Companion planting for peppers (beginners guide)

I used to find companion planting for peppers, tomatoes and other vegetables extremely confusing.

And looking online did not really help as I would find conflicting information from what at least seemed to be reputable sources.

Here in this article I will explain the companion planting method I use for peppers and all other herbs and vegetables we grow. 

I will also give you actionable advice on how you can successfully companion plant for peppers.

5 truths to companion planting for peppers 

So here is my best advice for companion planting for peppers.

First, decide where your peppers will grow. Next, make sure to give your pepper plants these 5 things in the location where they will grow:

  1. Protection from wind
  2. Shade for roots to keep soil moist
  3. Full sun for at least 8 hours per day
  4. Welcoming environment for beneficial insects
  5. Hostile environment for pests and diseases

This can of course be challenging in itself. But for me, understanding what I am trying to accomplish makes all the difference

And interestingly, companion planting can in a way sometimes be about what we do not plant next to our pepper plants.

And for peppers, I know I will have a great harvest if I can give my pepper plants these 5 factors coupled with regular watering and feeding.

Companion planting for peppers in our garden (example)

Each garden is unique and you know your garden better than anyone else. I will use our garden as an example as it should help you understand what you need to do in your garden.

1. Protect pepper plants from wind

Bamboo plant to help protect against wind
Bamboo protects against harsh winds

Use taller and larger plants to protect your pepper plants from harsh winds.

At the same time, make sure that these same plants do not place your pepper plants in the shade.

Our garden is fenced in and relatively sheltered from wind.

Still, we use tall grasses and bamboo plants to protect our pepper plants from harsh winds.

Do not place plants too close together.

Normal air circulation and airflow is important for the development of healthy plants. 

2. Shade to keep soil moist

Companion planting is sometimes about meeting needs that are somewhat conflicting. 

Pepper plants want to grow in full sun but we also need to ensure that the soil stays moist to help the root system grow and develop. 

Here we work with low and fast growing vegetables and herbs. 

Lettuce, spinach and corn salad are examples of fast growing leafy vegetables that will keep weeds at bay while keeping soil and root system shaded and moist.

Herbs like oregano and marjoram are both low growing and also work well to protect the soil from drying out. These herbs will however take longer to get established than the leafy greens listed above.

You can of course also protect the soil from drying out by using mulches to cover the soil. Hay, straw, rough compost and grass clippings are three examples of good to use mulches.

3. Pepper plants want full sun for at least 8 hours per day

Choose your location wisely if you are transplanting peppers to your vegetable garden

Thyme is a great companion plant for peppers
Flowering thyme companion plant

Habanero, cayenne and Padron peppers need full sun to grow strong and develop fruits to harvest. And this is even more true if you are growing really hot chillies like ghost peppers.

Furthermore, as peppers have long growing seasons you need to make sure you do not plant vegetables, flowers or any other plants that will shade your pepper plants later on in the season.

As we have large trees in our garden we have chosen to plant our peppers in DIY grow bags that we make from breathable garden fabric. 

Using grow bags allows us to easily move our plants to give them the sun they need to develop. This is especially useful for hot peppers like habaneros and ghost peppers that want full sun from morning to evening.

4. Welcoming environment for beneficial insects

Companion planting for peppers includes attracting beneficial insects and pollinators.

Flowers can help attract beneficial insects and here pollinators (bumble bee)
Flowers help attract beneficial insects

Beneficial insects feed on garden pests like aphids and flies. And even though pepper plants may self-pollinate, there are times when they need a hand from pollinators like butterflies, honey bees, hoverflies, bumblebees and wasps. 

Companion planting sunflowers, marigolds and nasturtiums as well as herbs like lavender, rosemary, thyme and sage are just examples of plants that help attract beneficial insects and pollinators. [1]

In our garden we use plants like marigolds and herbs like lavender as borders or edging plants in our raised garden beds. Strategically placing pots and grow bags with herbs like rosemary and sage also helps to attract beneficial insects and pollinators.

5. Hostile environment for pests and diseases

Companion planting for peppers is not only about attracting insects. Because after all, not all insects are beneficial to your pepper plants. 

You also need companion plants to deter pests and unwanted insects from attacking your pepper plants.

Here I rely on two principles that work for peppers and all other plants and vegetables we grow. 

1. Alliums deter pests

We grow alliums like garlic, shallots, chives, onions and leek in our vegetable gardens. And as it happens alliums deter pests and are great companion plants for peppers. [2] This is also why it is an excellent idea to grow garlic indoors in water or pots.

2. Aromatic herbs deter pests

Aromatic herbs like basil, lavender, oregano, rosemary and sage help get rid of thrips and aphids while also attracting predatory insects and flies that will happily feed on aphids.

Summary and recommendations

Companion planting for peppers does not have to be complicated. Identify the needs of your plants and then take action to meet those needs.

And always remember that it is better to do a little something to help you pepper plants grow and develop than to do nothing at all.

We would be growing alliums even if they were not great for companion planting for peppers. 

Take inventory and look at your vegetable garden. What are you already growing that will help you pepper plants thrive this growing season? 

Attracting beneficial insects is a core companion planting tactic for peppers
Attracting beneficial insects to our garden help out pepper plants thrive

[1] https://extension.oregonstate.edu/news/12-plants-entice-pollinators-your-garden

[2] https://www.iosrjournals.org/iosr-javs/papers/vol7-issue2/Version-2/C07221317.pdf

Meet the author: Mattias is an experienced gardener spending most of his free time on his knees among herbs, plants and garden vegetables. For the past two years he has been sharing gardening projects and how-to tutorials on the NordicLavender website and YouTube channel.