Besides using dedicated pesticides or natural sprays, companion planting is another effective way to reduce bugs.
Some companion plants attract beneficial insects that are also hunters on the pests that are destructive to tomatoes. Several plants can repel certain harmful insects. A few work both ways.
For the best results, you should plant a mix of them along with your tomatoes. This article will let you know what to plant with tomatoes to keep bugs away:
What To Plant With Tomatoes To Keep Bugs Away
Asparagus, which is another popular companion plant for tomatoes, can kill and repel root-knot nematodes effectively, hence reducing the population gradually.
The secret is the natural nematicide emitted from asparagus' roots.
On the tomato plants' part, they produce a chemical compound found called Solanine, that can kill asparagus beetles.
Broadly, tomatoes and asparagus are a win-win relationship.
The shiniest contender in this list is marigolds because they're easy to grow, low-maintenance, and repellant to many harmful insects. For example, whiteflies, aphids, tomato hornworms, flea beetles, and asparagus beetles.
Marigolds' strong scent is science-proven to keep these bugs away.
Plant this flower among or near tomatoes for the best protection.
Basil is one of the most powerful companion plants to grow with tomatoes.
The reason is that basil not only repels some harmful insects but also attracts beneficial ones. Namely, this plant can keep away mosquitoes, whiteflies, thrips, armyworms, flies, and tomato hornworms. Its flowers attract bees.
But the best part is basil is proven to help tomato plants grow healthier and produce fruits with better flavor.
If your tomato garden often has problems with tomato hornworms, then planting borage near them can improve it.
Borage is known as the best deterrent to this worm.
A lot of gardeners shared that with a borage surround, their tomato plants weren't attacked by tomato hornworms. But in those seasons when they didn't grow this plant in the garden, hornworms came back.
Besides, borage's bright blue flowers add aesthetics to the garden.
Chives are not only renowned for its delicious flavor but also repellent to Japanese beetles, mites, and aphids, as well as rabbits, thanks to their super-strong lemony scent.
In fact, chives are utilized in candles and many bug repellents.
Planting them near your tomato plants is a natural and effective method to keep these bugs away.
But take note that chives can spread fast if not controlled properly because they're a grass-like plant. The maximum height they can reach is 6'.
Collard greens are one of the most effective solutions to keep beetles away from tomato plants. It just works differently from other plants.
Instead of attracting useful insects or directly killing/repelling beetles through its natural aroma, collard greens lure and trap these bugs, making them distracted from tomato plants. In other words, collard greens are a sacrificial trap crop, so you won't eat them.
It's best to plant 4 collard greens closely around each tomato's base.
Dill is a great companion herb for tomato plants because, when grown nearby, it decreases the attack of tomato hornworms and aphids.
While humans seem to like the aroma and pungent flavor of garlic, blights and red spider mites don't.
If you don't know it yet, red spider mites create webbing on both sides of tomato leaves. Leaf feeding and too dense webbing cause leaves to become mottled, yellowish white, and bronzed. Then, these affected leaves eventually die and turn brown.
Tomato blights are caused by a fungus-like organism. In warm, wet weather, this disease spreads rapidly through the tomato fruits and leaves. Consequently, the plants die, collapse, and decay.
Aside from marigolds, geraniums are another great option to keep harmful bugs away from tomato plants. They repel many types of insects, such as mosquitoes, leafhoppers, Japanese beetles, and even cabbage worms.
Geraniums are as hardy and easy to grow as marigolds, but they are better in drought tolerance - which makes them a great choice for locations with full to partial sun.
If cared for properly, Geraniums bloom beautifully.
Easy to guess that mint's overpowering aroma is key to keeping bugs away.
Mint is a good choice to protect your tomato plants from squash bugs, mosquitoes, houseflies, spider mites, aphids, fleas, flea beetles, ants, and white cabbage moths, as well as mice.
Moreover, mint flowers attract many pollinators and beneficial insects like tachinid flies (parasitic on nasty bugs), hoverflies (aphid eaters), beneficial wasps, and bees.
Nasturtium plants give you and your tomato plants a lot of benefits.
They act as a trap crop to lure aphids and some harmful pests off tomato plants.
But as Nasturtium has a sprawling growth habit and is considered invasive in many of those areas, when planting them near your tomatoes, either give them much space or control their growth reasonably.
Nasturtiums are also host plants for many types of predatory insects and butterflies to lay their eggs.
Many gardeners plant nasturtium around the edges of their garden to repel many insect pests.
Note: Nasturtium cannot repel bumblebees and other pollinators.
The way that rosemary works to repel tomato harmful insects is like mint: using its strong natural scent.
Rosemary can fight against flies and mosquitoes very well. It also emits a pungent odor that decreases other bugs, consisting of cabbage moths.
Place a few rosemary pots around your tomato garden for the best protection.
Rosemary thrives best in containers and acts as a natural tomato bug repellent the best in hot dry weather.
Like basil, thyme is a great companion herb for tomato plants that not only fight against many types of bugs but also help tomatoes produce better flavor fruits.
Planting a few thymes closely to tomato plants to keep whiteflies and hornworms away.
We hope that through this article, you get a better idea of what to plant with tomatoes to keep bugs away; the way each works; and how to plant them for the best effects.
It's worth noting, however, that these companion plants cannot keep your tomato plants bug-free, but just reduce the overall population.
To kill tomato bugs thoroughly, you will need to combine with natural sprays (for organic gardens) and dedicated chemical pesticides (for non-organic gardens).
That’s all for this article. Thanks for reading!