If you want to have an effective companion planting with basil, there are several things you need to know. You must first understand if the plants are compatible and which ones to avoid else, your basil/other plants get harmed.
Therefore, choose plants that will benefit rather than hurt each other e.g. Go for those with similar water requirements, or those that enhance each other maybe; providing shade, offering protection from pests and insects, fixing nutrients in the soil, etc.
By doing this, you will be saving yourself frustrations arising from poor crop performance and a waste of time and money.
Companion Planting with Basil
Basil is an easy-growing herb for both vegetable and herb gardens. This herb has fragrant, peppery leaves and is mostly used on fresh salads, pasta sauce, or pizza.
It is a great companion plant to have in your garden as it is good at attracting beneficial insects for other plants as well as deterring harmful ones. On the other hand, your basil could benefit from other crops growing neat to it.
For example, some crops are such as beans are good at improving soil nutrients thereby keeps the basil well-fed and healthy. Others like chamomile and savory encourage faster growth and improve the basil’s taste. While, planting marigolds around the basils helps repel insect pests leaving your plants pest-free.
However, there are plants that you shouldn’t grow with basils as they may end up harming your plants. For instance, thyme, sage and, rosemary are herbs that require less water so, what’s normal for these herbs could be severe under watering for basil.
Again, never plant mint with basils. Mint is considered an invasive herb with a fast and extensive root system. It hence feeds on a majority of nutrients leaving other plants around it malnourished and with stunted growth.
Finally, don’t grow basils with rue. Rue produces certain chemicals from its roots that inhibit the growth of basils.
Now that you have a rough idea of what companion planting is and its benefits, let’s look at the best companion plants for basils.
Best Crops for Companion Planting with Basil
Not only do tomatoes work well with basils on a dinner plate, but they are also excellent vegetable garden companions. Basils and tomatoes require similar amounts of water and light hence, easy to grow them as companions.
The strong aroma of basils helps repels hornworms and flies thus improves the health and yield of tomatoes.
Apart from this, some gardeners believe that there is an improvement in taste for both crops when grown together. Plus, growing these two crops together allows you to harvest them at the same time.
Chamomile is an easy-to-grow flowering herb and a good companion to many herbs including basils. This herb is believed to increase the concentration of essential oils in basil and other herbs.
There are two types of chamomile varieties; Roman and German chamomile. With the German one being the best to grow with basils. It is an annual variety that requires less care and maintenance as compared to the Roman chamomile.
And just like basils, it grows for a year and dies off on its own regardless of how best you take care of it.
Pro Tip: When adding chamomile into your basils container, use an already-grown herb. This makes the process easier and saves you time.
Do you want to maximize the aromatic shield for your basil? Go for marigolds! A combination of these two crops offers the most ideal natural pest repellant. Just make sure to plant them close to each other for effectiveness in pest control.
Other than that, marigolds are usually small and bushy and, grow up to 12 inches (not more) thereby, a good choice for an attractive border for your herb garden.
Moreover, marigolds are great at attracting and feeding pollinators and, they continue to feed these insects with nectar even late in the season when almost all garden flowers are gone.
In addition to this, the marigolds especially the French variety enhance the growth of basils by producing a chemical from their roots that offer protection against pests for years even after the marigolds are gone.
However, you should be careful not to plant the Mexican marigold as it produces a stronger version of this chemical which can inhibit the growth of certain herbs.
When companion planting marigolds with basils, you can either plant basil first, and then dig a hole for the marigold plant. This should be about 18 to 24 inches between the marigold and the basil plant. The gap is close enough for the basil to benefit from the marigold and, there is enough space for the basil to grow.
Or, plant marigold seeds around and in between basil plants, as their germination speed is quite fast. Upon reaching approximately 2 to 3 inches tall, thin out the marigolds to avoid overcrowding.
Water both crops when the soil feels dry (or as needed depending on weather conditions) and never allow the soil to be soggy otherwise, your plants will develop rots.
Borage is an annual flowering herb with purple flowers. It is a great choice for both indoor and outdoor herb garden additions especially when you want a more colorful yet edible garden.
This is not the only reason you should grow borage together with your basil. Having this herb next to basil plants is beneficial in that it attracts pollinators to the garden and repels earthworms.
Plus, borage can extract essential minerals from deep in the soil and bring them closer to the surface for the basil’s roots to absorb them.
Pro Tip: Start borage from seeds as it grows relatively fast as compared to basil.
This is another easy-to-match companion for basils and several other herbs. It is a perennial herb that’s best known for its ability to attract beneficial insects and repel harmful pests.
Similar to basil, oregano is a fairly low-maintenance herb that grows well under partial to full sun and needs watering once the soil dries up.
To start oregano from cuttings to be planted with basils, cut the stem above the node and place it in water. Leave it until the roots emerge (this takes a few weeks). Then, place it in the soil alongside your basils and let it grow.
Oregano can tolerate some over/under watering so, water it just like basil and allow the soil to dry between watering.
Marjoram is a perennial herb similar to oregano both in flavor and its use in various dishes. It is a resistant herb that grows easily with basil’s light (6 to 8 hours of sunlight) and water requirements.
This herb is a good companion for basil and many other herbs and plants. Marjoram is excellent at attracting useful insects that feed on harmful pests such as aphids which are a big problem in basil production.
You can easily find potted marjoram plants in stores and transplant them next to your basil in well-draining potting soil. This is the easiest way of starting a marjoram plant next to your basil.
Asparagus is a perennial flowering plant whose young shoots are used as a spring vegetable. This plant grows well with basil and each of them enjoys some benefits from the other.
A good example;
When growing basil along with asparagus, the basil enhances the growth of asparagus as well as deters asparagus beetle while attracting good insects. On the other side, the asparagus protects the basil from aphid damage by attracting ladybugs that feed on the aphids and other pests.
This is another perfect match for your basils. Since peppers love humidity, the basils work on trapping moisture and heat from the atmosphere leading to enhanced growth in peppers.
Both basil and pepper are the best pest repellent thus work together to deter some common garden pests such as flies, mosquitoes and, thrips. Plus, growing basils next to peppers boost their flavor as the pepper leaves provide a bit of canopy for the basil thereby protecting it from harsh weather conditions.
In an aesthetic view, these two plants are good companions because the dark purple/green leaves of basil form an eye-catching backdrop for the colorful peppers.
Eggplants are susceptible to insects attack especially mealybugs, garden moths, and aphids. But when grown together with basils, they are protected from insect-pest invasion since the pungent scent from basil repels these insects.
The performance and health of eggplants are therefore enhanced resulting in higher yields.
Bonus: Root Vegetables
The green leafy tops of most root vegetables are particularly prone to soil boring pests. This is why growing basils with root vegetables like beets, carrots, radishes, and parsnips are beneficial in that the fragrance from basil helps deter pests from the surrounding area.
While many say that companion planting with basil isn’t necessarily, I highly recommend you plant it alongside one. This can improve your harvest substantially. It could also deter pests and other insects that harm the yield of the basil crop.
Even so, you need to understand the growing conditions of each and go for those with common needs as basils. This will help you avoid cases such as over/under watering, little or excess fertilization, and many other things that might affect either of the plants.
For example; Cumbers have high water content, and they usually take on the flavor of the plant next to them. Also, fragrance from basils might affect the taste and yield of cucumbers which makes cucumbers and basils NOT good companions.
Another Not a good companion to basil is fennel. Although fennel is good at attracting beneficial insects to the garden, it’s not a good choice for growing with basil or other plants. The reason being, this plant acts as a depressant and can stunt or even kill its companion plant.
With the information I’ve provided, I believe that you now have full knowledge of companion planting, its advantages, as well as what crops are good companions.
It’s now your chance to enjoy a healthy and successful garden through companion planting!