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Companion Plants for Broccoli Rabe: The Ultimate Guide

broccoli rabe companion plants

Broccoli Rabe

Broccoli rabe, also known as rapini, is a leafy green vegetable that's popular in Italian cuisine. It has a slightly bitter taste and is often used in pasta dishes, soups, and salads.

Why Use Companion Plants for Broccoli Rabe?

Companion planting is the practice of growing different plants together to benefit each other. When it comes to broccoli rabe, there are several reasons why you might want to use companion plants:

  • To attract beneficial insects
  • To repel harmful insects and pests
  • To improve soil health
  • To increase yields

Companion Plants for Broccoli Rabe

Here are some of the best companion plants to grow alongside broccoli rabe:

1. Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums are beautiful flowers that come in a range of colors, from bright orange to deep red. They're great companion plants for broccoli rabe because they attract aphids away from the vegetable. Aphids love broccoli rabe, so planting nasturtiums nearby can help keep them under control.

How to Grow Nasturtiums as Companion Plants for Broccoli Rabe

Plant nasturtium seeds directly into the soil around your broccoli rabe plants. They prefer full sun but will tolerate partial shade. Water regularly and fertilize every few weeks with a balanced fertilizer.

2. Marigolds

Marigolds are another flower that works well as a companion plant for broccoli rabe. They repel harmful insects like nematodes and whiteflies, which can damage your vegetable crop.

How to Grow Marigolds as Companion Plants for Broccoli Rabe

Plant marigolds around the perimeter of your broccoli rabe bed. They prefer full sun but will tolerate partial shade. Water regularly and fertilize every few weeks with a balanced fertilizer.

3. Basil

Basil is an herb that's often used in Italian cooking, just like broccoli rabe. It's also a great companion plant because it repels harmful insects like mosquitoes and flies, as well as attracting beneficial insects like bees and butterflies.

How to Grow Basil as Companion Plants for Broccoli Rabe

Plant basil near your broccoli rabe plants, either in the same bed or in a nearby container. Basil prefers full sun but will tolerate partial shade. Water regularly and fertilize every few weeks with a balanced fertilizer.

4. Beans

Beans are legumes that fix nitrogen in the soil, which can benefit your broccoli rabe plants. Nitrogen is a crucial nutrient for plant growth, and beans can provide it naturally.

How to Grow Beans as Companion Plants for Broccoli Rabe

Plant beans in the same bed as your broccoli rabe, either at the same time or after your vegetable crop has been planted. They prefer full sun and well-drained soil. Water regularly and fertilize every few weeks with a balanced fertilizer.

5. Radishes

Radishes are root vegetables that can help break up compacted soil, making it easier for your broccoli rabe roots to grow. They're also quick-growing and can be harvested before your broccoli rabe is ready, giving you an early harvest.

How to Grow Radishes as Companion Plants for Broccoli Rabe

Plant radish seeds directly into the soil around your broccoli rabe plants. They prefer full sun and well-drained soil. Water regularly and fertilize every few weeks with a balanced fertilizer.


Companion planting is a great way to improve the health and productivity of your vegetable garden, and broccoli rabe is no exception. By planting these companion plants alongside your broccoli rabe, you can attract beneficial insects, repel harmful pests, and improve soil health, leading to a more bountiful harvest.

FAQs:

Q1. What is broccoli rabe?

Broccoli rabe, also known as rapini, is a leafy green vegetable that's popular in Italian cuisine.

Q2. How do I grow broccoli rabe?

Broccoli rabe grows best in cool weather and prefers moist, well-drained soil. It can be planted in the spring or fall and takes about 40-60 days to mature.

Q3. What are some common pests that affect broccoli rabe?

Broccoli rabe is susceptible to a range of pests, including aphids, flea beetles, and cabbage loopers.

Q4. Can I grow broccoli rabe in containers?

Yes, broccoli rabe can be grown in containers as long as the container is at least 12 inches deep and has good drainage.

Q5. What are some other vegetables that make good companion plants for broccoli rabe?

Other good companion plants for broccoli rabe include lettuce, spinach, and kale.

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