By Jennifer Poindexter
Are you interested in trying companion planting around your garden? If so, it’s wise to start with a plant you know and love. Then you’ll want to figure out which plants make the best companions. Let’s begin with basil. This is an herb that many people grow due to its versatility and delicious flavor.
If you need to know which plants are companions for this herb (and which you should avoid) you’re in the right place.
Let’s talk about all the things you can plant around basil that should produce a stronger and more flavorful garden plot for you. Here’s what you should know:
What Is Companion Planting?
Companion planting is when you grow plants near each other to provide certain benefits such as protection to one or both plants from pests and diseases.
In some cases, certain planting options will invite beneficial insects to the growing area which can help one or both plants.
Some plants encourage greater growth from nearby plants just by simply growing next to them. There are some herbs which release a chemical into the soil as they grow.
In turn, the nearby plants absorb this chemical, and it encourages them to grow faster and produce better flavor.
Many people choose certain companion plants as they can help the soil. For instance, if you grow beans in your garden, they add nitrogen to the soil.
Therefore, it’s wise to plant nitrogen loving plants near beans to naturally provide this nutrient they need to thrive.
Lastly, it’s wise to use companion planting to provide ground cover or shade to nearby plants. If you grow low-growing plants, they can serve as a natural weed barrier to taller plants.
Yet, if you plant something which prefers full to partial shade, you can supply this by planting something taller next to it.
As you can see, there are many great reasons to practice companion planting. Now, let’s discuss which plants grow well with basil.
Great Companion Plants for Basil
There are a variety of plants that thrive when grown next to basil and also help basil in the process. Here are some options to choose from:
Marigolds are vibrant yellow or orange flowers. They’re great when used as row markers, but they also put off a distinct smell.
This smell helps keep pests at bay. In turn, the basil is protected from pests by being planted near the marigolds.
Borage is a beautiful flowering herb which produces blue blooms. The blue blooms are a great way to invite pollinators to the area which is beneficial to basil.
However, this plant is also known for deterring pests and helps improve the flavor of basil when grown nearby.
Chives are one of my favorite herbs. They produce a beautiful bushy shape as they mature. You can’t help but notice their rich coloring and the texture they add to a growing space.
However, chives do more than look pretty and taste great. They’re a wonderful companion plant as their fragrance deters pests while improving basil’s flavor.
Chamomile is another beautiful herb which produces white blooms with rich yellow centers. Many times, this herb is enjoyed for tea.
Yet, it also makes a wonderful companion for basil as it can improve its flavor and protect it from pests which might harm the herb.
Oregano is another traditional herb which many gardeners incorporate into their growing spaces. It’s a beautiful plant that, when grown as a perennial, comes back larger and more vibrant with each passing year.
If you’d like another reason to grow this plant, consider it a companion to basil. This herb is also known for adding flavor to basil while simultaneously protecting it.
Garlic is a low-maintenance crop that can be planted once or twice each year, depending on your planting zone.
When growing garlic, consider planting it near basil as its scent helps keep unwanted pests away. Plus, these plants help improve each other’s flavor. This duo is a win-win for everyone.
Tomatoes and basil go together almost as well as peas and carrots. It’s no wonder they’re considered companion plants.
When growing tomatoes and basil near each other, they do well because they have similar growing conditions. Plus, basil is known for boosting the amount of fruit you get from tomatoes, protecting the tomatoes from pests, and improving the flavor of your tomato harvest.
Asparagus is a great plant to grow because it lasts a long time if cared for properly. Some asparagus is said to live as long as twenty years.
Therefore, you should consider planting basil among your asparagus each year as a companion. Asparagus is great for keeping aphids away from your basil plants by inviting beneficial insects to the growing location which eradicate the pests.
Did you know that basil is a friend to root vegetables? Many times, pests will nibble on the greenery of the plant that grows out of the ground. This can harm the overall health of your crops if not treated.
Therefore, it’s wise to plant basil near your parsnips. Basil’s fragrance is known for keeping pests away.
Beets are another wonderful crop to grow. They do well in cooler climates and can be harvested in as little as four weeks.
Plus, you can harvest the greens from the tops and the beet from the ground which equates to two products from one plant. Be sure to grow basil nearby to help protect the greens, so you don’t miss out on this portion of the harvest.
Carrots are another wonderful root crop that can be grown in the ground or in containers. They’re a wonderful greenhouse crop as well.
If you’re interested in protecting your carrot harvest, be sure to grow basil nearby as the herb’s fragrance can protect the tops of the carrots from pests.
Turnips are another favorite of mine to grow. They make an excellent spring or fall crop, depending upon your planting zone.
However, what I love most is you can enjoy both the greens of this crop and the turnip. Again, plant basil nearby to protect the greens of this plant to ensure pests don’t get this portion of your harvest.
Radishes are another wonderful root crop that if you aren’t already growing, you should consider. They’re fast producers and can be harvested in as little as four weeks.
Plus, they can be grown in the ground, in a container, or in a greenhouse or cold frame. Be sure to plant basil alongside your radishes to protect them from pests.
14. Bell Peppers
Have you ever thought about planting basil alongside your peppers? If not, it’s time to take it into consideration.
Peppers and basil have similar growing conditions; therefore, they make great companions. The basil serves as ground cover for the peppers to keep weeds down, it traps humidity and heat to help the peppers grow, and basil is known for deterring pests from your peppers.
Many people say you shouldn’t companion plant herbs because they’ll compete for moisture. This is true for some herbs.
However, cilantro doesn’t fall into this category. Instead, it’s helpful as it has similar growing conditions to basil and deters pests which might impact your basil plants.
Nasturtiums are gorgeous flowers that standout due to their rich green foliage and vibrant cup-shaped blooms.
Not only does this plant add color to your landscape, but it also serves as a companion plant for your basil. These flowers draw pests away from basil plants if grown nearby.
You may not think of growing your potatoes and basil together, but again, it may deserve your consideration.
The reason being basil is known for providing a boost to your potato harvest while inviting beneficial insects to the growing area.
Our last companion plant to mention is parsley. Though another common herb, it works being planted near basil.
Both plants share similar growing conditions, and parsley is known for improving the flavor of basil.
You now have eighteen different companion plants to include near your basil. Pick the options you’re most interested in and give companion planting a try.
Plants You Should Avoid Around Basil
Sometimes we get so excited looking at all the possibilities, we forget about plants which deserve a warning.
To begin, you shouldn’t plant herbs (unless mentioned above) near basil. They’ll compete for moisture. There are so many other wonderful crops to choose from, it isn’t worth the risk to most gardeners.
Cucumbers are another plant which shouldn’t be grown near basil. Since cucumbers are mainly water, they’ll take on the flavor of basil.
Plus, basil is known for reducing your cucumber harvest when planted nearby.
Last, you shouldn’t grow fennel near basil. This plant doesn’t get along with most others in the garden as it inhibits the growth of the plants around it.
Basil is no different, unfortunately. Take these pointers into consideration when deciding how to lay out your garden.
You now have plenty of options of plants which should grow well with your basil. You’ve also been provided the plants which shouldn’t grow near this herb.
Plus, you hopefully have a better understanding of why companion planting is a great technique for many gardens. If you’re interested in companion planting, start with your basil crop, and see if the extra planning is worth the harvest in the end.