Lettuce is a wonderful cool weather plant that loves the sun but can grow a bit longer into the year if provided shade later in the season. And companion planting your lettuce is a great way to help make the most of your garden.
Lettuce makes a great addition to your garden as it gets along well with most other plants and can help feed your family refreshing salads as a healthy addition to any meal.
You can plant other plants that help to repel pests that love to munch on fresh tender lettuce to help protect it.
Use companion planting to help extend the growing season of lettuce (and other greens like kale) in your garden by planting taller plants on the south side of your lettuce to provide shade from the hot afternoon sun.
How to companion plant lettuce
Growing tall plants that can help provide shade to your lettuce plants helps to extend the growing season.
Lettuce doesn’t take well to the heat but does like plenty of sun, so using tall plants that offer shade during the peak of summer is a great way to ensure that you make the most of every inch of your garden.
Young tender lettuce is a favorite of both insects and rabbits in the garden making it hard to keep your young sprouts alive. Companion planting with plants that repel these pests is a great way to help protect your lettuce.
The best companion plants for lettuce
Onions make an amazing companion plant for lettuce. Onions’ strong odor tends to repel insects and small animals that tend to find young tender lettuce leaves a favorite snack.
Onions can be planted around the garden bed or directly in with your leafy lettuce. In the early spring the onions will provide protection for the lettuce and as the summer heat rolls in the lettuce will die off leaving more room for onion growth.
A wonderful tall plant that offers some vital shade during the peak of summer to your lettuce allowing you to extend your growing season, so you can enjoy your fresh salads well into summer before your lettuce becomes overwhelmed by the heat.
Beets make great companion plants for lettuce and even though the two are rather shallow, they will not complete for the same garden space. Lettuce has a small root system leaving more room for surrounding plants.
Calendula is a great companion plant for your lettuce by helping to attract slugs and move them away from your lettuce, to help it grow and thrive without becoming a snack for hungry slugs.
The scent of calendula also helps to repel aphids from your garden while being edible and having other uses around the home.
Carrots can be planted close to your lettuce without causing issues, as carrots have a deep taproot that grows below the shallow and small root system of lettuce plants. Planting these close together is a great way to increase the yield of your garden by maximizing every inch of your garden space.
Mint makes an excellent companion plant for many different vegetables. Due to its strong scent, mint helps to deter wildlife. By planting mint around your lettuce, the aroma helps protect your plants and prevent them from being eaten.
Nasturtiums are bright-colored low-level flowers that are highly attractive to many pests, especially aphids. Now, this may seem to contradict when you are trying to avoid attracting pests to your lettuce, nasturtiums can make an excellent companion plant.
If planted slightly away from your lettuce, the scent and color of the nasturtiums will help to attract pests away from your lettuces.
Radishes make a great companion plant for lettuce. Planting radishes around your lettuce will also deter pests away from the lettuce leaves and toward the radish leaves.
And by the time your lettuce needs more space, the radishes will be ready for harvesting leaving plenty of room for plants to spread out some more.
Parsnips being another great underground plant makes use of the soil under lettuce’s shallow roots allowing you to grow more in less space for a wonderful way to expand the yield of your garden.
What You Should NOT Plant with Lettuce
Plants in the cabbage family like kale, broccoli, and cauliflower can become an issue for growing together with lettuce in the garden. This is because these plants secrete chemicals that can stop lettuce seeds from germinating. If you need to plant these near each other at all you should do so only after your lettuce is established.
Fennel should not be grown near your lettuce. This is because fennel produces toxic chemicals that can damage most surrounding plants. If you decide to grow fennel in your garden keep it away from your lettuce, preferably as a potted plant.
So now that you know which plants grow best with lettuce, and which to avoid. Why not check out these other companion planting guides: