Companion Planting With Herbs

Close-up of basil
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Companion planting with herbs is an easy and natural way to provide both insect protection and disease prevention in your garden. Companion planting is reflective of how plants naturally grow in the wild. In nature, two plants that require vastly different growing conditions will not be found growing together naturally. Perhaps someone realized this and started to think about companion plants in general. It makes sense. Planning a garden so plants that grow well together, are placed next to one another, can only help your overall garden bounty. 

What Factors Help Decide Herbal Companion Plants?

There are many factors to consider when choosing herbal companions for your garden. You must pair plants that require the same nutrient needs, moisture and sun levels. It is also important to note that fragrant and blossoming herbs are great attractants for beneficial bugs and bees. These are needed to pollinate your vegetables and will help produce a larger crop, simply by planting them in the same location.

How Do Herbs Make Good Companion Plants?

Herbs make good companion plants in numerous ways. One popular belief is that the scent of the herb will ward off insects that would otherwise destroy your vegetable. Another idea is that the companion plant actually provides a breeding location and safe area for the beneficial insects that will do the protection.

Which Herbs Make Good Companion Plants?

Mints make great companion plants. They are aromatic and help repel aphids and other insects. Catnip, in the mint family, is especially useful for this. Any of the mints, including catnip, is very invasive, so planting in pots and then burying the pots, to keep them in check.

Basil also makes a great companion plant. Use it to repel milkweed insects, aphids, and mosquitoes. Basil has been shown to act as a fungicide.

If you grow asparagus, planting parsley or basil alongside your asparagus bed will help to control asparagus beetles. Parsley makes a great home for swallowtail butterflies to lay their eggs, so take this into consideration when planting. It might be a good opportunity for you to supply a home for these beautiful insects, that don't have to be harvested for your own use.

Is Companion Planting For Me?

While not foolproof, companion planting has definite benefits for any organic gardener. Using some simple planning techniques, you may make your garden less hospitable to bugs that will damage your harvest.