10 Best Rhubarb Companion Plants for a Thriving Garden

Image by Di Reynolds from Pixabay

Rhubarb, the majestic king of spring, graces gardens with its ruby-red stalks and tart flavor. But did you know this regal vegetable thrives with a loyal court of companions? These fellow plants not only enhance rhubarb’s growth but also create a vibrant ecosystem that benefits the entire garden.

So, ditch the solo act and prepare to witness your rhubarb kingdom flourish! Let’s explore ten of the best companion plants to elevate your rhubarb patch from ordinary to extraordinary.

Knights in Shining Armor: Repelling Pesky Pests

Rhubarb, unfortunately, isn’t immune to the occasional aphid or beetle invasion. Fear not, for our first group of companions act as nature’s pest patrol!

The Allium Army (Onions, Garlic, Chives)

  • Why they’re great: These pungent members of the allium family, including onions, garlic, and chives, emit a strong odor that deters many common garden pests. Aphids, whiteflies, and even some pesky rodents find their presence disagreeable, keeping your rhubarb safe and sound.
  • Bonus points: Alliums are not just bodyguards; they’re also beneficial pollinators, attracting helpful insects like ladybugs that prey on harmful ones.

The Herb Brigade (Borage, Mint, Catnip)

  • Why they’re great: Fragrant herbs like borage, mint, and catnip not only add a touch of beauty to your garden but also confuse and repel pests with their strong aromas.
  • Things to consider: Mint, while a fantastic companion, can be quite invasive. Plant it in a pot or consider a creeping mint variety to keep it contained.

The Royal Court of Nutrient Enrichers

A healthy, thriving rhubarb patch needs a steady supply of nutrients. These next companion plants act as natural fertilizers, enriching the soil and promoting optimal growth.

The Legume Legions (Beans, Peas)

  • Why they’re great: Beans and peas, members of the legume family, have a superpower – they fix nitrogen in the soil. Nitrogen is a vital nutrient for all plants, and these legumes act like tiny factories, converting atmospheric nitrogen into a usable form that nourishes your rhubarb.
  • Double duty: Not only do legumes enrich the soil, but they’re also a delicious addition to your summer harvest! Opt for climbing bean varieties to add vertical interest to your garden layout.

The Cover Crop Crew (Buckwheat, Marigolds)

  • Why they’re great: Cover crops like buckwheat and marigolds are planted specifically to improve soil health. They suppress weeds, prevent erosion, and add organic matter to the soil as they decompose. This creates a richer, more fertile environment for your rhubarb to thrive.
  • Bonus perk: Marigolds, with their vibrant orange blooms, also deter some harmful nematodes from taking root in your garden.

The Royal Advisors: Attracting Helpful Pollinators

Pollinators like bees and butterflies play a crucial role in a thriving garden. These next companion plants act as magnets, attracting these beneficial insects and ensuring good pollination for your rhubarb.

The Bumblebee Ballroom (Borage, Cosmos, Yarrow)

  • Why they’re great: These flowering companions boast vibrant colors and nectar-rich blooms that are irresistible to bees and butterflies. With a constant buzz of activity, your rhubarb will receive excellent pollination, leading to a bountiful harvest.
  • Planting for impact: Plant a mix of flowering companions with different bloom times to ensure a continuous supply of nectar throughout the growing season, keeping the pollinators happy all summer long.

Living Mulch for a Happy Kingdom

Mulch plays a vital role in retaining moisture, suppressing weeds, and regulating soil temperature. These next companion plants can act as a living mulch, providing these benefits while adding beauty and functionality to your rhubarb patch.

The Strawberry Squad

  • Why they’re great: Strawberries are a classic companion for rhubarb. They create a living mulch around the rhubarb base, helping retain moisture and suppress weeds. Additionally, the sprawling strawberry plants provide some shade for the rhubarb’s crown, which can help prevent sunburn during hot summer days.
  • Win-win situation: This companion planting is a double win! While your rhubarb thrives, you’ll also enjoy a delicious harvest of juicy strawberries. Just be sure to give both plants enough space to grow comfortably.

Additional Tips For A Flourishing Rhubarb Garden

Spacing is key: Ensure there’s adequate space between your rhubarb and companion plants to prevent overcrowding and competition for resources.

Know your plants: Research the mature size of your chosen companions to avoid them overwhelming your rhubarb as they grow

.Rotate your crops: Planting legumes in one season and cover crops in another helps maintain a healthy balance of nutrients in the soil.

Observe and adapt: Pay attention to your garden and adjust your companion planting strategy based on what works best in your specific growing conditions.

Conclusion: Thriving Together

Incorporating these ten companion plants, you can create a thriving ecosystem in your rhubarb kingdom. From repelling pests and enriching the soil to attracting pollinators and offering living mulch benefits, these companion plants create a harmonious environment where everyone flourishes. Your rhubarb will be rewarded with improved growth, stronger stems, and potentially even sweeter yields. Remember, a little planning goes a long way. Consider your garden layout, sunlight availability, and desired aesthetic when choosing your companion plants.

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