Benjamin Franklin once said there is “Much virtue in herbs, little in men,” which is why this article will focus on which herbs can be planted together, rather than how to live harmoniously with your husband!
This article will also touch on the best herbs for companion planting, look at which herbs prefer the confinement of a container and those that may jeopardize others by spreading once planted.
What Are The Benefits of Growing Herbs?
Herbs are fragrant and full of flavor. They are also as good for your garden as they are for your health.
Not every herb seems to have a survival instinct, however. For instance, in my South African garden, sage does little more than shrivel up and die, while the cilantro and thyme seem to want to take over the world.
Knowing which herbs to plant together can take a lot of the work out of growing herbs for medicinal and culinary purposes.
Strategic planting can also regulate your bug population. Some herbs, like dill, attract beneficial insects into the garden while others, like tarragon, for example, deter pests like aphids and other nasties.
What Herbs to Plant Together?
Herbs are the friend of the physician and pride of the cook, but not if your garden is full of herbs that are better off as companion plants.
The most popular and commonly used culinary herbs include:
Which Culinary Herbs Grow Well Together?
Let’s start with those and then move onto the best herbs for medicinal uses.
- Mediterranean herbs, like marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme, thrive together. They all enjoy drier soil and lots of sunlight.
- Parsley and basil grow well together as they both like moist conditions. They also get along pretty well with cilantro as it also enjoys full sun and plenty of water.
- Although dill would get along okay with these moisture-loving herbs, it’s more commonly planted among vegetables, particularly cabbages and other brassicas, as it repels pests like cabbage worms and loopers.
- Mint is a tricky herb simply because of its invasive properties. It is, therefore, better to keep your mint in isolation. I’d recommend growing it in a container where you can more easily control its spread.
What Common Medicinal Herbs Can I Plant Together?
Some of the most useful medicinal herbs are, fortunately, the easiest to grow, and we’ve already covered a few in the section on culinary herbs. Rosemary, thyme, and cilantro, for instance, have notable health benefits.
Other useful medicinal herbs include:
As we’ve already ascertained, rosemary and thyme happily grow together and, by doing so, you’ll have an immediate source of natural anti-inflammatories (rosemary) and antiseptics (thyme).Amazon product
- Calendula is an entire first-aid kit in one herb, with its antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties. It’s also one of the few herbs happy to grow with dill, so you can pop it in with your other moisture-loving herbs, where it should thrive.
- Chamomile is renowned for its sleep-inducing properties and is also great for soothing upset stomachs and relieving anxiety. It grows well with both mint and basil “and is said to improve their taste and scent.”
- I have comfrey growing everywhere and use it almost daily as it health supplement for my horses. We also make organic fertilizer from it and use it as a compress for minor wounds and burns. Comfrey loves water but, once established, is hardy and drought-resistant thanks to its deep taproot.
- Lavender grows well with other woody herbs, like rosemary and thyme. It doesn’t like a lot of moisture, and “a consistently moist environment will promote root rot.” Most commonly used to treat insomnia, anxiety, and depression, lavender also has anti-fungal and antiseptic properties.
- Lemon balm prefers partial sun and moist soil but can also thrive when planted with lavender and rosemary. It also enjoys the company of sage, fennel, and basil. Like lavender, lemon balm helps to reduce anxiety and insomnia, so it makes sense to plant the two together.
- Peppermint is a great all-rounder in terms of its health benefits. It is used to treat depression and anxiety, nausea, menstrual pains, aching muscles, and indigestion.
Popular Companion Planting Herbs and Their Benefits
Beyond their culinary and medicinal uses, herbs have great value as companion plants. Their rich aromas help to drive pests away while enticing beneficial insects.
- Comfrey, for instance, attracts slugs and snails, keeping them away from your precious lettuces and other leafy vegetables.
- Some herbs, like mint, for example, not only help to control the bio-diversity in your garden, they also make neighboring plants taste better.
- Rosemary is a life-saver if you’re trying to grow beans, cabbage, and carrots, helping to repel mosquitos, beetles, and flies while moths, whiteflies, and cabbage root flies find thyme repugnant, making it a great companion for brassicas and cabbages.
- Chamomile is also a great companion plant for a variety of vegetables, including onions, beans, cabbage, and cauliflower.
- As a “nutrient accumulating plant,” comfrey benefits almost anything it’s planted with and is especially good for fruit trees, giving them the potassium boost they need.
- Planted with oregano, and the humble marigold, peppermint creates “an aromatic forcefield” that will deter pests and attract pollinators.
Do Herbs Grow Better in Pots or the Ground?
Most plants prefer to grow in the ground but, some herbs do well in a container where it is easier to control soil moisture and prevent aggressively spreading herbs, like mint and lemon balm from taking over like something out of that awful Fifties’ horror movie, The Day of The Triffids.
Growing your herbs in a pot also means you can place them somewhere convenient, like outside your kitchen window.
These seven herbs are the best for container gardening:
For your container herbs to flourish, it’s important to harvest and water regularly, making this type of herb garden a little more labor-intensive than the companion planting approach. Nevertheless, given that “herbs are the friend of the physician and the pride of cooks,” your efforts will be richly rewarded.Amazon product
Boost Your Garden With Herbs
Herbs have numerous benefits, adding flavor to your culinary creations, providing much-needed health benefits, and giving your garden a boost with their companion planting advantages.
Many herbs will grow as happily in a vegetable garden as they do in a dedicated herb garden. Herbs like basil, cilantro, dill, mint, oregano, parsley, and rosemary are notoriously easy keepers, making them excellent choices if you’re new to gardening.
Whether you’re just getting started or have years of gardening experience under your belt, herbs can bring as much pleasure as they do benefits, enhancing your meals and your health and giving other plants a boost while they’re at it.
So what are you waiting for? Go out there and plant herbs!