Have you considered what companion plants you must grow alongside your watermelons to get the most out of your watermelon plants? If this is the case, you’ll find everything you need to know about watermelon companion planting in this post. This article teaches you about the various pests that affect watermelon and the best companion plants to tackle them.
You’ll also understand about other watermelon companion plants that can help attract pollinating insects. What’s more, most of the watermelon companion plants mentioned in this article are easily accessible and simple to grow.
What Is Companion Planting?
The simple definition of companion planting can be defined as “plants helping plants to perform better.” Plants can grow and produce fruit on their own, but they often require artificial chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and other chemicals.
Using companion plants on your farm, on the other hand, will save you time and artificial chemicals to help your veggies grow. These companions will act as natural pesticides, fertilizer suppliers, herbicides, and pollinators if properly planted.
What Are The Benefits Of Companion Planting?
- Great way to save space.
- It helps to keep the soil moist and prevents deterioration.
- It keeps the weed away.
- Helps to reduce pest problems.
- Will aid in the prevention of disease.
- Pollinators and beneficial insects may be attracted to companion planting.
- Trellises may be replaced with companion planting.
What To Consider While Planting Companion Plants For Watermelons?
If you are a gardener who is already aware of how to plant watermelons in your garden, it will be much easier to grow this melon. Apart from this, there are a few other things to think about before planting companions in your garden space. They are as listed below.
1. Sunlight Exposure
Pay special attention to the spacing of the companion plants as well as the watermelon itself when planting your melon. This is because your watermelon needs enough room to expand and spread its vine comfortably. Watermelon vines can reach a distance of six to twenty feet. Besides that, this does not affect the watermelon’s taste, but it does help it grow faster.
When watermelons are planted close together, however, they overlap. As a result, the vines at the top receive an adequate amount of sunshine, while the vines below suffer from a lack of it. The lack of adequate sunlight suffocates them and stunts their growth. Always keep in mind that watermelons need to be exposed to sunlight.
2. Repellents For Insect Pests
Pests can attack your watermelon farm if you do not implement pest control measures, which results in low watermelon yields. Growing companion plants that are natural pest repellents will help you naturally repel harmful bugs from your watermelon farm.
This is essential since not all watermelon plant species have the potential to attract pollinators. Hence, remember to include plants that attract pollinators, such as bees, in your watermelon plantings.
These bees are cross pollinators, meaning they fly from one watermelon and other melons to various other species.
It’s possible that your seedless watermelon would grow seeded fruits and vice versa (aka cross pollination) due to this. This is only possible if you have a variety of watermelon species on your plant.
What Are The Common Pests And Insects That Attack Watermelons?
Aphids are piercing insects that feed on a plant’s sap. By sucking the sweetness from the watermelon leaves, they have detrimental effects on the vine’s growth and the fruit’s production.
Cotton/melon aphids are the kind of aphids that attacks watermelons. They are small bugs that live under the leaves of watermelon.
Aphids also carry the watermelon mosaic virus and other viruses that can easily transmit to watermelons. This causes the leaves to curl, turn yellow, wrinkle, and wither away.
2. Epilachna Beetle (Or Squash Beetle)
The Epilachna beetle is known as the African melon ladybird, and this species carries the Squash mosaic virus. They eat the watermelon’s leaves, stem and end up making holes in the fruit at the same time.
The plant’s leaves are prone to turning yellow, shrinking, drying out, and withering. This has the potential to kill a young watermelon plant completely.
3. Cucumber Beetle
Cucumber beetles are one of the most common watermelon pests. Watermelons are attacked by both the striped and spotted varieties of cucumber beetles. If not regulated, it can infect the plant with a harmful virus known as bacterial wilt. The disease causes the plant to wilt and eventually die.
This pest creates dark, rough patches on the plant’s leaves, and it is also the carrier of the tomato spotted wilt virus. The deformation of watermelon leaves is one of the negative effects of the spot it produces as its number grows large.
5. Flea Beetles
The flea beetles have a dark and shimmering appearance. They leave holes in watermelons’ leaves as they eat through them. The growth rate of the watermelon is slowed and reduced as a result of the holes they make on plant leaves. If the damage it does is serious, this pest will gradually kill young developing watermelons.
Though the older watermelons can handle the infestation, it can slow down their growth.
6. Cabbage Loopers
The cabbage looper is a caterpillar that is green in color with white stripes on its body. They leave holes and feed on the fruit’s flesh, causing the plant’s growth to be stunted. Their eggs are white or light green in color and are often laid on the leaf’s lower surface, near the leaf margin.
These pests are most active at night and hide throughout the day in the soil at the plant’s base. They may even conceal themselves in plant litter, and they can be found in the soil where watermelons are grown.
They have the potential to cause serious damage to plant seedlings by hiding in the dirt. They destroy the soil and the fruit by separating the seedling from the seed line. They’re also capable of eating and leaving holes in the watermelon fruit.
8. Spider Mites
These bugs tend to suck on the fruit and leave bronze dots on the watermelon. These pests’ anatomy is similar to that of spiders, but they are so small and barely visible to the eye. They are identifiable by the webs they weave on these plants. Webs may be formed around the fruit, but the fruits remain nutritious and safe to eat.
9. Root Knot Nematodes
These are small, colorless, roundworms, and they are one of the biggest pests to the watermelons in your garden. They remain in the soil and search out comfortable tissues in plant roots, where they can eventually settle. The swelling of root cells and their failure to absorb nutrients and water results from their attacks on plant roots.
Eventually, the plant’s vines turn yellow for a short period of time before wilting. The garden plant’s growth would be stunted as a result of these damaging effects. If the plant survives, you might be frustrated by the low yield and low quality of fruits produced.
What Are The Best Companion Plants For Watermelon?
You don’t want an insect attacking your watermelon plant and causing irreversible harm. You’ll also want to cultivate a watermelon that’s free of pesticides and other toxic chemicals.
Hence, you’ll be interested in learning about plants that naturally combat disease-transmitting pests. The list of the top 5 best garden plants that can provide security is listed below.
This flower can be cultivated as a companion plant in almost every vegetable garden, even watermelon farms. It is a natural cucumber beetle repellent in the watermelon garden. These flowers repel cucumber beetles and attract hoverflies, which may help with the control of aphid species of pests.
The enticing smell of marigolds draws various beneficial insects and deters dangerous ones such as squash bugs from invading the plant. Its root material has the ability to kill nematodes that are harmful to the plant watermelon.
The Nasturtium is also a flower that goes well with vegetable plants and melons. When planted as a companion plant for watermelon, it is also very good at repelling cucumber beetles, squash beetles, and aphids. Nasturtiums also attract beneficial insects such as bees, which help pollinate the plants.
The corn plant, despite its height, is a natural cucumber beetle repellent. These crops can be cultivated around the melon patch in such a way that it does not shade the watermelon from the sun. In exchange, the spread of watermelon vines will inhibit the development of weeds around the corn. Both plants are beneficial to their own well-being.
These plants grow quickly and provide a lot of benefits to the watermelon plant. It can be used to suppress weeds and can be grown before the watermelon vines develop. They work wonders as a natural cucumber beetle repellent. They can also be used as a trap crop for flea beetles and protection against squash beetles.
5. Lamiaceae Family
Plants in this group, such as mint, spearmint, and catnip, are important insect repellents. They are well known for the ability of these plants to repel aphids, spider mites, ants, and other beetles. They can be very good at repelling pests that damage your watermelon plant, but if not managed, they can kill your plant.
It’s better if you keep it in a bucket and keep it near your farm. This way, they won’t be corrosive to the plant’s health.
Companion Plants To Help With Pollination
Oregano is a flowering herb that not only attracts pollinators but also repels nearly all bugs in your garden. Many beneficial pollinators, such as hoverflies and lacewings, are attracted to its lovely fragrance. Simultaneously, the smell confuses those bugs that are toxic to watermelon. Similarly, this herb promotes the development of healthier plants, including watermelon.
With its lovely flowers and fragrance, this flowering herb can be a nice companion for your watermelon vine. It will attract pollinators to your plants, especially bees.
Planting some mixed wildflowers around your watermelon farm is also essential. These flowers are excellent at attracting the pollinating bees that are needed.
What Are The Plants That You Should Never Plant With Watermelons?
Evidently, when grown as a watermelon companion, several plants may assist in ensuring better health than when grown alone. Others, on the other hand, can never be planted with watermelons. This is because they tend to damage watermelons by attracting harmful pests or suppressing plant growth.
1. Aster And Roses
Aphid Species are attracted to aster flowers, which, along with roses, attract many different plants. They are likely to do serious damage to the watermelon plant if rooted next to it. Aphids can easily migrate from these flowers to watermelons, causing malnutrition and, potentially, death.
Since this plant requires ample room to stretch its vine, both the potato and the watermelon struggle for space. If you keep planting a potato with your watermelon, you’ll have to raise the potato so the watermelon can fully mature.
As a result, the watermelon and other companion plants in your garden may be harmed. The cotton/melon aphid is also attracted to the watermelon and can result in significant harm.
Certain species of aphid are attracted to these plants, but they do not harm the watermelon. They do, however, need space to expand and can shade the watermelon plant, obstructing the passage of sunlight to the plant.
4. Walnut And Shagbark Hickory tree
Putting the watermelon plant near a walnut or a shagbark hickory tree is very dangerous. The toxin juglone, produced by the stems, roots, nuts of both trees, is poisonous to the melons and can stunt watermelon growth and prevent fruit production.
Watermelon plants are better at coping with the effects of juglone than any other vegetable, but this poisonous agent can also damage the fruit. Similarly, the toxin causes stunted growth and low seed growth in the vine. Even though the walnut tree contains more of this poison, you should keep the watermelon and other vegetables away from these plants’ roots.
5. Cucurbit Family
Cucurbit plants can not be cultivated with watermelon plants. Cucumbers, summer and winter squash, zucchini, and pumpkins are among these plants. This is because they all draw the same pests. They are also plants that need sufficient space to expand. This would make the watermelon miserable because it needs more room to stretch the vine and mature properly.
You must plant your watermelon in an environment conducive to its development for its nutritious fruit development. A well-planned watermelon and companion plant garden plot should include one or two strategically planted plants that support each other by deterring pests, attracting beneficial pollinators, and providing nutrients.
When it comes to the expense of buying pesticides and other materials needed for growing your watermelon, this will save you a lot of money. You need not be a professional gardener for growing your own melon plants. You are ready to plant when you’re confident that you’ve thought and planned it through.
James Fields is the founder of Gardener to Farmer. His passion for gardening goes back to his childhood days when he would visit his grandfather during the holidays and help him with the plants in the backyard. This has now translated to creating a dependable resource for gardening.