Friends, chums, and companions are the people you can depend on in your life. The ones that build you up and make you a better person. The same can be said for companions in the plant world.
I tell everyone considering a garden, don’t forget to research your plants and consider companion planting.
Companion planting is one of the oldest and most natural ways to help your garden thrive. By deliberately planting certain crops together, they can support each other in a variety of ways—from providing shade or protection from wind to increasing pest control and attracting beneficial insects.
Not only does companion planting benefit plants, but it’s also an easy and cost-effective way to increase yields without using chemicals or fertilizers. For example, some plants are known as “dynamic accumulators”—they take up minerals from deep in the soil that nearby plants can’t reach.
In addition to this, many companion plantings produce aroma compounds that mask vulnerable vegetables’ odors from pests.
Marigolds, for instance, have been known to protect against cabbage worms and other predators, while garlic and chives can help keep aphids away.
Companion planting isn’t just about pest control; other plants provide beneficial nutrients as well. Legumes, like peas or beans, fix nitrogen in the soil, which helps fertilize nearby crops. Plus, they often act as a natural trellis for climbing vegetables such as cucumbers or squash.
One very popular type of companion planting that you may be familiar with has its roots in Native American culture. Known as “three sisters,” this combination of corn, pole beans, and pumpkins share a tight-knit and beneficial bond. The growing corn provides light shade to young bean seedlings, which eventually use the cornstalk as a trellis. The pumpkins spread along the ground, keeping it weed-free and insulated. This is a win, win and win for all three plants.
Finally, companion plants bring visual interest to your garden while providing habitat and nectar sources for beneficial insects that will pollinate your flowers and fight off pests.
Flowering herbs like basil or oregano attract hoverflies, lacewings, parasitic wasps, and bees alike to the garden—all of which are excellent predators of destructive insects.
Just as three plants enjoy each others’ company, others would not want to share a row or even a garden bed. For instance, beans don’t like onions, and broccoli and Brussels sprouts should never be planted with strawberries.
In this piece, we will explore a familiar and well-loved garden plant, chamomile, and unpack how to best use it as a companion plant in the home garden.
Chamomile as a Companion Plant
Growing chamomile can help other plants thrive in the garden in several ways.
It helps by deterring pests like aphids and cabbage worms. The strong chamomile aroma is thought to confuse these pests, making it difficult for them to locate their desired food sources.
Additionally, chamomile also has natural antibacterial properties, which can act as a preventative measure against some plant diseases.
When chamomile blooms, the flowers attract beneficial insects, such as bees, that will assist with the pollination of nearby crops while controlling pest populations naturally.
Additionally, chamomile can be planted near other crops to act as a natural mulch, keeping soil temperatures cool and controlling weeds.
Top 12 Chamomile Companion Plants
Here are the absolute best companion plants to locate near chamomile.
Cucumbers are chamomile’s closest companion. The cucumber plants provide shade and protection from the scorching sun, while chamomile helps repel pests like aphids that often prey on cucumbers. In return, chamomile is rewarded with nitrogen-rich soil produced by the cucumber’s roots.
The pungent aroma of garlic is thought to ward off some insect pests when it’s planted close to chamomile. Its anti-fungal properties also help protect chamomile from certain plant diseases like mildew or rust.
Like many legumes, beans attract beneficial insects while providing chamomile with additional nitrogen through their root systems. Plant chamomile and beans together for a mutually beneficial relationship.
Lettuce shares chamomiles’ affinity for partial shade. Plant the two together, and chamomile will provide some protection from the intense summer sun while stimulating lettuce growth with its hardy root system.
Onions are chamomiles’ most faithful companions. They repel insects like aphids and beetles, while chamomile helps protect onions from root rot and diseases. In return, chamomile benefits from the nutrients released by onion roots into the soil.
When planted together as companion plants, beans and chamomile create an excellent partnership that is both beneficial and visually appealing. The chamomile’s tall, graceful stems and bright yellow blooms are a welcome sight in the garden and provide forage for bees and other helpful pollinators. The beans will have plenty of room to grow in the chamomile’s soft shade and will benefit from its pest-repelling aroma.
Marigolds and chamomile are a classic combination. Marigolds naturally repel pests like aphids, beetles, and other harmful insects. They also help protect chamomile from disease by improving air circulation around the chamomile plants with their bright, spreading foliage.
Garlic and chives
Garlic and chives are two herbs that make for an excellent chamomile companion plant combination. The strong scent of garlic helps to repel pests, while chives naturally attract beneficial insects like pollinators. Together they provide chamomile with nutrient-rich soil from their roots and natural protection from disease.
Tomatoes and chamomile make an excellent team in the garden thanks to chamomiles’ pest-deterring aroma and tomatoes’ ability to handle intense heat. Plant them together for a lush oasis of beautiful blooms and plenty of tasty fruits.
Thyme and sage
Thyme and sage make an excellent chamomile companion plant duo. These two herbs add flavor to chamomiles’ blooms while providing additional shade, nitrogen-rich soil, and protection from certain pests. Together they create a fragrant oasis in your garden that you won’t be able to resist!
Carrots and parsley
Carrots and parsley are chamomile’s perfect pair. The deep root systems of the carrots help improve soil quality, providing chamomile with additional nutrients. Parsley helps attract beneficial insects like pollinators.
Peppers, eggplant, and squash
Peppers, eggplant, and squash all benefit from chamomile’s pest-deterring aroma and shade. The chamomile plant’s deep root systems help to provide the soil with additional nitrogen that these plants need to be successful. Plant them together for a riot of color and flavor!
What Not to Plant with Chamomile?
Though chamomile is a versatile plant that can be paired with many other plants in the garden, some should be avoided to maximize its growth potential.
Strawberries and chamomile do not make good companions. Strawberries require more nitrogen than chamomile, and chamomile can overpower the delicate aroma of the berries. Planting them near each other could lead to stunted growth for both plants.
Radishes and chamomile should also be kept separate in the garden as they have very different growing needs. Chamomile will be over-shaded by the radish plants, leading to weak chamomile plants that won’t produce many blooms.
Cabbage and Brussels sprouts
Cabbage and Brussels sprouts can also harm chamomile’s growth. These plants have a vigorous growing habit that chamomile will not be able to compete with, leading to stunted chamomile growth. Planting them together is not recommended.
Potatoes and chamomile are also not recommended for planting together. Potatoes require more water than chamomile, so chamomile could suffer from too much moisture if planted near potatoes. Additionally, chamomile’s pest-deterring aroma may deter beneficial pollinators that potatoes need to produce healthy vegetables.
Beets and chard
Beets and chard are another pair of plants that chamomile should not be planted near. These root vegetables require more nitrogen than chamomile, leading to stunted growth for both plants. Additionally, chard attracts pests like aphids which may also harm chamomile’s growth potential.
Fennel and dill
Fennel and dill are two plants that chamomile doesn’t pair well with since they require more sunlight and water than chamomile. This leads to weakened chamomile plants. Both herbs also have strong fragrances that overpower chamomile’s delicate aroma.
And last but not least, do not plant chamomile near kale. Kale requires more nutrients than chamomile, and chamomile’s fragrant aroma can overpower the delicate flavor of kale. Growing them together is a recipe for failure!
Companion planting with chamomile is a great way to bring natural pest control, soil enrichment, and visual interest to your garden.
For best results, choose companion plants for chamomile that complement its growing needs rather than compete with it. Doing this will ensure maximum growth potential for all plants and a healthy and thriving garden for you!