Artichoke plants are attention seekers. They can grow fairly tall and wide, have an interesting-looking flower bud, and bloom into a gorgeous purple flower that pollinators can’t get enough of. Even though they like being the center of attention, you can grow many companion plants with artichokes.
You’ll need to keep spacing in mind when you grow artichokes. The plants are large and can cast quite a bit of shade when they’re mature, so you must be careful of shading out other plants. Even so, there are several great options you can choose from, and many of them will pair well on the plate.
Let’s jump into companion planting and which plants will grow with artichokes so you can do the most in your garden. Here, we’ll share 15 companion plants that grow well with artichokes!
What is Companion Planting?
Companion planting reduces pests and disease.
Companion planting is when you plant different plant species together in a garden so they can benefit each other. Plants have pest and disease problems, but some species can repel what ails another. By placing them together, you can relieve pest pressures in your garden.
When you plan out your garden to ensure everything works together, you can save a lot of resources. You might save time, space, and money on pest control.
Three Sisters Method
The Three Sisters method is a tried and true companion planting method for some species of plants.
The most well-known example of companion planting is the Three Sisters method. Corn, beans, and squash are all planted together and help each other out. Corn provides a trellis upon which climbing beans can grow, beans provide nitrogen, and squash becomes a living ground cover to keep the soil moist.
While the Three Sisters method does not work with artichokes, it’s a good example of how companion plants live harmoniously with each other and benefit their neighbors.
Artichokes as Companion Plants
Even though artichokes demand a lot of space, you can plant other plants nearby with a little planning. Before picking your pairs, you need to know the good and the bad artichokes have as a neighbor.
Artichokes thrive as perennials in warm zones 7-11, producing flowers for up to six years.
Artichokes are perennial plants in USDA zones 7-11. You can keep them in your garden and let them return each year for about six years before they stop producing flowers. Artichokes are a good choice if you live in a warm zone and prefer to keep your plants for a while.
Pollinators like bees are attracted to the vibrant purple flowers that bloom on artichoke plants.
If you allow some of your artichokes to bloom, you’ll see the unique beauty of the thistle-like flowers. They grow to be vibrant purple and bloom from the center of the bud. The artichoke is no longer edible when it flowers. You can also see the flowers in an artichoke before it blooms as the inedible fuzz at the center of the artichoke’s heart.
Although the plant is inedible once it blooms, you’ll have many pollinators. Bees, butterflies, and other critters love the giant purple thistle blooms. These pollinators are beneficial to the ecosystem of the garden.
Planting artichokes in containers is a good way to save on space.
Artichokes make great container plants, making them versatile to work with. If space is an issue in your garden, keep artichokes in a container near their companions.
They won’t get the soil benefits from some companion plant species, but they can still benefit from pollinators and other plants that may repel or draw away pests. Just be sure that when planting artichokes in containers, the pots are large enough and have enough soil to accommodate the large root system the plant produces.
Though planting artichokes in the garden has many advantages, there are a few things to consider. There are things to plan around, such as how big they can get, how much water they need, and deterring the pests they attract.
Artichokes require ample space and careful planting due to their size.
Artichokes take up a lot of room. They can reach up to 4 feet tall and wide, which may limit what you can plant with them if you have limited ground space.
As mentioned above, you can plant artichokes in containers. This way, you can move them when they get too big for the garden, and your plants still get the benefits.
A drip irrigation system for your artichoke plants will help keep the soil consistently moist.
Artichokes can be difficult to care for in dry regions because they require so much water. They’re heavy feeders and need consistently moist soil. Depending on the weather, a deep watering 2-3 times a week is ideal.
During the peak of summer, you may have to water them more often to keep them happy. Drip irrigation will be your best friend in hot conditions!
Several pests are attracted to artichokes, which can cause problems for other plants.
There are quite a few pests and diseases that could target your artichokes. They’re not necessarily more prone to problems, but having more possible issues raises the overall risk.
Keep an eye on your plants and pay attention to what pests their companions deal with so you can make plans to minimize their spread. Prevention is much easier than dealing with an infestation!
Companion Plants for Artichokes
Let’s take a look at some companion plants that grow well with artichokes.
This shade-tolerant companion benefits artichokes by attracting hoverflies that aid with aphid control.
Arugula needs full sun in cool weather but welcomes shade as the weather warms up, making it a good companion for artichokes. The shallow root system won’t compete with artichoke roots, and you’ll likely harvest the arugula before the two have a chance to have problems.
Arugula attracts hoverflies when it flowers, and hoverflies eat the aphids that like to target artichokes. Leave some arugula behind to let nature work its magic and help keep your aphid population down.
Planting asparagus and artichokes together capitalizes on their differing growth patterns and root depths.
Asparagus is a perennial plant that will take at least two years to grow before you can harvest from it. Since artichokes are perennials in warm climates, you can plant these two near each other and let them get comfortable for a while.
Asparagus can be harvested from late spring to early summer, and artichokes are harvested in spring and fall. However, it’s best if these two are spaced a bit apart; during the off-season for asparagus, it puts up tall, fern-like fronds. Consider alternating rows of artichokes and asparagus if you have lots of room, with a couple of feet between them; you’ll get yearly harvests from both and can have a great perennial vegetable garden that way.
Plant your asparagus at least two feet away from artichokes. They share the same root depth and will compete for underground space. Correct spacing will ensure both plants have ample space to stretch their feet out!
This blue flower attracts beneficial insects for artichoke pest control and requires less water.
Borage is a good herb to keep in your garden for pest control purposes. Since artichokes are often plagued with aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies, you’ll want to plant borage nearby. It can attract predatory insects like parasitic wasps and hoverflies that will eat the insects bugging your artichokes.
Borage doesn’t need as much water as artichokes and is content to dry out between waterings. Plant it on the edge of your artichoke bed where the soil dries out faster, or keep it in containers nearby so you can better control how much water it receives.
Artichokes and cabbages are compatible companion plants with similar needs, requiring substantial water and nutrients.
Cabbage (and other Brassica relatives) makes a great companion plant because they have similar requirements to artichokes. Both plants are heavy feeders and super thirsty—you’ll need to water and fertilize these plants a lot. But caring for them won’t be too difficult if you’re growing them together.
Artichoke and cabbage leaves will compete for space since they’re both large plants. You’ll need to choose a large bed to grow these together, or you’ll risk having stunted plants.
These pretty orange flowers attract beneficial pollinators and can be used as a trap crop for pests.
Calendula is another great flower to keep around for pollinator benefits. It attracts hoverflies, bees, butterflies, and many other good insects to help pollinate your garden and keep pest populations down.
Calendula attracts several pests, but you can use it to your advantage and treat calendula as a trap crop. Many pests that enjoy artichokes also like calendula, including aphids, whiteflies, spider mites, flea beetles, and slugs. You can either allow the pests to eat up the calendula or remove the plants once they have bugs and slugs all over them.
Planting corn west of artichokes provides afternoon shade in hot climates.
Artichokes thrive in warm weather in spring and fall, and summer can be a bit much for them in hot climates. If this sounds like your situation, you can plant corn to the west of your artichokes to provide them some shade when the afternoon sun hits. The corn should be tall enough to provide the artichokes shade by the time the temperatures warm up.
You can put some space between corn and artichokes since shade is the primary benefit of this companionship. But the plants have different root depths, so if they need to be in close quarters, they won’t compete for water or nutrients.
Plants like kale and artichokes grow in similar conditions – but also share a lot of pests, so they will need to be monitored.
Kale can be a good companion to artichokes because they have the same care requirements. They both need plenty of water and sunlight throughout the cool seasons. Kale also benefits from the shade as the weather gets hot, so if your artichokes are at maximum height, kale can tolerate a bit of extra shade during the afternoon hours.
These two plants share several pests, so you must stay on top of pest control to prevent large outbreaks. Aphids, cabbage worms, and cabbage moths are a few bugs that will enjoy munching on both plants. Keep a watchful eye out for these pest insects!
Onions deter pests and benefit nearby artichokes with their stench.
Speaking of pests, onions can help deter aphids, cabbage loopers, flea beetles, and other pests. They’re a good crop to plant around artichokes because they can reduce pest populations since insects can’t stand their stench.
Onions grow best when watered at least once a week and with full sun. They can tolerate partial shade, but they won’t develop huge bulbs. If you can’t get them to be happy next to your artichokes, grow them in containers and keep them nearby.
Plant peas alongside artichokes annually to enhance soil nitrogen.
Artichokes are heavy feeders and need plenty of nitrogen to develop their large leaves. Peas will help add nitrogen to the soil over time, so they’re good to plant along with artichokes every year. You can alternate rows of peas and artichokes to help distribute nitrogen throughout the bed, but be sure your plants all have plenty of sunlight.
If you plant artichokes as an annual, plant peas before your artichokes. When it’s time to take the peas out, leave their roots in the soil to break down and release nitrogen in the soil later when the artichokes need it.
Since peas benefit the soil, you can’t put them in a container like you can with other artichoke companions. Fortunately, they also like a lot of water, and their shallow roots won’t inhibit your artichokes. Ensure the peas don’t wrap around the artichokes and choke them out.
This versatile, easy crop is quick-growing and can tolerate partial shade.
Radishes are an easy crop you can plant just about anywhere. They need sunlight in spring but welcome partial shade as the temperatures warm up. You can plant them partially under artichoke leaves if they get dappled sunlight throughout the day. Their shallow taproot won’t interfere with artichokes.
Radishes are another great trap crop for aphids. Let the aphids have a buffet on radish greens, and when you harvest your radishes, take all the aphids with you and dispose of them. This will help you minimize the aphid population.
Rutabagas are a neutral companion for artichokes, thriving in fall planting.
Rutabagas are a great neutral companion for artichokes. They don’t necessarily bring benefits, but they don’t cause any issues, either. They grow the best when planted in fall but can also grow as a spring crop.
Rutabagas prefer full sun but can tolerate partial shade, so it won’t be the worst thing if they end up being slightly shaded by artichokes. It also enjoys consistently moist soil, so watering shouldn’t be difficult to handle between the two.
Plant sunflowers west of artichokes to shield them from the sun while providing adequate spacing.
Sunflowers are another crop to protect artichokes from the summer sun. Plant them on the west side of your garden to give the sunflowers all the sun they can get while the artichokes cool down a bit during the afternoon’s heat.
You’ll want space between these plants since sunflowers don’t need as much water due to their deep taproots. They’re drought-tolerant and can dry out between waterings, so they might become waterlogged if you keep them on the same schedule as artichokes.
This herb enhances garden health by attracting beneficial insects and repelling pests.
Tarragon brings many benefits to the garden that your artichokes will surely benefit from. They attract predatory insects like ladybugs and hoverflies that will feast on pests. On top of that, the plant repels many pests, so you shouldn’t have many bugs around.
Tarragon will be happiest when planted on the edges of the artichoke bed, where it can still get sunlight. It’s drought-resistant and should be allowed to dry out a little between waterings. It’s not a heavy feeder and won’t compete with artichokes.
Artichokes grow well with this drought-tolerant herb that combats pests.
Thyme is another drought-tolerant herb that will help fight off pests. It can deter cabbage loopers, cabbage worms, and snails, which can be big problems for artichokes. Thyme is usually harvested in early summer, which might align with your artichoke harvest.
As I recommended with tarragon, this herb will be happiest in drier conditions. You may want to keep it in a container next to your artichoke bed to help maintain a proper watering schedule.
Plant yarrow with your artichokes to control plume moths by attracting predatory insects.
If artichoke plume moths are a problem in your garden, try planting some yarrow to get it under control. Yarrow attracts several predatory insects, including parasitic wasps that kill plume moths. It also attracts lacewings and ladybugs that will eat aphids.
This beneficial plant needs to be watered only when the soil is dry, so keep this plant in a separate bed or container, as the moist conditions of the artichoke bed will likely make yarrow unhappy. You’ll need to water it more often in the summer since the soil will dry out faster.
Artichokes are eye-catching plants that are fun to grow, whether you want to eat them or enjoy their pretty blooms. Even though they can take up a lot of space, there are many plants you can plant near your artichokes to act as beneficial, useful companions in the garden.