Companion Planting 101: What Herbs Can Be Planted Together?
There’s nothing more exciting than coming home from the nursery loaded with happy and healthy plants. But then comes the hard part – knowing what to plant where.
Just like you work better with some co-workers than others, there are herbs that grow well together, and there are some that don’t just click.
We’ve even found some moisture-loving culinary herbs you can plant together in one pot.
- What Herbs Can Be Planted Together?
What Herbs Can Be Planted Together?
You can use fresh herbs for cooking, medicine, and teas. Plus, they can attract beneficial insects like honey bees and even repel pests. What more can you ask? I mean, really?
When it comes to companion planting herbs, there are so many combinations of herbs that grow well together it’s hard to decide where to start. One option for growing herbs inside is to get an aerogarden with herb seed pod kit. But even using a high-tech system like this, you still want to know what herbs can be planted together.
I looked around my garden and picked my eight favorite herbs based on their usefulness and how easy they are to grow. Now, let’s talk about what herbs grow well with them.
If you are in a hurry to start planting herbs, here is a quick chart showing which herbs to grow together.
|Basil||Oregano, anise, chamomile, parsley|
|Cilantro||Parsley, anise, lemon verbena|
|Mint||Basil, oregano, lemon balm|
|Parsley||Basil, dill, oregano, lemon balm, lavender, marjoram, thyme|
|Dill||Parsley, lemon thyme, lemon balm, and chives|
|Sage||Rosemary, oregano, lavender|
|Oregano||Basil, parsley, thyme, sage|
|Lavender||Parsley, chamomile, marjoram, oregano, sage, lavender|
Are you looking to learn more? Let’s dive into companion planting in your herb garden.
1. Basil Companion Plants
When thinking of culinary herbs, basil is always one of the first to come to mind. An annual, you can grow it from seed, or you can buy young plants at a nursery. Basil grows quickly in warm weather and generates a lot of delicious edible leaves.
You can start harvesting leaves when the plant reaches 6-8 inches tall (1). Just pinch the leaves and use them fresh for a homemade tomato sauce or pesto. The plant will actually grow bushier when you harvest it.
You only need a few plants to generate enough delicious basil to feed your family (unless you want to make heaps of pesto), so it is excellent to mix with other plants in your garden.
Basil grows well with other Mediterranean herbs like oregano. Anise and chamomile are also good basil companion plants because they increase the essential oils in basil (2).
Since herbs can be good companions to vegetable plants, you can set up a pizza garden. You can grow basil, tomatoes, and oregano together and have everything you need for delicious tomato dishes right out of your herb garden.
Plus, basil is also an excellent garden buddy for tomatoes. Planting basil and tomatoes together helps improve the flavor of both plants (2).
2. Cilantro Companion Plants
A staple in Mexican cuisine, cilantro goes by many names. Sometimes it’s called Mexican parsley, and in the UK, they call it coriander. Don’t get confused, though. If you’re residing in the United States, coriander refers to the seeds from the plant and not the leaves.
Whatever you choose to call it, it’s easy to grow cilantro indoors in a container or outdoors in a garden bed. Like most herbs, it likes moist, well-drained rich soil.
Cilantro grows well in the cool season – when it gets too hot, it is likely to bolt. You’ll need to sow cilantro directly in the ground because its long taproot does not like to be transplanted.
Parsley, lemon verbena, and anise are good cilantro companion plants. These plants prefer moist, well-drained soil and don’t like the heat. Cilantro will even help your anise seeds germinate better (3).
But keep your cilantro far from your dill. Dill and cilantro can cross-pollinate, which makes them bad herbs to plant together (2).
Cilantro isn’t just a good companion plant for herbs. You can even plant it in your vegetable garden to help repel harmful insects from your cabbage and other vegetables.
3. Mint Companion Plants
Mint is my favorite herb in the garden because it is so versatile. It’s great in teas, salves, jellies, and more. Plus, there are just so many interesting mint herbs varieties like orange mint, lemon mint, and chocolate mint.
If you have potted herbs or container plants, mint is a must because it is easy to grow. You should know before you decide to grow mint that it can almost be invasive. But you can plant mint in its pot and make it part of a container garden.
Just because mint proliferates doesn’t mean that you can’t plant it together with other herbs. Mint grows well with basil, oregano, and lemon balm.
When considering which herbs to plant together, you should remember that aromatic herbs like mint help deter pests and attract beneficial insects like honey bees.
4. Parsley Companion Plants
Parsley is another excellent addition to your herb garden. Not only is it edible, but the curly varieties can be decorative and add texture to your garden.
Like most herbs, parsley prefers 6-8 hours of sunlight and well-drained soil (4). You can grow parsley either indoors or outdoors, but you should always keep the soil moist.
Parsley grows well with many herbs, particularly other moisture-loving herbs. Basil, dill, oregano, lemon balm, lavender, marjoram, and thyme are all excellent parsley companion plants.
If you are thinking about growing herbs indoors for your kitchen but don’t have a lot of space, you can grow multiple herbs in the same pot. You can plant a few Mediterranean herbs like parsley, basil, and thyme all in the same container.
5. Dill Companion Plants
Dill is a must-have culinary herb if you do any pickling or fermenting. From cucumber pickles to dilly beans, nothing beats using your own herbs to make delicious food.
Dill grows fairly tall and can fall over in strong gusts. If you live somewhere really windy, you may want to grow it in its own pot indoors. But, make sure that the container is big enough since it has an extensive root structure.
Dill grows well with other herbs like parsley, lemon thyme, lemon balm, and chives. Many vegetables are also good dill companion plants. Tomatoes, cabbage, and other vegetables benefit from having dill planted in the same garden bed.
6. Sage Companion Plants
Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing just don’t taste the same if they don’t have sage. And it’s even better when the fresh herbs come from your garden.
Like other culinary herbs, there are more uses for sage than just making poultry delicious. You can use Sage medicinally and spiritually, as well.
Companion planting with sage is not as easy as it is with some other herbs. However, sage does well in a vegetable garden. It repels garden pests and attracts beneficial insects. But when it comes to other herbs, sage struggles a little bit more. Sage does well with other sun-loving plants and prefers dry soil.
One unlikely herbal friendship is between sage and rosemary. Rosemary doesn’t do well with most other herbs, but it makes a good pair together with sage. Both plants like dry soil and full sun, so they are herbs that grow well together.
They can go in the ground in a garden bed or containers. Rosemary is best in a container if you live in a cool climate. Just bring it inside in the winter. Sage, on the other hand, is a perennial herb that will come back next season. You can prune back the heavy woody stem each growing season to keep it healthy.
7. Oregano Companion Plants
Oregano is another one of the Mediterranean herbs that are great for companion planting. Often herbs from the same region are herbs that grow well together. That is true with basil, oregano, parsley, and other Mediterranean herbs.
While many of these herbs will grow well together in a garden bed, you probably don’t want to put them all in the same container.
If you want to grow herbs in the same pot, you should make sure they have the same water needs.
While these plants all need about the same amount of sunlight, oregano needs less water than moisture-loving herbs like basil and parsley. You would do better to plant it in a pot with sage, which requires less water.
8. Lavender Companion Plants
Lavender is another aromatic herb with a million uses. The delicate, fragrant blossoms are not only beautiful but can be used in baking, for tea, and added to potpourri.
The flowers attract beneficial insects, and at the same time, they repel garden pests making lavender one of the best herbs to use if you are looking to companion planting with vegetable plants (5).
“Lavender is not only a beautiful plant but it also repels fleas and moths. The flowering lavender smells wonderful and nourishes many nectar-feeding and beneficial insects.”
This sun-loving herb does well both in containers and in your garden bed. Like rosemary and sage, lavender likes dry soil as well.
There are plenty of herbs to grow with your lavender. Chamomile, marjoram, thyme, and oregano are all great choices, especially if you are looking to start a medicinal herb garden.
If you are looking for ideas for what to do with lavender, check out this video:
Companion planting is growing different plants together rather than having the same plant in a garden bed. It is not a new gardening method – many traditional farming cultures have used companion planting.
An example is the Three Sisters Planted by the Native Americans. They planted beans, corn, and squash together because the plants grew better together than alone. The corn stalks supported the beans as they grew, and the squash provided a ground cover. All three plants flourished.
By companion planting herbs and vegetables, you can grow healthier, higher-quality produce than if you practice monoculture.
No, not all herbs cannot be mixed together because of the varying growing requirements. If you grow all herbs in one container, you’ll end up sacrificing one plant over the other. And no gardener wants that.
If you want to mix herbs together, always choose varieties that require the same growing conditions – keep sun-loving herbs together in one container and plant herbs that love moist soil in their own garden space.
You can also plant a mix of annual herbs and perennial herbs in the same garden. Perennial herbs come back year after year, so you will always have something growing. You do need to replant your annual herbs each year. By doing so, you can decide each year which herbs you want to grow.
Yes, you can plant flowers with herbs. Companion planting flowers and herbs are prevalent. Marigolds are a popular flower used in companion planting. Not only do marigolds add color to your garden, but they also are excellent at deterring pests.
You may not know it, but marigolds are also edible. While not all marigolds taste good, some varieties are pretty tasty and make an exciting addition to salads. And marigolds aren’t the only edible flowers out there. So, go ahead add flowers into your herb garden and herbs in your flower garden.
Yes, you can plant garlic and basil together but they don’t directly benefit each other. But if you plant garlic in your pizza garden, it will help your tomatoes because garlic’s pungent odor repels insects and pests like cabbage loopers and onion flies too.
- How to Grow Basil. Retrieved from: https://www.miraclegro.com/en-us/library/fruit-vegetable-herb/how-grow-basil
- Companion Planting. Retrieved from: http://paynecountymastergardeners.org/resources/Monthly-Mtg-Resources/Companion-Planting-Research.pdf
- Cilantro Companion Planting: 7 Plants to Grow With Cilantro. Retrieved from: https://www.masterclass.com/articles/cilantro-companion-planting-guide#7-plants-to-grow-alongside-cilantro
- Growing Parsley in home gardens. Retrieved From: https://extension.umn.edu/vegetables/growing-parsley#choosing-parsley-varieties-937710
- Companion Planting with Herbs. Retrieved from: https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/GCMG_Newsletters/190_April-May_2014_MG_Newsletter_Large.pdf
Rachael and her husband arrived on Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua in 2011. There they founded El Jardin de la Vida, a tropical micro food forest, focusing on Sustainable Living Education. She teaches others to build with natural materials, live off-grid, and appreciate slow food.