10 Plants to Grow Alongside Asparagus for Maximum Benefits

Asparagus is an ongoing favorite among gardeners due to its early spring crop and low maintenance requirements once rooted. But do you know, like many plants, you can benefit from asparagus companion plants. 

In this article, we will discuss how companion planting can benefit your asparagus patch.

What is Companion Planting?

Companion planting entails intentionally placing different plants close together to promote growth, deter pests, and increase yields. This strategy is based on the idea that specific plants might have mutually beneficial connections, boosting each other’s health and vigor.

Read Also: Best Rosemary Companion Plants For Your Garden

The Best Asparagus Companion Plants For Your Garden

Companion planting is a key strategy for maximizing the health and productivity of your garden. When it comes to asparagus, selecting the right companions can help in various ways. Here are some of the best companion plants for asparagus, each bringing its own set of benefits to the garden.

1. Tomatoes

Tomatoes and asparagus make excellent neighbors in the garden. This combination is beneficial because tomatoes naturally repel the asparagus beetle, a common pest that can cause significant damage to asparagus crops.

Tomatoes Plant
Image by Canva

The asparagus, in return, can deter some of the soil nematodes that negatively affect tomato plants. This mutual protection helps both plants thrive with fewer chemical interventions, making for a more organic gardening experience.

2. Basil

Basil is another fantastic companion for asparagus, offering several benefits. Its strong scent can help repel pests, including the asparagus beetle and other insects that might be tempted by your garden.

Basil Plant
Image by Canva

Additionally, basil is thought to enhance the flavor of many vegetables, including asparagus, when grown in close proximity. Planting basil alongside your asparagus can also attract pollinators, further enhancing your garden’s health and productivity.

3. Cilantro

Cilantro, with its distinctive aroma, can be a great companion to asparagus for several reasons. It can help repel aphids, potato beetles, and spider mites, all of which can pose threats to garden plants.

Cilantro Plant
Image by Canva

Cilantro blooms attract beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and lacewings, which prey on harmful pests. This natural pest control can reduce the need for chemical pesticides, making your garden safer and more environmentally friendly.

4. Comfrey

Comfrey is a beneficial plant for almost any garden, and it pairs well with asparagus too. It has deep roots that help to mine the soil for nutrients, which are then made available to neighboring plants through its decomposing leaves.

Comfrey Plant
Image by Canva

Comfrey leaves can be cut and left to decompose around the base of asparagus plants, acting as a mulch that enriches the soil and retains moisture. This nutrient-rich environment supports the growth of strong, healthy asparagus spears.

5. Grapes

While not as commonly recommended as other companions, grapes can coexist harmoniously with asparagus in certain garden layouts. Grapes do well with the same sun and soil conditions as asparagus and can share space without competing too aggressively for resources. 

Grapes Plant
Image by Canva

However, it’s important to manage the growth of both plants carefully to ensure they don’t overshadow or outcompete each other. Proper trellising of grapevines can help manage their spread and allow sunlight to reach the asparagus plants below.

6. Dill

Dill is a fantastic companion for asparagus for several reasons. Its aromatic properties can help repel pests that may target asparagus plants while attracting beneficial insects such as honeybees and butterflies, which are essential for pollination.

Dill Plant
Image by Shutterstock

Dill can improve the growth and health of asparagus when planted in proximity, thanks to these pest-repelling qualities. However, it’s important to manage dill’s growth as it can become quite tall and may shade out your asparagus if not kept in check.

7. Strawberries

Strawberries and asparagus make excellent garden companions, sharing many of the same requirements for sun, water, and soil pH levels. This compatibility allows them to be planted closely without competing harshly for resources. 

Strawberries plant
Image by Canva

Strawberries act as living mulch, spreading out to cover the ground, which helps keep the soil moist and cool, suppresses weed growth, and can reduce the risk of soil-borne diseases affecting asparagus. However, care should be taken to ensure that strawberries do not overtake the asparagus crowns.

8. Peas

Peas are beneficial companions for asparagus because they add nitrogen to the soil, a nutrient essential for the healthy growth of asparagus. As legumes, peas have a symbiotic relationship with bacteria in the soil that can fix atmospheric nitrogen into a form that plants can absorb. 

Peas Plant
Image by Canva

This natural process enriches the soil, reducing the need for chemical fertilizers. Additionally, peas have a relatively shallow root system, which means they won’t compete with asparagus for nutrients.

9. Carrots

Carrots are another excellent companion for asparagus, partly because their root system helps to loosen the soil, allowing for better water and nutrient penetration for the deep roots of asparagus.

Carrot Plant
Image by Canva

This complementary relationship helps asparagus plants access nutrients and moisture more efficiently. Moreover, planting carrots next to asparagus can help to maximize the use of garden space, as the carrots occupy a different soil layer and don’t compete directly with asparagus for sunlight or nutrients.

10. Cucumbers

Cucumbers can be beneficial neighbors to asparagus in the garden. They share similar growth requirements, which makes them compatible in terms of watering and sunlight needs. The broad leaves of cucumber plants can help keep the soil around asparagus moist and cool, which is beneficial during the hotter parts of the growing season.

Cucumbers Plant
Image by Canva

However, cucumbers should be planted with care to ensure they do not overshadow or crowd out the asparagus plants. Proper spacing and trellising of cucumbers can prevent competition and promote a healthy environment for both plants.

Read More: Best Sunflower Companion Plants For Your Garden

The Worst Companion Plants for Asparagus

While companion planting can greatly benefit asparagus and enhance the overall productivity of your garden, it’s equally important to recognize which plants might not make the best neighbors. Here, we’ll delve into some of the worst companion plants for asparagus and explain why they should be kept apart.

Onions

Onions are not ideal companions for asparagus. Both onions and asparagus thrive in similar soil conditions, but onions can inhibit the growth of asparagus through allelopathic compounds they release into the soil. These compounds can suppress the growth of asparagus spears and negatively affect their flavor. 

Additionally, onions attract onion flies, which could also potentially damage asparagus plants. It’s best to plant onions at a considerable distance from asparagus to avoid these issues.

Leeks

Similar to onions, leeks are not recommended as companions for asparagus. Leeks, being a member of the allium family, can also produce substances that might inhibit the growth of asparagus. Moreover, leeks can compete with asparagus for nutrients and water, given their similar cultural requirements. 

The proximity of leeks can also increase the likelihood of attracting pests that prefer alliums, which might then turn their attention to the asparagus. To ensure the health of both plants, it’s advisable to keep them in separate areas of the garden.

Garlic

Garlic, while beneficial for deterring pests in many garden scenarios, is not a good companion for asparagus. The strong allelopathic properties of garlic can adversely affect the growth of asparagus plants. Garlic can also compete with asparagus for essential nutrients and space, as both have extensive root systems that require ample nutrients from the soil. 

Additionally, like other alliums, garlic may attract pests that could pose a risk to asparagus. Keeping garlic well away from asparagus beds is a good practice for maintaining a healthy garden.

Potatoes

Potatoes are another crop that should not be planted too close to asparagus. Potatoes and asparagus have differing water and nutrient requirements, which can lead to competition and stress for both plants. Potatoes are heavy feeders that can quickly deplete the soil of nutrients that asparagus plants need to thrive. 

Furthermore, the cultivation of potatoes, which involves frequent digging and hilling, can disturb the delicate root systems of asparagus, potentially harming the perennial crowns that asparagus plants rely on for future growth. To avoid these conflicts, it’s wise to plant potatoes in a different part of the garden from asparagus.

FAQs

What grows well next to asparagus?

Several plants are known to grow well next to asparagus, enhancing its growth, deterring pests, and making efficient use of garden space. These beneficial companions include tomatoes which help repel the asparagus beetle.

Basil and cilantro can deter pests with their strong scents. Comfrey enriches the soil with nutrients and marigolds can deter nematodes and other pests. Other good neighbors for asparagus include parsley, peas (which can enrich the soil with nitrogen), and strawberries which serve as living mulch to keep the soil moist and cool.

What is the best way to plant asparagus?

The best way to plant asparagus involves preparing a permanent bed since asparagus is a perennial plant that can produce for 20 years or more. Begin by selecting a sunny location with well-draining soil. In early spring, dig trenches about 12 inches wide and 6-8 inches deep, spacing them about 3-4 feet apart to allow room for the plants to spread. Add compost or well-rotted manure to the trench for added nutrients.

Plant asparagus crowns (the root system) in the trench, spreading the roots out evenly and placing them about 12-18 inches apart. Cover lightly with soil, and as the spears grow, continue to fill in the trench until it is level with the ground. Water the newly planted crowns thoroughly and maintain consistent moisture throughout the growing season. Mulching around the plants can help retain soil moisture and suppress weeds.

What is the closest you can plant asparagus?

Asparagus plants need room to grow and spread, both above and below ground. The closest you can plant asparagus crowns to each other is about 12-18 inches apart in a row. This spacing allows each plant enough room to develop a healthy root system.

Rows should be spaced about 3-4 feet apart to give the ferny foliage room to grow and ensure good air circulation, which helps prevent disease.

What does asparagus like to grow in?

Asparagus thrives in well-draining soil that’s rich in organic matter. It prefers a soil pH of 6.5 to 7.5, which is slightly acidic to neutral. Before planting, it’s beneficial to work in plenty of aged compost or well-rotted manure to enrich the soil and improve its structure. 

Asparagus also likes full sun, requiring at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily to produce well. Ensuring the soil is well-aerated and free of standing water is crucial, as asparagus does not do well in waterlogged conditions. Proper soil preparation and location selection are key to growing a successful asparagus crop.

Conclusion

In conclusion, successful asparagus cultivation is substantially boosted by deliberate companion planting, precise planting practices, and a grasp of the asparagus plant’s specific demands. Gardeners can use the proper companions to naturally discourage pests, increase soil health, and create a more productive garden.

 In contrast, eliminating undesirable companions such as onions, garlic, and potatoes might help asparagus plants avoid competition and potential harm.

Adopting these practices will result in a strong asparagus crop while also contributing to a lively, balanced garden ecology. Whether you’re an experienced gardener or new to growing asparagus, the benefits of following these guidelines are plentiful, resulting in delicious, home-grown asparagus spears for your spring table.