If you grow many herbs in your garden, thyme is probably among them. Did you know there are many benefits that can be shared between thyme and other plants? There are several thyme companion plants that benefit from being grown with thyme.
- Good thyme companion plants include Potatoes, Eggplants, Shallots, Cabbage, Tomatoes, Blueberries, Strawberries, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, and Lavender.
- Bad thyme companion plants are Cilantro, Mint, and Fennel.
If you are interested to see how thyme helps these other plants, go ahead and read on to find out.
What Is Thyme?
Thyme is a green plant or herb that originates from the Mediterranean region. The flowers and leaves have ornamental, dietary, cosmetic, and medicinal remedies. The most common thyme variety used is Thymus vulgaris however there are several other cultivars available.
Conditions Suitable For Growing Thyme
Thyme enjoys the same conditions as many of our garden-grown vegetables, fruit, and herbs. So squeezing it into a space between your vegetables here and there is not a problem. Let us briefly look at the growing requirements of thyme.
- Thyme enjoys full sun and higher temperatures
- Must have well-draining soil (does not like waterlogged soils)
- Hardiness to USDA zones 5 to 9
- Enjoys a soil pH of 6.0 to 8.0 (acidic and alkaline soils both)
- Prefers sandy or loamy soils
- Thyme is a no-fuss plant and fairly free of disease
- Helps to improve the quality of soil naturally
What Are Companion Plants?
Companion plants are plants that when grown together or near other specific plants, can provide advantages. The practice of companion planting has been followed for decades and can benefit your garden in several ways.
Benefits of using thyme companion plants include:
- Deterring unwanted pests
- Attracting vital beneficial (pollinator) insects
- Improving the soil’s nutrient levels
- Providing shade or shelter
- Excellent utilization of space
Best Vegetable Thyme Companion Plants
Let us now look at some plants that thrive in the same conditions that are favorable for thyme. With some companion plants, thyme may discourage pests while with others it can enhance the plant’s flavor.
Planting potatoes and thyme together make a good combination in the garden as in the kitchen too! But, what makes these two great garden neighbors? Firstly, like thyme potatoes need full sun as well-draining soil.
Secondly, when planting thyme near to your potatoes the herb attracts parasitic wasps that feed on potato beetles and other beetle pests. Thus, the population of this pest will stay under control. Another beneficial insect attracted by this duo of plants is ladybugs.
Furthermore, there is talk that thyme can help produce a better-tasting potato. Also, there could be lower chances of potato plants getting fungal diseases when you grow them near thyme!
Unfortunately, eggplants happen to be a vegetable that suffers from a multitude of pests such as aphids, beetles, spider mites, moths, and a few varieties of worms!
Thyme is a good companion plant for eggplants as it helps to deter all of these pests that would otherwise damage these pests. The way the thyme manages to discourage this many pests is by its strongly herby scent.
NOTE- You must remember to maintain an adequate distance (2.5 meters) to ensure these plants do not have to compete for nutrients.
Eggplants are a vegetable that suits being surrounded by thyme if you have the space and want that much thyme in your garden.
Shallots look a lot like onions, but they are different but of the same family. They do not have a defense mechanism when it comes to pests. They therefore can do with a helping hand from a good companion plant like thyme.
Thyme improves the flavor of shallots and also protects the shallots from worms and other pests. Thus making this another thyme companion plant pairing that helps you increase your harvest and avoid the spreading of pests across the garden.
Thyme makes an excellent companion plant for cabbage, as well as other plants in the cabbage family, such as cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, and kale.
The cabbage attracts a lot of unwanted attention from pests such as aphids, cabbage worms, slugs, cabbage moths, cabbage loopers, and flea beetles. Thyme helps to combat all of these pests.
Apart from the deterrent properties of thyme, this partnership is also made successful by the fact that it helps to attract predators. These insects then also help to lower the number of insects that damage your garden crops.
Having your tomatoes riddled with holes and worms is not exactly appetizing, but this is what pests do to your tomatoes. Apparently, hornworms and whiteflies find tomatoes just as enjoyable and seek to eat or use them as a breeding ground!
Luckily, the presence of thyme as a companion plant can be enough to save your tomato plants and make harvesting plentiful. The herb acts as a natural deterrent against tomato hornworm, which is the tomato’s biggest pest.
Thyme is also said to improve the flavor of your tomato crop, but, you will have to try this to know if it is true or false!
Best Fruit Thyme Companion Plants
It’s not just vegetables that can benefit from the herb thyme stationed next to or near them. Take a look at what fruits you can plant in between your thyme herb bushes and why they should be there!
If you have a blueberry plant in your garden you can aid pollination by planting a thyme plant nearby. Thyme helps to attract bees that aid pollination.
While the blueberry bush requires soil that enjoys higher acidic levels and thyme moderate acidic levels, thyme can do with the difference in soils.
NOTE- Although blueberries are acidic soil-loving plants, thyme will still grow in this soil since they are flexible when it comes to soil pH.
One problem that you have to be aware of is that both thyme and blueberry plants are quite bushy plants, meaning they both need their own space. A distance of 2 feet between each plant should suffice in providing enough ‘personal’ space for both plants.
Everyone loves strawberries, these fruits are so useful and can be used for a wide range of food products. However, the dread of growing strawberries is that you are not assured of a good harvest! This is because strawberries suffer from the worst pests.
But, when you place your strawberry bushes strategically near or in between thyme bushes. The result will be a full harvest of strawberries since these pests naturally hate the smell of fresh thyme.
Planting thyme in between the strawberries also helps in suppressing weeds. The scent of thyme can help deter worms and other pests that might want to feast on the strawberries like slugs and snails.
Thyme also assists in keeping the soil moist, a condition that both plants prefer.
Best Herb Thyme Companion Plants
An obvious group of plants that would make for the best thyme companion plants is herbs. The majority of them can easily fit into the exact same care and placement conditions.
Oregano and thyme share very similar conditions to grow in, so it only makes sense that you grow them together. Plus, it’s likely that you will need to harvest both oregano and thyme for a special dish, so placing them together can cut down the time to harvest it.
But, oregano and thyme have different heights, with thyme being much taller than the oregano plant. This does well to shelter the oregano plants that may find sunlight exposure excessive.
Other than this, thyme maintains soil moisture and can help all the plants in the vicinity grow better, including oregano.
Rosemary and thyme make for great companions seeing as they require identical growing conditions. Both plants work to reduce the chances of insects affecting the plants in the nearby vicinity.
Together they can keep your garden or the area they are planted in pretty much pest-free.
Rosemary does tend to get bushy and it could easily smother your thyme if planted in the same container or too close to thyme in an open bed. So, to prevent this from happening you have to carefully select a rosemary variant that will not grow very large, ideally a miniature.
Both sage and thyme have the ability to keep away insects including flies and snails. Their growing conditions are the same except for one change.
Sage doesn’t need moist soil whereas thyme needs moist soil. This doesn’t matter much as you can plant the sage on the outskirts while the thyme is in the center. This suits the plants fine since sage is actually a creeper and thyme isn’t.
Again, by planting them together you can save time by not having to go to different ends of the garden for these two herbs.
Who doesn’t like having lavender in the garden? Lavender is a great addition to have in the garden and it has so many different uses.
The best part about adding lavender is that the lavender flowers add color to the garden and this helps to invite beneficial predatory insects as well as pollinators!
You won’t regret the decision to add lavender to the garden. You can even use it to make essential lavender oil or in the kitchen for a host of dishes.
Worst Thyme Companion Plants
You will want to avoid planting these plants with your thyme!
Cilantro is a herb that enjoys moist soil and this is due to the plant needing more water than most other plants. Slightly less water will lead your cilantro to wilt, and even dry up and die. Your cilantro will need soil that holds water, this means it needs a lot of organic matter.
Meanwhile, thyme is the opposite! It loves well-draining soil and that too, sandy soils.
Although mint is a herb as well, it doesn’t make for a great thyme companion plant. That’s because these two plants show a great contrast in one vital condition.
Mint needs a lot more water than thyme and this means mint needs moist soil while thyme doesn’t!
That said, one cannot thrive without the other one suffering and eventually perishing. So, keep these quite far from each other. All mint plants are definitely among the worst thyme companion plants!
A lot of people use fennel in the kitchen to make a range of dishes especially if they enjoy other cuisines. Unfortunately, if you are growing fennel in the garden it should be kept far away from your thyme.
Fennel makes for a bad thyme companion plant because it has such a strong smell! Also, there are chances of the fennel inhibiting the growth of thyme, even if chances are low.
You may want to keep your fennel separate from other plants and on its own.
Benefits Of Having Thyme In The Garden
Growing thyme with other plants has its advantages. Here are the best reasons to start your own companion plant garden.
Pest Control- Thyme can act as a deterrent to certain insects. There are myths that suggest that thyme repels cabbage worms, tomato hornworms, corn earworms, whiteflies, and many more.
Space Saver- It makes sense to fill in any gaps in your rows of potatoes or cabbage with thyme. Thyme does not need much space to grow, it is compact and adds fragrance to your garden.
Grows Back Yearly- Thyme is a perennial herb plant which means it can grow back year after year. It can survive for three years or more. Which saves you the effort of acquiring a fresh plant every year.
Drought Tolerant- This herb is not a delicate plant and can survive neglect now and then. It can therefore be planted with plants that are not so needy and can survive a day or two without water.
Imparts Flavor- Planting thyme with other companion plants can help in adding flavor to some of those plants.
Smells Great- Thyme is an aromatic herb and will keep your garden smelling great. This alone should get you growing your own thyme.
Make Your Own Thyme Product- You can use fresh thyme in your dishes, try your hand at dried thyme, and even thyme oil too, not to mention soaps. Why don’t you get started?
Eco-Friendly- It’s time for you to do your bit in making the earth green again, and you can begin by not using chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Adding thyme to your garden is a natural way of reducing and limiting insect pest populations.
Thyme is a herb everyone wouldn’t mind having in the garden. However, if space or pests are an issue you would want to make the right call by practicing companion plant growing if the conditions allow it.
Good thyme companion plants include:
Bad thyme companion plants are Cilantro, Mint, and Fennel.
So, to make your garden more efficient, you can follow these thyme companion plants do’s and don’ts!
Are rosemary and thyme good companion plants?
Yes, rosemary is an excellent thyme companion plant. Just be sure to allow them enough space as rosemary can be a bushy plant!
Is thyme an indoor plant?
Yes, thyme makes for a great indoor plant. It requires limited care and it can fit into the requirements of several other herbs grown indoors.