Herbs Make Amazing Companion Plants
They're easy to grow, and most varieties will adapt to the soil that's available.
Many herbs are fragrant in a way that bugs absolutely hate, too. One herb variety can also protect against a number of different insect invaders, so if you don't know who the culprit is, a few well-chosen herb warriors planted near your perennial border or vegetable patch can ward off "mystery bug" plant poachers.
You may be planting some garlic (with rue) around your roses as insurance against aphids, but come fall that same plant bulb will make a tasty ingredient in stir fry.
Companion planting with herbs is beneficial when the plant is in the ground, but it can also be an effective pesticide when harvested and sprayed on your flowers and vegetables. It's an inspired two-for-one solution.
Best Companion Planting Herbs
I'll start here with my absolute favorites. These should give you some useful ideas.
- Catnip - Hey, even I think this one is stinky. If you're having problems with: flea beetles, squash bugs (I hate these), aphids, mosquitos or ants, catnip will smell like sweet salvation. It can also be an effective Japanese beetle and mouse deterrent. Keep it in your vegetable garden.
- Lavender - Attractive and fragrant, lavender repels whitefly and a variety of moth species. It also invites beneficial insects to your garden that'll be a second line of defense against destructive bugs. If you want to encourage praying mantis and ladybugs to hang around for lunch, plant lavender.
- Chives - One of my favorite culinary herbs, chives is also kryptonite to aphids. Chive tea can inhibit the growth of powdery mildew too -- if you catch it early. Keep it by your roses.
- Garlic - I've already mentioned the benefits of garlic, but it can also repel snails. Garlic juice discourages aphids and whitefly. A spray made from garlic makes a fast and easy mosquito repellent too.
- French marigold - This cheerful and easy to grow flower (and herb) can repel whitefly, asparagus beetle and tomato hornworms. Spider mites like it, though, so make sure to plant it with cilantro or dill (both of which spider mites hate). Just remember to choose the French marigold varieties as they're scented.
If you keep these five or six friends in your veggie or flower garden, you'll have fewer marauders to worry about. Companion planting herbs with your other garden plants is a successful way to limit or eliminate the amount of insecticide you use in the garden this year. Give it a try.