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Basil Companion Plants (What to Grow & What not to)

Before randomly dropping a Basil plant into your garden, obsessing over its antioxidant, and anti-bacterial properties, you must know about its fit to the surrounding plant, i.e., Basil companion plants.

Or else there will be chaos in the garden.

Generally, Basil companion plants include vegetables, including potatoes, tomatoes, Peppers, garlic, herbs such as Borage, chamomile, and flowers like marigolds and nasturtium. But other plants, including cucumber, sage, fennel, and rue, hate Basil companionship.

The love-hate relationship has something to do with the herb’s aroma. So, first, let’s learn about the plants that can be good and bad partners with Basil.

What is Basil a Good Companion Plant for?

Basil is a sweet-scented aromatic herb that can be annual or perennial. Thai Basil, Cinnamon Basil, and African Blue Basil are perennials, while Sweet Basil is an annual variety having tons of goodness.

The peculiar scent of Basil, due to its volatile compound eugenol, suppresses pest infestation by masking the scent of the pest’s host.

Further, the mutualistic pairing of Basil with many plants bestows significant benefits to its companions.

  • The purplish white Basil flowers draw bees and other important pollinators in summer.
  • The height of Basil can provide some shade to its paired partner.
  • In some cases, Basil improves the essential oil content of its companion.
  • Basil helps enhance the taste of fruits and veggies it is paired with.
Image represents Holy Basil plant
The Holy Basil plant is religiously worshipped in many Hindu communities.

To grow them, ensure that the soil temperature is warm, so the right time is two weeks after the last frost date.

Most of the beneficial effect of Basil comes from its green-colored leaves. However, leaves of wide varieties feature subtle hues of red or purple.

Best Basil Companion Plants

Basil companion plants include veggies and other herbs. In most cases, plants that are grown for ornamental value detest Basil.

1. Basil Companion Vegetables

Vegetables enjoy the partnership of Basil for its pest-resistant scents, which surely can save the harvest.

a. Tomatoes

The classic pairing of Basil and Tomatoes goes well in pizzas and on the ground sharing equal benefits.

Basil defuses a strong aroma that helps deter seasonal pests like hornworms, aphids, and whiteflies munching on Tomatoes.

The deduction in pests helps increase Tomato yield. But for that, you need to plant four to five Basil seeds about a foot from the base of the Tomato plant.

Moreover, the fruiting season of Tomatoes is the same as the flowering period of Basil.

Owing to this, Basil may help to attract pollinators and positively influence the fruiting of Tomatoes.

Tomatoes and Basil love to bask under the sun and grow in well-draining soil.

b. Potatoes

Both Potatoes and Basil have similar environmental requirements, i.e., full sunlight and slightly acidic, well-draining soil. 

Apart from Basil, Potatoes go well with many other plants.

This companionship helps Basil escape the harsh sunlight under the shade of a Potato plant yet receive enough light to keep away the browning of the stem. In exchange, the Basil repels the pests that harm Potatoes.

All you need to do is keep both plants a foot away for their better growth. 

c. Garlic

Garlic and Basil can be lifelong garden partners if grown in at least a gap of 12 inches between the plants.

Thrips are among the pests that can irritate your Garlic often, but the aromatic leaves of the Basil can be an organic deterrent for them.

Besides, growers often say that taste of both plants is amplified if they are grown close together.

Although they can grow well in similar soil and light conditions, overcrowding may hamper their growth.

d. Asparagus

The combination of Asparagus and Basil in the garden aids in attracting ladybirds which are beneficial pollinators.

Also, ladybirds lend a helping hand to both plants by gobbling aphids and beetles before they devour the juicy young shoot tips of Asparagus.
Image represents asparagus beetles feeding on the shoot tips of asparagus plant
Asparagus shoot tips are appealing to Asparagus beetles as well.

Further, both plants fancy the sunny spot, well-draining with slightly acidic soil.

And all you need to maintain is the space while planting them, as Asparagus plants need at least 6 to 14 inches of gaps among the neighbors. 

e. Cilantro

Cilantro and Basil share common ground as they both have pungent leaves and similar watering and light requirements.

Hence, planting them together in your garden shall suit them well. The height of the Basil shades Cilantro from extreme heat during summer.

Further, the leaves of both plants keep pests like aphids and beetles at bay.

Cilantro flower attracts pollinators that can favor Basil and other neighboring plants.

Since Cilantro generally grows in clusters, you must keep a minimum 8 inches distance between Basil and Cilantro plants.

f. Peppers

The peppery taste of chilies may be too hot to handle for your tongue, but this torridity is also unbearable for a whole lot of pests like aphids, mosquitoes, mites, and thrips.

If planted with Basil in tandem, this repelling property is amplified to a whole new level.

Moreover, this pairing can foster the taste of Basil leaves as well.

Image represents chili peppers planted in pot
The pungent aroma of leaves and fruits of chilies serves as a pest deterrent.

To grow this plant pair, you need to provide them with seasonal watering, well-draining, and slightly acidic soil while planting them together.

Both prefer a sunny area to grow so that they can work well in your garden.

Ensure to maintain a distance of 1 to 1.5 feet between the plants so they don’t interfere with each other’s growth.

2. Basil Companion Herbs

One thing is sure, herbs can pocket an increased quantity of essential oil while growing with Basil. 

a. Borage

Most people consider Borage an edible herb with showy star-shaped, purplish-blue flowers.

But, experienced gardeners plant them besides other plants like Basil because of their mineral extracting properties.

Borage has long tap roots that help remove minerals from the soil’s deep parts and bring them closer to its surface, making the nutrients available for shallow-rooted Basil.

Besides, the flowers of Borage are the favorite of pollinators aiding in pollination.

Image represents bee sucking nectar from borage flower
Bees love star-shaped flowers of Borage and simultaneously help pollination.

You need to plant Borage at a distance of 1.5 to 2 feet and grow Basil a foot away from each Borage planting.

b. Chamomile, Chives, and Oregano

Herbs like chamomile, chives, and oregano pair lavishly with Basil on a dinner plate and in the garden. 

Most of these herbs grow well under full sun, with well-draining soil and similar acidic pH values to that of Basil.

Growing these herbs next to Basil improves essential oil contents, amplifying its culinary use.
The only concern here is to prevent overcrowding by maintaining at least a foot distance between them for proper nutrients, space, and growth of all. 

3. Basil Companion Flowers

No doubt that blooming Angiosperms will relish the pollinators brought along the Basil. But what can you plant and grow with Basil in this scene?

The list has already got you covered!

a. Marigold

Just like the mint is a suitable companion to the Marigold, the flowers of the Marigold have more than just a decorative purpose when paired with Basil; a tendency to repel pests. 

The aromatic shield is doubled, which helps to repel the pests that annoy both plants.

The pollinator-attracting property of Marigolds is effective even late into the season when the Basil flowers have already been spent.

You must serve a 1.5 to 2 feet gap between plants and then plant Basil, followed by Marigold.

Since both plants tolerate well-draining soil with acidic pH and full sun to grow, you can plant them together in early spring.

This shall give the pair enough time to bloom in sync in summer.

b. Nasturtium

Nasturtium is a trap crop with peppery umami to its flowers and leaves, attracting pests like aphids from nearby crops.

When Basil is your priority, Nasturtium could help you manage pests and their notorious activities.
Image represents Basil and nasturtium plants growing together
Nasturtium acts as a trap crop to attract pests from other plants.

And planting this duo is easy, as both prefer well-draining, slightly acidic soil and bloom under full sun.

However, keep a distance of 12 inches between the plants while sowing the seeds in early spring.

Worst Basil Companion Plants

Although Basil is a useful neighbor for most herbs, flowering plants, and vegetables, many plants consider it a third wheel.

Most negative impacts include resource competition, different watering, sunlight, pH demands, and pest-attracting or repelling properties.

So, here are some of the plants that you should avoid planting alongside Basil.

Unpleasant AssociateReasons
Cucumbers Creeping habit of cucumber can easily block out the basil.

Cucumbers take on the taste of their neighboring plant.

Both plants are highly aggressive in terms of nutrients and water uptake from the soil.
FennelFennel has long tap root that may inhibit he growth of basil.

Both fennels and basil attract numerous harmful pest.
RueHave opposite soil demands.

Rue can impact the flavor of basil’s leaves, making them bitter.
SageRoots of sage release some type of growth-inhibiting substances that can stunt basil.

Proven Tips for Companion Planting of Basil

Companion planting mimics the module of a two-way street, thereby sharing beneficial properties among the Basil and its companion plants. 

Take help from the tips below to improve the state of Basil to benefit companion plants.

  • Promote the growth of Basil leaves by cutting back the central stem about 3 to 4 inches about 1/4th inch above the leaf axils once the plant grows 6 to 8 inches tall.
  • Deadheading Basil flowers right after blooming helps the plant to increase the essential oil content making it more potent in repelling pests.
  • Avoid growing the Basil plant with its companion in pots. Consider an open area to grow them together.
  • Use water-soluble nitrogen feed two to four times a month to promote the growth of Basil leaves.
  • It is ideal for growing Basil in borders at the required distance around its partner to elevate the pest-deterring effects even further.
  • Some Basil companion plants might need upright support during their growth phase as they can droop and hamper Basil’s growth.

Basil loves 6 to 8 hours of direct daily sunlight, watering 1 to 2 times a week, and organic well-draining soil with pH 5.1 to 7.5. So, consider these while growing other plants around it.

From Editorial Team

Basil grows harmoniously with many vegetables, flowering plants, and other herbs.

Ensure your Basil plant is not overshadowed by the companion plants and gets proper light, temperature, and water to help them co-exist and leverage equal benefit.

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