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

Are you frustrated with all pseudo gardening expertise from your family members who kick you out of deciding on good companion plants for basil?

Don not worry! I will help you convince your family with the proven benefits of a good partnership with basil.

Generally, basil companion plants include vegetables including potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, garlic,  herbs such as borage, chamomile, and flowers like marigold and nasturtium. But there are other plants that hate basil companionship, including cucumber, sage, fennel, and rue.

Image represents various Basil companion plants growing together
Basil companion plants are herbs, flowering plants, and vegetables.

My basil is doing great with other plants in my home garden, and through some research, I know that the love-hate relationship has something to do with the herb’s aroma!

But, if you go and plant basil with other plants randomly, there will be chaos in your garden. 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 in nature.

The one I own is a Holy Basil, which is an annual variety that only stays for a couple of months.

Image represents Holy Basil plant
The Holy Basil plant is religiously worshipped in many Hindu communities.

But, no matter! As long as it serves as a beneficial next-door neighbor to other plants, I can stay satisfied!

If you want basil’s aroma to roam your garden every year, try growing a perennial variety.

Thai Basil, Cinnamom Basil, and African Blue Basil are perennials, while Sweet Basil is an annual variety.

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

During this period, feel free to plant basil in the garden, as I have, or sow the seeds in the ground, but assure to give it good neighbors.

In fact, the mutualistic pairing of basil with many plants bestows significant benefits to its companions.

  • Basil’s aroma suppresses pest infestation by masking the scent of the pest’s host.
  • The purplish white flowers of basil 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 to enhance the taste of fruits and veggies that it is paired with.

Most of the beneficial effect of basil comes from its green-colored leaves. However, leaves of many 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.

But, trust me, there are some Basil and ornamental plant pairings that work really well.  

Vegetable Pairings with Basil

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

Tomatoes

If the basil and tomatoes can go together in pizza, why not in the garden as well?

In fact, this classic pairing is beneficial for both plants.

Not only the taste but the yield of tomatoes also increases if it is kept close to the basil.

Image represents Basil and tomato planting side by side
Basil companion plant includes tomato and helps to improve its taste.

Additionally, hornworms, aphids, and whiteflies seasonally munch on tomatoes.

So, planting tomatoes close to the basil helps to deter these annoying pests.

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.

Plus, both tomatoes and basil love to bask under the sun and grow in well-draining soil.

To grow basil and tomato together, sow four to five seeds about a foot away from the base of the tomato plant.

Potatoes

Potatoes and basil may not sound pleasing together while speaking but are great for planting side-by-side.

Shade from potato plants can protect basil from the extreme sun. 

In exchange, the basil repels the pests that harm potatoes.

Moreover, the basil attracts bees and butterflies which helps in the pollination of its companion.

Besides, both plants grow in well-draining soil that is slightly acidic in nature.

Don’t sweat about light requirements for planting basil and potatoes together as they both thrive in full sun.

All you have to be aware of is spacing. Keep at least a foot apart between the two plants, and you are good to go!

Garlic

Garlic and basil can be lifelong garden partners if grown with enough space.

Both plants benefit each other and deter pests due to the extreme pungent properties of their leaves.

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.

But, avoid overcrowding and maintain gaps between the plants.

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

So, it is best to maintain at least a gap of 12 inches between the plants.

Asparagus

Juicy shoot tips of asparagus are delicacies in soups and other meals, but beetles also adore their taste.

However, planting basil adjacent to asparagus helps to deter these troublesome pests.

Moreover, the combination of asparagus and basil in the garden aids in attracting ladybirds which are beneficial pollinators.

Image represents asparagus beetles feeding on the shoot tips of asparagus plant
Asparagus shoot tips are appealing to asparagus beetles as well.

Meanwhile, ladybirds lend a helping hand to both plants by gobbling aphids.

Furthermore, asparagus and basil fancy the sunny spot, well-draining with slightly acidic soil.

Hence, they are great for planting together in garden beds.

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. 

So, it is better to plant basil at the same distance from asparagus.

Cilantro

Cilantro and basil share common ground as they both have pungent leaves and also 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.

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

Image represents clusters of cilantro flower
Cilantro flowers are great for attracting pollinators and repelling pests.

Cilantro flower attracts pollinators that can be favorable for basil as well as to other neighboring plants.

Feel free to learn more about the cilantro flower and its wonderful pollinator-drawing features.

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

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.

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

You can repel pests like aphids, mosquitoes, mites, and thrips if they are planted as pairs.

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 serve 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 really well in your garden.

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

Herb Pairings with Basil

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

Borage

Most people know borage as 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 to take out minerals from the deep parts of the soil and bring them closer to the soil’s surface.

Basil has smaller roots, so this is beneficial for them as they can easily get the nutrients.

Besides, the flowers of borage are the favorite of pollinators.

Image represents bee sucking nectar from borage flower
Star-shaped flowers of borage are loved by bees.

This can also aid in the pollination of the basil plant alongside repelling most of their pests.

Additionally, borage and basil have flexible acidic pH ranges and soil preferences and like to grow under full sun.

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

Chamomile, Chives, and Oregano

Basil acts as an herbal companion for other herb species such as chamomile, chives as well as oregano.

Not only do they pair lavishly with basil on dinner plates, but they are also great in your garden for repelling pests.

Growing these herbs next to basil improves its essential oil contents, amplifying its culinary use.

Besides, basil attracts pollinators and gives its neighboring herbs a pollination boost.

And all these plants grow under full sun, with well-draining soil and similar acidic pH values.

Ensure to plant basil a foot away from these herbs and avoid overcrowding them in the same container.

Flowering Plant Pairings with Basil

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

The list has already got you covered!

Marigold

Flowers of marigold don’t only serve as decoration but also have a tendency to repel pests.

If planted alongside basil, the aromatic shield is doubled, which helps to repel the pests that annoy both plants.

Not only this, but the colorful flowers of marigold attract pollinators that aid in the pollination of both basil and marigold.

The pollinator attracting property of marigold is effective even late into the season when the flowers of basil have already spent.

Image represents Basil and marigold growing together
Basil alongside marigolds can attract additional pollinators in the garden.

To plant these two, you need to serve a gap of 1.5 to 2 feet between plants and then plant basil at first, followed by marigold.

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

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

Nasturtium

Don’t think that basil and nasturtium go well together in your salad only!

Of course, you can leverage culinary benefits by planting both plants, but they are also beneficial companions for your garden as well.

Flowers and leaves of nasturtium are peppery in flavor. This is essential because the taste imparts the power to attract pests.

You heard it right! Nasturtium is a trap crop, meaning it attracts pests like aphids from nearby crops.

Image represents Basil and nasturtium plants growing together
Nasturtium acts as a trap crop to attract pests from other plants.

In this sense, nasturtium is a sacrificial plant that can attract pests that are harmful to basil if they are planted together.

Besides, the bright and showy flowers of nasturtium are fruitful for attracting pollinators to your garden.

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

However, ensure to 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 of the negative impacts include resource competition, different watering, sunlight, and pH demands, and pest-attracting or repelling properties.

So, let’s learn about some of the plants that you should avoid planting alongside basil.

Cucumbers

Cucumbers take on the taste of their neighboring plant.

So, if you don’t want your cucumber fruits to taste like basil, avoid planting them together.

Besides, both plants are highly aggressive while taking up nutrients and water from the soil.

If they are planted together, both plants can look like they lack nutrients or water.

Image represents the growth habit of cucumbers
Cucumber is a bad basil companion plant as it can overshadow the growth of basil.

Additionally, the creeping habit of cucumber can easily block out basil and won’t allow it to grow properly.

Hence, it is better to avoid planting basil alongside cucumber.

Fennel

Fennels are best companions to attract a variety of bugs that can act as pollinators for other plants.

But other than that, fennel is a threat in your garden as it is known to stunt the growth of its many neighbors.

Besides, fennels can also attract some unwanted pests that can harm the plants like basil.

Furthermore, the roots of the fennel secret a substance that can make their way to its companion plant.

This substance is a growth inhibitor that can hold back the growth of its neighbor, killing them eventually.

Additionally, fennels are self-seeding plants that can produce a large number of seeds and spread them in the soil.

These seeds germinate freely and grow more fennel plants that can harm basil.

Rue

Like fennel, rue is a growth suppressor for its companions.

If you plant basil alongside rue, you are slowly pushing basil to its impending doom.

Rue can make basil susceptible to many pests and diseases by making it weaker.

Additionally, rue can impact the flavor of basil’s leaves, making them bitter.

Moreover, rue and basil have opposite soil demands, which makes them unsuitable for planting together.

Sage

Sage and basil cannot grow side-by-side because they can prevent each other’s growth.

Roots of sage release some type of growth-inhibiting substances that can stunt basil.

Sage also shows more aggressive growth than basil and easily can cover your garden bed floor.

Image represents sage plant overcrowding
Sage can easily overcrowd basil if they are planted side-by-side.

So, sage can rob all the nutrients from the soil and make basil unable to grow.

If you want to plant them, use different pots and avoid growing them in the same garden bed.

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.
Image represents Basil planted with its companion plants
Maintain a certain distance while planting basil with its garden companions.
  • Some of the 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.  

Conclusion

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

By companion planting with basil, you can leverage many benefits from both basil and its growing partners.

However, ensure to keep a certain distance while planting basil with fellow companions.

Likewise, you can improve the friendship between basil and other plants by growing crops that have similar needs.

Akin to basil, the mint also form neighborhood, so you may also need to learn about growing mint companion plants to leverage the herbal gardening. 

Good Luck!

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