Companion planting is a fairly simple concept. It involves arranging crops based on similar growing conditions or mutual benefits.
In this article, we’ll look at the best companion plants for basil. Our picks are specific to balcony gardening in that they’re fine for growing in pots.
5 Companion Plants for Basil
If you’re container-growing potatoes, use them as companion plants for basil. The herb attracts pollinators and beneficial insects that’ll deal with common potato pests, making them a good combination. You don’t need to plant the basil in the same container, but doing so can help condition the soil.
2. Root vegetables
Everything discussed about potatoes also applies to other root vegetables. Ideal companion plants for basil include beets and carrots. You can grow most root vegetables (and basil) in a standard potato grow bag.
Garlic is often used as a companion plant for the same reasons as basil: it’s great at repelling pests. You can use garlic as a basil companion plant, too, as it’ll help keep aphids at bay.
Nasturtiums are a pretty good plant to grow in your balcony garden. They’re what’s known as a trap crop: they attract pests away from your more valuable crops. Nasturtiums are great basil companion plants because the herb’s leaves are very delicate and prone to damage. Plus, nasturtium leaves and flowers are edible.
Basil doesn’t get on well with many herbs. The biggest issue is that they often require different growing conditions, specifically soil type and watering needs. So, if you’re planning an herb garden in something like a railing planter (where they’ll share the same soil), use the following basil companion plants:
These all tolerate the same watering schedule and can deter pests from one another.
What Not to Plant with Basil
Just as there are basil companion plants, there are also basil planting enemies. These typically have opposite growing requirements or can hinder growth due to emitted chemicals. Make sure to plant your basil away from the following:
Cucumbers will compete for the same nutrients and have a tendency to take on the flavor of their neighbors.
Fennel emits chemicals that can impact the growth of sensitive plants like basil. In fact, it might be best to avoid planting fennel in your balcony garden because it prefers to live alone.
Just as some herbs are companion plants for basil, the following don’t get on well with it:
These herbs prefer drier soil, whereas basil likes it moist. You can get around this by setting up 2 herb planters to group them based on growing conditions.
Final Thoughts on Basil Companion Plants
Companion plants for basil don’t always need to go in the same pot. For example, if you just want pest-deterring benefits, you can place them near one another. This can be a big help with balcony gardening, as it gives you much more flexibility in pot size.