliums throughout the garden as a companion plant for rhubarb and other crops.

Alliums include onions, garlic, leeks, chives, ornamenal alliums, shallots and wild garlic.

Rhubarb Companion Plants


Rhubarb is a natural deterrent, repelling pests like cabbage worms and aphids that often plague brassicas. In return, brassicas can benefit from the nitrogen-rich soil provided by rhubarb. The shading effect of rhubarb leaves also helps protect young brassica seedlings from intense sunlight, preventing premature bolting.

The make this most effective, plant your brassicas on the north side of your rhubarb.


Companion planting rhubarb with legumes has a few benefits. Rhubarb’s natural pest-repelling properties help deter pests that can harm legumes, such as bean beetles and aphids. Meanwhile, legumes, as nitrogen-fixing plants, enrich the soil with nitrogen, providing a valuable nutrient source for rhubarb’s growth.


This is currently what we are companion planting with our rhubarb plants.

Rhubarb’s tall and leafy growth provides natural shading, protecting delicate strawberry plants from excessive sunlight and heat. In return, strawberries act as a living mulch, covering the soil around the rhubarb and helping to suppress weeds. This coexistence not only optimizes space but also fosters a healthier garden environment, promoting enhanced growth and flavor for both rhubarb and strawberries.

I’ve found that both strawberries and rhubarb need adequate space to thrive, so this part of my garden just has strawberries and rhubarb.

Rhubarb Companion Plants
Rhubarb Companion Plants


Herbs are a great choice for a rhubarb companion plant. The strong aroma of herbs like thyme, rosemary, and sage acts as a natural deterrent, keeping pests away from rhubarb. Additionally, the herbs contribute to a pleasant and aromatic garden environment. Rhubarb, with its tall and leafy nature, provides a protective shade for the herbs, creating a microclimate that encourages growth.


The rhubarb’s tall and leafy growth provides natural shade for the lettuce, protecting it from intense sunlight and preventing premature bolting. In return, the shallow root system of lettuce doesn’t compete heavily with rhubarb for nutrients, allowing both plants to thrive. We have yet to try this combination in our own garden, mostly because our rhubarb tends to get big before our lettuce can establish.

Rhubarb Companion Plants

Bad Companion Plants for Rhubarb

In addition to learning what grows well with rhubarb, it’s also important to know what plants you should not plant with rhubarb. Below you can see a few plants that don’t do well alongside rhubarb.


Companion planting rhubarb with squash is generally not recommended due to their differing growth habits and space requirements. Squash plants tend to spread and take up a lot of space, which can overcrowd and shade out the rhubarb. Additionally, squash plants have extensive root systems that may compete with the rhubarb for nutrients and water, potentially hindering its growth. Furthermore, the tall and leafy nature of rhubarb could hinder the squash’s access to sunlight, affecting its fruiting and overall productivity.

Rhubarb Companion Plants


Companion planting rhubarb with melon is not recommended due to similar reasons as the squash litsed above.. Melon plants are vigorous vining plants that spread across the garden, potentially smothering and overshadowing the rhubarb. Additionally, melon requires consistent watering and nutrient-rich soil, which could compete with the rhubarb’s needs.


Sunflowers are tall, sun-loving plants that can cast dense shade that doesn’t work well for rhubarb. Additionally, sunflowers are heavy feeders and may compete with rhubarb for nutrients in the soil.

Looking to for More Gardening Tips and Tricks?

You can find more gardening resources on our gardening page see more on our favorite plants to grow in our vegetable garden.

Looking for more on companion planting? Check out our article on companion planting

Looking for more ideas for backyard farming? Follow along with us on Pinterest.

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