Tomatoes Make Great Sunflower Companion Plants

Updated: Sep. 27, 2023

Tomatoes make ideal sunflower companion plants. The sunflowers attract more pollinators like birds and bees to your tomatoes. Plus find other sunflower companion plants.

Grow Tomatoes as Sunflower Companion Plants

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I love the bright and cheery look of sunflowers, and I love the taste of a homegrown tomato. Tomatoes make great sunflower companion plants. I am so happy that they go together so very well in a garden. I grow the common sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.). My plants grow quite tall, some up to 12 foot or more. Of course, I have to put stakes in to support them as they get very top heavy with their large flower heads (up to 10 inches across), especially when the sunflower seeds weigh the heads down.

Sunflowers Attract Pollinators to Tomatoes

Variety Of Fruits And Vegetables For SaleSusan Colby / EyeEm/Getty Images

The sunflower heads attract bees when they are producing flowers and that is great. Bees have had some major declines both in the United States and other countries. That is scary because bees—both the non-native honeybee that was imported to North America and native bees—pollinate a lot of our food crops as well as many other plants. After the seeds are on the plants, members of the finch family come to eat them. You should definitely grow sunflowers for bird seed.

These are the top 10 sunny sunflower varieties to grow.


I love to grow tomatoes in my garden. They are so delicious to eat, but I like the smell of the tomato plants—which is especially strong when I pinch the suckers off. These two plants have already produced about two dozen tomatoes in my garden in Colorado and have at least five dozen green tomatoes on them waiting to ripen.

Enjoy sunflower pictures that radiate beauty.

sunflower companion plantsSeEtta Moss

The main reason I get a lot of tomatoes from my plants is because the bees that come to drink the nectar from the sunflowers also pollinate my tomato blossoms. I plant my tomatoes right next to the sunflower patch. This allows the bees to pollinate the tomato blossoms without having far to fly from the nectar bearing flowers on the sunflower plants. They pollinate most of the tomato blossoms, so I get fruit from almost each of them.

Do hummingbirds like sunflowers?

More Sunflower Companion Plants

sunflower companion plantsJack Ganse/

“I planted Maximilian sunflower last spring. It grew amazingly well in my clay soil. What companion plant can you recommend as a color contrast but with the same growing conditions?” asks reader Sheila Dyke.

Horticultural expert Melinda Myers says, “There are a few perennials that complement the yellow blossoms of the 5-foot-tall, summer-to-fall-flowering Maximilian sunflower. Start the season with the icy blue flowers of willow amsonia. The fine foliage looks great all season and turns to beautiful amber in fall. Blue false indigo (Baptisia) is another spring bloomer. The blue flowers transition to attractive black seedpods. Both the flowers and seedpods stand out against the blue-green foliage.

Summer-blooming swamp milkweed will please both you and the butterflies that come to visit. The large purple flowers of tall ironweed (Vernonia) appear about the same time as Maximillian and make a gorgeous combination.

Finish off the season with white or pink flowers of turtlehead. Include a few ornamental grasses such as our native prairie dropseed and switchgrass cultivars like Northwind. These add a wide variety of textures and seasonal interest with their foliage, flowers, fall color and persistent seed heads.”

Next, learn which backyard birds love black oil sunflower seeds.