Best Spinach Companion Plants (and what to avoid)

Spinach is a great crop for the home garden. You can plant it early, you can harvest just what you need for each meal, and you get a delicious leafy green straight from your garden. Companion planting spinach allows you to increase your harvest and help keep down bug impacts. In this article we will explore the best spinach companion plants and which plants to avoid growing with spinach. A well-chosen companion plant not only enhances the vitality of spinach but also fosters the growth of neighboring plants.

My name is Gretchen and I’ve been practicing companion planting for over a decade. Spinach is a favorite crop in our New Hampshire garden, and we’ve accumulated a wealth of knowledge about which plants work best with spinach. One of our favorite ways to companion plant spinach is to think about providing shade with other crops during the late spring/summer months to reduce bolting.

Explore the world of spinach companion planting in this guide to discover the ideal partners, the plants to keep at a distance, and how to maximize the potential of this garden favorite.

Looking for more about growing Spinach, get our complete spinach growing guide.


What is Companion Planting?

Companion planting is a gardening practice that involves strategically pairing specific plants to enhance their mutual growth, protect against pests, and improve overall garden health.

Much of what we know about companion planting is passed down from gardeners over time. It’s important to note that companion planting involves intricate relationships between plants that can change based on many factors.

Learn more about Companion Planting and get a free companion planting chart or read more about how companion planting can help with soil health.

Introduction to Companion Planting Spinach

For avid gardeners, the vibrant green leaves and nutritional richness of spinach signal the arrival of the growing season. Yet, beyond its reputation as a versatile and healthy vegetable, spinach plays an helpful role in companion planting. When thoughtfully placed within a garden, spinach can serve multiple functions. It not only promotes the well-being of adjacent plants but also acts as a natural defense against specific pests.

Additionally, other plants can enrich the overall health of spinach, ensuring a bountiful harvest. But why should companion planting with spinach matter?

Firstly, understanding these plant relationships can help gardeners reduce their reliance on chemical pest control and fertilizers, saving both time and resources.

Secondly, these interactions can result in a more abundant yield, benefiting not only spinach but also its neighboring companions. With the right companion plant, spinach can thrive, yielding even more of those nutrient-rich leaves.

Benefits of using Companion Plants for Spinach

Spinach is a leafy green powerhouse in the garden ecosystem, making it a fantastic companion for many other plants. Companion planting with spinach offers several advantages, including:

  1. Attraction of Beneficial Insects: Spinach emits a fragrance and features flowers that draw a variety of beneficial insects. These insects, in turn, act as natural predators against common garden pests.
  2. Pest Repellent Qualities: While attracting certain insects, the scent of spinach also repels some insects such as aphids. This means that neighboring plants benefit from this natural shield, reducing damage and promoting robust growth.

Best Spinach Companion Plants

Let’s explore the top contenders for spinach companion planting.

Radishes: Spinach 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.

Spinach Companion Plants: Radishes

Lettuce: The tender leaves of lettuce benefit from the shade provided by spinach, helping to keep them crisp and fresh during hot weather. In return, lettuce acts as a natural ground cover, minimizing weed growth around spinach.

Marigolds: Marigolds not only add aesthetic appeal but also repel many common garden pests with their strong scent. Planting marigolds alongside spinach can help protect it from unwanted visitors while adding a pop of color to the garden. Marigolds are one of our favorite general companion plants and we like to place them throughout the garden.

Onions: Spinach and onions share a mutually beneficial relationship, with spinach potentially deterring aphids that often trouble onion crops. Onions, with their pungent aroma, can also help repel pests that might affect spinach.

Carrots: Spinach and carrots form a classic partnership, reminiscing of hearty soups and garden-fresh stews. In the garden, they complement each other well. Spinach’s lush foliage provides shade for carrots, preventing overheating in the sun, while carrots, with their deep taproots, help break up the soil for spinach growth. We like to plant these two seeds together since carrots take a long time to germinate and it is helpful to see the row with the spinach. You can then harvest the spinach and leave the carrots in the ground.

Tall Plants: Spinach is a cold weather lover and does not like the heat in the summer. We like to plant spinach to the north or east of a taller plant. This allows shading in the hottest part of the day and helps keep spinach from bolting.

Understanding these symbiotic relationships empowers gardeners to optimize their garden layouts. By thoughtfully situating these companions around spinach, one can harness the benefits of mutual growth and protection, ensuring each plant enjoys a thriving start in life.

Spinach Companion Plants
Spinach Companion Plants

Plants to Avoid Planting Near Spinach

While certain plants thrive alongside spinach, there are others that are best avoided. These interactions can result from factors such as competition for nutrients or chemical incompatibilities. Knowing which plants to keep at a distance from your spinach patch can significantly impact the overall health and productivity of your garden.

Potatoes: Spinach and potatoes are not the best companions. Both plants have high nutrient requirements, which can lead to competition and reduced growth for both.

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

Beans: While beans can be beneficial in some companion plantings, they may not be ideal companions for spinach. They can compete for nutrients and potentially impede spinach growth.

Tomatoes: Tomatoes, like spinach, are heavy feeders, and their close proximity could result in nutrient competition. Moreover, spinach leaves, which can be toxic, should not come into direct contact with tomato fruits.

By carefully selecting the plants you place near spinach, 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.

Using Companion Planting to Plan Your Garden

Once you’ve identified the best companion plants for spinach, it’s time to use this information to 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.

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

Spinach Companion Plants

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