24 Basil Companion Plants (And 6 to Avoid)
Basil is a wonderful herb to grow in summer. It’s also one of the best companion plants that you can grow in your vegetable patch. The lovely aromatic leaves can be used in so many dishes, and they are the prime ingredient in pesto.
There are plenty of plants that can be grown alongside basil as companions. This companion planting creates a lovely relationship between the plants that are grown together and helps to repel pests and diseases from your precious vegetables.
Here’s a list of the 24 best companion plants for basil and also some that you want to avoid.
Basil Companion Plants
Many plants are grown together as companions because they are mutually beneficial to each other. When planted together, these plants help to improve the growth and health of their companions and help to protect them from pests and diseases.
Many seasoned gardeners know instinctively that you should grow basil next to your tomatoes. Both plants enjoy the same conditions, such as full sun and well-drained soil. It’s also said that basil helps to improve the flavor of tomatoes.
Basil is a great herb for repelling pests such as whiteflies, aphids, thrips, and tomato hornworms. Plus, growing these two together makes it quicker at harvest time because they both compliment each other so well in certain dishes.
2. Bell Peppers
Bell peppers also enjoy the same growing conditions as basil. Basil is known to repel common insect pests such as spider mites that may infect your bell peppers.
In addition, the larger leaves of the bell pepper plants help to shade the basil a little when conditions are hot and dry.
Basil gets some help from asparagus plants because it attracts ladybugs into your garden. And, as we all know, ladybugs are handy to have when you have an infestation of aphids.
On the other hand, basil helps asparagus by repelling the asparagus beetle, which can cause a lot of damage to emerging asparagus tips.
Once again, both basil and asparagus enjoy the same growing conditions.
Aside from basil, marigolds are considered one of the best companion plants for the vegetable garden. They help to deter various annoying pests such as aphids, nematodes, slugs, and Japanese beetles.
Marigolds are also good at attracting beneficial insects such as hoverflies, ladybugs, and parasitic wasps. Therefore, planting both basil and marigolds around your vegetable garden gives your plants extra protection from unwanted pests.
It’s also said that marigolds can help to improve the flavor of your basil. Just make sure that you choose a low-growing variety of marigolds so that they don’t grow too vigorously and crowd out the basil. Also, grow French marigolds rather than Mexican ones. The Mexican variety produces a strong chemical from its roots that can stunt the growth of basil and other plants grown nearby.
Basil and potatoes grow well together. It’s believed that basil helps potatoes to develop a healthier root system and produce more tubers. Potatoes also attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies when they’re in flower.
Of course, when it comes to eating your harvest, nothing tastes quite as nice as thick roasted potato chips dipped in a basil pesto.
6. Root Vegetables
Root vegetables, such as beets and carrots, can be susceptible to soil boring insects that can decimate a crop fairly quickly. Basil helps to deter these insect pests because they don’t like the strong scent of the basil leaves.
Growing basil and garlic together really helps to improve the health of your vegetable patch. Both these plants help to deter whiteflies, aphids, and spider mites, leaving you with much healthier crops.
It’s also believed that both basil and garlic help to improve the flavor of each other.
Nasturtiums are commonly known as trap crops. That is, they help to attract common pests such as aphids away from your other plants. Therefore, they’re ideal to plant with basil as mutual companions. Nasturtiums also add a bit of color to your vegetable garden, and the flowers are edible.
Both basil and cilantro enjoy the same growing conditions. They also offer double protection for your other vegetables because both repel common insect pests such as beetles and aphids.
Borage has been planted in and around the vegetable garden for centuries because it’s one of the best plants for attracting pollinators such as bees. This is vitally important if you’re growing fruiting crops such as cucumbers and summer squash.
It’s also believed that borage helps to enhance the flavor of basil. Plus, borage has the ability to extract a variety of essential minerals from the soil. Once these minerals are closer to the surface, they can be used by companion plants such as basil to improve growth and vitality.
Like a variety of other fragrant herbs, oregano helps basil to deter annoying insect pests from your garden. It also helps to enhance the flavor of your basil. In addition, oregano can also attract beneficial insects when it’s in flower.
In many gardens, oregano can be grown as a perennial. This means that once the basil has finished its growing season, you can replace it with another plant that grows happily with this aromatic herb.
Chive is another aromatic herb that makes a good companion for basil. Not only does it help to improve the flavor of basil, but it also assists in deterring insect pests such as aphids.
Both basil and parsley enjoy similar growing conditions, and both plants appreciate adequate moisture in the soil for them to thrive. Parsley is also good at deterring pests like nematodes and asparagus beetles, as well as improving the flavor of your basil.
Marjoram is a great companion plant for basil because it too repels insect pests such as whiteflies, spider mites, and aphids. It’s also a good attraction plant for pollinators such as bees and butterflies. In addition, marjoram is thought to improve the flavor of basil.
This aromatic herb actually helps to increase the essential oils in your basil plant. This means that your basil will have more flavor.
Chamomile has a similar relationship with basil as anise. It helps to increase the essential oils in the basil, thereby making the basil leaves more flavorsome. Of the two different types of chamomile, German chamomile is probably the best to grow with basil.
And, as both German chamomile and basil are summer annuals, you can plant them at the same time, and they’ll grow well together.
Planting basil near your grape vines helps to fend off annoying insect pests that may otherwise damage the grape plants.
As well as adding some lovely color to your vegetable garden, petunias can assist basil by repelling certain annoying pests such as aphids, leafhoppers, asparagus beetles, and tomato worms.
As you may know, legumes such as beans help to fix nitrogen into the soil, so they are great for growing with basil. This is because the basil will really enjoy all the extra nutrients and will grow lush and strong as a result.
Basil is great for planting around your eggplants because it helps to repel certain insects that like to attack your eggplants, such as aphids, mealybugs, and garden moths. This will give you a higher yield, and you can add some basil to all your eggplant dishes.
Both basil and rosemary thrive in well-drained soil, so they can happily be grown together. Although rosemary is fairly drought-tolerant, it won’t mind the extra moisture that basil prefers, as long as all the excess water can freely drain away.
Both lemongrass and basil enjoy the same growing conditions, including full sun and well-drained soil.
If you would like to know more about growing lemongrass, I wrote an article about that.
Broccoli will benefit by having basil as a companion plant. The aromatic herb will repel insect pests such as the white cabbage moth. This is vital in summer when the broccoli plants are still young, and the cabbage moth is highly active in the garden.
Basil makes the perfect companion for lavender because it helps to repel aphids and other flying pests. On the other hand, lavender attracts beneficial insects such as bees.
Plants To Avoid Growing With Basil
Just as there are great companion plants that you should grow with basil, there are also certain plants that you should avoid for various different reasons.
Cucumbers are heavy feeders and quite thirsty plants and will compete with basil for both moisture and nutrients in the soil. In addition, cucumbers are known to take on the taste of plants that are grown near them. Therefore, to avoid your cucumbers tasting like basil, don’t plant these two next to each other.
Fennel is one of those plants that is not a good companion for other plants such as basil. It’s believed that fennel can restrict the growth of many other plants, and basil is one of those.
Fennel is also known to attract certain pests, which is in complete contradiction to what you’re hoping to achieve with companion planting.
Basil and thyme are not good companions because they prefer different growing conditions. Thyme will thrive in sandy soil that dries out quickly, while basil does like plenty of moisture.
Like thyme, sage prefers different growing conditions to basil. It much prefers to grow in a drier environment than basil. Therefore, these two should not be grown together.
5. Common Rue
Common rue is said to stunt the growth of your basil plants, so definitely avoid growing these two together. It does this by releasing certain chemicals from its roots that can inhibit the growth of your basil.
Mint is a heavy feeder and will use up all the nutrients in the soil, leaving basil with no nutrients at all. Mint is also very invasive and will crowd out your basil and everything else in your vegetable garden fairly quickly.
That’s precisely why mint should only be grown in pots where it can be easily contained.
Benefits of Companion Planting
As you’re probably now aware, companion planting offers many benefits to the plants that are grown together. These plants form strong relationships and help each other to grow and thrive together. So, what are the major benefits of companion planting?
It Helps to Improve the Soil
Legumes such as peas and beans help to fix nitrogen in the soil. This nutrient is then available to lush, green plants such as basil to continue its strong growth.
It’s an Organic Pest Management System
Herbs such as basil help to repel certain insect pests that might otherwise destroy the crops that are planted nearby. This is perfect for eliminating the need for expensive and harmful pesticides.
It’s a Way to Help Plants that Need Pollination
Certain fruiting crops like cucumbers, zucchinis, and summer squash, need to have their flowers pollinated in order to produce fruits. Therefore, it’s important to plant other flowering plants as companions in order to attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies.
Apart from attracting pollinators, some plants can also attract beneficial insects such as ladybugs and parasitic wasps to help in the control of pests such as aphids.
Companion Planting Assists with Providing Shelter for Tender Plants
Companion planting can also be used to provide shelter for more tender plants that may wilt when exposed to direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day.
It Helps Plants to Grow Better
Certain plants release chemicals into the soil that help their companions improve their flavor and grow more vigorously. Of course, this can also have the opposite effect if you plant incompatible companions next to each other.
Companion Planting Makes Better Use of the Available Garden Space
When planting lots of compatible plants together, you can make better use of your garden space and, as a result, have a whole variety of different crops that you can harvest.