Garlic is one of those must-have plants for the vegetable garden. It can be planted almost anywhere and takes up very little space in the vegetable patch. Garlic brings so many wonderful benefits to the garden! Knowing what those benefits are before you plant makes it much easier to decide on the best garlic companion plants for your environment.
THE BENEFITS OF COMPANION PLANTING
Companion planting brings many benefits for the organic gardener. All plants have beneficial partners who can help improve taste, growth, yield, and health. Many plants also help deal with common pests and diseases. Companion plants can help:
- Attract pollinators: Beautiful fragrant flowers with bright colors and abundant food sources attract pollinators like bees, hoverflies, and butterflies. Pollinators in your vegetable garden will help increase yields.
- Attract beneficial predatory insects: Marigolds, for example, attract helpful bugs like parasitic wasps hoverflies, and ladybugs. These beneficial insects will help curb pest infestations.
- Repel harmful insects: Some plants, like garlic, work well to deter common pests, such as aphids and mites.
- Help control weeds: Densely planted leafy greens or low-growing flowers can act as a living mulch to prevent weeds and to help retain moisture in the soil.
- Companion planting can help with disease issues. Diseases are spread more quickly through your garden when plants of the same type are grouped. Adding different plants throughout the garden can help break up groupings and slow the spread of diseases like powdery mildew or blight.
- Garlic specifically acts as a natural fungicide and antibacterial in the garden!
- Plants in the allium family have also been known to repel mammals, including rabbits, deer, and gophers.
Learn More: Companion Planting In The Vegetable Garden
QUICK PLANTING AND CARE TIPS FOR garlic
Garlic is a member of the allium family, and has a strong, pungent scent which is a natural deterrent for unwanted pests.
Planting out: It is best to plant garlic in the fall for most regions. You can plant garlic in early spring when the ground is workable. However, fall-grown garlic will have more robust root systems that support the rapid leaf growth in spring. Spring-grown garlic can be weaker and be susceptible to strong winds before it has time to establish.
Sun Requirements: Plant in full sun.
Soil requirements: Well draining, very fertile soil. Garlic is a heavy feeder and would benefit from additions of compost or fertilizer through the growing season.
Water requirements: Water every 3-5 days through bulbing. Taper off the water around mid-June.
Best Types Of Garlic for Your Garden
Our three favorite types of garlic to grow in our gardens are:
- Russian Red (hard neck) – Excellent cold season garlic – does not store for long periods of time.
- Nootka Rose (soft neck) – Exceptionally long storage life , and excellent strong flavor.
- Porcelain Musik (hard neck) – Cold hardy and has a better than avg storage time.
Soft neck garlic is better suited to be produced in warmer climates in the south, where hard neck garlic is more winter hardy and will do best in colder climates.
THE QUICK LIST OF The best garlic companion plants
- Fruit Trees
- Brussels sprouts
- Zonal Geraniums
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VEGETABLE COMPANION PLANTS FOR Garlic
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The best vegetable companion plants help repel pesky insects or benefit vegetable crops with better health and growth.
These are the plants that partner well interplanted with garlic:
fruit trees (all)
Garlic is a great companion plant for around and under fruit trees. The strong scent wards off insect pests like borers, aphids, and mites from fruit trees like peach and apple trees.
It is also suggested that tree roots absorb sulfur produced by the garlic plants making the tree much more resistant to fungal diseases, molds, and blackspot fungi. In addition, planting garlic under apple trees will help protect the fruit from apple scab.
Poly cultures and integrated fruit tree gardening are fascinating topics. Plant guilds and permaculture systems are a boon to ALL fruit trees and can help us reduce our use of chemicals in our orchards (and gardens!).
If you’re planning on an orchard or even if you have an orchard that is having challenges or you want to reduce the need for chemicals, I highly recommend the following books:
- Fruit Trees for Every Garden by Orin Martin
I own these books and found them incredibly helpful while planning my organic orchard.
Members of the nightshade family
Using a garlic spray is a great way to help protect tomato plants and potatoes from fungal infections like late blight. It will also help ward off insect pests like aphids and red spider mites.
Garlic planted in close proximity to tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, and eggplant can help ward off diseases like verticillium wilt and leaf curl.
I plant garlic every year with my hot peppers with great success. We always end up with a bounty of peppers that we turn into cowboy candy (if you’ve never tried cowboy candy, I highly recommend it) and pickled jalapeno peppers.
- Learn More: How to fertilize peppers for big harvests and how to dehydrate peppers for long-term storage.
- Related: Eggplant Companion Plants
Members of the brassica family (cabbage family)
Garlic is known to repel common cabbage pests such as cabbage moths, diamondback moths, and cabbage worms.
Interplanting garlic around your brassicas (turnip, cauliflower, cabbage, kohlrabi, kale, broccoli, and cabbage) can protect them from mammals like deer and rabbits.
Garlic makes a good companion plant for strawberry plants. When planted in double rows in close proximity to strawberry plants, spider mites can be reduced by up to 50%.
Planting garlic in your strawberry bed will also help prevent gray mold from forming.
- Learn More: Companion Plants To Grow With Strawberries
Garlic is an excellent choice when companion planting beets.
Growing garlic with your beets will improve the flavor of the beets.
Another benefit of growing garlic and beets together is that garlic releases sulfur into the soil as it grows. Sulfur is a natural antibacterial and anti-fungal that helps reduce many diseases that plague the garden.
Cultivars to try: My most recent find is the cultivar “Chioggia.” It is such a strong performer, with a strong sweet flavor. It’s an excellent addition to any vegetable garden, and they make lovely pickled beets.
- Learn More: What To Plant With Beets
Carrots make an excellent companion plant for garlic. Their relationship is symbiotic: Carrots will help deter insect pests that feed on garlic, and garlic will help repel the pesky carrot fly.
Spinach is a good companion for garlic as it creates a living mulch around the garlic plants as it grows. In addition, the spinach will help shade the soil and, in turn, choke out weeds and help retain moisture.
- Learn More: The Plants that Grow Well with Spinach.
AROMATIC HERBS MAKE GREAT COMPANIONS FOR Garlic
Pests will not only eat and destroy your crops, but they spread disease through the garden. Managing these insect pests is one of the best strategies for a healthy garden. Planting garlic in your herb garden will help reduce these pests, keeping your herbs happier and healthier.
Growing garlic in your herb garden will help it stay pest free, but what does the garlic get out of it? Chamomile! Chamomile is said to improve the taste of garlic. The flowers also help attract beneficial insects like hoverflies and parasitic wasps, which help deal with pests.
The best flower companion plants for Garlic
Many flowers are beneficial to a vegetable garden, but nasturtiums, garlic, and marigolds offer a 1-2-3 punch for pests and disease.
Garlic and roses are the perfect pair.
Garlic will help deter pests like aphids and Japanese beetles from the plants due to its strong odor. But garlic has another trick up its sleeve when it comes to pests. The garlic bulbs will add sulfur to the soil, which the roses will take up. The sulfur will make the roses less tasty to pests.
The sulfur-producing garlic is also anti-fungal and antibacterial and will help keep fungal diseases at bay.
And best of all, garlic is said to increase the scent of your roses!
- Related: How to Grow Drift Roses
The flowers of Nasturtiums add a pop of color that helps to attract beneficial insects like bees, butterflies, and hoverflies.
Nasturtium plants and vines also work as a ground cover providing shade to the soil and helping to prevent moisture loss around the garlic patch.
- Learn More: Nasturtium Companion Plants
Marigolds attract helpful insects like parasitic wasps and ladybugs, which will help take care of aphids.
Turning the marigold flowers into the ground at the end of the season helps kill pests like root-knot nematodes.
Be sure to use Mexican marigolds or French marigolds if your intent is pest control.
WHAT NOT TO PLANT WITH Garlic
Very few plants will cause issues if planted near your garlic, but legumes and garlic do not play well together.
All legumes make poor companions for garlic. For example, pole beans, bush beans, runner beans, and peanuts will grow poorly if planted side by side with garlic.
Why can’t you plant garlic with beans? Legumes rely on a symbiotic relationship with bacteria called rhizobia to create nitrogen to feed their roots. The antibacterial nature of garlic can kill the rhizobia, which cuts off the food supply to the legume plant, stunting its growth.
Learn More: Growing Peas In Containers 101
Give Companion Planting A Try
The key to companion planting is to understand your challenges before planning. You can see from this list how specific plants and plant combinations work well in the garden. But you do need to consider the “why” before you add a companion.
For instance, planting garlic with chamomile will enhance flavor, but planting with marigolds will help deter pests. Either one of these plants would make good companions, but one of them will be better in your specific environment.
If you want more information about companion planting, I highly recommend the book “Carrots Love Tomatoes. “
Looking for more Companion Planting and Gardening Inspiration?
We have many more gardening guides and companion planting inspiration:
- Rhubarb Companion Plants: A Very Detailed Guide
- The Best Sweet Potato Companion Plants
- The Best Companion Plants For Cucumbers And The Ones to Avoid
- Companion Plants for Zucchini For Better Yields
- How to Grow Garlic In Pots – Step By Step
- 28 Vegetables That Grow in Shade For Gardens Without Full Sun
- Higher Yields with Less Space: Vertical Vegetable Gardens