The Best Bok Choy Companion Plants: A Comprehensive Guide

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bok choy companion plants
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When it comes to leafy greens, bok choy really stands out as a tough veggie perfect for your home garden. And guess what? You can make it even happier by planting it alongside some bok choy companion plants!

Also known as pak choy or Chinese cabbage, bok choy is part of the brassicaceae family, just like kale, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. It’s prized for its mild flavor, satisfying crunch, and all-around nutritional goodness. Plus, it grows quickly, making it a great choice for gardeners who want a continuous harvest.

So, let’s dive into this bok choy companion planting guide to discover which plants to grow with bok choy and which ones to avoid.

Close-up of bok choy, harvested and washed.

What is Companion Planting?

We all know that some plants are great for improving soil quality, while others keep pests away or provide shade and support for climbers. Companion planting considers all these factors and pairs plants that complement each other helping them grow better together. It’s a holistic approach to gardening that mimics nature and promotes eco-friendly practices.

The Benefits of Companion Planting with Bok Choy

Why should you consider companion planting with bok choy? Well, here are a few reasons:

Pest control: Some aromatic plants, like basil and chives, deter common pests like aphids and flea beetles from your precious bok choy.

Soil improvement: Companion plants with deep roots, like daikon radishes and cucumbers, break up compacted soil, making it drain better and giving more nutrients to your lovely bok choy.

Shade: Some taller companions, like bell peppers and bush beans, provide much-needed shade for your bok choy during hot summer days.

Attracting beneficial insects: Flowering companions like zucchini and chives attract pollinators and beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings that feed on pests, keeping your bok choy safe.

Understanding the Needs of Bok Choy

Bok choy loves temperatures between 45-75°F and is usually grown in fall, winter, and early spring in most places. It likes well-drained, fertile soil with a pH of 6.0-7.0 and consistent moisture levels. It thrives with 4-5 hours of sun but can handle some shade, especially in warmer areas.

When it comes to watering, make sure the soil stays moist but not soggy. Too much water can cause root rot, and too little will give you tough, bitter leaves. Adding mulch around your bok choy helps keep the moisture and those pesky weeds away. Also, it’s a heavy feeder, so give your bok choy a balanced fertilizer every 3-4 weeks if your garden soil is not that rich.

What Are the Best Bok Choy Companion Plants?

Now that we know what this leafy green needs to thrive, let’s take a look at 13 of the best bok choy companion plants.

• Vegetables:

close-up of a head of lettuce freshly harvested radishes

1. Lettuce

Lettuce and bok choy share a similar growth pattern and have complementary nutrient needs, making them ideal for maximizing space in your garden. This is especially true for square-foot gardens, where you can easily interplant these two crops without any complications.

However, since both are leafy greens, pests may become a nuisance, so watch for caterpillars, loopers, and slugs.

2. Radishes

Radish greens are excellent traps for flea beetles, notorious for feasting on bok choy leaves. Plus, their pungent leaves keep away many other pests. So, you get pest control with the added bonus of having tasty radishes as well. On top of that, radishes also help loosen up compacted soil, improving drainage and aeration for your bok choy.

3. Zucchini

Zucchini is an excellent companion for sunny gardens, as its large leaves can provide dappled shade for bok choy under full sun. It also acts as a natural mulch, keeping the soil cool and moist. In return, bok choy provides ground cover, minimizing weed growth and protecting the soil from drying out.

Just make sure to train your zucchini vines to grow away from your bok choy, as they can easily overtake and smother it if left unattended.

Bunches of scallions cucumbers growing on a trellis

4. Scallions/Green Onions

Unlike onions, scallions don’t mind partial shade and will live happily in the moist soil beneath your bok choy. They also have a very low-profile growth habit, making it easy to interplant them without crowding each other. But the most significant benefit of pairing scallions with bok choy is that they repel aphids, carrot rust flies, and cabbage moths, all of which are common pests of bok choy.

5. Cucumbers

With the right support, cucumbers are a match made in heaven for bok choy. They both enjoy the same temperature range and thrive together in moist, fertile soil. Plus, cucumbers have deep expanded roots that take up nutrients from a different soil layer, reducing competition with bok choy.

In return, bok choy attracts beneficial insects and bees to help pollinate the cucumber flowers, which aren’t very attractive to them.

6. Carrots

With its deep roots, carrots loosen up compacted soil and bring nutrients to the surface for bok choy to use. They also grow quite well in partial shade, making them a great choice for interplanting with your bok choy.

Just make sure to give your carrot seedlings a head start before planting bok choy, as it grows faster and can overshadow the slow-growing carrots.

beets growing in garden green bell peppers growing

7. Beets

Beets have a short life span similar to bok choy, making them an excellent choice for succession planting. They also thrive in similar soil conditions and provide a leafy canopy that helps retain moisture in the soil, benefiting both crops. Beet greens also act as trap crops, drawing pests like leaf miners away from bok choy.

8. Bell Pepper

While bok choy is a quick-growing crop, bell peppers tend to have a longer growing season. This temporal difference allows you to optimize space by interplanting them and harvesting your bok choy before the pepper plant needs all the room. Bell peppers also provide essential shade for bok choy during the hot summer months, preventing it from bolting and going to seed prematurely.

9. Bush Beans

Beans are always friends with leafy greens, and bok choy is no exception. We’d recommend bush beans over pole beans with bok choy, as they grow compactly and don’t require support structures. Plus, they’ll fix nitrogen in the soil and feed your bok choy, which means you won’t need as much fertilizer.

10. Mizuna

Mizuna, also known as Japanese mustard greens, is a close relative of bok choy and has similar growing requirements. They’re both quick growers, don’t mind some shade, and prefer consistent moisture levels. By interplanting these two, you can add variety to your salads and stir-fries while maximizing space in your garden.

• Herbs:

A chive plant with green leaves and purple flowers Close-up of a basil plant

11. Chives

Chives are a great buddy for bok choy because they’re small and perfect for planting together. They also keep away aphids and other pests that bother bok choy. Plus, their delicate onion flavor goes so well with bok choy in many dishes.

12. Basil

Basil loves moist soil, just like bok choy does. It also repels mosquitoes, flies, and other pests that bug your bok choy. But watch out, it can get bushy and create too much shade. So, remember to trim it regularly. Or better yet, grow it in pots around the garden to avoid overcrowding.

13. Cilantro

Another herb that likes cool, moist soil and a bit of shade. Cilantro fills in the gaps around bok choy plants, keeping the soil protected from drying out. It’s also a magnet for helpful insects like lacewings and ladybugs, which keep pests in check in your garden.

Bad Bok Choy Companion Plants

Now, let’s take a look at four bad companion plants for bok choy that you should avoid planting near it.

Cabbage: Bok choy and cabbage are from the same family, so they compete for nutrients and also share similar pests and diseases, which can quickly spread between plants.

Tomatoes: Tomatoes have a long growing season, and they can grow big, hogging up space and nutrients that your bok choy could use. Plus, they’re susceptible to aphids and whiteflies, which can also attack bok choy.

Fennel: This herb secretes a chemical that slows down the growth of pretty much all other plants, including bok choy.

Mustard Greens: Some gardeners swear by this combo, but be warned – mustard greens can totally take over your garden. They also bring along several unwanted guests, such as flea beetles and cabbage loopers, which will wreak havoc on your bok choy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What grows well next to bok choy?

Plants that grow in cool weather, like moist soil, and can survive in partial shade can be grown next to bok choy. Some of the best companion plants for bok choy include lettuce, radishes, zucchini, scallions/green onions, cucumbers, carrots, beets, bell peppers, bush beans, and mizuna.

Which plants do not grow well with bok choy?

Any plant that requires a lot of space, can block sunlight, or needs dry conditions to thrive should not be planted near bok choy. Some of the worst bok choy companion plants include cabbage, tomatoes, fennel, and mustard greens.

Where is the best place to plant bok choy?

Bok choy grows best in cool weather and partial shade with moist, well-drained soil. You can plant it in a garden bed or containers, as long as they receive at least 4-5 hours of sunlight a day. Avoid planting it in hot, direct sunlight, as this can cause it to bolt and go to seed quickly.

Final Thoughts

Bok choy companion plants not only help maximize space in your garden but also provide numerous benefits, such as improved soil health, pest control, and added variety to your meals. By interplanting these vegetables and herbs, you can create a thriving and diverse garden that supports the growth of your bok choy.

Remember that companion planting isn’t an exact science, so feel free to experiment and find what works best for your garden.

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Close-up of a bunch of bok choy, with text overlay: "13 Best Bok Choy Companion Plants"

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