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The Best Companion Herbs to Grow with Basil

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Basil is one of the most popular herbs to grow in an herb or vegetable garden, and while this full sun loving plant is easy to grow, it does make a great companion plant for other plants and herbs. 

Let’s explore the art of companion planting and how it can benefit your basil plants in particular. From enhancing growth to improving flavor profiles, discover the best herbs to grow alongside basil for a thriving herb garden. This is true no matter what variety of basil you’re growing: Sweet basil, Thai Basil, Lime Basil, and more!

Explore the world of companion planting with me and unlock the secrets to a successful herb garden that will leave you with a bountiful harvest!

What is Companion Planting?

Companion planting is a gardening method where different plant species are grown near each other to benefit one another. This practice can enhance nutrient uptake, deter pests, and promote overall plant health by utilizing the natural relationships between certain plants. 

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Examples include planting marigolds alongside tomatoes to repel pests or growing beans near corn to improve soil nitrogen levels. There are multiple books devoted to this gardening technique, including Carrots Love Tomatoes by Louise Riotte and Plant Partners by Jessica Walliser. Either of these books will help you grow in your knowledge of what are the best companion plants, no matter what you’re growing. 

The Benefits of Companion Planting

Companion planting offers a range of benefits for the garden. 

  • First off, it can help naturally repel pests and harmful insects, reducing the need for chemical pesticides.
  • Some combinations can attract more beneficial insects to your garden
  • Some plant combinations can improve soil health by fixing nitrogen or suppressing weeds. 
  • Certain pairings also enhance pollination, leading to better fruit set and yield. 

Overall, having good companion plants during a growing season fosters a more biodiverse and resilient ecosystem in the garden, promoting healthier plants and higher productivity.

Companion Herbs for Basil

Who wouldn’t want to grow more aromatic herbs in the garden? There are many mutual benefits to planting other annual herb and Perennial herb plants near your basil, but here are the best basil companion plants try grow:

  1. Oregano: This perennial herb is a great companion for basil as it repels pests like aphids and attracts beneficial insects like bees and butterflies.
  2. Thyme: Thyme not only deters pests but also helps improve soil drainage, which can greatly benefit basil plants.
  3. Rosemary: Rosemary is known to repel pests such as mosquitoes and cabbage moths, making it a useful companion for basil.
  4. Chives: Chives can deter pests like aphids and Japanese beetles, and their strong scent may help mask the aroma of basil, reducing pest attraction.
  5. Parsley: Parsley can attract beneficial insects like hoverflies and predatory wasps, which can help control pests in the garden.
  6. Lemon Balm: While this lovely herb works well with many others, it’s light scent and easy growth habits make it best suited for an herb container garden. 

These companion herbs can create a mutually beneficial environment for basil, promoting healthier growth and acting as a natural pest control. 

Other Companion Plants for Basil

While basil grows well with other herbs, there are also vegetables that make excellent companion plants for basil. 

Basil has several companion plants that are believed to benefit its growth and repel pests. Some common companion vegetables for basil include:

  1. Tomatoes: Basil is believed to enhance the flavor of tomatoes and can help repel pests like mosquitoes and flies that may harm tomato plants.
  2. Peppers: Basil is thought to improve the flavor of peppers and can deter pests such as aphids and spider mites.
  3. Eggplant: Basil is often planted near eggplant as it may improve the eggplant’s flavor and repel pests like flea beetles.
  4. Beans: Basil can attract beneficial insects like bees and butterflies, which can help with bean pollination.
  5. Lettuce: Basil may help repel pests that commonly affect lettuce, such as aphids and whiteflies.
  6. Asparagus: Planting basil near asparagus can help repel asparagus beetle.

These are just a few examples, and there may be other companion plants that work well with basil depending on your specific garden conditions and preferences.

Tips for Planting Basil

If it’s your first time planting basil here are some general tips for success growing it this year! These can also work for many different plants since many have similar growing requirements.

  • Always plant herbs in well-drained soil. Good drainage is important with most plants. 
  • Make sure soil is amended with compost
  • Avoid overly moist soil by not overwatering
  • Basil loves full sun in a sunny location, but it can also tolerate partial shade as long as it gets a minimum of 4 hours of sun. 
  • Prune young plants as soon as they have 8 leaves as a great way to grow bushy plants.

As with all plants, it’s always a good idea to check your local growing recommendations. Your local cooperative extension office is a wonderful resource for hyper local gardening information. 

Harvesting and Using Your Bountiful Herb Garden

As your herb garden begins to flourish, it’s important to understand how to harvest and use your bountiful harvest. For basil in particular, it thrives when lightly pruned and well maintained. Here are some helpful articles for you to get the best results from your basil plants:

Once you’ve harvested your herbs, there are countless ways to enjoy them in your cooking. Basil pairs well with a variety of dishes, from pasta and salads to cocktails and desserts. You can use fresh basil leaves to create pesto, add flavor to soups and sauces, or infuse oils and vinegars for a delicious twist. Get creative in the kitchen and experiment with different recipes to make the most of your herb garden’s bounty.

More Herb Gardening Ideas

If you’re looking for ideas for herb gardens, check out these DIY herb gardens. Ranging from DIY Mason Jar Herb Garden to a Dollar Tree Herb Planter, There’s something for every budget!

  • DIY Mason Jar Herb Garden: Use a quart mason jar and create this lovely planter that’s perfect for basil.
  • Dollar Store Herb Planter: This planter comes together in an afternoon, and holds at least 3 herb plants. It’s a lovely table decoration for the summer.
  • 3 Jar Herb Planter: Use a small crate and mason jars to create this decorative herb planter.