If you have little space but want to test out your green thumb, growing container herbs is easy to get started with and certainly can many benefits to you. So, what herbs can be planted together? We’re going to get into some easy combos that save space and make growing herbs practical.
Going from living in a house with a yard to an apartment for the last three years has been killer on my enjoyment of sprawling out and taking up space. Having to downsize meant having to cut out my love of growing fresh fruits and vegetables.
I decided, at the very least I had to keep an herb garden going because once you cook with fresh herbs, there's no going back. So, if you're like me with little space to spare, keep reading to find out what herbs can be planted together.
Why Grow Herbs?
Growing herbs can be fun and rewarding, but usually, once you get the hang of it, it's an easy task to put on autopilot. This is great if you're as short on time as you are on space. Growing herbs requires very little space, time, or effort.
If you love to cook, you'll enjoy the fruits of your labor, adding fresh herbs to your cooking is fun, healthy, and makes for a great meal. It can be relaxing to do your "gardening," even if you're growing a few containers of herbs. It's also great for gift giving, your friends and family may enjoy being on the receiving end of your abundance.
What is Companion Planting?
If you've never heard of the term ‘companion planting,' you might be a little confused. At first, I just figured it didn't matter what got planted where. Once I dug a little deeper into gardening and finding ways to save space, I learned that herbs could actually be a bit picky with their container mates!
Ah, so they're not just herbs! It would be great to throw several into a pot and call it a day, but you have to remember which plants prefer what. For example, parsley and basil like moist soil while other herbs like thyme, sage, and rosemary like a sandy and relatively dry soil.
Who knew? You also must be careful in that some herb such as mint tend to commandeer whatever space they're in. So, it might not go over well to partner up another herb with your mint plant — one thing most herbs have in common though is that they typically love a sunny atmosphere.
So, What Herbs Can Be Planted Together?
Now that you know why it's essential to pay attention to your pairs, we can talk about which herbs don't mind a little cohabitation. When considering what herbs can be planted together, one thing to remember is that certain herbs can affect the flavoring of nearby herbs due to cross-pollination.
That means you should keep particularly fragrant herbs together and don't mix them with others. For example, lemon varieties should be kept together and not planted with non-lemon varieties. Likewise, you won't plant spearmint with peppermint but rather keep them separate.
Let's start with mint since it seems to be a greedy variety. Depending on whether your small space is indoors or outdoors, you can keep mint but beware. Mint is a spreading herb whose runners will grow sideways and won't last long in a small pot. You can use a long window box like this one if you’re interested in planting mint.
You’ll want to keep your mint away from your other herbs and trim the leaves the reach outside of the box to keep it from spreading.
Many herbs used in culinary come from the Mediterranean and like a dryer, sandy soil, and a sunny environment. You can generally plant any of the following together:
Remember to regularly trim your herbs to keep them from overgrowing as some of the Mediterranean herbs can grow large. In any case, they can always be transferred to a bigger pot on their own if need be.
Moisture Loving Herbs
Herbs that love moisture and a sunny environment should be planted together. As a general rule of thumb, you can pair up any of the following:
Just keep in mind when planting parsley, it will die back within two years as it's a biennial. Lemon-scented plants should be grouped together and not with others. So, while you can plant basil and cilantro together, you’ll want to keep lemon thyme and lemon verbena together.
Tarragon is one of the Mediterranean herbs we mentioned earlier, but because it is known as a nurse plant, it deserves its category. You can plant tarragon with most any of your herbs and find that it helps yield better growth with any of its companions, and it tends to enhance flavor.
Tarragon’s fragrance is a natural repellant of many pests. If you’re using a long window box like the one we talked about earlier, you can use tarragon as a barrier between other plants.
Another great herb that makes a perfect soil buddy is oregano. This low maintenance plant goes along well with any of the Mediterranean herbs due to them thriving in similar conditions. However, the best pair for oregano is said to be basil. This pair can repel many harmful insects that threaten your garden.
Shade can actually grow in a shadier environment, but it thrives and produces a more flavorful yield when it's given plenty of sunlight. Sage is the only other herb than can be planted with rosemary, but it also makes a great companion for thyme.
Chives are a great plant that can be planted with other herbs, fruits, or vegetables. They make a great partner plant because they’re known to repel aphids, the Japanese beetle, they reduce black spot in roses, and their pollinators can help bring a higher yield when planted near many fruits and vegetables.
So, if you are growing more than herbs chives are ideal for planting pairs but if you're sticking with an herb garden and you have a pot with room in, chives make a perfect partner.
Basil is an herb that lends itself well to plant with many vegetables rather herbs, but there are two exceptions. Basil can be planted with chamomile or oregano. If you happen to be growing sage or rue, you need to keep these containers far away from each other.
Rosemary is an herb that isn't typically planted with other herbs because it doesn't make a great pot companion. You can, however, plant it with sage as the two pair well together. Other than that, rosemary makes a great garden buddy with many vegetables but makes the perfect companion for broccoli as it's a natural repellent of insects known to harm broccoli.
Rosemary also plants well with hot peppers, beans, and cabbage. You will want to keep any pot containing rosemary a good enough distance from the rest of your herbs.
Coriander is a versatile plant that tends to be easy to grow. It’s a plant that’s known to attract beneficial insects to your garden and does well in a well-lit and humid environment, but it shouldn't get too much direct sun. Coriander plants are moisture-loving and make a great companion when partnered with parsley, dill, or anise.
Garlic can be easy to grow, once you know the conditions that help them thrive. When it comes to companion planting with other herbs, garlic does well with chamomile and dill. Chamomile is known to help enhance the flavor of garlic.
Things to Remember When Companion Planting
Remember that companion planting relies on the plants thriving in the same environment. Depending on the conditions specific to your space, you should choose herbs that will succeed whether you have more direct or indirect light available. Water each pot accordingly, and don't overdo it. If you need to, keeping a calendar of when your water can be helpful in the beginning.
You know your cooking habits best, so choose the herbs you’ll use the most. While it’s tempting to run out and plant every pair we mentioned, when you’re just getting started, try opting for just a couple pots that you can manage easily.
Location, location, location! Because light is the key to your success, you’ll want to find an area just below a window for your pots to maximize on the light available. If you’re worried about the position of windows in your home or apartment, don’t be afraid to rotate pots and windows to get the best lighting.
Lastly, drainage plays a significant role in the success of your plants. Try to choose pots that are feature a drain and a saucer. If you have containers that don't train, you can put rocks in the bottom before filling with soil to create a space for drainage. You can also add vermiculite to the soil as it aids in drainage.