Having fresh herbs available is a huge benefit to anyone – not only are they fresh and easily available, but they liven up any meal! As it turns out, not everyone has the space available to plant herbs separately and in their own spaces. That’s perfectly okay because quite a few herbs can be planted together, both indoors and outdoors.
That being said, what herbs can you plant together? Many different pairing of herbs can be planted together. Generally, herbs that like the same environment can be planted together.
Herbs that are commonly planted together are sage, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, lavender, and oregano, among others. You should avoid planting mint with other herbs due to its invasive properties.
If you are looking to plant herbs and want a breakdown on what herbs can be planted together, you are in the right place. We will walk through everything you need to know about planting herbs together, starting from the basics like a description of herbs and their possible benefits.
If you are also interested in flowers, please be sure to also read our new article – What Flowers and Herbs Can Be Planted Together?
All About Herbs and Planting Them
To understand what herbs can be planted together and why, it’s helpful to know a little bit about herbs themselves, the benefits they have, the differences between growing herbs indoors and outdoors, and what’s necessary to grow herbs. Let’s walk you through it.
What is an Herb?
Chances are you are familiar with popular herbs like oregano, thyme, and basil. But do you know what an herb actually is? When we look at it from a botanical standpoint, an herb is essentially a plant that does not produce a woody stem, and dies back to the ground to its perennial root system each winter.
In a bigger and broader sense with which most people are familiar, herbs include plants that are commonly used to season foods, to create scents and for medicinal purposes.
Main Types of Herbs
Herbs have three main types: annual, biennial and perennial. The difference of these herb types has to do with their life cycles.
Annual herbs complete their entire cycle of development in one season. Biennial herbs reach maturity the second year after they are seeded, and perennial herbs live year to year and only die down in the winter. Once perennial herbs are seeded and established, they bloom every growing season.
Some annual herbs include cilantro and basil. Not very many herbs are biennial, where most culinary herbs are perennial herbs.
Uses of Herbs
One of the big benefits of herbs is that they have many uses. As time goes on, more and more uses seem to be appearing for herbs. Herbs have culinary, aromatic and medicinal uses, but they have some other uses as well.
Culinary, Medicinal and Aromatic Uses
Culinary herbs like rosemary and thyme are commonly used to prepare and season foods. Medicinal herbs like pennyroyal have been known to have some healing effects and powers. Herbs like marjoram create pleasant scents, and their oils are used to create some perfumes and aromas.
Ornamental and Cosmetic Uses
Herbs also have ornamental uses, meaning they are used as ground covers and hedges in some gardens. Additionally, some herbs like lavender are used as decoration.
Cosmetic herbs are similar to aromatic herbs, as they are used to create some perfumes. However, cosmetic herbs like Roman chamomile are also commonly used in bath products, lotions, and even some hair products.
Companion Planting Uses
Last but not least, herbs are also very commonly used in companion planting, which we will discuss more in-depth in a later section of this article. Herbs can be planted as companions with other plants and vegetables in order to repel pests, improve growth and flavor and even to keep animals away.
I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.1 Corinthians 1:10
Growing Herbs: Outdoors vs Indoors
As you have probably gathered by now, herbs can be grown both indoors and outdoors. When it comes to gardening, most minds likely tend to go immediately to the outdoors. That is not always the case with herbs, though; many herbs grow well and happily indoors!
Planting herbs together is a big benefit for those who are limited on space, but herbs can be planted together either outdoors or indoors. Some things need to be taken into consideration when deciding whether to plant herbs outdoors or indoors (or both, if you wish!). Let’s take a look at growing herbs outdoors vs growing herbs indoors.
For a full guide on growing herbs indoors versus outdoors, check out our article Is It Better to Grow Herbs Indoors or Outdoors?
Growing Herbs Outdoors
Herbs are versatile and do well outdoors; they can really be added to any garden. Herbs tend to need an adequate amount of sunlight exposure, but the amount of sunlight herbs need differs from herb to herb. For example, sage grows best in full sunlight, but chervil grows best in full shade. Sunlight exposure should be taken into account when herbs are grown outdoors.
Herbs also do well in soil with good drainage. For a good growing environment, herbs should have some space to grow. This tends to not be a huge issue when growing herbs outdoors as opposed to indoors.
A big thing to take into consideration when growing herbs outdoors is that some herbs may need protection in the winter, or they can die off. Mulch can help increase soil temperatures for herbs so it’s not too cold for them in the winter.
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Growing Herbs Indoors
Growing herbs indoors is a beneficial option because, as we discussed previously, herbs are not only great for seasoning and preparing foods, but also for creating good aromas.
Having a close supply of herbs for cooking and a close source of nice smells are big reasons people choose to grow herbs indoors; that, and if you are limited on outdoor space, you can still grow herbs!
Not all herbs grow well indoors, just because some of their root systems need fairly large space and containers. That’s something to take into consideration when deciding where to grow and plant herbs – can the herbs in question be planted indoors?
Another big thing to take into consideration when deciding to grow herbs indoors is whether or not an adequate amount of sunlight is available indoors. Most herbs will generally need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. Some herbs, however, can grow in indirect sunlight, like rosemary, bay, mint, and thyme.
Herbs that are indoors will also need to be close to each other in order to create a humid environment and adequate air circulation. Spreading them out may look great in some instances, but it isn’t the best for them.
Herbs will also need to be in containers with drainage holes – so when planting them indoors, you will need to take into consideration that water will be draining from them.
The Necessary “Ingredients” for Growing Herbs
Before planting herbs together, it’s important to know the “ingredients” for growing herbs. To grow herbs, you’re going to need a few key things no matter what:
- Proper amounts of sunlight
- Proper amounts of water
- Adequate drainage
- Quality soil
- Winter protection
Make sure you can accommodate all the necessary “ingredients” so herbs can thrive!
Herbs You Can Plant Together
We talked briefly earlier about herbs that can be planted together, like sage, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, lavender, and oregano. We also mentioned tarragon, basil and cilantro can be planted together.
A good rule of thumb when it comes to planting herbs together is that generally, herbs that like the same environment can be planted together. Researching what type of environment, soil, and sunlight your desired herbs prefer will help you narrow down other herbs with which they can be planted. Soil buddies like to stick together!
Mediterranean herbs enjoy a lot of sunlight and generally more dry soil. Mediterranean herbs include rosemary, sage, oregano, marjoram, lavender, and thyme. These herbs can be planted together.
Unlike the Mediterranean herbs, moisture-loving herbs enjoy a good amount of sunlight and moist soil. These include basil and parsley. Basil and parsley can be planted together.
Lemon-scented herbs like lemon verbena and lemon thyme tend to grow nicely if they are planted together.
Mint herbs can get invasive, and for that reason they are not recommended to be planted with other herbs. However, different varieties of mint can be planted together. Mints do better in long window boxes or in the outdoors. Mints like spearmint, catmint, peppermint, orange mint, and lemon balm can be grown together as long as they have adequate space to spread out.
Planting Herbs Together: An In-Depth Look
To be prepared and knowledgeable about herbs that can be planted together, take a look at the table below!
|Herb||Can be Planted With|
|Rosemary||Sage, oregano, thyme, lavender, and marjoram|
|Oregano||Rosemary, sage, thyme, lavender, and marjoram|
|Sage||Rosemary, oregano, thyme, lavender, and marjoram|
|Thyme||Rosemary, oregano, sage, lavender, and marjoram|
|Lavender||Rosemary, oregano, sage, thyme, and marjoram|
|Marjoram||Rosemary, oregano, sage, thyme, and lavender|
|Basil||Parsley, cilantro, tarragon|
|Parsley||Basil, cilantro, tarragon|
|Cilantro||Parsley, basil, tarragon|
|Tarragon||Parsley, cilantro, basil|
|Lemon Verbena||Lemon-scented herbs like lemon thyme|
|Lemon Thyme||Lemon-scented herbs like lemon verbena|
|Mint||Other herbs in the mint family like peppermint, spearmint, catmint, orange mint, and lemon balm|
Harvesting Herbs You Have Planted
Without a doubt, one of the biggest and most fun benefits of growing herbs is getting to harvest them when it comes time. Let’s take a look at harvesting herbs, from some harvesting tips to when to harvest to how to harvest.
When to Harvest Your Herbs
The leaves of most culinary herbs tend to have a flavor all throughout the growing season, meaning they can be harvested just about any time. Herbs that produce flavor all season include thyme, sage, rosemary, marjoram, chives, basil, and parsley.
Annual herbs, which we discussed earlier, can be harvested when they are about 8 inches tall. Perennial herbs can be harvested when they have about 4 to 6 inches of growth.
Herb Harvesting Tips
Some tips for the best ways to harvest your herbs are:
- Harvest before noon. The plants will be full of nutrients.
- If you need to wash your herbs before harvesting, make sure to do so early in the morning so they have time to dry out before noon.
- Use knives or scissors if you need to cut to avoid pulling out the plant.
How to Harvest Your Herbs
When it comes to harvesting annual herbs, only harvest the healthy leaves. Simply pinch them off, or cut them if you feel you’re in danger of pulling the stems or plant out. Additionally, annual herbs that are leafy can be completely trimmed down to about 4 inches high to allow them to regrow through the season.
When harvesting perennial herbs, make sure not to harvest more than ⅓ of the plant at a time. Trimming herbs causes them to send out new growth, but this also lowers their resistance – especially when it comes to winter. Do not cut perennial herbs if it is getting close to winter time in your area.
When cutting herbs, leave at least 4 inches of growth on annuals and never cut more than ⅓ of the growth on perennials. The best leaves to cut are the 3 to 4 sets from the top of the plant.
Companion Planting: Planting Herbs with other Plants and Vegetables
Remember when we briefly mentioned companion planting earlier and said we would go over that in-depth later? Well, now’s the time! As we discussed earlier, herbs can be planted as companions with other plants and vegetables.
This can be for a number of reasons like to repel pests, improve growth and flavor, and even to keep animals away. Regardless, it has been reported and researched that the secretions of certain plants can be beneficial to other plants. Herbs are very commonly used in this phenomenon!
Herbs that are commonly used in companion planting of other herbs, plants and vegetables include rosemary, mint, basil, thyme, sage, parsley, garlic, artemisia, and dill. Chives, cilantro, tarragon, and catnip also have great companion planting qualities.
However, even more herbs have beneficial companion planting qualities, like chamomile, chervil, fennel, rue, and even wormwood. We will go through some popular companion planting herbs and their benefits in-depth, but check out this list from Western Virginia University for a large list of herbs, their companion plants, and their benefits in companion planting.
Popular Companion Planting Herbs and their Benefits
To give more perspective on companion planting herbs and their benefits, we will visit some of the most popular companion planting herbs, their recommended planting partners and their benefits.
Rosemary can be planted with carrots, beans, cabbage, and sage. As a companion plant, it helps repel mosquitoes and carrot flies. It can also ward off clothes flies and silverfish, as well as bean beetles. It keeps those carrots, beans, and cabbage safer!
Basil is commonly planted as a companion with tomatoes. This is because it can actually improve the growth and flavor of the tomatoes; not to mention, basil also repels flies and mosquitoes.
Basil can also be planted with and benefit asparagus and peppers. Basil helps to repel aphids, hornworms, and whiteflies. Pretty good, huh?
Mint can get greedy and invasive to other herbs, but it can actually be a pretty good friend to cabbage and tomatoes. Mint’s properties help improve the health and the flavors of the cabbage and tomatoes while deterring cabbage moths. Mint can even repel ants and fleas.
Garlic is a tasty addition in the kitchen, but it’s also a good supportive companion to roses and raspberries. Not only does it improve the health and growth of raspberries and roses, but it also discourages aphids, protects against Japanese beetles and onion flies, and deters black flies and red spider mites.
Thyme can be planted here and there in the garden or with anything in the cabbage family as a companion. Cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and broccoli are all in the cabbage family and can benefit from thyme as a companion plant.
Thyme helps to deter whiteflies, moths, and cabbage root flies.
Dill is another tasty addition to foods that has great companion benefits. Dill is great with cabbage and vegetables in the cabbage family, like broccoli and cauliflower. Dill may also help benefit tomatoes, but it should be kept away from carrots.
It improves the growth and health of the plants while also attracting hornworms to itself so they don’t go to the other plants. Seems like a pretty good “dill” for all involved!
As a companion, sage can benefit carrots, cabbage, and rosemary. It deters cabbage moths and carrot flies, and can also benefit beans by warding off fleas and beetles.
When planted around the border of a garden, wormwood can actually benefit and protect the entire garden! Wormwood deters and repels animals from going into the garden and damaging any of the herbs, plants, and vegetables.
Chamomile can be planted as a companion to cabbage and onions and helps improve both their growth and flavors.
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