10 Must-Have Companion Plants for a Successful Kale Garden

By Jon Whitinger

Last Updated - 10/02/2023 


Aphids and other pests can wreak havoc on your kale garden, but companion plants can help deter these nuisances. Let's explore 10 companion plants that not only protect your kale but also offer additional benefits, such as improving soil quality and attracting beneficial insects.


Marigolds repel various pests and deter nematodes, thanks to a chemical compound called alpha-terthienyl. Their lovely old-fashioned blooms also add aesthetic appeal to your kale garden. Plant marigolds throughout your garden to create a visually striking and pest-resistant environment.


Alliums, including garlic, chives, leeks, and onions, keep cabbage loopers and aphids away from kale. Their pungent scent confuses pests, making it difficult for them to locate your kale plants.


Dill's attractive foliage and flowers draw beneficial insects to your garden, offering protection against pests. Dill is also an easy annual to grow, making it a great companion to Kale. Enjoy dill's vibrant flowers and fragrant leaves while safeguarding your kale. Of course, if you have dill you'll inevitably want to grow cucumbers so you can make pickles! 😋


Alyssum attracts beneficial insects and suppresses weeds as a ground cover. Its sweet scent and delicate flowers also enhance the appearance of your kale garden. Plant alyssum around your kale bed to support a healthy ecosystem and create a beautiful garden display. Note that alyssum grows well in the spring, but areas with very hot summers will find the plant withers away once the heat of summer sets in.


Nasturtiums serve as a trap crop, luring pests away from your kale. Nasturtiums also attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Their pretty fragrant flowers also make a good choice for cut flowers. They are easy to grow and offer edible flowers and leaves, adding variety to your harvest.

Beans & Peas

Beans and peas are legumes that add nitrogen to the soil. This added nitrogen will benefit kale and other nearby plants by improving the soil. Bush beans have the added benefit of growing in a very compact area, beneficial for small growing spaces. Gardens in the south will benefit especially greatly by planting southern peas in the summer.


Radishes grow well underneath kale, maximizing the use of space in small gardens. Like Nasturtiums, they also draw pests away from kale, protecting your plants from damage.


Catnip attracts pollinators and insects that prey on pests, protecting your kale garden from insect infestation. Catnip spreads quickly, so planting it in a container is recommended to control its growth. Place the container near your kale for effective pest control.


Cilantro attracts hoverflies and other beneficial insects, providing natural pest control. Both cilantro and kale thrive in cool weather and have similar growing needs, making them ideal companions in the garden.


Rosemary repels aphids and other pests. It stays small in cooler climates, so it won't compete with kale for resources. Rosemary prefers drier soil, so planting it in a container might be necessary. Position the container near your kale for pest protection and easy access when cooking.