The best thyme companion plants are those that require little water to thrive and can help attract pollinators and act as support for thyme, like lavender and sage. The worst companion plants for thyme would be plants like basil, tomatoes, and cucumbers due to their significant watering requirements that may smother nearby thyme plants.
Thyme is a great complimentary herb you can use in a vast majority of your dishes. But how can you identify which plants would be the best thyme companion plant? This is what we’ll go over together in the article below.
|Best Thyme Companions||Worst Thyme Companions|
7. Brussel sprouts
|1. Basil |
5. Sweet corn
7. Water spinach
Just like in the kitchen, thyme can be used and planted with a wide variety of herbs and vegetables in the garden. Here are some of the best companion plants to grow, starting with herbs.
Rosemary is an excellent companion plant for thyme due to how similar their watering needs are. To prevent low-growing thyme from being overshadowed by taller rosemary bushes, plant thyme in the front.
Rosemary is a lovely smelling herb that can be grown with a majority of other plants to help attract pollinators and help spread proper seed distribution. But can it be planted with thyme?
The answer is: yes. Rosemary actually shares many of the same companion plants as thyme and requires similar watering needs, making this a good herb to plant with thyme.
Since rosemary can grow much taller, however, they should be planted with a good amount of space between them. A rosemary bush can be 6 feet high once mature, while thyme typically stays around a foot tall.
Make sure your thyme plants are placed in the front to prevent them from being overshadowed by a much taller rosemary bush and possibly wilting.
Sage is drought tolerant and a good companion plant for thyme. These plants can be grown together without worry to attract more bees. However, since sage grows taller and wider, thyme should be grown in front.
Sage is another great herb to grow with thyme. These herbs are relatively low-maintenance and can be grown in the same container to enjoy for years to come.
An added benefit is sage, it’s drought resistant just like thyme. These herbs do not have different watering requirements.
But planting them together also requires an extra step in planning, as sage plants can reach up to 1-3 feet tall and wide as they grow.
The advantage of growing herbs in containers is that you can place them in a sunny spot where both plants will receive adequate sunlight.
Thyme and lavender are ideal companion plants that have many growing needs in common such as light and water. Thyme and lavender can be grown together to attract pollinators.
The growing requirements of lavender have very few differences from thyme.
Both can be given the same amount of water since they both hate having wet feet and flourish in well-drained, sandy soils.
But thyme is quite short compared to other herbs, and lavender plants can sometimes reach 4 feet (1.22 m). Again, it’s best to plan to make sure the thyme does not get left in the shadow and possibly wilt from a lack of sun.
So long as they are both given 6 hours of full sun every day and given good drainage, lavender, and thyme should grow well together with few problems at all.
Studies have shown that cabbage crops intercropped with thyme are highly effective against insects and are therefore ideal companion plants. Thyme plants typically emit powerful aromas that pests cannot tolerate, which will further help protect cabbage crops from damage.
Thyme has many great companion plants in the Brassicas family, which is a genus of plants in the cabbage and mustard family.
Scientists have noted that thyme frequently has the highest resistance against certain pests like the cabbage maggot and cabbage looper. Thyme has a particularly strong smell that pests hardly appreciate, so you can use this to your advantage.
It is an excellent choice if you find yourself frequently battling these irritating insects or if you’d like to protect your vegetables ahead of time.
Roses can be grown as an effective companion plant for thyme and work well with the shallow root systems of thyme. Additionally, thyme plants are commonly cultivated alongside roses to help protect them against harmful insects such as scales and aphids.
Although roses are always a beautiful sight to see, they’re not always easy to care for due to how vulnerable they are to pests like aphids and rose scales.
Roses and thyme have been great partner plants for many years. Thanks to the help of thyme’s repelling scent, roses are less likely to face infestations and have a higher chance of growing safely without being attacked.
While growing differences are often a disadvantage when it comes to companion plants, the differences in their root systems between thyme and roses balance each other out.
Thyme has shorter roots that tend to grow in more shallow soils. Because of this, they’re less likely to compete with the roots of roses that grow deeper underground and will have an easier time growing together.
Although blueberries are capable enough to self-pollinate, they will still greatly benefit from being planted next to thyme and make excellent companion plants. Use thyme to further attract pollinators.
Oftentimes, berries produced through self-pollinating means are much lower in quality and numbers. To help solve this, consider growing thyme with blueberries.
Blueberries and thyme make a wonderful team when grown together, as the thyme will help attract more pollinating insects like bees and yield more fruit.
These two plants have different pH requirements but can still be successfully grown together thanks to how adaptable thyme can be.
Strawberries and thyme are suitable companion plants. Both of these plants grow to similar heights and are less likely to dwarf and compete with each other. Additionally, neighboring thyme plants will help mask and protect nearby fragile strawberry crops.
Now, I’ve heard some folks claim that thyme can help make strawberries grow faster. But there currently doesn’t seem to be much evidence that the herb speeds up the growth of strawberries.
Then again, thyme does have a very pungent aroma that keeps pests and slugs away and this can help prevent your strawberries from being damaged as they are growing.
Both of these plants are also roughly the same height, so there’s less of a chance of them overshadowing each other.
In general, brussel sprouts are considered ideal companion plants for thyme. Many members of the Brassica plant family are known to grow well with thyme and frequently suffer fewer insect infestations that can otherwise destroy their growth.
Brussel sprouts are a cultivar of the Brassica family, many of which are commonly planted together with thyme due to their harmonious relationship with each other.
Now, it’s becoming more and more popular for people to grow their vegetables at home, including brussel sprouts. However, this vegetable can still face various harmful pests that can damage the crop entirely or just make them inedible.
Thyme has been seen to help protect brussel sprouts from hornworms and fly infestations. So you can safely grow these two plants together in the garden or indoors. When the brussel sprouts are ready, you can use that same thyme to season it with!
Eggplants are drought tolerant and are excellent companion plants for thyme. Although eggplants are sufficient in attracting pollinators by themselves, thyme plants can be grown alongside eggplants to help promote pollination and increase overall yield.
Eggplants are another popular vegetable that you can grow yourself but are they a good companion plant for thyme?
Thyme and eggplants make for wonderful companion plants. Both of these plants are drought-tolerant.
Eggplants can produce tiny flowers that can be attractive to pollinating insects like bees but they will still benefit from the added support of nearby thyme.
Thyme plants can be grown with potatoes to help gardeners identify the underground tuber correctly. Additionally, potatoes are excellent companion plants for thyme and will suffer less pest-induced damage when thyme plants attract more hoverflies to consume harmful insects.
The leaves of potato plants can sometimes look inconspicuous and may be difficult to tell apart from other plants, especially on a large plot of land.
In such cases, thyme may be used as a marking plant to help remind you where these specific crops are. The tallest thyme plants are about a foot tall, so you can grow them in front of your potatoes.
Furthermore, while many vegetables are often grown next to thyme to benefit from thyme’s pest-repelling abilities, thyme is great planted with potatoes due to the fact it can help attract hoverflies.
Hoverflies, or syrphid flies, produce helpful larvae that will eat soil-inhabiting pests like tuberworms and potato bugs, which can damage the entire yield. Thyme and potatoes are ideal companion plants.
Now, we’ve covered the best companion plants to grow with thyme. But are there any bad ones? Keep on reading to see what the worst companion plants are for thyme and why.
In general, basil is not a suitable companion plant for thyme. More specifically, basil requires more water than thyme so they are not compatible with each other.
Thyme is a great companion plant due to how effective it is at repelling invasive insects like cabbage maggots and whiteflies.
This might be your thought process, but thyme and basil should actually not be planted together due to their contrasting water requirements.
If you were to water the two plants in the same container, the basil would be severely underwatered and will start to wilt. These two plants should not be grown together.
Mint is an invasive plant that should not be used as a companion plant for thyme. Thyme plants will be smothered and will eventually die from competing with the aggressive growth of mint.
Mint is another popular herb that can be grown very easily in containers indoors—a little too easy, quite frankly. Underground, its roots spread vigorously, which is why mint grows so rampantly.
Check our article here on growing mint in containers.
If mint and thyme are grown together, the mint plant will simply take over the entire area.
Your thyme plant would have to compete with the mint, and would most likely not be able to receive any of the nutrients it needs.
This may potentially smother and kill your thyme plant. So, of course, it is not suggested to grow mint and thyme together.
Cucumbers are not ideal companion plants for thyme due to how vast the two plants’ watering differences are. Additionally, nearby thyme plants will only attract insects that are potentially harmful to cucumbers.
I have heard that there’s supposedly a myth that cucumbers shouldn’t be grown with aromatic plants, as the cucumbers will somehow absorb their aroma and become unpleasant tasting.
There may not be any evidence available to prove this, but this doesn’t mean you should plant them together.
Cucumbers require heavy watering to produce bountiful amounts of fruit. The water content alone of the cucumber fruit is over at least 70%, and that’s a lot!
Remember, thyme grows best in drier soils because of its intolerance of excessively damp soils. What moist soils the cucumber would thrive in, the thyme would most likely die from. It may even attract insects to feast on the juicy cucumber plants.
In general, tomatoes typically require 2 inches of water per week that thyme plants may be smothered by and die from. Hence, tomatoes do not serve as a good companion plant for thyme.
Although there are some that claim thyme can be planted together with tomatoes to help repel certain pests, their growth differences are far too vast for these two plants to thrive together.
Tomatoes require heavy watering sessions in order to yield quality fruit. As a result, growing thyme and tomatoes together would potentially drown the thyme and lead to its death.
Instead, tomatoes flourish better when basil is used as their companion plant rather than thyme, as thyme needs far less water than tomatoes do on a regular basis.
Sweet corn does not make a suitable companion plant for thyme given how large corn stalks can grow. Thyme plants growing alongside corn stalks will potentially be seen as harmful weeds and destroyed. They could even be outcompeted by the genuine weeds growing around corn.
Corn stalks can grow over 10 feet (3.05 m) tall. Although thyme is effective at keeping harmful insects at bay, this ability would be completely lost with corn and not grow well with it.
Weed control is also a common challenge when it comes to growing corn. Due to the fact that thyme is such a low-growing herb, any thyme plants growing next to corn may accidentally be viewed as a weed and just removed entirely.
Another thing to note is even if thyme plants are not removed, they may eventually be smothered out by weeds or just suffocated by the corn plants’ vast water needs.
Due to the large watering disparities between the two plants, pumpkins are not ideal companion plants for thyme. Additionally, many of the family members of pumpkins do not grow well with thyme and all require very different watering needs.
Pumpkins are a part of the Cucurbits family, which is a group of plants that includes cucumbers, melons, and squash.
It’s unfortunate, but many, if not all, of these plants do not make ideal companion plants because of how much water they require to grow. This same thing applies to pumpkins.
Thyme and pumpkins should not be planted together as the thyme plant may suffer and die from being grown in the same soils as pumpkins, which requires a high water-holding capacity.
Because water spinach is a semiaquatic vegetable, it would not be a good companion plant for thyme. Water spinach plants thrive only in wet and bog-like soils and are even considered invasive in the US due to how rampant it grows.
Although water spinach may also be known as swamp cabbage, it’s best not to confuse this and think it is a good companion plant like genuine cabbages.
This tropical vegetable is a semiaquatic plant that would be highly unsuitable planted with thyme.
Water spinach is a great vegetable that is commonly used in Asian cuisines. But because it only flourishes in wet and swampy environments, this plant should be grown the farthest it can be away from drought-tolerant thyme.
Celery and thyme are not suitable companion plants on account of celery requiring swamp-like environments to grow in. Celery is not a compatible companion plant for thyme.
It may be a surprise to some but celery is known as a marshland plant and is often growing in salty and muddy soils.
Thyme plants may be semi salt-tolerant, however, the environments that celery needs to grow would only effectively lead to root rot in thyme plants. Therefore, celery is not a beneficial companion plant for thyme.
Ginger plants flourish in damp soils that may be too wet for thyme plants to properly live and grow in. Thyme plants are drought tolerant and thrive better in drier mediums and cannot be grown amid ginger plants.
Ginger is an easy-growing plant that can be grown at home. But can they be grown with thyme?
In this case, the simple answer is no. Ginger plants thrive in evenly moist soils which is the exact opposite of what thyme plants can handle.
Thyme grows better in dry and loamy soils—almost sandy, even. Because of this, thyme plants may face a higher chance of rotting and eventually dying if they are grown with ginger plants.
The 2 things that should be considered when choosing companion plants are:
- Considering growing requirements
- Choosing only what will be used the most
The use of companion planting comes with many benefits such as attracting more pollinators, maximizing the use of limited space, and helping in pest management.
But with so many plants and strategies available, how can you tell which plant is the best to use in your garden? It’s not easy, but this guide should help you pick which plant will work the best for you!
On average, the most superior companion plants are typically those that are drought-tolerant, can grow in dry, sandy soil and can thrive in full sun. Typically, the more these requirements overlap, the easier it will be for the plants to grow together.
Thyme grows best in dry and sandy soils and needs at least 6 hours of sun every day. Other plants that have these requirements in common are usually the best you can pick.
A good rule of thumb for companion planting is to make sure the plants have similar growing needs or at the very least are compatible when planted next to each other.
This is key for growing plants together, especially in confined spaces like raised beds and containers.
Herbs like rosemary, sage, and lavender are most likely to be successful and thrive if they are planted with thyme. They’re also much easier to maintain.
It will be less likely for you to forget what plants require what since they both have the same general needs. Your plants will probably grow together more successfully as well.
In general, it is ideal to select companion plants that will benefit from thymes repellent scents and can be grown together successfully. Companion plants should be used to fit the individual needs of the garden and to maximize efficiency.
Of course, the best companion plants you can pick should be the ones you know you will use and benefit the most from.
If you’ve been finding it difficult to repel specific pests from other plants, you may find it best to grow thyme with cabbages and brussels sprouts to protect them from cabbage moths.
In contrast, if you want to attract helpful insects, like bees, you may choose to grow thyme with rosemary and lavender to help increase your chances of attracting them.
What’s great about growing herbs indoors is that you can always tailor it to fit your needs, so take advantage of this!
Can herbs be used as companion plants for vegetables?
Herbs frequently make excellent companion plants for a wide variety of plants, especially vegetables. It has been scientifically proven that growing specific herbs like thyme and sage can help repel harmful insects like hornworms and cabbage flies.
Can companion planting be done in pots?
Companion planting is commonly practiced even in smaller spaces such as pots and containers. This method can still be used inside planters, so long as the plants are compatible with each other and have an adequate amount of space between them.
The best companion plants for thyme are cabbages, roses, rosemary, sage, blueberries, strawberries, brussel sprouts, eggplant, potatoes, and lavender. These plants were chosen because of their similar growing requirements, so they can be safely grown with thyme.
Contrastingly, the worst companion plants for thyme are basil, mint, cucumbers, tomatoes, sweet corn, pumpkins, water spinach, celery, and ginger. These plants have vastly different growing needs and cannot be planted with thyme without the risk of both or either plants dying.