Basil Companion Plants 2024: The Complete List

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Basil Companion Plants 2023: The Complete List

With over a decade of gardening experience, I’ve spent plenty of time getting my hands dirty and learning the ins and outs of horticulture. One of the most fascinating topics I’ve delved into is companion planting. Today, we’ll be exploring the benefits and specifics of companion planting with a particular focus on one of my favorite herbs: basil.

Companion planting, for those who may not know, is a horticultural practice that pairs specific plants together for mutual benefit. It’s a natural method of enhancing growth, discouraging pests, and boosting the overall health of your garden. And guess what? Basil, the aromatic herb adored by many worldwide, is an outstanding companion plant.

In my 13 years of gardening, I’ve found that not only does basil add a punch of flavor to my dishes, but it also creates a harmonious environment for various other plants to thrive. When thoughtfully planted, basil can enhance the growth, flavor, and health of numerous other plants, while some can, in return, provide substantial benefits to the basil plant itself.

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll be sharing the best companion plants for basil, based on my experience and thorough research. You’ll learn about herbs, flowers, vegetables, and fruits that pair well with basil and those few you should avoid planting alongside this herb.

Understanding Basil and its Plant Profile

Basil, or Ocimum basilicum, is an easy-to-grow, versatile herb that holds a coveted spot in many gardens, including mine. Over the years, I’ve discovered that the success of basil not only lies in its care but also in the neighbors it keeps.

Native to tropical regions from central Africa to Southeast Asia, basil is a tender plant, and the practices associated with growing it are remarkably straightforward. This herb prefers warm weather, well-drained soil, and a healthy amount of sunlight. Generally, basil grows to a height of 12-24 inches and sports a bushy appearance with highly aromatic, often sweet leaves.

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But, here’s the interesting part – basil brings a lot more to the table (or should I say garden) than just its culinary flair. Through my years of gardening, I’ve come to realize that basil plays a significant role in the health and productivity of other plants.

The strong aroma that basil emanates can repel certain pests, protecting not only itself but its neighboring plants as well. This is one of the many reasons why this delightful herb makes for an excellent companion in the garden.

Moreover, basil plants can help improve the flavor of certain fruits and vegetables, making them even more enjoyable to eat. There are also some beliefs in traditional gardening circles that basil can even improve the vigor of some plants.

Best Companion Plants for Basil

Basil is a friendly neighbor in the garden, getting along well with several different plants. Whether it’s improving the taste of your tomatoes or keeping unwanted pests away from your peppers, basil forms an effective partnership with various plants. Let’s explore some of these relationships:

1. Tomatoes

Tomatoes in the garden
Image: Envato Elements

This classic pairing is as effective in the garden as it is delicious in the kitchen. Tomatoes benefit from basil’s ability to repel pests such as aphids, mosquitoes, and tomato hornworms. Some gardeners also believe that basil can enhance the flavor of tomatoes.

2. Peppers

Image: Envato Elements

Similar to tomatoes, peppers can benefit from basil’s pest-repelling properties. Pests that commonly plague pepper plants are often deterred by the strong aroma of basil.

3. Oregano

Wild oregano
Image: Envato Elements

Basil and oregano can coexist peacefully in the garden. They have similar sunlight and water needs, making them easy to care for when planted together.

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4. Asparagus

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Planting basil near asparagus can help keep detrimental pests away, like asparagus beetles. Plus, these two can be harvested around the same time, making your gardening duties a bit more efficient.

5. Beans

Image: Envato Elements

Basil helps to ward off pests that can damage bean plants, such as aphids and various beetles.

Understanding why these plants are good companions helps to create a more harmonious and productive garden.

Basil Companion Plants: Herbs and Flowers

Beyond vegetables and fruits, a variety of herbs and flowers also make excellent companions for basil. The mutual benefits they provide can significantly boost your garden’s productivity and overall health.

6. Parsley

Image: Envato Elements

Parsley and basil have similar growth requirements and both can be part of a well-rounded herb garden. The aroma of basil can also help deter pests that are attracted to parsley.

7. Rosemary and Thyme

Rosemary and Thyme
Image: Envato Elements

These Mediterranean herbs thrive in similar conditions to basil. They all prefer full sun and well-draining soil, making them good partners in the garden.

8. Chamomile

Chamomile in field.
Image: Envato Elements

This beautiful flowering herb is believed to improve the flavor of neighboring herbs, including basil. Plus, chamomile flowers can attract beneficial insects to your garden.

9. Marigolds

Image: Envato Elements

Marigolds are excellent companion plants due to their ability to repel various garden pests. When planted alongside basil, they can provide an additional layer of protection against pests.

10. Petunias

Image: Envato Elements

Known to repel aphids, petunias can be beneficial when planted close to basil. Aphids are a common pest for basil, so having petunias nearby can reduce their presence.

11. Geraniums

Geranium plant planting
Image: Envato Elements

Geraniums can deter a variety of pests with their strong scent, protecting nearby basil plants.

12. Nasturtiums

Image: Envato Elements

Nasturtiums can act as a trap crop for aphids, protecting basil and other nearby plants. Plus, their vibrant flowers add a splash of color to any herb garden.

The right combination of herbs and flowers with basil can lead to a healthier and more productive garden.

Basil Companion Plants: Vegetables and Fruits

Pairing basil with certain vegetables and fruits can lead to increased yields and improved health of the plants. Let’s take a closer look at some of these beneficial partnerships:

13. Cucumbers

Cucumber plant
Image: Envato Elements

The strong scent of basil can help deter pests that are attracted to cucumber plants, such as cucumber beetles and aphids. Some gardeners also believe that basil may enhance the flavor of cucumbers.

14. Strawberries

Image: Envato Elements

Basil can help deter pests that are commonly attracted to strawberry plants. In addition, planting them together can be a space saver as strawberries are low-growing plants, while basil tends to grow vertically.

15. Squash

Flover of pumpkin
Image: Envato Elements

Squash plants can benefit from basil’s ability to repel common pests like squash bugs and aphids.

16. Eggplants

Image: Envato Elements

Similar to peppers and tomatoes, eggplants are members of the nightshade family and enjoy the pest-protecting benefits that basil offers.

Knowing which vegetables and fruits can benefit from basil’s companion planting can help you plan and maintain a healthier, more fruitful garden. But, it’s not just about knowing which plants work well with basil, it’s also important to know which ones to avoid.

Plants to Avoid Planting with Basil

While basil gets along with many plants, there are a few that aren’t the best neighbors for this aromatic herb. Being aware of these incompatible relationships can prevent potential issues in your garden:

1. Rue

Rue and basil are not compatible due to the potent oils they each produce. These oils can inhibit the growth of one another when planted too closely.

2. Sage

Sage prefers drier soil compared to basil. Planting them together may lead to either overwatering the sage or underwatering the basil.

3. Cabbage

Cabbage and other brassicas, such as broccoli and kale, are not the best companions for basil. While the exact reason is not definitively known, gardeners have observed that they tend not to thrive when planted closely together.

4. Carrots

It’s advised to avoid planting basil near carrots. While they don’t negatively affect each other’s growth, basil can stunt the growth of carrots if planted too closely due to their competing root systems.

The success of companion planting greatly depends on knowing which plants get along and which ones don’t. After considering all of these aspects, it’s now time to get our hands dirty and explore how to effectively companion plants with basil.

How to Effectively Companion Plant with Basil

Now that we know which plants make good companions for basil, let’s talk about how you can implement these relationships in your garden. Here’s a step-by-step guide to companion planting with basil:

1. Plan Your Garden Layout

Consider the needs of all your plants, not just basil. Make sure that all plants will have enough space, access to sunlight, and the correct type of soil.

2. Consider Growth Cycles

Basil grows relatively fast and enjoys warm weather. Try to pair it with plants that have a similar growth timeline, such as tomatoes and peppers.

3. Plant Companions Close, But Not Too Close

The companions should be close enough to benefit from each other but not so close that they compete for resources. As a general rule of thumb, planting basil 10–20 inches away from its companions works well.

4. Monitor Your Plants

Keep a close eye on your plants to make sure they are all healthy. If you notice any signs of distress, it might be necessary to adjust your layout.

5. Rotate Crops Each Year

Crop rotation is a good practice in any garden. It helps prevent the buildup of diseases and pests and can help keep your soil healthy.

Remember, companion planting is both an art and a science. It requires observation and sometimes even a bit of trial and error. But with careful planning and management, companion planting with basil can help create a more harmonious and productive garden.

Wrapping it up

As we’ve explored in this guide, one of the secrets to a flourishing garden lies in the relationships between plants. Companion planting is a practice as old as agriculture itself, and understanding it can make a world of difference in your garden’s productivity and health.

Basil, with its fragrant leaves and versatile uses, is more than just a culinary staple. It’s a beneficial companion to many plants, including various herbs, flowers, vegetables, and fruits. From tomatoes to marigolds, and from cucumbers to geraniums, the benefits of companion planting with basil are manifold.

But remember, not all plants are friends with basil. Sage, rue, and cabbage are a few examples of plants that are best kept separate from this aromatic herb.

When it comes to implementing companion planting with basil, careful planning, observing, and sometimes a little trial and error can go a long way. Consider the needs of all plants, monitor their health, and remember to rotate crops annually.

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