Basil, being a tender herb, is very fond of plants that will keep it away from pests that like to eat the leaves. And in addition, companion plants will help maintain and improve their growing environment.
Some plants should be kept away from basil. Three of them are mint, fennel and cucumber. These plants take a lot of nutrients from the soil. And this would affect the final taste of our basil. Of course, we are talking here about planting these plants side by side in the same soil.
Fortunately, companion plants for basil can be found quite a lot. I will introduce them in this article and write why and how they are beneficial to basil.
Basil and tomatoes complement each other very well. Sitting basil close to tomatoes will make it deter pests and bugs that like to get into tomatoes. Both tomato and basil require 6-8 hours of sunlight to thrive. They also like well-drained soil.
The aroma that basil produces helps repel insects such as mosquitoes, house flies, tomato whiteflies, fruit flies, tomato worms and aphids from the garden. Like the cichlid plant, basil also helps enrich the flavour of tomatoes and vice versa.
Chamomile & chives
Basil can be planted alongside some flowering herbs, such as chamomile and chives. These two plants increase the potency of the essential oils in their herbal garden neighbours. This makes basil more aromatic in culinary applications and effective in the garden as a pest repellent. Basil, on the other hand, cannot be planted alongside other herbs such as sage or rue.
Oregano is another fitting companion to basil and several other herbs. This perennial herb is best known for its ability to attract beneficial insects and repel pests.
Like basil, it is a low-maintenance herb. It grows well in full or partial sun and needs watering when the soil dries out.
Oregano tolerates watering well, so water it as you would basil, and let the soil dry out between waterings.
To start oregano from cuttings, cut the stem above the node and place it in water. Then put the cuttings in the water until roots appear (this takes a few weeks). After this time, place it in the ground next to the basil and let it grow.
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The combination of basil and velvets is the most optimal natural pest deterrent. Velvets are usually small and bushy and grow up to 30cm tall, making them an excellent plant for building an attractive border. Just make sure you plant them close together. They attract and feed pollinating insects, providing them with nectar even at the end of the season, when all the flowers in the garden are no longer growing.
Interestingly, their French variety promotes the growth of basil, producing chemicals from the roots that provide them with protection from pests for up to several years. However, you should take care not to plant Mexican velvet, as it produces a stronger version of this chemical, which can inhibit the growth of some herbs.
When planting velvets together with basil, you may want to plant the basil first, and only then dig a hole for the velvets. Between the velvets and basil, there should be about a 45 – 60 cm gap. Such a distance is large enough for the basil to benefit from the velvets, and at the same time, it is wide enough for the basil to grow freely.
You can also sow velvet seeds around or between basil plants, as they germinate quite quickly. And once the velvets reach a height of about 5-7cm, thin them out to prevent overcrowding.
Water both plants when the soil seems dry (or as needed, it depends on the weather conditions) and never let the soil overflow, or the plants will rot.
Peppers, like basil, are very fond of sunlight. Dry conditions cause peppers to develop a bitter taste. Overwatering it, on the other hand, leads to suffocation of the roots. And when the soil begins to lack calcium, peppers wilt.
So for both basil and peppers, watering should be carefully controlled, keeping it as balanced as possible. Although not necessary, staking peppers can help keep the vegetables above ground and away from pests. Staking can also help reduce the amount of sunburn that can occur when peppers are exposed to the sun for too long during hot weather.
Bell pepper leaves usually provide a kind of canopy for basil, thus protecting it from harsh weather conditions. If you live in a place where there is not enough sunlight, a great tip is to use black agrotextile fabric. It will help absorb the sun’s rays and keep the heat off the ground.
Basil can also enhance the flavour of chilli peppers. It can also deter some pests, such as flies and mosquitoes, from the garden.
By judging the basil directly under the peppers, we can create a kind of ground cover near the soil. This is when basil protects the peppers from direct sunlight. This happens because basil retains heat and moisture, which peppers like very much.
Borage combines well with basil. It attracts beneficial insects such as bees to the garden and repels asparagus borers and bugs. Borage can draw nutrients from the soil and provide them to basil.
It also helps stimulate the growth and taste of basil. Basil will look much more attractive if it is grown with borage.
Both basil and rosemary do well in well-drained soils. The smell of rosemary keeps insects away. Rosemary needs less moisture than basil so it is a good idea to grow them in separate pots.
Asparagus is a perennial plant that thrives in sunny conditions. It can take up to 2-3 years to achieve a full crop. The best companion plants are those that offer benefits in nutrient distribution, deter disease and pests, nurture and provide beneficial bacteria and insects.
The company of basil and asparagus brings ladybugs into the garden. Ladybugs can help control cabbage aphids. In addition, basil is known to repel asparagus mealybug, another pest that destroys the shoots of newly grown asparagus plants.
Potatoes grow well alongside basil. However, there is one issue when growing them together. When deciding on this combination, you should choose the right fertilizer for the plants. Both plants complement each other’s growth. Basil also helps to repel potato beetles with its aroma.
Potatoes need fertilizers with a high potassium and phosphorus content, while basil needs fertilizers with high nitrogen content.
Eggplants are plants susceptible to insect attacks, especially woolly adelgids, garden moths and aphids. However, when grown together with basil, they are protected from insect infestation because their strong smell repels these insects.
Thus, the productivity and health of eggplants are improved, resulting in higher yields.
The Green, leafy tips of most root vegetables are particularly susceptible to soil-feeding pests. Therefore, growing basil with root vegetables such as beets, carrots, radishes and parsnips is very beneficial, as the smell of basil helps deter pests.