Companion planting is a gardening method intended to enhance the growth of plants and to ward off bothersome pests.
Brussel Sprouts are a crop that attract the presence of unwanted pests, including beetles, caterpillars, cabbage loopers, squash bugs, and cutworms.
There are a plethora of herbs that detract from these bothersome insects and attract insects which are beneficial to brussel sprouts, such as ladybugs and parasitic wasps.
What To Companion Plant With Brussel Sprouts
There are many herbs which make sufficient companion plants for brussel sprouts. Two aromatic herbs that help ward off pests are mint and basil.
Garlic is said to prevent the presence of Japanese beetles. However, garlic offers a rather acrid aroma in comparison to basil and mint.
Other crops which make excellent companions for brussel sprouts are beets, bush beans, carrots, celery, lettuce, onion, potatoes, radishes, and spinach. Any of these crops can be planted at the feet of brussel sprout plants that grow straight up and this will make efficient use of garden space.
Additionally, brussel sprouts can be planted alongside sage and thyme, which are known to reduce diamondback moths, which also tend to attack brussel sprouts.
In general, there is a wide variety of companions for brussel sprouts. Planting these crops in unison will promote a diverse garden and work hand-in-hand to ward off threatening pests who wish to feed on brussel sprouts.
What Not To Plant With Brussel Sprouts
Brussel sprouts belong to the Brassica family, the same family as Cabbage and Broccoli. Some gardeners suggest they should not be grown near one another since they compete for the same resources and attract the same pests.
Others say they grow well together but do attract the same pests which can be bad news if the pests are heavy and take out a whole bed. One strategy is to companion plant garden plants with strong odors in between brassica plants to keep pests away. Onions, garlic, basil, mint, and marigolds all have strong odors that can mask the smell of brassicas.
It is also suggested that crops which require a lot of nutrients, such as tomatoes and eggplants, should not be planted with brussel sprouts. The reason for this is that brussel sprouts are also heavy feeders, and this again will result in a competition between the plants for nutrients.
This is more of a concern for gardeners with soil that isn’t full of nutrients.
Can You Plant Brussel Sprouts and Cabbage Together?
Brussel sprouts belong to the Cruciferae family and are closely related to cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and collard greens. Since these crops all belong to the same family, they have the potential to serve as companion plants for each other.
Brussel sprouts and cabbage can be planted together, but this may present some problems. The reason being is that they have closely related nutritional, water, and light requirements. While they require similar care, they also attract similar pests and diseases.
This is a possible negative to companion planting brussel sprouts and cabbage but there are many crops which can be planted to prevent the presence of these pests, as mentioned above.
Can You Plant Brussel Sprouts and Tomatoes Together?
Many expert sources suggest brussel sprouts and tomatoes are not compatible plant partners . It is said that these crops should be planted separately from one another because both are very heavy feeders. When a crop is considered to be a heavy feeder, it means that they absorb nearly all of the soil’s nutrients, which will likely need to be replenished at least once during the growing season.
To replenish the soil’s nutrients, a side dressing of compost can be directly added to the soil during the season. In general, it is highly suggested that tomatoes not be planted as a companion for brussel sprouts.
Can You Plant Brussel Sprouts and Cucumbers Together?
There are differing opinions relating to whether or not brussel sprouts and cucumbers should be planted together. Some experts suggest that members of the cabbage family, including brussel sprouts, support the growth of cucumbers, and vice-versa.
But, brussel sprouts are heavy feeders and tend to absorb large amounts of water, and if planted in close proximity to cucumbers, will compete for water and other resources.
Like tomatoes, cucumbers are not an ideal companion plant for Brussel Sprouts since they will be in direct competition for nutrients and water.
I believe that this comes down to a gardeners soil and planting. If you have great soil full of nutrients I don’t think this is a problem at all. If you have soil that isn’t heavily fertilized you might consider planting these plants further away from each other.
How To Keep Bugs Off Brussel Sprout Plants
Common threats to brussel sprouts are pests. The most notable insects which will disrupt the growth of brussel sprout plants are cabbage loopers, harlequin bugs, and aphids.
Cabbage loopers are small, white or green worms that rely on crops within the cabbage family to be their host plant. Cabbage loopers lay eggs and feed off the underside of Brussel Sprout leaves, causing damage to the foliage of the plant. Cabbage loopers can be prevented by hand-picking the larvae off the leaves and also by applying organic pesticides like neem oil.
Neem oil is my go to for any kind of pests in the garden as well as disease like powdery mildew. It’s 100% organic, made from the seeds of the neem tree, and can be sprayed on plants 2-3x a week if there’s a serious pest problem. It coats the leaves with a wax like coat and also has an active ingredient that destroys bugs exoskeletons and eggs.
Harlequin bugs are another threatening pest to brussel sprouts who pierce the crop’s foliage to extract its nutrients. The signs of a harlequin-bug infested crop are small white spots, known as stipples, within the leaves, resulting in them to appear tattered and brown. The damage caused by harlequin bugs will lead the plant to wither, become deformed, and can result in the death of the plant.
Aphids, which are essentially plant lice, appear as very small, green or black soft-bodied insects, aphids, similar to cabbage loopers, also feed on the underside of leaves, causing them to become wrinkled or curled. When aphids snack on the plant’s leaves, they extract plant sap from the crop.
In instances in which aphids do not kill the plant, it will cause the plant to grow extremely slowly and brussel sprouts will form small, light heads.
To control an aphid infestation, insecticidal soaps or neem oil can be applied to the plants leaves. Additionally, heavy and powerful water streams have proved to be a successful way to remove aphids from brussel sprout crops.
Please comment below with you own thoughts on companion planting!