Basil is one of the easiest herbs to grow in a vegetable garden or indoors. Its fragrant leaves have a hint of peppery flavor and are essential for Italian dishes like pesto and Margherita pizza. If you want to get the best results from your basil plants, you should plant them near other plants that might be beneficial. The benefits of companion planting range from increased nutrients in the soil to protection from insects. Below are some of the best companion plants for basil.
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The asparagus plant is a flowering perennial that grows edible shoots. Planting asparagus near your basil can help protect it from aphids, which are among the most dangerous pests for basil. Asparagus protects basil plants by attracting ladybugs, which helps with aphid control. Basil deters the asparagus beetle, which harms the asparagus plant’s roots.
Pepper plants belong to the nightshade family, along with tomatoes and eggplants. Basil helps to provide ground cover for peppers, which benefit from the increased humidity that the herb provides.
Not only do eggplants share basil’s requirements, but the pungent scent from basil may also repel some of the pests that attack eggplants, which may allow the plant to produce more fruit.
Beans and peas are legumes that fix nitrogen in the soil and thus benefit basil plants. Like most leafy herbs, basil can benefit from the presence of nitrogen in the soil. Nitrogen will lead to abundant foliage, which is the most valuable part of the basil plant. Basil will benefit beans by repelling Mexican beetles.
Basil helps repel harmful insects from various root vegetables, including carrots and radishes.
Oregano shows up in many of the same dishes that require basil. It belongs to the same plant family as well. Oregano can act as a repellent for pests that attack basil. Plant only the varieties of basil that need less water near oregano, since oregano requires relatively dry soil.
Basil will help to repel tomato hornworms, which are among the main threats to backyard tomato plants. Some gardeners believe that basil planted near a tomato plant will boost its yield. Basil and tomatoes are also great neighbors because they have similar light and water requirements, which means that you don’t have to worry about over or under watering one when you water the other.
Some gardeners use marigolds as border plants because of their benefits for garden plants, including basil. Marigolds will discourage pests that can harm a basil plant.
Which plants should not be planted with basil?
Even though rosemary and basil are related, you shouldn’t plant them too close to each other because of their very different water needs. Basil requires frequent watering and moist soil, but too much moisture will quickly kill a rosemary bush. Like rosemary, mint is related to basil but makes a poor companion because of its rapid and aggressive growth. It can out-compete basil for nutrients and space. Rue is believed to be harmful to the health of basil plants and may stunt their growth.
Herbs like basil should never be planted near fennel, which is known for being toxic to other plants. A fennel plant could stunt your basil’s growth or even kill it. There are claims that cucumber and basil do not make good companions because cucumber takes on the taste of anything planted nearby. The evidence for this appears to be anecdotal rather than scientific.