Before planning out your garden, it’s a good idea to think about the pests and diseases that impact what you’re growing.
I love basil, so I’ll be planting basil all over the place in my veggie garden. It seems to do well with most things, but which will it actually help?
Are you supposed to be planting basil all in one area? Do you interweave them with plants they attract beneficial insects for? It can be quite confusing, so let’s dig in a bit.
The Most Common Basil Companion Plants
Some of the most common companion plants for basil are garlic, tomatoes, and parsley. But there are quite a few others that don’t get as much attention from gardeners.
One of the big things to consider is which herbs and vegetables to plant next to each other.
I had to do quite a bit of research to see which herbs and plants grow well together and which don’t. This page is a compilation of me trying to figure out what will grow well near basil plants.
Common Problems Pests That Impact the Basil Plant
Companion planting is a two-way street. Plant A helps Plant B, and/or Plant B helps Plant A.
Because of that, I like to start with the problems that basil has and that will help us understand which herbs or plants will help basil.
Basil plants tends to attract aphids, Japanese beetles, slugs and snails.
Aphids, the glitter of the garden – they’re everywhere, they multiply by the minute, and they’re impossible to get rid of. I’m so not ready to meet these suckers this year. So I’ll be keeping this list handy as I plan out my garden. Companion planting can help with these problems.
Plants that repel Aphids
2. Japanese Beetles
There are a few plants and herbs that Japanese beetles stay away from in the garden. The scent of these are strong and don’t taste good to the beetles.
These are the plants that repel Japanese beetles:
- White Chrysanthemum
- White Geraniums
3. Slugs & Snails
Plants that repel slugs and snails:
- Black Eyed Susan
There aren’t as many of the plants that repel slugs, so if you’re looking for a good repellant, check out Diatomaceous Earth. It seems to keep all kinds of bugs out of the garden, and it’s an organic method for pest control as well.
If you didn’t catch it by scanning those above, Marigolds are on all 3 of those lists. I think I need to buy more Marigolds seeds, because they seem to be really carry the weight in protecting a lot of plants.
While basil can be started by your kitchen window or grow room, eventually those seedlings will be transplanted outdoors. Knowing where to put your basil plants in the garden bed will help.
17 Of the Best Basil Companion Plants
Basil helps repel asparagus beetles, hornworms, mosquitoes, flies, and thrips. So any plant hindered by those pests will do quite well as basil companions.
Basil is one of the herbs that actually prefers to grow near vegetables, versus other herbs. Keep that in mind when you’re planning your garden.
But in general, you can put basil near almost anything in that garden – it’s the herb that plays well with others.
Here are the top basil companions for your garden:
Anise helps by increasing the essential oils in herbs like basil, making the flavor much more prominent. Anise is also a host for predatory wasps, which can help keep aphid populations at a minimum.
Basil helps repel the Asparagus beetle, so planting it near Asparagus will help that plant out quite a bit. Parsley has the same effect, so interplanting basil and parsley around your asparagus plants can have an even more profound impact.
Beets are a fine basil companion, but beets don’t do well near chives or garlic – two big companion plants for basil.
I like planting a lot of borage as it’s beneficial for many herbs and vegetables in the garden. It attracts a wide variety of pollinators as well, improving the odds of more plants being pollinated in the garden.
Basil, onions, nasturtiums, and thyme offer the best resistance toward cabbage worms and cabbage loopers, according to this Iowa State study. Since broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower are heavily impacted by these pests, planting basil nearby does seem to help.
Chamomile helps basil and increases the essential oils in the herb. It’s also known to improve the growth of your basil plants – win, win!
Basil is considered a great companion plant for chives as they prefer growing in the same types of soil, and often pair well together in a culinary sense. In addition, the scent of chives can help repel aphids and other pests from your basil plants.
Growing basil near cilantro is a good pairing as it does well next to herbs with similar sunlight and watering requirements (i.e. Basil).
Basil, garlic and tomatoes seem to do well together as basil and garlic can help repel pests that affect tomato plants. Garlic can also keep away certain critters like squirrels and rabbits.
Grapes have quite a few pests that like to come eat the fruit. Basil helps grapes out quite a bit with its insect repelling qualities.
Basil and marigolds work well together and repel each others more devastating pests. Marigolds are a great basil companion.
Basil helps repel some of the pests attracted to oregano. Oregano is also said to increase the flavor strength of the basil.
Can parsley and basil be planted together? Yes, basil grows well with parsley as they both require similar amounts of sunlight and water. Basil and parsley have a bigger impact when planted together as companions for other plants, like asparagus and brassicas.
Similar to the basil and tomato companion planting amazingness, basil is said to help improve the flavor of your peppers as well.
Petunias are a great companion plant for your herb garden because they repel all kinds of pests like asparagus beetles, leafhoppers, aphids, and tomato worms. This makes them a great companion for basil plants.
Basil is said to help enhance the flavor of potatoes as well. They also help attract beneficial insects to your garden like bees and butterflies.
Basil is also a great companion for radishes, carrots, and other root vegetables like beets, parsnips, and turnips. The overwhelming scent of basil helps deter pests from coming around your root veggies. Keeping the carrot fly away is important, so planting these together can help.
Basil and tomato plants growing together is like a happy marriage. They complement the other’s best qualities and love being companions.
Plant basil near tomatoes to help repel garden pests and worms that are attracted to tomato plants.
Basil can actually make your tomatoes taste better and vice versa. However, because tomatoes grow very tall, they can end up shading out the basil too much and causing less plant growth.
Because of this, I wouldn’t recommend planting your only basil plants between tomatoes because your yields will suffer a bit.
What NOT to Plant With Basil
While basil plays well with most plants in your vegetable and herb garden, it is not a good companion plant for these.
Planting rue and basil near each other is said to limit their growth potential. So avoid this pair if you can.
Thyme prefers drier soil and doesn’t mind sandier soil conditions, whereas basil needs more moist, nutrient-dense soil.
Similar to thyme, most varieties of sage prefer sandier soil and is more tolerant of a dry environment. Basil is quite the opposite, which is why they wouldn’t do well near each other.
Cucumbers are okay to plant near basil, just keep in mind that they can impact the taste of your cucumbers since they are mostly water. In addition, basil and cucumbers need a lot of water and nutrients, so planting them near each other can cause them to compete for sustenance.
What is Companion Planting?
Companion planting is all about figuring out which plants and herbs to put near each other in the garden (and which to keep far apart) based on the insects they attract, as well as the soil conditions they promote.
A plant that generally grows well in sandy soil won’t do as well next to a plant that needs a ton of nutrients and good potting soil. Some plants in the garden like extra sunlight, while some do well with some shade.
What Are the Benefits of Companion Planting?
There are a number of benefits to companion planting, but here are just a few.
Organic Pest Control
Companion planting is a good way to control garden pests in an organic way. By planting an herb that repels asparagus beetles, a common hindrance to asparagus plants, you’re able to better control that beetle population and have a more bountiful asparagus harvest.
Attracting Beneficial Insects
Basil helps attract beneficial insects and pollinators, such as bees and butterflies to your garden. These can help companion plants grow larger and stronger.
This can be both a pro and a con for companion planting. While basil can help tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes taste better, it can make cucumbers taste pretty…basil-y.
So you’ll want to keep this in mind when deciding what to plant nearby and what grows well together in your vegetable and herb garden.
All in all, growing basil is not super tough and is great for beginners. It pairs well with most things in a veggie garden, so the time spent stressing over what is a good basil companion and what isn’t, your time could be better spent elsewhere in my opinion.
Go ahead and stick your basil plant in the garden and enjoy your harvest!