Some herbs get along better than others. Here is our comprehensive guide to which herbs grow well together, and which do not.
There is a huge variety of herbs that you can grow in your own garden. They come from the most diverse regions of the world and would probably never cross paths or grow together without our help. Just like people, there are some herbs that get along very well with each other and others that are best kept apart. But which herbs should you grow together? Find out how to best arrange your herb garden and learn how companion planting with herbs can be highly beneficial in helping your plants thrive.
Herbs to plant together
Many factors need to be considered to ensure the herbs grow well together:
- Location: Herbs with similar site requirements – such as sunlight, soil and nutrients are generally good companions. Herb composts such as our Plantura Organic Herb & Seedling Compost are adapted to the needs of many herbs and help these companions to thrive.
- Growth: If two herbs grow at roughly the same rate, there is no danger of one outgrowing the other. So, both herbs can thrive side by side without crowding each other out.
- Nutrients: Do you love rosemary? You are not the only one, basil does too. The herb’s intense scent indicates that it is rich in nutrients. These nutrients also reach the neighbouring herb through the water, air and soil. In some cases, the nutrients of one herb can have a positive effect on the other herb’s growth, disease tolerance and taste.
Herb companion planting chart
|Herb||Suitable herb companions|
|Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), thyme (Thymus vulgaris), lavender (Lavandula), sage (Salvia officinalis), hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis), winter savory (Satureja montana)||Get along well with each other because of similar location requirements (sunny, warm, nutrient-poor, alkaline pH)|
|Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)||Rosemary encourages basil to grow (Ocimum basilicum)|
|Sage (Salvia officinalis)||Promotes the growth of oregano (Origanum vulgare) and savory (Satureja)|
|Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)||Compatible with fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), coriander (Coriandrum sativum), tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus), borage (Borago officinalis) and Mediterranean herbs (see above)|
|Camomile (Matricaria chamomilla)||Promotes the growth of dill (Anethum graveolens), chives (Allium schoenoprasum), marjoram (Origanum majorana), chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium) and salad burnet (Sanguisorba minor)|
|Parsley (Petrosilium crispum ssp. crispum)||Compatible with chives (Allium schoenoprasum), basil (Ocimum basilicum), coriander (Coriandrum sativum), tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus), salad burnet (Sanguisorba minor)|
|Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)||Promotes the growth of lavender and savory|
|Basil (Ocimum basilicum)||Compatible with almost all herbs|
|Lovage (Levisticum officinale)||Promotes the growth of fennel and parsley (Petroselinum crispum ssp. crispum)|
|Borage (Borago officinalis)||Compatible with almost all herbs|
|Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)||Compatible with almost all herbs|
Which herbs do not go together?
There are various reasons why some herbs tend to dislike each other:
- Annual and perennial herbs: In principle, annual and perennial herbs get along with each other, but perennials are disturbed if every year its annual neighbour is dug up and replaced by a new one.
- Location requirements: Mediterranean herbs love the sun, nutrient-poor and alkaline soil, and like it a little drier too. Lemon balm and mint enjoy a somewhat shadier and more nutrient-rich location. It is therefore logical that the two groups cannot grow so close to each other.
- Competition: Some herbs are very fast growing and would simply crowd out slower growing species. It is therefore better to keep such species apart.
- Nutrients: Herbs are rich in essential oils and other nutrients. That is why they taste so good. But not every herb tolerates the substances produced by its neighbour. Such cases can lead to growth inhibition or even the death of the plant. For this reason, garden cress, for example, is a pretty unpopular companion with many plants.
By taking these factors into account, it is easy to work out which herbs make good companions based on their location requirements and growth habits. Nevertheless, we have compiled a table for you with herbs that do not get along at all.
|Herb||Not compatible with|
|Dill (Anethum graveolens)||Cress (Lepidium sativum), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), caraway (Carum carvi), tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)|
|Basil (Ocimum basilicum)||Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), mint (Mentha)|
|Parsley (Petroselinum crispum ssp. crispum)||Chervil (Anthriscus), dill (Anethum graveolens)|
|Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)||Basil (Ocimum basilicum)|
|Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)||Coriander (Coriandrum sativum), dill (Anethum graveolens), cress (Lepidium sativum), marjoram (Origanum majorana), caraway (Carum carvi)|
|Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)||Camomile (Matricaria chamomilla)|
|Garden cress (Lepidium sativum)||Dill (Anethum graveolens), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), coriander (Coriandrum sativum), parsley (Petroselinum crispum ssp. crispum), rocket (Eruca vesicaria), chervil (Anthriscus)|
|Marjoram (Origanum majorana)||Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), thyme (Thymus)|
|Thyme (Thymus)||Marjoram (Origanum majorana)|
If space is a bit limited and you would like to plant your herbs close together, including those that do not get along so well, an herb spiral is a great solution. It is made up of several microclimates, ranging from sun to shade, and well-drained to saturated soils.
It is important to fertilise herbs from time to time to help them develop their full aroma. Read our article about fertilising herbs to learn more. Get an overview of immune-boosting herbs here.