12 Best Companion Plants for Basil (What to Grow with Basil)
Looking for the best companion plants for basil? This article takes a look at what to plant with basil and what not to plant with basil.
More and more gardeners are practicing companion planting. Companion planting is believed to be of mutual benefit to the plants in your garden.
It helps to protect the plants from infestations of pests and encourages pollinators to visit your garden and helping your soil to retain moisture and nutrients.
There are several good basil companion plants, but before we get into what grows well with basil proper, let’s take a look at the different types of basil.
Types of Basil
A member of the mint family basil is used in Mediterranean cooking. The peppery leaves of this plant are used when cooking sauces, soups and pasta dishes. It is also used fresh on salads or pizza.
There are many different varieties of basil and here is a look at just a few.
- Sweet Basil – Sweet basil is one of the most commonly used types of basil. It has a sweet spicy flavor and can be used both fresh and dried
- Thai Basil – Thai basil has a strong bold licorice-like flavor that holds up exceptionally well to high temperature cooking, making it great for stir-fry recipes.
- Holy Basil – Holy basil is extremely spicy. It blossoms and flowers are purple colored and even its green stems can have a purple tinge. This herb is bitter when eaten fresh, so it is best used in cooked dishes.
- Lemon Basil – Lemon basil is a sweet type of basil that tastes both of anise and lemon. This basil is great when used in a number of dishes, especially fish dishes and grilled vegetables.
- Purple Basil – Purple basil is an attractive herb that has a vibrant purple color. This basil has a strong clove flavor and is not as sweet as other varieties. It is best used fresh since cooking turns the purple leaves black.
- Lime Basil – Lime basil has a rich citrus scent and is often combined with lemon basil in various dishes. Lime basil can be used in teas, desserts, chicken, fish, sauces and fruit salads.
- Cinnamon Basil – Cinnamon basil grows in tropical and subtropical climates and is easily recognized by its dark green leaves and cinnamon colored stem. This herb has an intense spicy aroma that tastes great in fried rice and grilled vegetables.
- Lettuce Leaf Basil – Lettuce leaf basil has large lettuce-like looking leaves that are bright green in color. This basil has a mild sweet flavor and is normally enjoyed raw in salads and as a substitute for lettuce wraps.
- African Blue Basil – African blue basil has a taste that is a spicy mixture of cloves, mint and basil and is often used in meat and rice dishes.
What to Plant with Basil – 12 Good Basil Companion Plants
Here are some plants that make good companions with basil.
Anise is an herb with a sweet licorice- like taste. This herb makes a great companion plant for basil since anise helps to increase the essential oils that can be found in basil.
Chives, like basil are an herb. This herb has a mild onion taste and need to be grown in the same soil conditions as basil, so it makes sense that the two herbs be planted close together.
Asparagus is a flavorful green vegetable that most people either love or hate. Basil helps attract ladybugs, which controls aphids and other pests that tend to attack your asparagus plants.
Chamomile and Oregano
Chamomile and oregano like basil are herbs each with their own distinct aroma. Growing these 3 herbs together will not only protect them from pests, but other plants in the garden as well. In addition, using chamomile and oregano as companion plants for basil can make your basil more flavorful.
Peppers need moisture and humidity to grow their best and planting basil close to your pepper plants helps to trap moisture and heat into the soil, which will help your pepper plants stay healthy.
In addition, basil helps to repel spider mites and flies that can wreak havoc on your plants.
Root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, turnips and radishes have tender leafy green tops that are a favorite of animals like rabbits and deer. The scent of basil is an aroma that rabbits and deer find disgusting and tend to shy away from.
So, when you plant basil as a companion plant for these root vegetables, you can reduce the chances of these vegetables becoming lunch or dinner for these herbivores.
Potatoes are a staple in most people’s home and are used in a number of different dishes. When you plant basil next to your potato plants you can actually improve the taste of your potatoes.
Not only does fresh basil go well with sliced tomatoes as a snack or part of a meal, but also the strong scent of basil helps prevent hornworms from attacking your tomato plants. Basil can also increase your tomato plants yield.
What Not to Plant with Basil (Bad Companion Plants for Basil)
While many plants can benefit from being planted with basil there are some plants that should never be used as companion plants with any type of basil.
Common Rue – Common Rue is not an edible plant and is often grown in butterfly gardens to attract certain butterflies. It can also be used as a repellent for deer and rabbits to keep them from invading your garden. Common Rue is not a good companion plant for basil due to the fact that growing these two plants together can inhibit the growth of both plants.
Thyme and Sage – Thyme and sage are two herbs that need to have dry, sandy soil to grow properly, whereas basil needs to be grown in moist soil. So, growing basil near thyme and sage will hinder the growth of one or more of these herbs.
Cucumbers – Cucumbers are plants that contain mostly water. Planting cucumbers and basil with each other may not be a good idea because the basil could affect the taste of your cucumbers.
Final Thoughts on What to Plant with Basil
Companion gardening is a great way to make the most of your garden space and increase the chances of success in your gardening endeavors. Finding the right companion plants for basil is essential to your gardening success.