Companion Plants for Ginger | Good and Bad

Not only is ginger (Zingiber officinale) a spicy addition to many dishes, but it’s also fairly easy to grow. Ginger requires little growing space and there are many companions that can be planted alongside it to help reach its full potential. 

Choosing the correct companion plants for ginger can be a little tricky, which is why I have done all the hard work for you. This article explains the best planting partnerships as well as those that should be avoided. 

Companion Planting Explained

Companion planting is the technique of growing various plant species together in a way that will mutually benefit one another. This growing technique is used all over the world and provides a multitude of benefits. 

The “Three Sisters” method is a famous example of companion planting and is used to grow beans, sweetcorn and squash together. 

The beans fix nitrogen into the soil which the sweetcorn and squash can absorb and use to help them grow. The beans use the sweetcorn as a natural climbing structure and will cling to it as they grow. The large leaves of the squash shade the soil which keeps it moist and cool. 

Benefits of Companion Planting

A range of benefits can be derived from companion planting. Some of the main ones include: 

Provides Shade: Companions that are tall and have large leaves or dense foliage are excellent at providing shade to smaller plants below them. They can also shade the soil which helps it stay cool, retain moisture and reduce erosion. 

Repels Pests: Some plant species release chemicals or give off strong scents that naturally repel pests or mask the scent of your main crop. Other plants attract predatory insects that will prey on pests. 

Attracts Pollinators: Vibrant and fragrant flowers are excellent at enticing pollinators such as bees, birds and butterflies into your garden. They can help to pollinate your plants, leading to an improvement in their yield. 

Considerations

Choosing growing partners for your plants does require some thought. Consider the mature size of your plants and how much-growing space you have. You don’t want your plants to be competing for space, but you also don’t want a lot of bare soil as this limits productivity. 

Think about the compatibility of your plant’s growing conditions. For example, a plant that requires alkaline soil to thrive would suffer if planted next to one that needs acidic soil. 

Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
Credit: Ritirene by CC: 4.0

Best Companion Plants for Ginger

Being native to Southern China, ginger thrives in hot and humid climates. They grow best in moist, nutrient-rich soil that is between a pH of 5.5 and 6.5. Ginger thrives in full to partial shade and should be sheltered from harsh winds. This plant is hardy in zones 9 to 11. 

The best companions for ginger are those that thrive under similar growing conditions, have shallow roots and provide ginger plants with shade. Examples of some good ginger companions include: 

Flowering Annuals and Perennials

Sunflowers: The yellow flowers will add colour to the green leaves of your ginger plants. Sunflowers will take centre stage and their towering, large flowers will cast some shade upon your ginger. When mulched, sunflowers produce a lot of nitrogen that the ginger will happily absorb. 

Nasturtiums: These delicate flowers come in a variety of colours. Nasturtiums make great “trap crops” to keep aphids away from your ginger. They also provide ground cover to help retain moisture in the soil and suppress weed growth. 

Hibiscus: Hibiscus plants boast big, beautiful flowers that inject colour into any garden. The flowers attract beneficial insects such as butterflies and hummingbirds that will help pollinate your ginger. The foliage of hibiscus will cast shade onto the ginger below. 

Fruit and Vegetables

Bananas: Like ginger, bananas are native to the tropics so thrive under the same climate. The large leaves of growing banana plants help to shade delicate ginger foliage from the intense summer heat whilst the spent leaves of banana plants can provide mulch which will help to enrich the soil. 

Legumes: Legumes such as peas and beans take atmospheric nitrogen and convert it into a fixed form in the soil. The ginger will absorb this nitrogen, helping it to grow. Beans and pea plants grow taller than ginger and so provide it with shade from the intense sun. 

Garlic: Alliums such as garlic and onions are pungent-smelling plants. They contain sulfur which naturally repels pests and acts as a fungicide and antibacterial, helping to protect your ginger. Alliums and ginger have shallow roots making them good companions as neither will compete for space. 

Chili Peppers: The exception within the nightshade family, chilli pepper plants can offer ginger plenty of shade due to their tall stature. The scent of ginger will also help keep pests away from peppers as they develop. 

Fruit Trees: Fruiting trees and shrubs typically grow large and tall, providing the ginger with ample shade. In return, the pungent scent of ginger will deter any pests that may otherwise feast on the fruit. 

Spinach: Using spinach as a companion plant as well as other leafy greens are excellent at providing ginger with shade cover. The smell of ginger will also help to deter pests whilst spinach will increase the nutrient content of the soil. 

Sweet Potatoes: This root vegetable provides excellent ground cover, helping to keep the soil cool and moist. 

Herbs

Turmeric: When grown together, the growth, aroma and flavour of turmeric and ginger can be enhanced. 

Cilantro: This fragrant herb attracts beneficial predators such as parasitic wasps that will prey on pests such as whiteflies. In addition, the leaves of cilantro will help to shade the ginger and keep the soil cool. 

Lemon Grass: Both ginger and lemon grass can be grown together to naturally deter mosquitoes. The tall grass will provide the ginger with shade. Both plants work well together in the garden and in the kitchen. 

Worst Companion Plants for Ginger

Plants that can negatively impact ginger and should be avoided include:  

Walnut Trees: Walnut trees make a bad companion in general because they release a toxin called juglone which can damage and kill neighbouring plants. 

Tomato and Eggplant: Both nightshades, tomatoes and eggplants can lead to a bacterial wilting of the ginger. 

If you enjoyed this article, here are a few more that you may like:

Companion Plants for Tomatillos

Turmeric Plant Growth Stages

Citations

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Ben's horticultural interest grew when graduating from Hertfordshire University in 1997. Having contributed to numerous publications including Better Homes & Gardens, Garden Design Magazine, and The English Garden. He is also the author of Propagating Houseplants Made Easy.