The Best Basil Companion Plants for Your Garden

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If you’re a gardening enthusiast, you know how important it is to understand basil companion plants well. It can make all the difference in maximizing your basil harvest and adding to your garden’s biodiversity. That’s why we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide designed for herb gardeners of all levels. We’ll explore the symbiotic relationships between basil and its companion plants and offer fantastic insights, tips, and strategies to help you get the best growth, flavor, and pest resistance in your garden beds.

Basil in an outdoor planter with several other vegetables.
Table of Contents

    What Type of Basil Makes The Best Companion Plant?

    When selecting basil for companion planting, focus on varieties with strong aromas and healthy growth habits. Sweet basil is the most commonly grown type and is versatile and fragrant. Other types of basil that work well as companions are:

    • Genovese Basil: Intense flavor and aroma repel pests, while its growth habit shades neighboring plants.
    • Lemon Basil: Its refreshing citrusy scent deters pests and pairs well with tomatoes, peppers, and Mediterranean herbs.
    • Thai Basil: Unique licorice-like flavor repels pests and attracts beneficial insects, and is ideal for Asian-inspired dishes.
    • Purple Basil: Vibrant foliage adds visual interest and repels pests.

    Considerations when selecting basil varieties are:

    • Spicy Basil Varieties: May have a pungent aroma that deters certain pests.
    • Compact Basil Varieties: May not provide as much shade or protection to neighboring plants.
    • Allelopathic Basil Varieties May inhibit the growth of certain companion plants.

    Select basil varieties with strong aromas, healthy growth habits, and compatibility with neighboring plants for the best companion planting results.

    Good Basil Companion Plants

    Here are the top basil plant companions for your vegetable garden:


    Anise can help increase the oil production in your basil plants, making them far more robust. Flowers from anise also attract beneficial insects like predatory wasps, which can help with aphid infestations that plague basil leaves and stems. 

    Anise with leaves, watercolor painting on white background.


    As a companion plant, basil will help repel the Asparagus beetle. The asparagus beetle is confused by the strong smell of essential oils in the basil and may bypass your bed of asparagus. 

    We plant basil and marigolds around the perimeter of our asparagus bed and have not yet been hounded by asparagus beetles.  

    Learn More: For more information, check out this post on companion plants for asparagus.

    Closeup of a bundle of asparagus.


    Borage and basil enjoy a similar growing environment and do not compete for nutrients or moisture.  

    Flowers that bloom from borage will attract beneficial insects like bees. Pollinators love borage flowers and will flock to them throughout the blooming season. Attracting pollinators will not help your basil but will help the garden and increase harvest yields. 

    Borage is also an excellent provider of potassium and calcium and reliably adds those minerals back to the soil. 

    NOTE: Be careful; borage can be a nuisance if allowed to self-seed and can be challenging to manage and control, so be sure to remove seed heads before they are allowed to fall. 

    Closeup of a blue borage flower.


    Basil grown next to broccoli can help deter cabbage worms. The aroma of the leaves confuses the pests away from the crops.  

    Interplant your basil around your broccoli for the best chance to deter cabbage worms. 

    • Learn More:  Did you know that it is incredibly easy to grow broccoli in containers? We have all the tips you need to know to get started.
    A pile of brassica crops, including cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel's sprouts.


    Chamomile also increases the aromatic oils in basil, so planting it nearby will help improve the basil flavor. The chamomile plant is also said to help enhance the growth of basil.  

    Chamomile is also reputed to help deter flea beetles, a common pests that attack basil plants. 

    Closeup of a chamomile flower.


    Basil and chives go together like tomatoes and carrots.  

    Both plants enjoy similar growing environments and do not overly compete for nutrients or moisture. 

    Chives can also help deter aphids away from basil plants. 

    • Learn More: Learn everything you need to know to grow a lovely chive plant indoors and out.
    A bundle of fresh chives.


    Basil and garlic also grow well together. Garlic can help keep away small mammals like squirrels and rabbits.  

    Garlic is also known as a fungicide and will help protect your interplanted basil from fungal diseases. 

    • Learn More: Did you know you can grow beautiful heads of garlic in pots on your porch or deck? You can, and we have all the steps you need to know to grow garlic in a small space.
    Garlic on grey wooden table.


     Basil and marigolds are a perfect pairing.  

    Marigolds help repel aphids and several garden pests all through the garden season.

    Marigold flower isolated on white background.


    Basil can help repel some pests attracted to oregano, like spider mites. 

    Oregano can also help improve the vigor and flavor of basil. 

    • Learn More: See all our tips and tricks for growing a healthy oregano plant all year round. We also have an article on all the different types of oregano you can grow in your herb garden.
    A bundle of fresh oregano sprigs.


    Peppers are highly susceptible to spider mites. Planting basil with your pepper and hot pepper plants will help deter spider mites and their damage.

    Basil is also reputed to help enhance the flavor of your pepper plants. 

    Basil plants also act as living mulch if planted around the peppers, which helps retain moisture in the soil. 

    Red, yellow, and green peppers on a white background.


    Basil planted around potato plants is said to help improve the flavor of the potato tubers. 

    Basil will also thrive in the necessary shade and moisture the potato plants provide.  

    The aromatic scent from the basil plants can also help deter common pests such as thrips, flies, and mosquitoes. 

    • Learn More:  See what other companion plants work exceptionally well planted side by side with potatoes.
    A small pile of potatoes.

    Root Vegetables

    Basil is also a good companion plant for root vegetables such as carrots, beets, parsnips, and turnips.  

    Add basil throughout the root vegetable bed to help deter thrips, spider mites, and flies away from your crops. 

    See our companion planting guides for:

    Several carrots lined up with their stems still attached.


    We always plant basil with our tomato plants. They share similar growing environment requirements and are beneficial to each other.

    Basil will help repel pests, including tomato hornworms and spider mites, and will help improve the taste of the tomatoes. 

    Tomatoes will also offer shade for the basil and improve ground moisture from the shade. However, too much shade can impede the growth of the basil plant, so be sure to plant on the south side of any tomato bed to get the best growth potential.


    Related: Tomatoes are a staple in the modern garden. They are easy to grow, producing fruit far better than anything you can buy at the grocery store. We’ve got plenty of articles to help you maximize your tomato potential:

    • Over-watering and under-watering are both causes of tomato splitting, but there are many other environmental reasons. If you are having issues with split tomatoes, check out our troubleshooting guide to help you prevent your tomatoes splitting in the future.
    • Tomatoes are one of the best crops you can grow in your garden, but did you know you can grow cherry tomatoes in pots?
    • Nearly anyone who has ever grown tomatoes has experienced the disappointment of finding blossom end rot. Luckily, you can take steps to prevent and manage tomato blossom end rot.
    A bunch of fresh ripe tomatoes on the vine.

    Bad Basil Companion Plants

    Basil is generally an all-around good guy companion, and there are few plants it does not get along with. It would help if you avoided Rue and the Mediterranean herbs that like dry, hot growing conditions, like thyme and sage. 

    Common Rue

    Rue and basil have been common enemies for a long time. It’s said that Rue and basil together will impede the growth of both plants. 

    Rue can also change the flavor of the basil leaves, so it is best to keep these two far apart.  

    A flowering rue plant on a white background.


    Thyme requires hot, dry, sandy conditions, whereas basil needs wet, cool, and nutrient-dense soil to thrive.  

    Planting both in the same area will surely cause a problem for one of the plants.  

    • Learn more: Great places to grow thyme plants in your garden! Check out our article on the best practices for increasing thyme indoors and out.


    Like thyme, sage also requires hot, dry, sandy soil to thrive. It is best to keep these two apart. 

    • Learn More:  Sage can be picky about its growing environment. If you’re considering growing sage this year, please read our article on the best spots and care for growing sage plants in your garden. There are also many different types of sage you can grow in your garden, so be sure you choose the one that is right for you.
    Bunch of flowering sage, tied with kitchen string.


    Rosemary does not like to be wet or moist and prefers drying out entirely before watering. Basil, on the other hand, requires consistently moist conditions. 

    If you plat rosemary side by side with basil, the rosemary will likely die due to the wetter conditions required to keep the basil alive. 

    Learn More: Check out our guide for growing rosemary plants! Here is every tip you need to know to grow healthy rosemary plants.

    Fresh rosemary bunch isolated on white background.


    Cucumbers will often take on the flavor of anything planted and grown near them.  

    Herbs, like basil, will alter the taste of your cucumbers and cause them to become slightly bitter. 

    It’s also said that basil will impact cucumber plants’ growth and yield production. 

    Organic mini cucumbers on a white background.


    Fennel is an allelopathic plant, meaning it can inhibit the growth of many garden plants, from vegetables to herbs, fruits, and flowers – basil included.   

    Fresh, organic fennel on a white background

    Ensuring Companion Planted Basil Grows Well In The Garden

    Although basil makes a wonderful companion for many other plants, we want to ensure that it also grows abundantly and well. There are a few factors you should consider when using basil as a companion:

    Companion Planting Layouts

    Effective companion planting layouts can maximize the benefits of symbiotic relationships between basil and its companions while optimizing space in the garden. One popular layout is interplanting basil with other vegetables in raised beds or rows, allowing for efficient use of garden space and providing natural pest protection to neighboring crops.

    Additionally, creating borders or edges with companion plants such as marigolds, basil and lavender can serve as a natural barrier against pests while adding aesthetic appeal to the garden landscape.

    Potential Challenges:

    While companion planting with basil offers numerous benefits, there are also potential challenges to consider. One common challenge is the risk of competition for resources such as water, nutrients, and sunlight between basil and its companion plants. To mitigate this, it’s important to space plants adequately and select companion plants with similar growth habits and resource requirements.

    Additionally, some companion plants may release allelopathic compounds that could inhibit basil growth if not carefully chosen or managed.

    Seasonal Considerations:

    Adapting companion planting strategies to seasonal variations in weather and plant growth cycles is essential for maintaining a thriving garden year-round. For instance, in the spring and summer months when pest populations are typically higher, planting basil alongside susceptible crops can provide added protection against pest infestations.

    Conversely, in the fall and winter, when pest pressure may decrease, focusing on companion planting for soil enrichment or weed suppression can be more beneficial.

    Additionally, rotating companion planting arrangements each season can help prevent the buildup of pests and diseases in the garden while promoting biodiversity and soil health.

    Expert Tips

    1. Natural Pest Repellent: Basil emits strong aromatic oils that can repel various pests such as mosquitoes, flies, aphids, and whiteflies. Planting basil among other crops can help deter these pests naturally, reducing the need for chemical pesticides.
    2. Companion Planting Borders: Create borders or interplant basil around vegetable garden beds or along pathways. This adds visual interest and serves as a natural barrier against pests that might otherwise invade your garden.
    3. Attract Beneficial Insects: While basil repels certain harmful insects, it also attracts beneficial insects like bees and butterflies. These pollinators are essential for fertilizing many garden plants, leading to better yields.
    4. Masking Scent: Basil’s strong scent can help mask the aroma of nearby plants, making it harder for pests to locate their favorite host plants. This can be particularly useful for plants that are prone to pest infestations.
    5. Companion Planting in Containers: Plant basil in pots alongside other container plants to provide natural pest protection. Basil’s compact growth habit makes it suitable for container gardening, and its pest-repellent properties can benefit nearby plants.
    6. Rotate Companion Planting: Rotate the placement of basil and other companion plants throughout your garden each season. This can help prevent the buildup of pests and diseases in specific areas while promoting a balanced ecosystem.
    7. Interplanting with Vulnerable Crops: Intercropping basil with vulnerable crops can help shield them from pest attacks. For example, planting basil between rows of susceptible plants like tomatoes or peppers can provide a protective barrier against pests.
    8. Herb Garden Integration: Incorporate basil into your herb garden alongside other culinary herbs like parsley, thyme, and oregano. Basil’s pest-repellent properties can help protect neighboring herbs from insect damage.
    9. Succession Planting: Practice succession planting with basil to ensure a continuous supply throughout the growing season. By planting new basil seedlings as older plants are harvested, you can maintain a constant presence of this beneficial companion plant in your garden.
    10. Monitor Plant Health: While basil can serve as a valuable companion plant, monitoring its health regularly is essential. Pests and diseases can still affect basil, so promptly address any issues to prevent them from spreading to other plants in your garden.


    What are the best companion plants for basil?

    Companion plants for basil include tomatoes, peppers, oregano, marigolds, lavender, beans, cucumbers, lettuce, carrots, and onions.

    How does basil benefit neighboring plants?

    Basil can benefit neighboring plants by repelling pests, attracting beneficial insects, masking scents to deter pests, and providing natural pest protection.

    Can I plant basil with other herbs?

    In herb gardens, basil can be planted with other herbs, such as parsley, thyme, oregano, and cilantro. It can help repel pests and enhance the growth of neighboring herbs.

    Which pests does basil repel?

    Basil can repel pests such as mosquitoes, flies, aphids, whiteflies, spider mites, cucumber beetles, carrot flies, onion flies, and onion maggots.

    How should I incorporate basil into my garden layout?

    Basil can be planted as borders, interplanted among vegetables, in container gardens, or rotated throughout the garden to provide natural pest protection.

    Can basil be planted in pots alongside other plants?

    Yes, basil can be planted alongside other container plants for natural pest protection. Its compact growth habit makes it suitable for container gardening.

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    Final Remarks

    Companion planting basil can benefit your garden by enhancing crop health and biodiversity. Select compatible basil varieties and strategically integrate them with complementary companion plants to create symbiotic relationships that naturally repel pests, attract beneficial insects, and improve overall garden productivity. Incorporating basil and its companions is a sustainable and effective approach to cultivating thriving, pest-resistant gardens year-round.

    If you have any questions or comments, please reach out via our comment section or email us- we love connecting with our readers and sharing information!

    Author: Laura Kennedy

    Writer & Owner of Little Yellow Wheelbarrow

    Laura is a highly skilled gardener and fervent flower enthusiast. Despite her playful battle with plant spacing guidelines, Laura’s work inspires gardeners to create thriving, beautiful spaces that reflect both creativity and sustainability.

    Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on November 30, 2022. It was updated on February 29, 2024 for clarity and to include expert tips, FAQs, and table of contents.

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