Would you like to maximise your cantaloupe harvest? This list of good companion plants for cantaloupe will help you give your plants the best chance of thriving and fruiting.
The best companion plants for cantaloupe melons
This article covers 21 great cantaloupe companion plants, as well as 9 plants you should avoid planting nearby.
What is companion planting?
Companion planting is growing specific varieties of plants side by side. The idea is one type of plant provides benefits for the other plant, and vice versa, creating a symbiotic relationship. Companion planting is sometimes referred to as companion gardening.
There a lots of great reasons to embrace companion planting in your garden:
- Pest control: some garden plants can repel pests, or attract pests and harmful insects away from other plants.
- Help with pollination: some plants will attract beneficial pollinating insects that another plant needs in order to flower or fruit.
- Disease prevention: some plants have anti-fungal or antibacterial properties.
- More sustainable gardening: companion planting can allow you to reduce or even eliminate the need for chemical products such as pesticides. As well as making your garden more sustainable, it will also be a more wildlife-friendly garden.
- Growth support: some plants enrich the soil with nutrients needed by other plants.
Companion planting works best when you pair plants that enjoy the same growing conditions.
Just as some plants are good for each other, some plants are bad for each other when you grow them together. It’s important to know what these plants are, so you can avoid them.
Do cantaloupe melons benefit from companion planting?
Absolutely. Companion planting cantaloupe plants can help you to control common pests, provide nutrients, and attract those all-important pollinators.
Canatloupe vines can also provide benefits for other plants. These include ground cover which will protect other plant roots and limit soil erosion
20 fantastic cantaloupe companion plants
Here are our top compatible companion plants for cantaloupe to help you achieve a bumper harvest.
Edible companion plants for cantaloupe
Climbing pole beans such as runner beans make great companion plants for cantaloupe. These members of the legume family add nitrogen – an essential nutrient for plant growth – to the soil when they die back and the roots rot. Plants that do this are often referred to as ‘nitrogen fixers’.
Canaloupes are hungry plants, so growing beans in your patch before you plant cantaloupes will help to keep those nutrient levels up and reduce the need for supplementary plant food. Just make sure you leave the roots in the soil.
Growing your climbing beans on plant supports will reduce competition for ground space.
As with pole beans, bush bean plants such as French beans are also great for enriching the soil with nitrogen and supporting cantaloupe growth.
Because carrots are root vegetables, they do a good job of breaking up the soil before you plant cantaloupe seeds or seedlings. A more open soil structure makes it easier for seeds and young plants to get established. The timing works well with these two companion plants as the carrots can be ready for harvest by the time you want to get going with the cantaloupes.
The strong scent of garlic plants is a deterrent for lots of insect pests, so it makes a great cantaloupe companion plant. Growing garlic doesn’t take up much room either, so you can easily incorporate it amongst other plants.
Onions work in the same way as garlic as a companion plant for edible crops. Make sure you leave enough space when you plant them so that the foliage doesn’t crowd out your cantaloupes.
Like garlic and onions, chives are members of the allium family and their fragrance will deter common garden pests.
Another pungent plant, mint will effectively repel ants, aphids and flea beetles. It’s a very vigorous plant, so you need to keep it under control. The easiest way to do this is to grow it in a container.
The strong scent of basil can act as a pest deterrent. These shallow-rooted plants won’t compete with your melon plants either.
Oregano will act as a pest deterrent and tempt pollinators and insect predators into your melon patch.
Also known as cilantro, coriander is a good cantaloupe companion plant when it comes to beneficial insects. This aromatic herb will also deter pests such as aphids and spider mites.
Coriander plants will be happiest when growing in a cool, partially shady location, so you do need to consider this when pairing them with sun and heat-loving cantaloupe plants. You may need to plant your coriander in a nearby shady spot, or grow it in pots.
Tansy (or Tanacetum vulgare) boasts scented foliage and lots of bright yellow flowers. Those flowers are a beacon for pollinators. It’s a big plant, so you will need to keep it under control.
Ladybirds are fans of dill, so you want some of this in close proximity to your cantaloupes. Draw them in and they will take care of pesky aphids for you.
Lacewings and ladybirds are radish fans, as are aphids. Grow them near cantaloupe to provide a natural diversion away from your crops.
Like radishes, collard greens are an aphid trap crop.
Lettuce is a good companion plant for the early stages of cantaloupe growing. It will provide ground cover and protect young plants while also limiting weeds. When your cantaloupe plants need more space you will need to harvest your lettuce to create some room for your warm-season crop.
Spinach offers the same benefits as lettuce when you grow it as a cantaloupe companion plant. As with lettuce, you should harvest it when the other plants need the space.
Ornamental companion plants for cantaloupe
Monarda (Bee balm)
Monardas have stunning blooms and an upright habit. They won’t compete for a lot of space, and will attract pollinators and pest predators.
Aphids adore nasturtiums, so they’re well worth planting amongst your cantaloupes. They will earn their space in more ways than one; as well as attracting predatory insects, the flowers and seeds are edible, and the blooms are really pretty.
Borage is another companion plant that enriches the soil when it rots down. The plants will add potassium, which is key for the production of flowers and fruit.
Borage will also attract pollinating insects and predators, so it can help with pest control and pollination too. Plus it’s a lovely looking plant.
Marigolds are one of the most well-used companion plants for edible crops. They will repel aphids and even mosquitoes, while also rewarding you with lovely bold colour.
A quick checklist for cantaloupe melon companion plants
When choosing your companion plants for cantaloupe, go for varieties that like to grow in conditions that match the needs of cantaloupe. These are:
- Full sun
- Well-drained soil
- Fertile soil
- Temperatures above 21°C / 70°F
- Regular watering
The worst cantaloupe companion plants
So you know what works well as a cantaloupe companion plant, but what should you not plant next to cantaloupe?
What not to plant with cantaloupe
Avoid growing all of these plants alongside cantaloupe – they can cause trouble!
Cantaloupe is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family. As such, it’s vulnerable to some of the same pests as other members of this family, including aphids, squash bugs, spider mites, whiteflies and cucumber beetles. Growing other Cucurbitaceae varieties alongside cantaloupe vines runs the risk of introducing those pests to your cantaloupe crop.
There is also a likelihood that the plants will compete for light, space and nutrients.
The following Cucurbitaceae plant family members should be grown well away from cantaloupe:
- Squash & pumpkin
- Courgettes (zucchini)
Aphids are fans of potato plants, and potatoes will also compete for water, light and nutrients, so you should aim to keep them away from cantaloupes.
Crops that are heavy feeders
Any crop that has high nutrient requirements should be avoided as a cantaloupe companion plant, because cantaloupes are also heavy feeders. These include:
Healthy cantaloupes need lots of water, so you should also avoid growing them alongside plants that like dry conditions.
And that’s all you need to know about companion planting cantaloupe melons. Use this guide to select your plant neighbours and you’ll give your cantaloupes a great chance of thriving.
More gardening tips
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