If you’re looking for a plant you can grow near other plants with amazing results, basil is your best friend.
Basil is a protective plant that wards off pests and allows other plants to reach their full growth potential.
However, although basil is beneficial to most other plants, certain plants are not suitable for growing next to basil.
In this guide, we’ll be discussing the best and worst plants to grow as companions to basil.
Introduction To Companion Planting
Before we introduce you to the best and worst companions for your basil plants, it’s important to understand the concept of companion planting.
Companion planting is more than simply growing plants near one another. It involves putting thought into which plants will provide one another with mutual benefit.
Gardeners around the world report the benefits of companion planting, from helping their plants to grow healthier and stronger to reducing the pest populations in their gardens.
However, in order for companion planting to be effective, you need to determine which plants will be beneficial for one another, and which could be detrimental.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the best and worst plants you can plant alongside basil.
Best Basil Companion Plants
Bell peppers enjoy the same growing conditions as basil, preferring lots of sunlight, so it’s easy to grow these plants together.
Additionally, planting bell pepper next to basil will help the peppers to remain pest-free.
Some of the most common pests that impact bell peppers are mosquitoes, flies, and spider mites, and basil acts as a repellent for all of these.
Bell peppers can also help basil to thrive. Since bell peppers cast more shade than basil plants, they can help shield it from excessive sunlight and protect it when the weather is bad.
Many gardeners have even reported that growing basil and bell pepper side by side improves the taste of each plant.
Marigolds are known to be effective pest repellents, so if you’re worried about pests getting to your basil, you might want to try planting some marigolds nearby.
Not only do marigolds help to ward off pests, but they actually attract many helpful insects that are known for their pest control abilities.
If any unwanted visitors do make it near your basil, your marigolds will make sure that ladybugs, parasitic wasps, and hoverflies are also there to manage the population.
It’s even been reported that marigolds enhance the flavor of basil plants.
Tomato and basil is a well-known flavor combination, but these two plants also complement one another well in the garden.
Basil and tomatoes are able to thrive in the same growing conditions. Both plants do best when planted in well-draining soil with access to full sun.
Tomatoes can, unfortunately, suffer from pest infestations, but basil is a good deterrent for the types of pests that typically feed on tomatoes.
Tomato hornworms, whiteflies, aphids, and thrips will be less likely to damage your tomatoes if you have basil growing nearby.
It’s also thought that basil and tomatoes are a good pairing for improving the flavor of tomatoes, so try it out and see for yourself!
Aphids sometimes like to feed on basil, ruining the plant. However, if you plant asparagus with basil, you won’t have to worry so much about this because asparagus is known to attract ladybugs.
Ladybugs are aphid predators.
The protective relationship between asparagus and basil is mutual. Basil is an asparagus beetle repellent, so these bugs won’t be able to get to your asparagus tips and cause damage.
You also won’t have any problems growing asparagus and basil together because they grow best in similar conditions.
Garlic is a natural pest repellent, so if you’re worried about bugs like whiteflies and aphids getting to your basil, just plant some garlic nearby. You may find that each plant helps improve the flavor of the other, too.
The only thing to bear in mind when planting garlic and basil near one another is that both these plants like to spread out as they grow.
This means you shouldn’tpest repellents close together, or they could get overcrowded.
Basil and potatoes grow well in similar conditions, but planting basil near potatoes can also help the potatoes to grow healthier and stronger.
Potatoes will also attract beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies. These pollinators are very good for your garden.
Growing basil and cilantro next to one another is easy because they both need roughly the same amount of water, and they thrive in the same light conditions.
Cilantro also contains volatile oils, which are known for keeping pests like beetles and aphids away from gardens.
If you want your root vegetables to taste even better, growing them alongside basil is an excellent choice.
Basil not only helps to enhance the flavor of root vegetables like beets and carrots, but it also helps the growth process.
One of the biggest problems gardeners face when growing root vegetables is the presence of soil-boring insects.
However, the scent of basil deters many of these insects, so planting basil near your root vegetables is a natural method of controlling pests.
Marjoram is yet another natural pest-repellent. The main insects marjoram helps to get rid of include spider mites, aphids, and whiteflies.
At the same time, marjoram draws pollinators like butterflies and bees into the garden, which is helpful for the development of your other plants.
Since basil and marjoram like the same growing conditions, it won’t be difficult to grow them next to each other, and marjoram may even make your basil taste better!
Basil and parsley are two of the most common herbs in any chef’s pantry, but they’re also close friends in the garden.
Parsley and basil need similar amounts of sunlight and water, and the levels of soil moisture required by both are roughly the same.
Not only that, but parsley is known to deter certain pests like nematodes and asparagus beetles. It’s also thought to enhance the flavor of basil plants.
If you’re growing basil in your garden, you should consider planting some borage, too.
This is because borage attracts bees and other pollinators to your garden, while simultaneously keeping pests like tomato hornworms at bay.
Not only will borage help to make your basil taste even better, but you can use this herb medicinally once it’s fully grown.
If you’re looking for a plant that will draw pests away from your basil, you should plant some nasturtiums.
Nasturtiums will attract the attention of common pests like aphids, so they will be less likely to target your basil.
At the same time, these beautiful and colorful flowers will make your garden more beautiful, and you can even eat them!
Several other herbs we haven’t mentioned yet are excellent for pest control while you’re growing basil. These herbs include chamomile, oregano, and chives.
While these plants help to keep pest populations at bay, they also enhance your basil’s flavor and help to boost its essential oil content.
Worst Basil Companion Plants
As you can see, there are plenty of plants you can grow alongside basil to ward off pests and improve the flavor of the herb.
However, there are also a few plants you should avoid planting near basil. These include:
Thyme has very different growing requirements compared to basil. While basil prefers moist soil, thyme prefers a drier environment.
Therefore, growing these plants next to one another will mean that one plant won’t be able to thrive.
Fennel might be delicious, but growing it can be difficult if it’s not the only plant in your garden, since it often attracts pests.
It also doesn’t grow well around other plants because it can crowd the other herbs and flowers in your garden, stopping them from growing to their full potential.
Like thyme, sage likes to grow in dry soil. Therefore, this is not a compatible herb for growing near basil, since the latter prefers its soil to be moist and nutrient-dense.
Cucumber is a competitive plant when it comes to resources: namely, nutrients and water.
This means that it’s best to grow cucumbers separately from your other plants, since cucumbers are likely to deprive other plants of nourishment.
Because cucumbers are mostly made up of water, they easily absorb the flavors of neighboring plants, too.
So, if you grow basil and cucumbers together, your cucumbers will probably end up tasting like basil.
Finally, we don’t recommend planting common rue next to your basil plants. Rue is known for stunting the growth of other plants, including basil, and making it more vulnerable to disease and infestation.
Rue can also have an impact on the flavor of basil. Gardeners who have tried growing these plants together often report that their basil has more of a bitter flavor.
Should I Grow Companion Plants For Basil?
If you’re still wondering whether it’s worth growing companion plants for basil, the answer is definitely yes.
The best companion plants for basil will provide natural pest-control and can share some of their nutrients and shade with your basil plants for better growth.
Other plants like the ones listed above can attract pollinators and other bugs that control pests to your garden.
You might even find that certain plants improve the flavor of your basil, and basil can do the same in return for some of these plants.
If you’re worried about the quality of your soil, companion planting can also help with this.
Certain combinations of plants help to nourish the soil and make it more fertile, so you’ll enjoy more success in your gardening endeavors.
Growing basil in your garden is a great idea, but we recommend growing some companion plants alongside it.
Some of the best companion plants for basil include garlic, potatoes, tomatoes, parsley, marjoram, bell peppers, and marigolds, to name just a few.
These plants have many benefits for basil, and basil helps them in return.
For example, basil and the companion plants on this list can provide natural pest control for one another as well as enhance each other’s flavors.
Just remember not to plant thyme, common rue, sage, fennel, or cucumbers near your basil plants, as these do not grow well together and can cause problems.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Close Together Can I Plant Basil With Other Plants?
It’s recommended to put your basil plants at least 12 inches away from other plants, including other basil plants.
If possible, you should aim for about 18 inches. This is to avoid overcrowding the plants and reduce competition for nutrients and water.
What Is The Lifespan Of Basil?
Basil plants are annual herbs, so they live for roughly a year.
This is useful information if you’re considering growing basil near other plants, as it may be worth selecting plants with similar lifespans.
Do I Need To Water Basil Every Day?
Basil likes moist soil, but you don’t need to water it every day. Basil needs about an inch of water per week. If you water it too frequently, you could end up harming your plant.
However, bear in mind that if you plant herbs or flowers near basil that are competitive when it comes to water, you may need to increase your watering schedule to ensure that the soil doesn’t dry out.