Kale Companion Plants: Learn About Plants That Grow Well With Kale

Kale Companion Plants: Learn About Plants That Grow Well With Kale

By: Amy Grant

Kale is a cool weather green with ruffled leaves that grows in USDA zones 7-10. In my neck of the woods, the Pacific Northwest, kale thrives with our cooler temps and plentiful rain. In fact, it can be grown throughout the year in some areas. Also, many plants grow well with kale – receiving and giving benefits to each other. So what are the best companion plants for kale? Read on to find out about kale companion planting.

About Kale Companion Plants

Kale can tolerate temps down to 20 degrees F. (-6 C.) but becomes rather tough when temps exceed 80 F. (26 C.). If you plant in the cool season, kale should be planted in full sun, but if you plant during the warm season, plant kale in partial shade.

It thrives with a pH of 5.5 – 6.8 in loamy, well-draining, damp soil. These are all things to consider when looking for plants that grow well with kale. Obviously, these kale companion plants should have like growing requirements.

Kale also doesn’t require nitrogen rich soil, another consideration when choosing companion plants for kale.

Kale Companion Planting

There are a number of veggies, herbs, and flowering plants that make great companion plants for kale. Among the veggie plants compatible with kale are:

  • Artichokes
  • Beets
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Lettuce
  • Onion
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Radishes
  • Spinach

Kale also enjoys the company of many herbs such as:

  • Garlic
  • Basil
  • Dill
  • Chamomile
  • Mint
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Thyme

Hyssop, marigolds and nasturtium companions get a thumb’s up from kale as well.

Depending upon who you ask, kale either likes tomatoes or it doesn’t. In my garden, kale is pretty indestructible and I direct sow it into pots on the deck so I can get at it quickly and easily. At this writing, I have kale tucked into a large decorative pot along with some grasses, a wallflower and some trailing lobelia. It seems to be quite happy there.

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Plants That Make Good Companions

There are a wide range of plants that you can use as companion plants. Consider some of this list as a companion to other fruits, veggies, and plants that you are growing. You can mix and match from this list, plus add to it by considering other plants that you are hoping to include in your garden. Keep in mind that this is truly just an example. There are dozens upon dozens of plants that you can pair up with others as you plan your garden. Just think about the needs of the plants and what already does well in your area!

  • Basil
  • Begonia
  • Chives
  • Coreopsis
  • Garlic
  • Gerbera Daisies
  • Impatiens
  • Kale
  • Lantana
  • Marigolds
  • Nasturium
  • Pansies
  • Parsley
  • Peppers
  • Sunflowers
  • Tomatoes
  • Verbena
  • Vinca
  • Zinnia

One of the things that you should be sure to avoid when pairing plants is putting a spreading groundcover around other plants. Herbs like mint, marjoram, and oregano can tend to choke out the roots of other plants that it is coupled with and can become a serious issue in the garden if not kept in control. I often like to put these in containers on their own to help ensure that they will not become an issue for my other garden plants.

What Not To Plant With Kale

  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Spouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Collards
  • Sunflowers
  • Tomatoes

Bok Choy, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, and Collards should not be planted with kale. Members of the brassica plant family can attract pests that will attack all of the brassica plants in the same area. So it is best to keep these in different areas of your garden.

Sunflowers have allelochemicals that can impede the growth of neighboring plants or even stop seeds from other plants to germinate.

Tomatoes: Some people say that tomatoes can be a companion plant for kale and others say not to use it as a companion plant with kale. Tomatoes need lots of nutrients from the soil so it is best to make sure to keep them separate from your kale crop so you kale can get all the nutrients it needs. You can find good companion plants for tomatoes here.