Herbs have many benefits on their own for cooking, health, and even aesthetics. They can also make great silent helpers to the rest of your garden. Herb companion planting can enhance the growth of some of your garden vegetables, deter pests and even improve flavors.
This quick guide will help you to plan your garden to get the most benefit for companion planting.
Herb Companion Planting Inside and Out
These methods of companion planting can be used both indoors and out. Outside gardens can benefit the most due to the larger spaces available to plant. Inside gardens can match smaller companions together in pots or near each other to reap mutual benefits.
Matured herbs that have been growing indoors through the winter offer a jump start to your garden. Mature plants are often very appealing to pollinators, and beneficial predators. This will aid your young plants and give them a chance to grow undisturbed.
If you are moving Inside plants outside make sure you harden them off first! Acclimating your plants will ensure they are not damaged by the change in conditions.
The Herb Companion Guide – 15 Garden Helpers
This Video is a Sneak Peak at what you will find in this Article:
So many varieties to choose from with this flavorful herb. It loves heat so be careful not to plant or move out too early. A good rule is to plant it at the same time you would plant other warm weather crops like tomatoes.
⇒ Learn more about Growing Basil on this site here. How to Grow Basil Indoors
Basil as a Companion Plant:
It can increase the yield of tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers. The scent deters mosquitoes and flies. It also helps mask the smell of your plants keeping them disguised form the dreaded hornworm. Basil also aids the growth of asparagus, oregano and petunia flowers.
You can aid basil by planting chamomile or anise in the same bed or a container. It can increase the growth and flavor of your basil.
Sage and Rue are no friends of basil and they can harm the growth.
Indoor Container idea. Plant basil with chamomile for a pretty container with a lot of mutual benefits!
I fell in love with borage flavor a few years ago. The light cucumber-like flavor is a delight in salads and teas. Better yet is I found it to be the best horn worm deterrent I have found.
Borage as a Companion Plant:
Best known to deter hornworms so plant near tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. These plants are prone to these types of worms. They can also deter cabbage and squash moths. Plant near squash, melons and cabbage family.
Friends & Enemies of Borage:
No one plant helps or is harmed by Borage. Also, Borage tilled into the soil or added to compost adds a slow release fertilizer.
Borage tolerates cool weather and can be started earlier. This can boost pollinators in the garden in advance for many plants in the garden
Chives are a perennial that can grow and be harvested for many years in US hardiness zone 3 – 9. The more they are trimmed the more they grow and flourish. The flowers draw pollinators and their scent repels many types of egg-laying moths and butterflies.
Chives as a Companion Plant:
Peppers love chives and they improve the flavor of each other. In addition, chives repel aphids on peppers and other plants. They work well with tomatoes, carrots, beets, and roses. Matured chive plantings around roses can prevent black spot, and around apple trees, scab.
Chives enjoy loose soil and do well when planted with root vegetables that allow for air flow to their roots. For example carrots, beets, and radishes. They are also particularly fond of kohlrabi even though the bulb grows above the soil.
Peas, beans, asparagus, and spinach are not friends with chives.
Indoors Chives do great potted with herbal flower varieties like pot marigold (calendula). Or pair with fast growing veggies like radish varieties.
This herb likes to bring out the goodness in other herbs and vegetables by helping to increase their natural oils and flavors. In addition, chamomile can be an early spring addition attracting early pollinators and beneficial predators. Predators like wasps and hoverflies can help your garden by getting rid of bad insects.
Chamomile as a companion plant:
An excellent companion to the cabbage family (Brassica family) of plants and cucumbers. They help increase their growth and flavor.
Friends & Enemies of Chamomile:
Chamomile has no enemies and grows well with about everything. Also often referred to as the nurse plant. It has long been believed that planting chamomile near your plants keeps them all healthy.
Chamomile does well indoors with most other herbs and flowers. I like it with low growing creeping thyme, makes a pretty planting together.
Cilantro is the cooler weather green harvest and coriander the bolted seed of this flavorful herb. This herb likes to go out in early cool spring weather and can even tolerate some light frost.
Cilantro as a companion:
Does very well with other herbs like anise, dill, and parsley. Plant near your potato crops to deter potato beetles. Does well with greens like spinach, kale, and lettuces.
Fennel. Fennel does not get along with many others but is particularly naughty with cilantro. It will wilt and die when planted together.
To keep cilantro from bolting inside planting works well because of consistent temperatures. Looks nice with curled parsley and they benefit each other’s growth.
I love pickles, but dill is so much more than that as an herb. The flavoring dill offers in so many dishes is unique. It enjoys the cool weather at the beginning of the growing season. When the heat hits it will bolt but leave it there. It makes a great food source to leave for caterpillars and butterflies to save your growing plants.
Dill as a companion plant:
Great partner with lettuce, cabbage, cucumbers, corn and onion varieties. It attracts a ton of bees and predatory wasps to your garden.
Carrots, and lavender. It also attracts hornworms so keep away from tomatoes and peppers that are a loved treat to this worm foe.
Smaller dill fern leaf grows well indoors. I like to keep it in a pot alone or paired with nasturtiums that like to use the dill fan to climb on.
Lavender is a beautifully scented perennial that should be potted and moved closer to the garden. Direct in the garden is not very beneficial to the lavender or your plants. Excellent at attracting pollinators to the area.
Lavender as a companion plant:
Use containers of lavender near plantings of broccoli and cauliflower. It will confuse the cabbage moth and butterfly.
Lavender also repels deer! In my area deer is an issue. Natural plants that can create a barrier and confusion for deer is a plus. Plant Lavender or place containers in the corners of your garden to help deter deer.
Lavender and Echinacea are great friends inside and out. They both have similar growing conditions and look great together!
8. Marigolds & Pot Marigolds (Calendula)
I love how marigolds help in the garden. Word of warning though! Make sure if you plant them in the garden you pull the flower heads before fall or you will have a garden full of marigolds the next year! Calendulas are the edible flower used to make delicious teas and more.
Marigolds as companion plants:
The root nematode destroyer, the marigold! They work well with almost every vegetable and herb. They are good with beans, squash, melons, radish, carrots, tomatoes, thyme, and parsley.
I enjoy calendula tea plus they are pretty. Indoors I like to pair them in pots with chives or any other herb to add color.
Can not stress the importance of growing mint in containers enough! They will take over your garden if planted direct. Please take heed. Learn from my mistakes!
Mint is a companion plant to:
Tomato and cabbage benefits from mint when planted near. The scent of mint repels many of the enemies that like to feed on these plants. In addition, crushed mint leaves scattered around squash, melons, and brassica family act as barriers for cabbage moths and root maggots.
Many mint varieties, like lemon balm, peppermint, sweet mint, spearmint etc. are natural repellents. Planted near the garden they can help repel mosquitoes, mice, fleas, flea beetles, ants, mice and more.
Mint and parsley should be kept away from each other.
An Indoor favorite, mint is an easy grower inside. It has limited light requirements and is very easy to care for. Read more: Growing Mint in Containers
The entire nasturtium plant is edible with a delicious peppery kick. It adds beauty and benefit to the garden inside and out. This is one of my favorite herb companion planting weapons.
Nasturtiums as Companion plants:
Flavor improvement in melons, squash, and cucumbers. Also, a great attractant for caterpillars, aphids and whiteflies. When planted around the garden will draw attention away from your vegetables. They need very little calcium so benefit calcium lovers like cabbage family and tomatoes.
Nasturtiums indoors are a pretty vining hanger for window baskets of herbs. They look great and make great additions to salads and sandwiches.
Slower to start from seed but easy to grow once it gets going. Parsley makes a great companion to many plants and flowers in the garden.
Parsley as a companion plant:
Asparagus and tomatoes like parsley a lot and benefit in flavor and growth from being planted with this herb. Roses are also said to smell better when planted with parsley. Chives, carrots, corn, hot and sweet peppers, onions, and peas also all benefit from parsley as a companion.
Parsley and Mint do not make good companions and can hurt each other’s growth and flavor potential. Basil although a mint relative does fine with parsley.
Parsley’s unique leaf shape whether flat or curled variety looks nice paired with any flowering herb inside, or bladed herb like lemongrass or chives.
Like lavender, rosemary should remain potted. It is a tender perennial that should be moved inside during the cooler months if you live below zone 8.
Rosemary as a companion plant:
Works as a natural repellent for many types of moths that like to feed on the brassica family of vegetables. Rosemary’s scent confuses carrot flies so potted near carrot plots can add some defense.
Sage thyme and rosemary are all mutually benefited when growing near each other. They increase flavor and deter predators from each other.
Rosemary does not like Basil and should never be in the same pot and placed too close to each other.
Inside rosemary can be very aesthetically pleasing and pruned into shapes for added style and appeal.
A savory herb that offers unique flavors to many types of meat and rice dishes in my household. I also enjoy the smell of sage in tinctures and potpourri for relaxing anxiety. Sage makes a great herb companion planting with its wonderful smell and growth habits.
Sage as a companion plant:
Beans, carrots, brassicas like broccoli and cauliflower benefit from sage. Its strong scent repels cabbage moths, flea beetles, and carrot flies.
Cucumbers and Onions are not companions of sage and can harm each other’s growth. Rue is also said to be affected by being near sage.
Sage is a very pretty herb to grow indoors. When it is trimmed properly it creates a beautiful bushy growth that fills a pot nicely.
I remember my first knowledge of companion planting did not come from the traditional three sisters knowledge. Corn, beans and squash companions passed on by the Native Americans but by my grandmother. She would always say “There is always thyme for strawberries”. She would plant a ring of thyme around her strawberry beds.
Thyme as a Companion Plant:
Well, strawberries for one. They attract the pollinators desired for the fruit, repel damaging insects and invading deer. In the same way, they also benefit cabbage, eggplant, potatoes, and sweet corn. The smell repels many damaging worms including corn earn worms and hornworms.
Thyme is also very good at attracting honeybees to the garden. Creeping varieties make beautiful borders that create attractive barriers that draw in pollinators.
The herb that pests hate! It is said that most pests are completely turned away by the scent of tarragon. Makes me love it all that much more!
Tarragon as a companion:
Eggplant loves tarragon close to it in the garden. Tarragon keeps the flea beetles away that like to tear up their leaves and improves the flavor of the fruit. It can be planted with about anything in the garden with the benefit of improved flavor and pest repelling power.
Tarragons name origin actually means Dragon. I find that suitable as a fierce defender in the garden!
Do You Companion Plant with Herbs?
Even if you are growing inside alone or a small space garden there are still ways to add herb companion planting to your plan. Adding one or two pairing can get the most out of your herbs and edibles.
I have had small apartments and tiny yards in my past. I would use favorite pairings in containers that I could move out on patios or a porch during the growing season. You can learn even more about another way to companion plant here, on Wikipedia.
The story about “thyme for strawberries” may be “secret” companion knowledge I gained. Many ideas I have developed about gardening have come from mentors that learned from their mentors. The heritage of gardening is a beautiful thing that I love to able to pass on.
Have you companion planted an herb that is not on the list? Maybe you have a secret combination that is a sure win for success.
Drop a comment below, let’s be the mentors for the next generation.
Keep Gardening Alive!
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