Companion planting herb is the preparation of planting that is commonly used to bring about mutual benefits. How is this? It’s by planting herbs and plants together to help each other grow as well as blossom. By doing so, it enhances growth and quality of the plants because some herbs can promote soil fertility, supply shade, and provide support to the plant.
Herbs, in general, are beneficial in the setting of trap planting since they can attract useful insects such as ladybugs, butterflies, and bees that are helpful in the pollination process and some herbs can also discourage pests.
However, not all herbs are beneficial. There are those that might not grow together with other plants since they can draw moisture and nutrients from the companion plants. You ought to consider whether it’s a heavy feeder that will compete for nutrients or a strong smelling plant that might change the scents and flavors of other plants.
Factors to Consider When Companion Planting Herbs
Companion planting herbs might be affected by climate conditions, relative planting ratios, spacing, and the method of planting. Here are some herbs with general guidelines to help you in companion planting practices.
1. Using Space Efficiently
You need to be sure of how much space your companion planting herb requires so that it does not deprive or harm your plant. Spacing is essential to any plant since it ensures the plant does not compete with other for the limited nutrients available. Also, if you plant your herb so closely, it can deprive the much-needed light for its survival. An example is a mint.
Mint: It’s the most invasive herb, so you ought to use it carefully. If possible, store it in a container to prevent any spreading. Peppermint and spearmint are beneficial in attracting bees for pollination and repelling ants, black flea beetles, white cabbage butterflies, mosquitoes, cabbage maggots, and aphids. Be careful not to plant any mint near parsley.
2. Nutrient Sharing and Provision
Nutrients are vital for the proper growth of the plant and therefore you ought to combine the best pair that will not deprive each other of the nutrients available. Those that make good companions are the one that doesn't excessively compete for similar nutrients. An example is a chamomile which when paired with the basil it brings about mutual benefits.
Chamomile: Apart from increasing other herbs essential oils to the basil, chamomile can help onions, basil, cabbage, wheat, and cucumber plants. It’s beneficial to pollination because it attracts wasps and hoverflies which assist in the process. Chamomile also preys on aphids as well as other pest insects.
3. Physical Protection and Support
You should combine those herbs that provide protection to the plant by deterring animals and also, gives the plant the support to grow steadily and upwards. Garlic provides protection by deterring small animals such as the rabbit, which can eat a lot of greens in your garden. Thus it provides physical protection to the plant.
Garlic: You will find garlic in the kitchen due to its health benefits. But that does not limit it from deterring rabbits, aphids, tree borers, cabbage looper, Japanese beetles, codling moths, snails, cabbage maggots, and carrot root flies. You should plant it near plants such as pear, apple, peach trees, cucumbers, roses, peas, celery or lettuce. It companions almost all plants.
4. Weed Control
If you want your garden to thrive and blossom, then go for the herbs that don’t act more of a weed than a companion plant. Some herbs can be so invasive such as the mint, and in the long-run, if not controlled they can become more of a weed than a companion planting herb. A good example is a chive that can be planted for long and will not act as a weed.
Chive: If you’re in need of a long-term investment then you might consider the chives. They are commonly planted in combination with carrots, tomatoes, roses, and apple trees. They are used to repel aphids from sunflowers and tomatoes. Within three years of growth, the chives can prevent rose black spot and apple scab.
5. Disease control
When herbs deter certain pests and parasites from the plant, they help in eradicating diseases associated with the organisms. When you have the presence of parasites that feed on your plant, be sure that the plant may be affected health-wise. Sage repels some parasites that affect the legume family.
Sage: You can combine this herb with beans, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, and cabbage because it acts as a repellant to cabbage moths, carrot flies, black flea beetles as well as some parasites that affect beans. It grows properly with rosemary, and it should not be planted near cucumbers, rue, or onions.
6. Insect control
The more the herbs control some insects, the more perfectly the plant grows. How can herbs control insects? The most obvious way is by repelling them. Planting garlic and onions can deter some flying insects which feed on the plant. For instance, the cilantro or dill can be used as a herb that acts as an insect control measure.
Coriander/Cilantro: Explanation on why it’s referred to as coriander or cilantro is unique. Why is that? Leaves harvested from Coriander are called cilantro. It can also deter potato beetles, aphids, and spider mites. It’s a good companion to caraway, anise, dill, and spinach (10). Are you bothered by spider mites? If so, then make tea from coriander and sprinkle and it will repel them.
Dill: It’s best used as a companion to cabbage, lettuce, sweet corn, onions, and cucumbers. Carefully, note that you should never plant dill near certain plants such as caraway, carrots, tomatoes or lavender because it attracts tomatoes horn worms. Dill keeps spider mites, aphids, and squash bugs from affecting your garden and also it attracts wasps, hoverflies, and honey bees. Never plant dill near a fennel, this is to avoid cases of cross-pollination.
7. Soil Improvement
Herbs are so beneficial in the ground improvement by improving the health of the soil and the plants around it. The herbs root makes the soil firm and prevents any erosion, and therefore soil composition improves. Some herbs also provide the much-needed shade to avoid moisture loss from the soil. Plant borage and it will make your garden more fertile.
Borage: This herb acts as a deterrent to cabbage worms and tomato hornworms. It’s also known for attracting wasps and bees. Another benefit is that it increases the resistance of any plant near it to both diseases and pests and promotes soil fertility by improving soil composition. To enhance both the amount of harvest and flavor, then you might consider planting borage together with tomatoes, strawberries, or squash.
8. Speed of growth
You need to check the growth rate of the herb and compare it with your plant. If the herbs grow faster than the plant, it can consume available resources more and deprive your plant. Also, some herbs have an added advantage of enhancing the growth rate of plants. An example is a basil which should not be planted near rosemary.
Basil: It’s one of the herbs that enhance the growth of petunias, as well as the flavors tomatoes, peppers, asparagus, and oregano. Also, you ought not to plant it near common rue or sage. You can also combine it with anise or chamomile, by doing so, basil essential oils will increase. It repels mosquitoes and flies.
Rosemary: It can be used as a companion to the growth of cabbage, beans, sage, and carrots because it deters bean beetles, cabbage moths, and carrot lies (By placing rosemary cuttings around the carrot plant). It should never be planted near basil. Why is that? The rosemary might die.
9. Aroma Affects
It is what herbs use to deter pests. You should go for the herbs which do not affect or change the flavor of the plant.
Tarragon: Apart from being used as an irritant to pests, it can be properly laid to any garden because it helps in the enhancing the flavor as well as the growth of eggplant, especially if it’s placed near the plant.
The above are the just a few factors to consider when you adopt companion planting. The above selection is the best to use to prevent insects as well as diseases that may affect your crop. As noted, there are also more benefits by trying companion planting herbs.
With this knowledge, you can grow and thrive your plants by employing the best pair you think is suitable for your plant. However, this should not limit you from looking for other alternatives, all you need is to make sure you have enough information regarding the methods of planting you decide to go with.
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