Companion Planting with Herbs
Beebalm – very attractive to pollinators such as bees, bumbles, hummingbirds and butterflies. We have our beebalm planted in the middle of our winter squash and pumpkin patch – while it can be a bit of a pain to rototill around it in the spring, we’ve found it to be so valuable to leave it there for the benefit of getting all our squash and pumpkins well pollinated. It blooms later in the spring and early summer, so matches up well with the bloom time of our winter squash and pumpkins, while also provide another later source of nectar for our resident hummingbirds.
German Chamomile – lovely flowering annual, as an aromatic herb with a lovely floral scent with a hint of apples, it partners well with cole, such as cabbage. The aroma helps keep pests such as the white cabbage butterfly away, while also housing a wide range of predatory insects and also attracting pollinators to its flowers. It is well loved by small stingless bee-like pollinators, who can more easily access it’s small flowers, as well as ladybeetles/ladybugs – those bright red-backed beetles who love aphids so much. Like calendula, it makes a great herb to interplant in your veggie garden or on the edge in a flower “hedge” with other annuals. We've seen it pop up in many places around the farm, and since it makes such a nice companion, we often leave it where it comes up - harvesting it for tea for the winter.
Dill – this annual, with its umbel flowers (sort of like an umbrella), is highly attractive to a wide range of beneficial insects, such as lacewings. The highly predatory lacewing larvae can eat a great number of pest insects such as aphids, spider mites, leaf hoppers, and other soft bodied common veggie pest insects. Additionally, it attracts predatory hover flies and ladybeetles (commonly known as ladybugs), as well as parasitic wasps. We fequently find young dill plants covered with the larvae of ladybugs; the larvae are often the most voracious step of the ladybug lifecycle. It is a great plant to scatter in the veggie garden for cole crops, such as cabbage, kale, broccoli and others. While dill and pickles are practically synonymous, cucumbers do not do well with aromatic herbs such as dill (or German chamomile), so it’s best to keep them a bit separated within the garden. If you miss harvesting a few heads, it is likely that you will have some volunteer dill plants in next years garden - we find them easy to transplant to where we want them.
These are of course just a few of our favorite herbs and how we’ve successfully used them in our gardens and landscape as companions for our veggies, flowers, and other herbs. Check out the resources below for additional herbs beyond these six, to inspire other companion planting in your yard and garden!