Skip to Content

Can You Grow Tomatoes Next To Runner Beans – Companion Garden Tips

As we know, all plants have friends! Some plants do much better planted next to each other than others. Tomatoes are very selective about who they get planted next to, as their watering schedules and nutrients needed to grow can be tricky, and tomatoes tend to be picky. So, can you grow tomatoes next to runner beans?

Runner beans and tomatoes have very different requirements. Planting these two plants together can be done, but they are best planted separately to get the highest yield out of either of them. 

Continue reading to discover why tomatoes and beans don’t make great friends and what else you can plant instead!

Why Don’t Runner Beans and Tomatoes Grow Well Together?

Tomatoes are runner beans, they aren’t necessarily enemies, but they aren’t the greatest of friends either. They are more like acquaintances. If you have a small crop, maybe only a few vegetables, planting them together won’t be the worst thing.

It just takes a little more extra care and a watchful eye. The thing about runner beans and tomatoes is that they have different requirements, but they also don’t benefit each other. Let’s take a closer look at why you should probably plant these two apart.

Different nutrient needs

  • Beans produce nitrogen, meaning they don’t need extra from the soil. Tomatoes love that extra nitrogen boost and need a lot of it if you want the best tomatoes out of your garden. Plant these two together and put nitrogen in the soil; you will get huge bean plants but very few beans. If you go easy on the nitrogen, your tomatoes will suffer, but your beans will produce. 

Different watering schedules

  • Tomatoes require a consistent watering schedule, especially in the early growing stage. They will suffer if they get dried out too much. On the other hand, beans need to get dried out now and then and do much better with an inconsistent water schedule. 

Outgrowing one another

  • Tomatoes and beans grow in a sort of similar way. They shoot up straight and can get very tall. They both need stakes or trellis. This may sound like a reason they would go great together to make staking them easier. However, it’s a reason to plant them apart because one plant can outgrow the other, blocking one from the sun. 

How to Plant Runner Beans and Tomatoes Together

Maybe you don’t have the space, or you want to give it a try and plant tomatoes and beans together. It would be best to wait and have fully established tomato plants that are fully intact on a trellis. You can then plant your beans intermingled with the tomatoes, and they can share the trellis. 

Keep an eye on both plants. If you wait until the tomatoes are more established, they won’t need as much nitrogen or water at this point, making it easier for the beans to live amongst them.

But it is likely that at some point, you will notice some yellowing on your tomato leaves (meaning they need nitrogen). Try doing a very light layer of nitrogen fertilizer or a light liquid feed around the base of JUST the tomato plants, and hopefully, it won’t affect your beans too badly. 

As for watering, it is best to make sure you have well-draining soil. Tomatoes like this kind of soil anyway, but it is necessary if you want to grow beans with them. It is easier to control how much you water this way. Since beans don’t need too much water, water around the base of your tomato plants daily, and it should spread just enough to keep the beans content. 

What Grows Best With Runner Beans?

Even though they may not be the best for tomatoes, beans are beneficial to many other vegetables. Provided is a list of the top 5 best vegetables to plant with runner beans.

Corn

  • Beans are prone to a flea beetle pest; corn helps deter this beetle. They also provide shade for one another- this is both a blessing and a curse. Be mindful of where you plant your plants and the sun’s direction.

Potatoes

  • Beans and potatoes help each other out. Potatoes help to deter the Mexican bean beetle, while beans help potato plants by repelling the Colorado potato beetle. 

Cucumber

  • Cucumbers need nitrogen, but not too much. Since beans naturally give off nitrogen in the soil, they put out just enough for cucumbers to be happy and thrive. 

Peas

  • Peas and beans grow great together because they like the same conditions. They like the same kind of soil, have similar water schedules, and produce at roughly the same time. They can also share a trellis. 

Rosemary

  • Rosemary is great to plant around beans because they deter many pests that are attracted to the bean plant. It is also said that rosemary can enhance the flavor of beans. 

What Should Never Be Planted With Runner Beans?

While many vegetables can be planted with beans, there is a handful that you never want to plant with them. Here is a list of the top plants you never want near your runner beans.

Beets

Onions/garlic/leeks

  • These three vegetables, including all others from the onion family, give off a substance that kills bacteria beneficial to the growth of beans by attacking their roots. Then the bean roots cannot give off the nitrogen needed for them to grow. 

Peppers

  • The roots of peppers can spread quickly, choking those of runner beans and thus stunting their growth. 

Sunflowers

  • Sunflowers, similar to the onion family, give off a chemical compound that inhibits the growth of runner beans. 

Why is Companion Planting So Important?

Companion planting is a great thing to know about if you want to start a garden at home. Companion planting is planting plants close together in a garden so these plants can benefit each other. 

Utilizing space can be significant and a key reason we companion plants. We plant certain plants together to either attract specific bugs, deter other pests, and maybe some plants can help each other out with nutrients (beans giving off nitrogen for things like squash or corn).

When you have a solid understanding of what can grow together, it makes gardening that much easier! You may get to a point where there is minimal bug removal or feeding you have to do for your garden since nature is doing it for you.

Not only can the plants benefit each other in those ways, some plants even make the other’s product taste better! For instance, planting basil with things like peppers or tomatoes makes the pepper and tomatoes taste better. 

This is also excellent knowledge to have to ensure you don’t plant the wrong plants together. You may have had trouble in the past and can’t seem to figure it out. It may have been something as simple as where you planted what.

Hopefully, now you fully understand companion planting and why runner beans and tomatoes are only partial friends. Though they may seem like they could work together, their schedules are too different. But who knows, maybe you’ll get lucky if you give it a shot!