Looking for the best companion plants for cantaloupe? Here is a list of plants that grow well near cantaloupe and the ones you should avoid.
Even though we would love to think that all plants need to grow well is sun and water, growing and caring for plants often requires more than that. And that’s also the case of cantaloupe.
A factor that makes the cultivation of cantaloupes a bit tricky is the abundance of pests that can hinder their progress.
As with many other plants, cantaloupes have numerous natural pests that like to take advantage of them. The good news is that if you choose the right companion plants for your cantaloupes, you can control some of the pests without using toxic chemicals.
Although pest repelling is not the only benefit of companion plants, this is certainly one of the most valuable.
- Best Companion Plants for Cantaloupe
- Worst Companion Plants For Cantaloupe
- Ready to Try the Buddy System?
Best Companion Plants for Cantaloupe
Just like when we are choosing our life companions, plants also need other plants that would let them thrive and grow throughout their lifespan. This sort of gardening strategy is called companion planting, and it is essentially a method of gardening whose purpose is to boost the growth and health of mutually beneficial plants.
This strategy’s advantages come in many forms; most notably, we plant beneficial plants next to each other to effectively combat weeds and pests. Additionally, some plants can boost soil fertility and serve as natural trellising solutions. The simplest way some taller plants could help the growth and health of shorter plants is through shade regulation!
Companion plants that would let your cantaloupes prosper include:
Nasturtium, which is a powerful pest deterrent (squash bugs, aphids, and striped cucumber beetles) used as a companion for various plants, including broccoli, tomatoes, and more.
When planted near cantaloupes, it can be a distraction for ants, whiteflies, and leafhoppers. But that’s not all — the plant could also boost the flavor of your cantaloupes and their growth in general. Strangely enough, it attracts predatory insects, but those aren’t going to damage your melons. Instead, they’ll deal with pests and keep their population under control.
Marigolds, whose strong scent acts as a repellent for several pests, including aphids, squash bugs, flies, beetles, and nematodes.
Tansy, which we can use to deter flying insects, squash bugs, striped cucumber beetles, and ants.
Collard greens, which can lure away aphids, a type of sap-sucking insects that encourage the formation of black fungus and distort the plant’s growth.
Catnip, a pungent plant that’s able to repel aphids, flies, squash beetles, and leafhoppers.
Dill or bee balm
Dill or bee balm, which can attract pollinators.
Strong-smelling plants like chamomile, cilantro, chives, savory, garlic, onions, anise, and petunias. These work well against pests like aphids as they can repel them with their intense scents.
Lettuce and other shade-tolerant plants
Shallow-rooted plants like lettuce, which are tolerant of shade, grow fast and are easy to maintain. They won’t take up much root space, so the cantaloupe vines will have enough room to spread. At the same time, they’ll take up enough space to prevent an overflow of weeds.
Other potential companion plants
- Pole and bush beans
- Mustard greens
- Brussels sprouts
More Cantaloupe Pests That Can Be Repelled With Companion Plants
When deciding on companion plants, it’s best to check what kinds would repel the most annoying pests commonly found in your area. Apart from the bugs and organisms mentioned above, there are others that could wreak havoc, including:
- Voles. Natural repellents include plants like Italian arum, goldenrod, Siberian iris, bee balm, autumn crocus, crown imperial, mint, marigold, and lavender.
- Cutworms. Tansy helps against cutworms, and so does spiny amaranth.
- Groundhogs. The animal dislikes various scents, including lavender, basil, chives, mint, rosemary, sage, oregano, lemon balm, and thyme.
- Raccoons. You could use garlic, black pepper, peppermint, rose bushes, globe thistle, and cayenne pepper plants to repel these. Goji berries are another excellent choice, as they leave a bitter taste in the raccoon’s mouth. In general, consider plants that smell and taste bad, as well as those that are prickly since raccoons have sensitive feet.
- Squash vine borer. Though a minor pest, we can combat squash vine borers by planting trap plants. All cucurbits are susceptible to this pest, but it likes some varieties more than others, such as squash and pumpkin. It is less interested in cucumbers and melons.
Worst Companion Plants For Cantaloupe
Fortunately, there are lots of useful companion plants we could opt for when trying to grow cantaloupes. However, apart from the various pests that could attack them, we must keep in mind the plants that may limit their growth too.
One major plant we should avoid growing near our cantaloupes happens to be its cousin, the watermelon. For one, both of these attract most of the same pests (much like the rest of the Cucurbitaceae family), so if we leave an infestation untreated, it could quickly spread around. Additionally, these two plants may compete for space and thus for nutrients, moisture and light. It is unnecessary to risk the crops’ success that way, especially since humidity and fungal diseases are notorious in dense vegetation.
Cucumber is another potential concern, though not for the reasons that Internet users keep asking about. Cucumbers and cantaloupes are too distantly related to cross-pollinate, which means that even if you get inedible fruits or a poor harvest, it’s impossible to blame it all on cross-pollination. For the most part, we should avoid cucumbers because (just like watermelon) they may attract pests and diseases that target both plants.
Finally, be wary of planting potatoes close to cantaloupes as they will compete for sunlight, soil, nutrients, and space in general. Worst of all, potatoes can attract various species of aphids, and in particular, melon aphids. This pest is known for feeding on cantaloupe and similar plants like watermelon and squash. If left to its own devices, it may even kill the plant.
Ready to Try the Buddy System?
Though cantaloupe isn’t the simplest plant to cultivate, you can easily boost your chances of success by choosing the most beneficial companion plants and creating a fantastic buddy growth system. Just be wary of the potential pests and plants that may take up too much space or steal nutrients and sunlight from your cantaloupes — don’t let all your effort be in vain!