You’ve probably heard of companion planting: Grouping different plant species near each other to the mutual or sole benefit of one or the other. Companion planting methods are used for various reasons, most commonly to repel pests. Herbs, including thyme, are often recommended companion plants. So what companion plants go well with thyme? Read on to learn about companion plants for thyme.
Companion Planting with Thyme
Thyme not only benefits some plants as a companion planting, but it has other benefits in the garden.
- Thyme’s tiny flowers attract honey bees, predatory wasps and other native pollinators.
- Low maintenance thyme thrives in rocky, arid areas, making it a perfect specimen to aid in soil erosion.
- Thyme is hardy, as it easily withstands drought and below freezing temps.
- As a companion plant, thyme repels several types of pests and attracts beneficial insects.
- Thyme is said to improve the flavor of shallots and potatoes.
While companion planting has been around for centuries, it hasn’t been until recently that any scientific study has been done on the practice. So as you buddy up your thyme, remember that some plants will reap benefits and not others.
What to Plant with Thyme
Thyme used as a companion plant is reported to repel cabbage loopers and maggots, corn earworm, tomato hornworm, and whitefly.
Thyme is a good eggplant companion since the herb attracts beneficial insects which, in turn, help to control pests that attack eggplant. Thyme is also said to improve the flavor of eggplant while repelling whiteflies and cabbage worms.
Other plants recommended as companion plants with thyme include another nightshade and tomatoes, as well as Brassicas like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and kohlrabi. Thyme is a good companion for cabbage family plants because it is not only an insect repellant but also encourages ladybugs, which can devour over 50 aphids per day.
Thyme planted between strawberry plants helps smother weeds which can outcompete the berries for nutrients and water. Thyme is a good potato companion because it repels Colorado potato beetles and, along with chamomile and basil, can supposedly improve the flavor of your spuds.
Blueberry companions are hard to find because they require a very specific acidic soil. But thyme can tolerate a wide pH range which makes thyme a great companion plant that will attract honeybees.
Lastly, apparently roses can benefit from the close proximity of thyme. It is said that thyme will repel blackflies and aphids from the rose plants.
What NOT to Plant with Thyme
Herbs with the same growing requirements, such as oregano, lavender and sage, however, are excellent companions to thyme. However, plants that have dissimilar growing requirements are not a good idea to plant together. Don’t grow thyme near plants that require lots of water and consistently moist soil. Again, some herbs like mint, cilantro, basil and chives fall into this category because they require more water, more frequently. Garden peppers and cucumbers aren’t great companions to thyme, either.
For the most part, thyme is a beneficial companion, especially creeping thyme. With its low profile and excellent cover, creeping thyme may grow close to almost any species in the garden.
Keep in mind that companion planting is not an exact science. Thyme is a fairly benign option as companion plantings go. It isn’t toxic like black walnut, it seems unlikely to cause any major issues, and the honeybees just love it.
Thyme, a member of the mint family, Lamiaceae, is a woody perennial herb. There are around 300 varieties of thyme, from lemon scented to creeping. With its strong pungent aroma, thyme companion plants help boost defenses and increase growth in certain other companion plants.
Interestingly, as a companion plant, thyme pairs well with a variety of other garden species, but isn’t always compatible with certain other herbs. Thyme loves hot temperatures, is drought tolerant and requires very little maintenance, which means it’s not a good companion for other herbs like basil, cilantro, chives, parsley, or tarragon, all of which prefer moister soil.
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Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.
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