Mint is an aromatic perennial herb that is hardy in many conditions and that you can use in both sweet and savory applications. Mint is suitable for companion planting despite a reputation for being invasive, but you must handle it carefully. Companion planting involves planting herbs and other plants close to each other so that they can benefit each other out and thrive because of the presence of the others. When executed correctly, it can help to keep pests out of the garden and can even provide nutrients for other plants.
Mint gets its bad reputation because of how quickly it can grow; however, its ability to out-compete other plants is greatly exaggerated. When properly managed, it can live harmoniously with many plants. Here are some of the best companion plants for mint.
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Fresh mint is a traditional seasoning for peas, but the two can be mutually beneficial in the garden as well. Peas fix nitrogen in the soil, which can be beneficial for herbs like mint. Nitrogen helps mint plants to grow healthy, flavorful leaves. Mint is beneficial for the peas as well since it helps to ward off pests that attack pea plants like the corn borer. Mint does this by attracting insects that eat corn borer eggs. Like mint, you can grow peas in partial shade or full sun.
Like peas, peanuts are a legume that will boost nitrogen in the soil. Mint will benefit from the nitrogen while helping to discourage pests that might destroy peanuts, including the aforementioned corn borer.
Mint plants are beneficial for carrots since they can help to get rid of the carrot root fly. Mint’s strong fragrance confuses the fly, which finds carrots by smell. Carrots and mint thrive in similar conditions, with both liking moisture, light and nitrogen-rich soil.
The fragrance of mint has the same confusing effect on onion flies that it does on carrot flies. Onion flies can cause problems not just for onion plants, but for garlic and leek as well.
The flea beetle is one of the main pests to worry about if you have cabbages or related crops like kale, radish, or cauliflower in your garden. Mint repels the flea beetle. Mint also thrives in the soil and weather conditions that cabbage and other members of the Brassicaceae family like.
Mint can repel pests that attack tomato plants, including aphids. Tomatoes like humidity and mint can also act as a ground cover that helps to preserve moisture in the air.
Mint and basil can be decent companion plants, but you will have to take steps to protect the basil from the mint. A barrier that goes about six inches below the soil surface can keep your basil from being killed by the mint.
Which plants should not be planted with mint?
Mint is notorious for its aggressive growth, it puts out lateral roots called runners that it uses to spread quickly. Its runners enable it to overrun other plants and take over garden beds within a single growing season. Any plant that has finer and more delicate roots may not thrive with mint growing close to it. Plants with low water needs will also suffer, which includes mint relatives like rosemary and lavender. Parsley is also known to struggle if it is too close to mint.