Chard, commonly called Swiss chard, is a leafy green that sports bright stem colors, including white, yellow, orange, and red. It’s beautiful in any vegetable garden and even in flower beds. Chard thrives in cool weather but can take the heat with enough water.
There are many plants you can plant nearby. This colorful veggie requires lots of sunlight and moisture, making it a good companion to several plants. Chard is a beet variety that doesn’t develop roots, so keep them away from beet relatives to keep pest populations down.
Let’s look at 15 companion plants you can grow with chard to maximize your gardening space and create a beautiful and delicious garden.
What Is Companion Planting?
Companion planting involves growing different plants together to improve soil health and pest control.
Many gardeners plant one type of plant in a space. While it may seem like a good idea, it can cause the soil to be stripped of nutrients and promote pest populations.
Companion planting is when multiple types of plants are grown in a space so they can benefit each other. Pairing the right plants together can reduce pests and keep the soil healthy since different plants have specific nutrient requirements.
You can use companion planting in any garden, but it’s especially beneficial in small spaces where you don’t have room to spread out your plants. When you know which plants can work together in the same space, you can keep plants closer together in any limited space.
Chard as Companion Plants
This is one of my favorite plants to grow in the garden because of its beautiful colors and few problems. I rarely have pest issues, and it’s forgiving when I’m forgetful about watering.
No two gardens are quite the same, so let’s look at some of the benefits and problems you may have using chard as a companion plant in your garden.
Chard thrives in various light conditions, complementing neighboring plants while offering edible leaves.
Chard prefers full sun in the spring and fall but welcomes partial shade in the summer. Protect it from the intense afternoon sun, and you’ll harvest chard well into summer. Since it can tolerate some shade, you can grow taller plants next to it to maximize your garden space.
Chard leaves are pretty and make your average-looking vegetable garden more exquisite. You can even grow chard in an ornamental flower bed for some contrast against your other plants. Look for varieties with red, yellow, or orange stalks for an attractive pop of color.
You can use chard to shade smaller plants if you allow it to grow tall. Young chard leaves are delicious, but they taste great at almost any stage, so allowing them to mature and shade crops like radishes will help you save some space.
If you love spinach, but it bolts too early in your climate, try growing chard. It handles hot temperatures better than spinach and won’t bolt.
Chard is vulnerable to various pests, especially aphids, beetles, leafhoppers, snails, and slugs.
You may not deal with many pests on your chard, but they are susceptible to aphids, darkling and flea beetles, beet leafhoppers, snails, and slugs.
Snails and slugs can rapidly multiply and do a lot of damage overnight. As you grow chard for the leaves, monitor your plants for potential pest problems to get them under control right away.
Chard does best when grown in spring or fall since they like cool weather. They can tolerate a light frost but likely won’t make it through winter in cold climates.
They’re biennial plants, so if you want to save seeds, Keep them in a container and move them indoors for winter, or cover them to keep them warm enough.
Companion Plants for Chard
Chard will be happy with a lot of different plants. Let’s take a look at some of its potential neighbors.
Interplanting with beans enriches the soil and provides shade, enhancing growth.
Beans are a great companion even when they’re not actively sharing a space with chard. Plant beans in your future chard space, and when the plants die, leave their roots in the ground to break down.
Bean plants create nitrogen and release it into the soil as the roots decompose, leaving you with improved soil. Pole beans can provide chard some shade as early summer temperatures warm up.
Bush beans are great for interplanting because they won’t grow tall enough to shade out your chard. All these plants thrive in moist soil, so they’re in good company with each other.
Cabbage provides shade that keeps the soil moist, aiding chard growth.
Cabbage can take up a lot of room, but that isn’t bad for chard. Large cabbage leaves can keep the cover shaded from the sun, allowing the soil to stay moist for longer, which will help chard and cabbage grow larger.
Chard roots grow deeper than cabbage, so the root systems won’t have to compete for water and nutrients if they become a little interwoven. If you allow chard leaves to get big enough, they can help cast some shade on cabbage, which will be appreciated on hot spring days.
Chard and celery grow well together due to their compatible growth habits and favorable seasonal conditions.
Chard and celery are an agreeable pair. Celery is compact above ground since it grows vertically, and it’s fairly compact below the ground as well due to its shallow root system. It won’t get in your chard’s way and appreciates moist conditions.
You can grow celery and chard during the same time of year. They both thrive in spring and fall, and the autumn weather will sweeten both plants as it gets cooler. This is a super convenient pairing if you’re looking to make gardening easier.
Chamomile’s aphid-repelling scent benefits chard.
Chamomile is a great plant to keep with chard because of its aphid-repelling abilities. Its strong scent will be enjoyable, but it makes it harder for aphids to find the plants they’re looking for, which can help reduce the overall population.
Depending on your climate, chamomile might be better suited as a container plant. It’s drought-tolerant once it’s established, though it appreciates extra water in severe heat in the summer. If you live in a hot and dry climate, chamomile will likely be happy in the same bed as your chard.
Cilantro supports chard by attracting beneficial insects and deterring pests while sharing water and nutrients.
Chard and cilantro work together well on the plate, just as they do in the garden. Cilantro pulls the weight in this friendship by offering huge advantages to the chard.
It attracts predatory beneficial insects like hoverflies and wasps that will eat many pests that go after chard while deterring flea beetles with its scent.
Cilantro likes about an inch of water each week, so it should be content to grow alongside chard. Give both plants plenty of sunshine and nitrogen, and ensure enough room between them so they don’t grow too closely together.
Garlic complements chard planting due to non-competitive roots, and its scent deters pests.
Garlic will fit almost anywhere since the bulbs don’t compete with chard roots. You may have spacing issues with elephant garlic or other large varieties, but you can also grow garlic in containers.
Chard and garlic both need moist soil and lots of sunlight, so they’re easy to care for together. Garlic will greatly benefit your chard plants when it comes to pest control.
Pests hate the scent of garlic and will stay far from it. Allowing garlic to flower will attract many beneficial insects, including hoverflies, bees, wasps, and butterflies.
Lavender enhances chard’s flavor and coexists harmoniously while benefiting the garden ecosystem.
Lavender is believed to improve the flavor of chard. But on a more concrete note, Lavender doesn’t compete with chard for nutrients or water, so they can happily share the same space without making it difficult for each other.
The gorgeous flowers you’ll likely grow lavender for will bring tons of pollinators to your garden, many of them being predatory that will feast on aphids. Lavender can also repel flies, fleas, and bigger pests like rabbits and deer.
Chard and lettuce thrive together in the garden, needing water, sun, and spacing for coexistence.
Chard and lettuce aren’t related but grow similarly and work together well in the garden. Both plants like plenty of water and full sun in the cooler months. You can make them last into summer by providing them shade with taller plants or shade cloth.
These two plants won’t compete for space since they have shallow root systems. You should leave some space between them so they can get enough sunlight, but squeezing them into a small space is possible.
Marigolds are beneficial companions for chard due to their shallow roots, compact growth, and pest-repelling qualities.
Marigolds are good companions to so many plants. They have a shallow root system and stay compact above ground, so you don’t have to worry about them crowding out their neighbors.
Many people grow marigolds for their pest-controlling abilities. They can be used as a trap crop for aphids and will deter root-knot nematodes. Nematodes aren’t a huge issue for chard, but if they’re in the soil, they’ll attack almost any roots available.
Mint deters chard pests with its scent but plant it separately to avoid overgrowth issues.
Mint will help deter several pests, including aphids, flea beetles, and rodents. The sweet minty scent is delightful to humans, but pests hate it!
If you plant mint next to chard, keep it in a separate container nearby. Mint has a shallow root system, but it spreads readily, forms a thick mat, and chokes out other plants.
Mint went out of control in my garden, and I was surprised to see that it can spread underground—I had no idea how big it had gotten until I started ripping it out.
Nasturtiums enhance gardens, trap aphids, attract beneficial insects, and control pests effectively.
Nasturtium is another gorgeous flower that will enhance your vegetable garden and will help control pest populations. Aphids love it, making it a good trap crop.
Plant it near your chard, and you’ll see more aphids on the nasturtium than on your chard leaves. The bright tubular flowers attract many pollinators, beneficial insects, and predators.
It will host many aphids, and predatory insects will gobble them up. You’ll want to plant these all over the place.
Radishes deter aphids and offer quick growth, thriving even in partial shade alongside chard.
Radishes are easy to grow. These fast growers will scratch your itch for instant gratification and help keep aphids off your chard, too.
Aphids love radish leaves, so let them have them, and then you can remove the aphids from your garden when it’s time to harvest the root. You’ll get the best root development with full sun, but radishes can tolerate shade if needed.
If you primarily use them for aphid trapping, they can grow in full shade and develop more greens instead of a large root. Since they don’t take up much space and can deal with some shade, they can snuggle right up to your chard with very few problems.
Sweet alyssum and chard together offer both aesthetics and practicality in gardens.
Chard doesn’t have to be confined to the vegetable garden; its bright stalks and ruffly leaves look beautiful in a flower bed. Pair them with the low-laying sweet alyssum to create a stark contrast of color and height.
Sweet alyssum will act as a ground cover to keep weeds down. The many clusters of flowers it grows will attract hoverflies, which will eat aphids that bug your chard. This flower is a good one to keep around in the vegetable garden, too, if you do want to harvest your chard to eat.
Tomatoes and chard thrive together in the garden, with tomatoes providing shade for chard.
Tomatoes and chard make great companions, and they’re two that you’re sure to see in my garden each year. In the spring, you can plant tomato seedlings and chard seeds in the ground simultaneously. By the time tomatoes need more space, you can harvest your chard.
You can also use tomato plants to shade chard during the summer. Plant tomatoes to the west of the chard, keeping the lower branches trimmed.
This will allow the chard to receive afternoon shade and have plenty of room to grow leaves. Their root systems have different depths, so they don’t compete for water too much.
Use turnips as a trap crop to control snails and slugs on chard.
If snails and slugs don’t leave your chard alone, turnips are an excellent trap crop companion plant for chard. Allow these pests to eat up the leaves so you can get them out of your garden when you harvest them, just as you would with radishes and aphids.
Even though turnips can be quite large, they shouldn’t hinder your chard if you leave enough space between them.
The best method might be to alternate rows of chard and turnips rather than trying to plant them close together. Both plants like moisture and grow during the same times of the year, so they’re easy to care for at the same time.
Chard is as delicious as it is beautiful. You can grow this plant with other vegetables or use it as an ornamental plant in your flower bed. Pair it with other cool-season plants in spring and fall, or give it some shade with taller plants in the summer to make your harvest last longer. Chard companion plants enjoy consistently moist soil, cool temperatures, and ample sunshine.