12 Cabbage Companion Plants You Can Grow With Cabbage

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12 Cabbage Companion Plants You Can Grow With Cabbage: Companion planting can be an art form, specifically if you have limited gardening space. Cabbage is a shade friendly veggie that can grow well with a number of different vegetables. In this article, gardening expert and former organic farmer Sarah Hyde examines her favorite companion plants for cabbage in your garden.

12 Cabbage Companion Plants You Can Grow With Cabbage

1. Carrots


Carrots make great companion plants for cabbage, due to different growth habits and little to no shared pests, and they both can grow well in cooler weather. Carrots take up garden space primarily underground (though they can get tall tops depending on the variety). Cabbage needs less root space and more above ground space so they can share the same garden area for part of their life.

Plant carrots early in the spring, when your cabbage transplants are still safe inside the nursery’s greenhouse or your windowsill (or wherever you grow your transplants!). When cabbage planting time comes, hopefully, your carrots will have germinated and are at least a few inches tall. Allow both plants to grow together.

As the cabbage plant increases in size, it will start to shade the carrots. Harvest baby carrots from around the cabbage plant’s growing base as they are shaded out, leaving the furthest away carrots to grow to full size.

2. Beets


Beets are a great companion plant for cabbage too, since they are similar in growth habit to carrots, as described above. They also share a few pests with cabbage. Beets are a great choice because they tend to be a bit easier to grow for novice gardeners than carrots.


Beets can be harvested at the baby stage for sweet, tender treats. Beets have another super power that makes them excellent companion plants – their greens! As the beets mature around the cabbage, harvest the greens to allow more space for the cabbage plant. Beet greens rival Swiss chard for health benefits and flavor.

3. Lettuce

  • Lettuce is an excellent choice for planting next to cabbage, though it doesn’t offer specific benefits in terms of pest protection. Lettuce and cabbage both prefer cool weather. Lettuce is an easy-going, quick crop that can be harvested multiple times. Lettuce can be planted before or at the time of transplanting cabbage.


  • The lettuce will mature in half the time as the cabbage and will regrow from harvested leaves for a second or even third harvest. As the lettuce and cabbage mature, keep harvesting the lettuce from around the cabbage plant before it gets shaded out.
  • Lettuce generally does not do well in the heat, so you can harvest all the lettuce and cabbage before the heat of summer. That leaves you with an open space to plant a heat loving crop. For example, pop in some okra or basil transplants in the space where cabbage and lettuce grew.

4. Scallions

Scallions, due to the pungent odor, protect plants from insects and other pests.

Scallions are excellent space savers since they grow small and lean. Sow scallion seeds directly into the garden as early as soil can be worked and be patient.

They are slow growers. Allow them to get past the “grass-stage” where the baby scallions resemble blades of grass, before planting cabbage transplants with them.


Scallions can be planted around the cabbage plants similar to how lettuce, carrots, and beets were described above. Scallions can be harvested at any stage after they are the size of a pencil, and have a long harvest window. Again, harvest the scallions closest to cabbage first, as the cabbage will eventually shade out the nearest scallions.


5. Spinach


Spinach thrives in cool weather and is one of the first seeds you can plant in the spring – even when it is still freezing at night! It is also a “cut-and-come-again” crop, meaning if you harvest only some leaves from each plant it will continue to produce.


This makes it a great plant to establish and harvest from for a few weeks before putting in your cabbage plants. Similar to lettuce, harvest the spinach from around the cabbage plant until it gets shaded out.


One caution – aphids do love to hang out under the curled spinach leaves, especially as the weather warms. Keep an eye out that the aphids don’t move onto your cabbage plants. Remove spinach as the weather gets hot, even if it happens before your cabbage head is fully mature.]


6. Dandelion Greens

Dandelion Greens

Dandelion greens are an unsung heroine of the garden due to their high nutrient content and few pests. They can churn out healthy greens all season long, even after you’ve pulled the cabbage plants in the summer heat!

Dandelion seed you purchase for planting is botanically different from the common yellow flowering lawn weed. Dandelion greens are actually chicory and are the same species as endive.


When spaced closely, dandelion greens will grow somewhat vertically, which makes them a great space saver next to space-hogging cabbage. Again, as the cabbage grows, harvest the dandelion green plants as they get shaded out.


7. Celery


Celery has been purported to repel cabbage moths, which makes it a good choice for companion planting with cabbage. Even if cabbage moths were to find your cabbage, chances are good they would not move onto the celery. Celery and cabbage both are best grown as transplants, prefer cooler weather, and need regular water for ideal growth formation.


Celery and cabbage are very close in their days to maturity (approimately 75-85 days depending on variety). This makes them good companions because once both crops are done, you remove the plants in their entirety and make space for a new crop.

Since celery and cabbage struggle in hot weather, this opens up space in your garden for a new summer crop – basil transplants, beans, okra, or zinnias for example.

8. Mâche


Mâche, Vit, and Lamb’s Lettuce are all names for the most fabulous under-recognized garden crop that also makes a great companion for cabbage. With a similar growth habit to spinach, mâche can be sown very early, as soon as the soil can be worked.


Mâche has a mild, nutty flavor you won’t find anywhere else in the garden. Though it is slow to germinate and grow, the wait is worth it!  

Mâche can withstand cold temperatures and can be sown early, so it will grow into a harvestable plant by the time the cabbage transplants go in. While the cabbage is growing to maturity, keep harvesting your mâche from around the plant.


Careful harvesting will allow mâche to be a cut-and-come-again crop. Mâche and cabbage don’t share many pests aside from aphids, so they can be great garden companions!

9. Onions


Onions are very rewarding to grow in your garden since you can enjoy the fruits of your labor all year if stored properly after harvest. Onions’ generous aroma also repels many pests that attack cabbage – cabbage moths, cabbage loopersaphids, and rabbits! That alone makes them great companion plants.


If you practice garden rotation (which you should be!) planting onions next to cabbage can simplify your rotation. According to esteemed organic grower Eliot Coleman, onions have been shown to be beneficial preceding cabbage. That means you can just scootch next season’s cabbage crop right where your onions grew.


While bulb onions need more space than scallions mentioned above, they still have an upright growth habit. Onions are heavy feeders like cabbage, so applying a generous dose of compost before planting will benefit both crops.

10. Garlic


Garlic shares many of the same qualities with onions mentioned above, since they are closely related botanically. Garlic’s strong aroma repels the same pests, which makes it an excellent choice for companion planting with cabbage. Garlic tends to take up slightly less space than onions and can be a good choice along garden bed edges where cabbage takes center stage.


11. Arugula


Arugula is a beneficial companion plant for cabbage in a way that most other crops listed here are not. Arugula is considered a “trap crop” for flea beetles, which are also a cabbage pest. Flea beetles will eat the tender arugula leaves before tough cabbage leaves.


Seeing them on arugula first gives you a chance to cover your cabbage with insect netting or row cover. Let the flea beetles be on the arugula and consider it a sacrifice crop. Pesticides don’t work particularly well for flea beetles since they fly quickly at any movement.


12. Thyme


Thyme’s strong aroma has been said to repel cabbage moths. Thyme can be grown as an annual or perennial, depending on your USDA zone and variety.  As a somewhat low-growing plant, try planting thyme around the edges of your beds with cabbages in the center.


When you’ve harvested the cabbage, the thyme will keep on growing and will be a great companion to most any other crop you plant after the cabbage.


13. Sage


Sage is another aromatic herb that also repels cabbage moths. Sage grows as a perennial in zones 4-8, so many gardeners will see sage return year after year. Sage plants can grow into mini-shrubs so plan to give them enough space. Visually, sage’s light green, dusty leaves will look stunning next to deep blues and purples of cabbage leaves. 


14. Oregano


Oregano is a perennial, pungent herb that is hardy in zones 4-9. This cold-hardiness makes it a great companion crop to a fall batch of cabbage. A mature oregano plant can withstand light frosts, and its pungent odors will keep pests at bay. An easy herb to grow, it will spread if you give it enough space.

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