Mint is an extremely versatile plant, with culinary as well as medical uses. It is used all over the world and is a great addition to your house. However, mint does not have a very good reputation among gardeners.
Known to be a super spreader, mint grows very quickly, invading the garden space and choking the other plants in the process. With this in mind, let us look at the companion plants for mint.
|Good Mint Companion Plants||Bad Mint Companion Plants|
|Marigolds||Peas and beans|
|Onions||Squash and zucchini|
|Cabbage, cauliflower and kale||Bok Choy|
|Tomatoes and eggplants|
|Oregano and Rosemary|
What is companion planting?
Companion planting is planting different plants close to each other to enhance each others’ growth. This does not mean planting together any plants of your choice.
The plants need to be compatible with each other and help share mutual benefits.
This is a kind of polyculture, where two or more species are grown together just like in a natural ecosystem. There are plenty of benefits of companion planting.
Mint as a companion plant
Mint as a companion plant can be extremely beneficial, as it repels a lot of pests and attracts some favourable insects. However, mint is not usually a very good companion plant.
Mint is a fast spreader. It takes over garden beds very quickly, destroying the other plants in the process.
Plants with thin roots or delicate root systems might not grow well if mint is planted nearby.
In addition, the growth requirements are quite different from most other common herbs. Mint requires consistently moist soil and partial shade.
Good Mint companion plants
Here are the good companion plants that you can grow along with mint.
Mint and marigold have a very strong smell, the combination of which attracts favourable insects to the garden and deters pests.
Carrots can get infested with the carrot root fly. The carrot fly lays its eggs around the root end of a growing carrot. Once the eggs hatch, they burrow inside the carrot.
These pests find plants by their smell. Because of its strong smell, planting mint near carrots can deter these insects away from the growing carrots.
Carrot flies also attack parsnip, parsley and celery.
The strong scent of mint prevents the onion fly from infesting the onions. Hence, mint is a good companion for onions.
However, mint is an invasive plant, therefore, while planting mint near onions, make sure you plant the mint in a separate container so that it does not take over the onions.
Cabbage, cauliflower and kale
The strong scent of mint keeps away the white cabbage moths and the flea beetles which infest these vegetables and chew through the leaves.
Mint also keeps harmful pests away from cauliflower.
Lettuce is easily damaged by slugs. Mint keeps the slugs away, so a lettuce plant can benefit greatly from having a mint plant nearby.
Tomatoes and eggplants
Mint is a natural repellent for aphids and spider mites, both of which infest these plants and cause the most trouble.
Peas and beans
Peas and beans are especially attractive to rodents like rats and mice. Planting mint around these plants ensures that these pests stay away, as mice stay far away from anything that has come in contact with mint.
Corn can be damaged by not just pests, but also by animals like deer. Mint is known to help keep deer away. So, if you are planting corn, you can plant a row of mint in pots to keep them away.
Squash and zucchini
Squash and Zucchini can benefit from the favourable insects that are attracted to mint. These insects eat pests like the squash bug.
Mint is a good companion plant for Bok choy because mint repels many of the pests that infest the Bok choy.
Worst mint companion plants
Here are the plants that you should avoid planting along with mint.
Mint produces oil that gives it its well-known minty scent. Planting chamomile near mint can prevent the mint from producing that oil.
If you have planted mint as a companion plant to keep away pests or to attract beneficial insects, this could also affect the other plants as its scent will be affected.
Parsley grows well with most plants; however, it should be kept away from the mint. Mint and parsley do not grow well together.
Oregano and Rosemary
Oregano and rosemary have soil, water and light conditions that are very different from the mint.
If you are planting them nearby, make sure that mint is planted in a separate container so that you can control the growth requirements of all the plants better.
Strawberry plants are susceptible to verticillium. Mint as a companion plant for strawberries can increase the chances of your strawberry plant getting verticillium.
Can mint and basil be planted together?
Mint and basil can be great companion plants, as mint deters several pests like aphids and mites that infest the basil plant.
However, mint is an extremely invasive plant. Its roots grow very quickly, taking up most of the nutrients in the soil for itself.
Therefore, mint and basil should never be planted in the same container or garden bed. Grown separately, they can be good companion plants.
Planting mint without it taking over the garden:
Here are a few ways in which you can grow mint without it taking over your garden.
Grow it in containers
This is one of the best and only options to grow mint as a companion plant without it taking over the other plants.
This will prevent your mint from growing out of control, while also letting you transport the plant easily.
Container rims can also help to prevent the mint from spreading to other places. Above the ground, mint spreads by growing roots from the stems that touch the soil.
When you use container rims, it makes it harder for the stems to take root in other plants.
Regular pruning can greatly help control the quick spread of mint. Pull out any stems that have grown over the edge of the container and taken root.
Prune the stems of the mint so that the plant stays upright by removing the stems at their bases.
Sterilize the pruning shears before and after every use.
Keep it dry
If the space is unfavourable, the mint will naturally grow slowly. Mint requires rich, moist soil to grow best.
When the soil is poor and dry, the growth of the mint plant will be less vigorous.
Benefits of companion planting
Companion planting is a great idea to incorporate, especially in a home garden where you are already short on space. Companion planting has numerous benefits.
Companion planting saves a lot of space in your garden. With a strategic layout, one can plant a variety of species of plants in the same space, making use of a small space efficiently.
For example, you can plant a shorter plant under a taller one, utilizing space that would have remained empty.
You can also plant quick-growing plants in between rows of slow-growing plants to use the space efficiently.
Provides shelter and support
Planting shorter plants beside taller ones ensures shelter and support to the smaller plants.
Direct sunlight and strong winds can damage a fragile plant, but if you have planted a larger plant near it, the larger plant can provide shelter and shade to the more delicate plants nearby.
You can also plant vines near taller plants so that they can be supported without any external support.
Helps the soil
Companion planting not only saves space but also keeps the soil healthy. Unused space between plants can lead to soil erosion.
The soil also loses its nutrients eventually. Companion planting along with crop rotation keeps the soil healthy and moist by always keeping it occupied.
Many plants like beans and peas restore the nutrients back into the soil, making the soil more fertile.
Having a garden full of plants means that there is no space for weeds to grow. Growing plants together utilizes space and provides shade. This keeps the weeds from growing.
Every garden has the potential for weeds to grow, but only the topmost layer of weed seeds actually grow, as they get direct sunlight.
With moist soil and plenty of shade, there is no possibility of weeds growing.
Attracts favourable insects
A lot of insects are beneficial to plants. Butterflies, bees and birds are excellent pollinators for the good growth of your plants.
Similarly, a lot of insects feed on pests that infest other plants. Having a variety of plants growing together helps to attract insects that only aid in the better growth of the plants.
Helps with pests and diseases
Some plants help deter pests that infest other plants. For example, marigold, basil and mint are among the plants that repel a lot of pests.
These plants usually have a strong scent that helps mask the smell of the plants that the pests get attracted to.
If you plant such plants among vegetables affected by pests like bugs and flies, it will help repel them and thus save your crop.
Pests and an unhygienic environment are also reasons for diseases among plants. Some diseases can completely destroy a plant from the inside out.
The disease spreads much faster if you have planted the same plant throughout the space.
Different species of plants growing together can help slow down the process of destruction and help you take some measures to save your remaining plants.
Beautifies the space
The benefits of companion planting are not just for better growth of plants, but also for aesthetic purposes.
If you plant annuals and perennials together or plant different plants at varied bloom times, you will have a garden that is consistently in a state of bloom, which is very pleasing to the eyes.