Basil Companion Plants: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide

Basil Companion Plants The Ultimate Beginner's Guide
Basil Companion Plants The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide

When certain plants are grown together, they can enhance each other’s growth and flavor while also deterring pests and improving the soil. One of the best herbs to experiment with is basil, which not only smells and tastes great but can also add vibrant color to your garden.

In this article, we’ll explore the basil companion plants and how they can benefit your garden. We’ll take a look at some of the best companion plants to grow with basil, as well as those to avoid.

Basil Companion Plants

Companion planting is an effective way to boost the health and productivity of your garden. By carefully selecting which plants to grow together, you can create a harmonious ecosystem that improves crops’ growth, flavor, and pest resistance.

If you’re growing basil, consider pairing it with these companion plants:

Tomatoes

Basil Companion Plants - Tomatoes
Basil Companion Plants – Tomatoes

Tomatoes and basil are a classic companion planting combination. Basil attracts beneficial insects such as hoverflies and parasitic wasps that can prey on common tomato pests like aphids, whiteflies, and hornworms.

The aromatic oils in basil can repel certain insect pests that can damage tomato plants. Combining these two plants can also create a visually attractive and productive garden.

Peppers

Basil Companion Plants - Peppers
Basil Companion Plants – Peppers

Planting basil and peppers together can be a mutually beneficial partnership that enhances the health and productivity of both plants.

Basil has natural pest-repelling properties that can help protect peppers from harmful insects like whiteflies.

Basil can also attract beneficial insects that prey on common pepper pests such as aphids, flea beetles, thrips, cutworms, and armyworms. This can help keep your pepper plants healthy and productive without the use of harmful pesticides.

Also, basil can improve the flavor of peppers, making them even more delicious when harvested together.

Asparagus

Basil Companion Plants - Asparagus
Basil Companion Plants – Asparagus

Basil’s ability to repel pests that can damage asparagus is the main benefit of this companion planting combination.

Asparagus can be susceptible to pests such as asparagus beetles and asparagus aphids. Basil’s natural pest-repelling properties can help keep these pests at bay, resulting in healthier and more productive asparagus plants.

Basil and asparagus have different root systems and will not compete for the same resources.

Marigolds

Basil Companion Plants - Marigolds
Basil Companion Plants – Marigolds

Marigolds are a great companion plant for basil as they are natural pest repellents, which protect basil from damage caused by pests like aphids. These pests can significantly impact the growth and productivity of basil plants, so planting marigolds nearby can provide a natural form of protection.

Marigolds attract a wide range of beneficial insects, including ladybugs, lacewings, hoverflies, parasitic wasps, and other predatory bugs. These insects are natural predators of common garden pests such as aphids, thrips, and whiteflies.

Marigolds can benefit basil plants and other plants in your garden.

Potatoes

Basil Companion Plants - Potatoes
Basil Companion Plants – Potatoes

Basil and potatoes have different root systems, so they complement each other well as companion plants. Potato roots grow deep into the soil, while basil roots grow closer to the surface.

Also, basil can repel pests that can damage potatoes. By planting these two crops together, you can save some space and protect your potato plants.

Pro Tip: Potatoes are heavy feeders and may deplete the soil of nutrients, which could affect basil growth. If you are planting these two plants together, ensure the soil is fertilized and watered for both plants.

Root Vegetables

Basil Companion Plants - Root Vegetables
Basil Companion Plants – Root Vegetables

Basil is an excellent companion for root vegetables like carrots, beets, and turnips, as it helps repel pests that can harm the roots of these plants.

When grown together, the aromatic compounds that basil produces can boost the flavor of root vegetables. These compounds work by masking any unpleasant tastes or odors in the soil that might affect the flavor of the vegetables. They may also transfer directly to vegetables, adding a subtle, complementary flavor.

Garlic

Basil Companion Plants - Garlic
Basil Companion Plants – Garlic

Garlic and basil are great companions in the garden as they complement each other well.

Garlic is a natural pest repellent that can help protect basil from common pests such as aphids and whiteflies. Also, garlic has antifungal and antibacterial properties that can keep soil-borne pests and diseases at bay.

Basil, on the other hand, can provide a natural ground cover for garlic, helping to keep moisture in the soil, regulate soil temperature, and reduce weed growth. This will give a protective layer for the garlic bulbs.

Nasturtiums

Basil Companion Plants - Nasturtiums
Basil Companion Plants – Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums are great companion plants for basil. They attract beneficial insects like ladybugs and hoverflies that feed on pests that can damage basil plants.

Nasturtiums also have a spicy flavor that complements the taste of basil, making them a great addition to any herb garden.

Additionally, nasturtiums are easy to grow and can help to add color and visual interest to your garden.

Pro Tip: Regularly cutting back the fast-growing nasturtiums is essential to allow both nasturtiums and basil to coexist in harmony. This prevents nasturtiums from taking over the garden bed and covering the basil plant.

Borage

Basil Companion Plants - Borage
Basil Companion Plants – Borage

Borage is an excellent companion plant for basil. It not only improves the flavor of both plants but also attracts beneficial insects such as hoverflies and other beneficial predatory insects. These insects will help you to protect basil from pests.

Borage is a nectar-rich plant that attracts pollinators such as bees and bumblebees to your garden.

This plant is edible and can be used in salads, teas, and other culinary dishes together with basil.

Pro Tip: Borage is a large plant that can take up a lot of space in your garden. Additionally, its leaves have sharp trichomes that look like thin spikes. These sharp trichomes on borage leaves can damage the leaves of basil plants if they repeatedly brush against each other, especially during windy weather. So, it’s important to space out these plants to prevent crowding and potential damage to your basil.

Parsley

Basil Companion Plants - Parsley
Basil Companion Plants – Parsley

Parsley and basil make great companions in the garden because they have complementary flavors and growth habits. Parsley can help enhance the taste of basil, making it more flavorful.

In addition, parsley attracts beneficial insects, such as predatory wasps and ladybugs, which will help control pest populations that can damage basil.

By planting parsley and basil together, you can create a thriving ecosystem in your garden that benefits both plants.

Plants to Avoid Growing With Basil

Here is a list of plants that should not be grown with basil. Avoiding these plants can ensure your basil grows healthy and strong.

Cucumbers

Plants to Avoid Growing With Basil - Cucumbers
Plants to Avoid Growing With Basil – Cucumbers

Cucumbers and basil are not the best companion plants. Cucumbers are notorious heavy feeders with a high demand for nutrients and water, which can compete with basil and limit its growth.

Basil can affect the taste of cucumber plants and vice versa, impacting the flavor of both plants. So, to ensure healthy growth and optimal flavor, it’s best to plant cucumbers and basil separately.

Fennel

Plants to Avoid Growing With Basil - Fennel
Plants to Avoid Growing With Basil – Fennel

Fennel should not be grown near basil as it can stunt its growth and make it more vulnerable to pests and diseases.

Fennel produces chemicals that can restrain the growth of basil and other nearby plants. Additionally, fennel can make the flavor of basil more bitter.

So, it’s best to avoid planting fennel near basil to ensure healthy growth and optimal flavor for both plants.

Thyme

Plants to Avoid Growing With Basil - Thyme
Plants to Avoid Growing With Basil – Thyme

Thyme and basil should not be grown together. Thyme can compete with basil for water and the same nutrients in the soil, leading to stunted growth for both plants.

Thyme can release allelopathic chemicals that hinder the growth of nearby plants. These chemicals can affect basils and other plants’ germination, growth, and survival, making it difficult for them to grow properly. [1]

So, avoid planting thyme and basil together to ensure healthy growth for both plants.

Rue

Plants to Avoid Growing With Basil - Rue
Plants to Avoid Growing With Basil – Rue

Rue is another plant that can stunt basils growth and make it more susceptible to pests and diseases. Rue contains chemicals that are toxic to other plants and can inhibit their development, including basils.

Additionally, rue can affect the flavor of basil, making it more bitter. So, avoid planting rue near basil to ensure healthy growth and optimal flavor.

Sage

Plants to Avoid Growing With Basil - Sage
Plants to Avoid Growing With Basil – Sage

Sage and basil are both herbs with similar growth requirements. Planting them together can lead to competition for the same resources in the soil, stunting their growth.

Additionally, sage can release allelopathic chemicals that can inhibit the growth of nearby plants, including basil. [2]

So, always plant sage and basil separately for the best growth and flavor.

What Is Companion Planting?

Companion planting is the practice of growing different plants together to improve the health and growth of each other.

The concept is based on the idea that certain plants can benefit from the proximity of other plants. Companion planting can enhance soil fertility, attract beneficial insects, repel pests, or provide shade.

Companion planting is a natural and sustainable way to improve your garden’s health and productivity while promoting biodiversity and reducing the need for synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.

Basil is a versatile herb often used for companion planting due to its ability to repel pests and enhance the flavor of other plants. Planting basil alongside other plants can keep pests away and improve the overall health and yield of your crops.

What Are The Benefits Of Companion Planting With Basil?

Companion planting with basil offers a variety of benefits for your garden. Some of the benefits of planting basil with other complementary plants include:

Pest Control

Basil emits volatile oils that repel certain pests, such as mosquitoes, flies, and spider mites. By planting basil alongside other plants susceptible to these pests, you can protect them from damage.

Improved Flavor

Some plants, such as tomatoes and peppers, can improve flavor when grown alongside basil. The oils that basil releases can enhance the flavor of these plants.

Soil Improvement

Basil is known to improve soil health by increasing the soil’s fertility and preventing soil-borne diseases.

Basil contains essential oils and other antimicrobial and insecticidal compounds. These can help protect plants from soil-borne pathogens and pests.

Space Utilization

Basil’s shallow roots allow it to be planted alongside plants with deeper roots, such as tomatoes and asparagus, without competing for resources. This can maximize the use of your garden space.

Beneficial Insect Attraction

Basil is known to attract beneficial insects, such as bees and butterflies, which can pollinate other plants in your garden.

Basil can also attract beneficial predatory insects such as hoverflies and parasitic wasps, which can control pests in your garden.

Conclusion

Basil companion planting is a wise and practical strategy for gardeners looking to maximize their crop yield while minimizing pest problems.

By choosing the right companion plants for basil, you can create a symbiotic relationship where each plant benefits the other, leading to healthier and more flavorful basil.

The best plants to grow with basil are tomatoes, peppers, asparagus, marigolds, garlic, nasturtiums, borage, parsley, potatoes, and many other root vegetables.

With a little planning and knowledge, you can create a thriving and diverse garden that will impress you and your guests.

If you enjoyed reading this article, check out our other similar ones in the Gardening How To section.

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