If you’re a fellow gardener, you must love growing fresh herbs!
They’re easy to take care of, and you can benefit from their medical, aromatic, ornamental, cosmetic and culinary uses.
But, did you know that different herbs help each other thrive? The practice is often called companion planting, and the best herbs to plant together are:
- Mediterranean herbs
- Moisture-loving herbs
- Basil, parsley, chamomile and oregano
- Tarragon, catnip and dill
You can’t necessarily mix the above groups, though, so check out our full guide below on companion planting and how to garden with herbs.
What Is Companion Planting?
Herbs that enhance and complement each other are called “companion plants,” and the art of finding herbs to grow well together is “companion planting.”
Most people think of herbs as the green or leafy parts of the plants, mostly used for seasoning food.
Technically, herbs are plants without a woody stem. They have different life cycles, and they all eventually die and leave seeds behind to produce new plants.
Other than their wonderful characteristics, they have this amazing quality to make your garden thrive. They keep each other company and help one another grow better.
You can use different herbs to:
- Enhance others’ scent and flavor.
- Repel harmful pests.
- Attract beneficial insects to your garden, like bees and butterflies.
- Enrich the soil.
- Protect smaller herbs that like the shade.
- Guard your plants against weeds.
What Herbs to Plant Together
Herbs that can grow together in harmony are the ones that prefer the same environment.
Use mints as companion plants because they attract an insect called Nesidiocoris tenuis, which feeds on garden pests, such as aphids, whiteflies, mites and thrips.
Mints are better grown in moist soil with good drainage, and they don’t need much sunlight.
Popular examples are:
- Orange mint.
- Chocolate mint.
- Lemon mint.
If you plant two types of mint together, they may cross-pollinate, resulting in a new kind of mint that tastes and smells differently.
These herbs need sunlight and free-draining, dry soil.
Examples of Mediterranean herbs that grow well together are:
Herbs like basil and parsley are fans of moisturized environments and love lots of light and plenty of water.
Lemon thyme, lemon verbena, and lemon basil are lemon-scented herbs that can grow well if you plant them together.
Basil can be accommodating for your herb garden, as it has pest-control qualities. It can repel hornworms, whiteflies, aphids, and mosquitoes.
It grows well with herbs such as parsley, chamomile, and oregano, and prefers the company of vegetables better, such as:
Tarragon is a must-have for your garden bed.
It’s often a great companion for all herbs because it has nursing powers. In other words, its presence boosts its neighbors’ growth and gives them a more robust flavor.
As tarragon is a perennial herb, it’s best to plant it near other perennial herbs. If you can’t do this, your whole garden will enjoy its presence no matter where you plant it.
Beneficial insects, like honey bees, butterflies, wasps, ladybugs, praying mantises, and hoverflies, like dill.
Dill grows well with lots of other plants, but its main companion plants are:
Chives can repel insects, like aphids, from your garden and are great companions for most plants, especially mustard greens, carrots and tomatoes.
Plant chives with these herbs:
Other Beneficial Herbs for the Garden
- Cilantro: Cilantro makes a great companion for many herbs, like tansy, yarrow, lavender and dill.
- Marjoram: This Mediterranean plant is great for gardening with herbs because it can enhance nearby plants’ growth and flavor. It’s a good companion for all vegetables and herbs, like chives, sage, thyme and chamomile.
- Thyme: Thyme can repel pests, like cabbage worms, tomato hornworms and corn earworms, making it a good addition to your vegetable garden. It also grows well with sage, oregano, marjoram and strawberries.
- Caraway: This herb grows long roots that can break down heavy soil. It can also bring parasitoid wasps to your garden.
- Bee balm: Bees and butterflies like this plant, and it can also enhance the flavor of some herbs and vegetables.
- Nasturtium: Helps ward off pests, like aphids, whiteflies and squash bugs.
- Comfrey: Can act as a fertilizer and make the soil rich. Its leaves are full of potassium and nitrogen, which are vital nutrients for herbs in the garden.
- Bay leaves: Used as herbal medicine and also deter pests from your garden. They grow well with parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme and beans.
- Borage: Attracts bees and repels tomato hornworms. It helps plants like tomatoes, strawberries and squash to grow better.
Which Herbs Cannot Be Planted Together?
Some plants may grow so tall that they cast a shadow on smaller plants and withhold sunlight. Sometimes, it’s a matter of conflicting needs—plants need different amounts of water and sunlight or other kinds of soil.
Also, look out for allelopathic plants, which can chemically harm or kill other herbs or hinder their growth.
While you can plant different mints together, don’t grow them with anything else.
Other than needing a different environment to grow, they’re vigorous and invasive herbs. They expand into other plants’ spaces and choke them out.
You wouldn’t think that from such a refreshing herb, would you?
Rosemary is the exception of Mediterranean plants because it can’t cope well with most other herbs. Instead, it prefers vegetables’ company.
Much like rosemary, basil can be a great addition to your vegetable garden. It will help if you don’t grow basil with most other herbs, especially sage and rue.
Consider planting fennel in its own pot or away from other herbs and vegetables.
It doesn’t get along with almost any other herbs, changing their flavors to something unpalatable.
Others Herb Combinations to Be Aware Of
- Fennel and cilantro: Incredibly competitive, so don’t grow these herbs together.
- Rue, sage and basil: Can all damage each other by inhibiting each other’s growth.
- Dill and lavender: Won’t grow well together because dill prefers acidic soil, instead of lavender preferring alkaline soil.
Growing Herbs That Grow Well Together
Herbs are cooperative plants that can grow well together both outdoors or in containers.
There are significant advantages to growing herbs indoors. You can enjoy their pleasant aromas and have easy access to great seasoning for every meal. But, if you want to see your potted herbs reach their lush best, you need to prepare a suitable environment.
Another advantage is that you won’t need to worry about cold temperatures and pests. But, you’ll need to make sure your pots are placed somewhere with enough light. If your house doesn’t get enough sunlight, consider growing herbs that prefer shadier spots, such as parsley, chives, cilantro, and mint.
You should also keep your pots and containers close to each other. This way, your plants will create themselves a little ecosystem with a humid environment and proper air circulation that helps them thrive.
How Many Herbs Can You Plant in One Container?
You have to single them out by considering their irrigation needs. You can plant different herbs in one container as long as they need the same amount of water and sunshine and don’t harm each other chemically.
How Far Apart Should You Plant Herbs?
Give each plant a space of 1-4 feet in diameter to grow. You don’t want some of your herbs to suck up all the soil’s nutrition and leave the others dry. Herbs’ roots can grow 3-12 inches deep in the pots.
With these tips, prevent your herb plants from getting lonely and safeguarding from their adversaries.
You also now know how to avoid pests from attacking your garden while attracting favorable insects and bees to enrich your soil and enhance the flavor of your herbs to have more delicious meals.
Which herbs are your favorites? We hope you manage to find a companion to light up your kitchen!