Sunflower Companion Plants For Your Garden

Sunflower plants are one of our most beloved summer and fall blooms. With its colorful flowers, the sunflower is consistently ranked among the most sought-after flowers globally. 

Sunflowers attract pollinators with small to large flower heads and are available in various colors, hues, and dimensions.

The common sunflower plants are terrific as stand-alone plants, but they can be good companion plants with different other flowers, agricultural crops, and vegetables in your garden. 

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Best Sunflower Companion Plants For Your Garden

Sunflowers can provide a beneficial environment for growing a variety of neighboring plants, including several vegetables and herbs. For example, sunflowers are usually considered to be suitable companion plants for crops that need insect pollination.

Planting Sunflower Seeds Successfully

This is because pollinators and other beneficial insects, such as butterflies and bees, are attracted to sunflowers.

Sunflowers can shield plants from adverse weather conditions by providing shelter and shade. Having a wide variety of plants around your sunflower helps to keep pests at bay.

The following are some of the best plants to grow sunflowers as companions.

companions for sunflowers


Corn and sunflowers aren’t exactly the most obvious choice when it comes to companion plants. Considering how quickly corn plants grow and how many resources it requires, this seems like an odd choice.

However, the sunflower is a great companion for corn because both plants don’t compete for soil nutrients.

Some insects that help reduce harmful pests are attracted to sunflowers. For example, Ladybugs are drawn to sunflowers, where they can eat aphids, mites, and other pests that attack corn plants.

The sunflower is a great companion for corn because both plants generate compounds that improve the flavor of the corn. They also increase crop yield when planted together.


It would be a good idea to plant tomatoes close to sunflowers. It makes no difference whether you choose cherry-sized tomato plants or a larger variety. Tomatoes and sunflowers are excellent companion plants because they complement one another. 

In stark contrast to the bright yellow color of sunflowers, the tomato’s vivid red hue creates a striking visual effect. Sunflowers will attract aphids, which will keep them away from tomato blossoms and plants.

The sunflower acts as a trap crop by diverting pests away from the tomato plant and toward itself instead.


Peppers are upright plants that require sunlight, but not so much that they become burnt. Peppers are susceptible to heat damage and benefit from the shade provided by tall sunflowers.

The sunflowers provide shade and support, allowing the perfect amount of light to enter.

When peppers are grown beside sunflowers, pesky pests will stay away. Sunflowers not only produce extra floral nectar from the undersides of their leaves while they are in bloom, but they also give nectar to pest-eating beneficial insects.

The primary purpose of this nectar is to protect the plant. This sunflower attribute will help peppers tremendously.


Basil plants are one of the best herbs to grow alongside sunflowers. Basil do not thrive when it gets too hot, so keep an eye on them during the summer months and provide some shade.

Basil behind sunflowers can offer an ideal environment for it to grow. The basil can be shaded by their giant blossoms in the middle of the summer and allow the plants to continue producing for an extended period.

Sunflowers plants repel annoying pests like beetles and worms by drawing pollinators to the area. Planting common garden crops such as basil, peppers, and tomatoes as a companion for sunflowers is an excellent example of making a perfect vegetable garden.


Lettuce is a perfect companion with sunflower because it prefers shade, especially in the summer. Lettuce is a cool-season vegetable that prefers to be kept out of the sun’s rays. Place it behind the sunflower to keep it from bolting in hot weather.

Sunflowers, which provide shade, can help lettuce leaves get the correct amount of sun exposure. In addition, lettuce acts as a live mulch for sunflowers, keeping the soil cool.

Finally, add some chives or onions to the mix, and you’ve got a potent aphid and pest-repelling combo that performs together very well.

sunflower companions to plant


Another plant that benefits from the shade provided by a sunflower is the cucumber. Cucumbers share the same soil needs and watering schedule, making them an excellent companion plant for sunflowers.

Cucumber vines can grow on robust sunflower stalks as well.

Sunflower stalks can serve as a support for raising cucumber fruits. Therefore, it’s crucial to put cucumber seedlings on the base of sunflowers when they’re at least 12 inches tall to have strong stems to support them.

Because of their big leaves, cucumbers are excellent for reducing weeds and keeping soil hydrated. In addition, insects that devour cucumber beetles are drawn to sunflowers, making them a natural pesticide.

Sunflowers also attract beneficial insects that help pollinate cucumbers.


Onions are excellent natural pest control, keeping the incorrect bugs and pests away while enabling the right ones to pollinate. In addition, planting onions is a great way to keep squirrels and animals away from your sunflower seeds because of the onion’s pungent aroma.

On the other hand, sunflowers shield onions from the heat of summer and keep the soil moist and cool. The huge sunflower heads also protect the onions from the sun’s rays.

These plants complement one another perfectly because they don’t compete for soil resources.


Garlic’s characteristic pungent odor effectively repels a wide range of insects and other animals that can be harmful to the health of sunflowers. Similar to onions, garlic flourishes when planted next to sunflowers.

Garlic is typically collected in the early part of the summer. Nevertheless, this time of year can be crucial for warding off pests and preventing them from settling in for the remainder of the growing season.


Kale is another vegetable that thrives in cooler temperatures. Kale is a fast-growing vegetable, and its seeds can be sown directly into the soil at the spot where you want the plants to mature.

One of the most significant benefits of growing kale alongside sunflowers is that the sunflowers provide shade, which encourages their growth.

The sunflowers protect the plant and protect the soil from any harmful elements. Kale thrives in vegetable gardens when grown alongside sunflowers. It will be able to compete for water and nutrition more effectively. 

Peas and Sweet Peas

Peas and sweet peas are vining plants that require the support that sunflowers provide. In addition, peas’ fragile tendrils, which twist and loop in on themselves, need additional help when they first begin to mature and grow upwards.

The addition of peas to the soil results in a slight increase in nitrogen content, which significantly boosts the growth of the sunflower.

Although peas and sunflowers like the same kinds of soils, they do not directly compete for nutrients and can be grown successfully next to each other.

You can also add green beans and pole beans to the list of other vining plants (well bush beans do too) that grow well with sunflowers.


Sunflower companion plants such as squash benefit significantly from the presence of pollinators.

Summer squash varieties, such as zucchini, are harvested while still young when the rinds are still delicate, making them completely edible. Spring and summer are the best times to grow these types of crops.

Sunflowers are known to attract a large number of different types of pollinators. This is beneficial to squash plants since the pollinators can locate the blossoms hidden among the leaves more rapidly.

Sunflowers can provide just the proper amount of shade for squash plants to thrive in the direct sunlight during the day. 


Planting and growing marigolds is a breeze, and they’re well-known for their efficacy as insect repellent. One of the reasons marigolds are particularly effective in controlling pests is because of their strong odor.

They discourage insects, leaf hoppers, and several species of worms. 

They attract  Ladybugs that can help manage aphids and black flies when they become out of hand. In addition to being useful as a mulch, they produce stunning flowers that complement well with sunflowers.

They are a gorgeous small plant that would make a wonderful partner for sunflowers in pots.

Sunflower Growing Tips

Originally from North America, sunflowers can be grown as annuals anywhere from Alaska to Mexico. The following are some tips that will assist you in getting the most out of your sunflowers.

When To Plant Sunflowers

As soon as the risk of spring frost has gone and soils have warmed to at least 50°F (10°C), sunflower seeds can be directly planted in the garden or in outdoor containers. 

Depending on where you live, this could happen as early as March to mid-July. Because they are sensitive to transplanting, sunflowers are best grown by direct seeding.

How To Plant and Take Care of Sunflowers

Sunflowers require at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day to grow properly. As a general rule, the more time you give your plants to soak up the sun, the better. Locate a spot that has good drainage, then prepare your soil.

Make sure you have enough space between plants so you can have adequate root space. Depending on the variety, seeds should be spaced anywhere between 6 and 36 inches apart.

It is necessary to replenish the nutrient supply with adequate fertilizer every season especially if you want to grow giant sunflowers. 

They are a heavy feeder and deplete soil more than other crops. Your soil should be around 8 inches deep when you add slow-release granular fertilizer with trace minerals.

Composted manure and an organic slow-release balanced fertilizer may be sufficient for your soil, but you may want to supplement these with an organic amendment rich in trace minerals, such as green-sand or dried seaweed.

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Final Thoughts

Sunflowers are lovely flowers that bloom in the summer and autumn. They grow well on their own, but they profit greatly when combined with other plants and vegetables.

As a result, they make excellent companion plants. Growing sunflowers among other plants improve the soil and make it healthier. Additionally, the tall and long sunflower stalks provide ample shade for companion plants that do well in partial shade.  

A healthy and larger crop yield can be achieved through the use of companion planting.

sunflower companions
Jeremy Starke

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