One of the first herbs I plant in any garden is thyme – this versatile herb is easy to grow and has many benefits. I’d never be without it! But what are the best companion plants for thyme? And how does thyme get along with other plants?
It gets along surprisingly well. And – thyme also aids other beneficial garden crops, vegetables, fruits, and herbs. So – let’s look at some of the best companion thyme companions perfect for whether you grow it indoors on a windowsill or in your garden.
Then let’s get our hands dirty!
- Why Is Thyme a Good Companion Plant? 3 Big Reasons!
- 11 Best Companion Plants for Thyme
- Thyme Companion Plants – FAQs
Why Is Thyme a Good Companion Plant? 3 Big Reasons!
Companion planting makes much more sense when you learn why a plant might benefit others! Thyme has several properties making it a good companion for many plant species.
Consider the following!
1. Ground Cover
Thyme grows into a low, bushy mound, forming a mat of dense foliage over the ground. This low-growing nature keeps weeds at bay and retains moisture in the soil. But may swamp younger or slow-growing seedlings.
2. Pest Deterrence
Thyme has excellent pest-repellent properties and will keep whiteflies, cabbage maggots, corn earworms, cabbage loopers, and tomato hornworms at bay. Lemon thyme is good for repelling mosquitos, but it needs to get gently crushed to release the natural oils first.
3. Beneficial Pollinators and Predators
Not not only does thyme deter the nuisance bugs, but it also draws in the good ones! Thyme produces lovely flowers that honeybees and other friendly pollinators cannot resist.
The nectar of thyme flowers will also attract lacewings, ladybugs, parasitic wasps, and hoverflies. And the larvae of these insects will munch up troublesome pests such as aphids, tomato hornworms, and squash vine borers.
Beneficial predators for the win!
11 Best Companion Plants for Thyme
We grow thyme yearly and enjoy a breathtaking harvest for our entire family.
We also have experience growing thyme with the following companion plants. These are our favorite crops for growing with thyme in raised garden beds, containers, terracotta pots, or alongside your front yard walkway.
Rosemary and thyme both enjoy the same growing conditions – they grow in abundance in the wild on dry, arid hillsides in the Mediterranean. They grow best in that dry, sunny spot in your yard where nothing else thrives.
Rosemary and thyme are good companion plants because they thrive in the same conditions, and planting them together is not detrimental to either plant. However, there is no beneficial symbiotic link between the two plants. They merely happen to like living in the same place!
At first, basil and thyme may not seem like apparent companion plants. Thyme likes hot, dry soil conditions, while basil likes to get planted in a damp, shady patch. Plant basil next to thyme in full sun, then watch it bolt within a few weeks.
However, the ground cover offered by thyme provides just the conditions basil needs to thrive! This relationship will only work if you have an established thyme plant in a shadier spot. Plant basil seedlings around the margin of the thyme, and they will reap the benefits of the soft, damp soil under the mounds of thyme leaves.
Thyme is a surprisingly good choice to plant with lavender. It will suppress weeds under the taller lavender plants while still receiving enough light to thrive. Both plants enjoy growing in full sun, making them a great addition to a drought-tolerant garden.
Common pests of bell pepper plants include aphids, thrips, loopers, caterpillars, and whitefly. A good solution is to plant thyme at the edge of your pepper growing plot to draw in beneficial insects such as lacewings and ladybugs.
Planting strawberry plants and thyme together has been practiced by farmers for centuries. Thyme helps repel whitefly, which can destroy a strawberry crop (nearly) overnight. It also attracts pollinating insects to boost your strawberry harvest.
6. Cabbages & Other Brassicas
All brassica crops, including cabbage, calabrese, and Brussels sprouts, can be decimated by harmful pests such as cabbageworm, cabbage looper, and the larvae of cabbage moths. The flowers of thyme plants will attract ladybugs and parasitic wasps, both of which act as natural pest control against these problematic garden invaders.
Cabbage worms, moths, and aphids are three of the worst pests when growing brassicas because they can entirely consume the crop’s leaves. Thyme repels many of these pests and attracts beneficial pollinators and predatory insects like ladybugs that can eat as many as 50 aphids daily.
The highly scented flowers of thyme are particularly good at attracting hoverflies, lacewings, and ladybugs. The larvae of these insects are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to pest control – a single ladybug larva can eat up to 200 aphids in a single day!
Ladybugs are an insanely-valuable boon to your potato crop, helping to ensure you have a decent crop of healthy potatoes come harvest time. Many gardeners believe that growing thyme near potatoes improves the crop flavor, but we must take their word for it, as the enhanced flavor is difficult to prove with certainty! (But the thought of thyme-flavored potatoes is pleasant enough. We like the idea.)
Planting thyme under blueberries will help to keep the soil moist and suppress weed growth. Bees attracted to the fragrance of thyme flowers will also help to pollinate your blueberry bushes, resulting in a superior crop.
If you’ve lost your tomato crop to tomato hornworms in the past, then thyme may be the solution! Tomato hornworms are moth caterpillars, and these hungry creatures can wreak havoc upon your carefully nurtured tomato plants in no time whatsoever.
The foliage of thyme contains a substance called thymol, which is repellent to tomato hornworm caterpillars. Thyme also attracts insects that reduce tomato hornworm numbers, including ladybugs, lacewings, and parasitic wasps.
(If you’ve never investigated the role parasitic wasps fill in your garden, I suggest you do so! It is a war zone out there. And wasps are on the gardener’s side!)
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Shallots can be surprisingly frustrating to grow, as they seem to lack the resilience of other onion species! They are ludicrously sensitive to attack by onion thrips, which destroy the foliage and reduce the yield of shallots come harvest time.
Luckily, one insect loves onion thrips – lacewings! Thyme will attract lacewings to your yard in their droves, and they will quickly work on keeping your shallots predator-free.
Eggplants are notoriously tricky customers – they need bee vibrations for successful pollination, and without this, you won’t get a crop! Interspersing eggplants with thyme will ensure plenty of bees, wasps, and hoverflies visit your garden, boosting the pollination rate of your eggplants.
The foliage of thyme will also deter moths from your garden, reducing the population of moth caterpillars which can lay waste to your carefully nurtured eggplant patch.
Thyme Companion Plants – FAQs
We spend nearly our entire spring and summer gardening! We do not only grow thyme and other herbs. We also grow veggies, fruits, nuts, and enough forage for an entire goat army!
We amassed the following thyme companion questions and answers to make your gardening quest easier.
We hope they help you!
The most obvious place to plant thyme is in your herb garden, but which herbs particularly like to grow near thyme? When planting herbs, you’ll find two distinct groups. Woody perennial herbs. And soft-leaved annual herbs.
Thyme belongs to the first group, which all thrive when grown in sandy soil in direct sun. You will often find these aromatic herbs referred to as Mediterranean herbs, as this is where most originate. Soft-leaved herbs prefer moist soil and partial shade. And they tend to be thirstier than woody perennial herbs. The easiest way to discover where to plant herbs is to separate the two groups. They have such different growing conditions they will not thrive if planted near each other.
Rosemary and thyme can be potted together, and they make an excellent evergreen exhibition in a backyard herb planter. Bush rosemary plants can overshadow low-growing thyme, so creeping rosemary varieties might work splendidly.
We always say that more herby perennial flowers bring more bees. And pollinators! And – taking a few moments to consider which plants grow well beside each other can reap tremendous benefits in your garden. Companion planting means placing plants nearby with a mutually beneficial relationship, resulting in more vigorous growth or better protection from pests. And, when it comes to thyme, the benefits of companion planting are immense!
While the best place to plant thyme is in your herb garden, are there benefits to cultivating it in your vegetable plot? Yes, absolutely! Thyme is not just an extraordinary culinary herb. It also has many other noteworthy benefits in the garden.
Planting thyme in the appropriate places in your vegetable plot will attract predatory insects that help to keep troublesome pests at bay. This strongly-scented herb also repels the insects we don’t want – an undeniable win-win situation!
Fruit trees and fruit bushes are perfect for growing alongside thyme. Blueberries, strawberries, and apples come to mind. Any fruit and vegetable that can benefit from increased pollinators is an excellent thyme companion. Squash, zucchini, and pumpkins are three other crops that grow symbiotically with thyme. (These crops love full sunlight and often suffer without bees.)
Thanks so much for brainstorming all about thyme companion plants with us!
Thyme is one of the easiest crops for kickstarting your herb garden. And it also grows alongside many fruits, veggies, native shrubs, and other herbs.
Which thyme companions seem the most worthwhile and fruitful to you?
Or maybe you know of a thyme companion plant we have not covered yet?
Either way – we love hearing from you. And we thank you again for reading.
Have a great day!