Top 8 Rosemary Companion Plants and 7 Worst Plants

Rosemary has always been one of my favorite garden herbs. With its unmistakable and pleasing aroma and beautiful growing habit, I encourage everyone to have some rosemary in their garden – preferably in an area where its beauty and fragrance can be enjoyed.

There are two main types of rosemary plants – upright and creeping. Upright rosemary varieties grow tall with a vertical habit, making them ideal for borders or hedges. 

Creeping rosemary has a low-growing or trailing habit, making it perfect for groundcover or hanging baskets. Whichever type you choose, you’ll have an abundance of fragrant foliage to use and enjoy!

Each type also has several cultivars (or varieties). For instance, the upright variety Arp is well known for its strong scent, while Tuscan Blue has beautiful blue flowers. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something with a trailing habit, then you can’t go wrong with Prostratus or Albiflora.

In this article, I will unpack just how easy it is to use rosemary as a companion plant in your garden, no matter which type!

Rosemary as a Companion Plant

Rosemary is a popular companion plant and a fantastic addition to any garden space. 

By using rosemary as a companion plant, you get natural pest control without having to use chemicals. Its powerful aroma, which we find pleasing, is repulsive to many damaging pests, including aphids and ants.

This popular herb also helps improve soil quality by fixing nitrogen and releasing essential oils, which can help to attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies. 

Antibacterial properties in rosemary help or reduce the risk of plant diseases caused by fungi or bacteria.

Upright rosemary varieties are an excellent choice to provide shade for smaller plants during the heat of summer while trailing rosemary provides protection for soil which helps retain moisture.

Here are some of the best plants to partner with rosemary in the garden and some to avoid.

What to Plant with Rosemary?

Lavender

Lavender is one of the best companions for rosemary – they are both Mediterranean plants meaning they are drought-tolerant and sun-loving. As a bonus, they both attract beneficial pollinators like bees. Combining the two creates a unique scent that not only smells amazing but can also help repel insects naturally. Lavender and rosemary are easy to grow and require minimal maintenance, making them an excellent choice for beginner gardeners. 

Sage

Growing sage and rosemary together is a brilliant choice. They are both aromatic, flavorful herbs that work well in many dishes and benefit each other’s growth when planted close together. Rosemary helps to protect the delicate leaves of sage from cold weather, while sage keeps rosemary’s soil moist to aid its growth. 

The combination of fragrant foliage and colorful flowers from both herbs makes it an attractive addition to any garden or landscape. Furthermore, sage can help enrich the soil with its nitrogen-fixing properties, providing nutrients for other plants in the area. 

Oregano

Growing oregano and rosemary together has many benefits. It helps keep the pH level of your soil balanced and provides a natural way to repel pests from both plants. Because these two herbs grow at different heights, they create an interesting texture in the garden, offering visual interest. 

The combination also creates a flavorful blend that makes for a delightful culinary experience. Oregano and rosemary can be used in various ways, from dried herbs to fresh sprigs added to dishes. 

Growing them together allows you to easily harvest both herbs at once, making it easier to provide your creations with the full flavor they deserve.

Marigolds

Marigolds are also great companion plants for rosemary. Their bright flowers and strong scent can help to ward off common garden pests like aphids, beetles, and even some types of nematodes from your rosemary plant. Plus, they look stunning when planted together! The perfect combination of beauty, fragrance, and pest protection.

Thyme

If you want to add texture to your beds and borders, then planting thyme next to rosemary is a great idea. Both plants have similar growing habits and thrive in hot, dry conditions, making them perfect partners for each other. Growing thyme and rosemary together can also be beneficial for home cooks. 

Both herbs offer a distinct flavor, so they can create an entirely new combination of flavors when used together. Rosemary has an earthy taste with hints of pine, while thyme is more citrusy and lemony. The two work together to give a unique flavor that can’t be found with any other combination of herbs. 

Strawberries

Strawberries are a great companion for rosemary as they both prefer well-draining soil and a sunny spot in the garden. The strong scent of rosemary can help to mask the scent of your ripening strawberries, helping keep them safe from being eaten by birds or other critters. Plus, its attractive foliage will provide your strawberry patch with year-round beauty.

Brassica Veggies

Planting rosemary next to brassica veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts is also a great idea. Growing Brassica vegetables with rosemary is a great way to benefit from the unique flavors each brings. Brassica veggies, such as cabbage and broccoli, are known for their intense flavor, while rosemary adds a subtle yet distinctive herbal note. By combining these two flavors, you can create an exciting and delicious dish.

Growing Brassica vegetables with rosemary creates an inviting atmosphere for beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies. Rosemary provides food and a safe haven for these creatures, while the flowers of Brassica vegetables attract them with their bright colors. This helps ensure that your garden is full of life, making it an enjoyable place to be.

Marjoram

Marjoram and rosemary are a great combination; both have similar growing requirements and make for an attractive border. Plus, their fragrant foliage can help to keep pests away from your other plants. 

Plants to Keep Away from Rosemary

As you know from other companion planting pieces I have written, not all plants get along well together, and growing them nearby could prove disastrous. Here are some plants that do not pair well with rosemary. Trust me, I have made this mistake and paid the price!

Mint

Mint and rosemary are not a great combination; mint is an invasive species that spreads quickly through rhizomes. This means it will soon suffocate the rosemary and any of its companion plants as it takes over the area.

Garlic

Garlic and rosemary do not make good companions due to their strong scent – one can overwhelm the other’s scent making it difficult for them to thrive.

Onions

Onions should also be kept away from rosemary as they are prone to attracting pests like aphids which could then spread to your rosemary plant and any of its companions. 

Tomatoes

It’s not a good idea to plant tomatoes with rosemary for several reasons. First, tomato plants need at least 8 hours of sunlight daily to grow well. The shade from the rosemary can block out some of this necessary sunlight, making it difficult for your tomatoes to thrive. 

Second, rosemary has an extremely pungent odor that can overwhelm the flavor of your tomatoes. 

Third, different plants require different levels of nutrients when planted together, and rosemary requires more nitrogen than tomatoes. This mismatch in nutrient requirements can lead to a decrease in productivity for both plants. For these reasons, it is best to avoid planting tomatoes with rosemary.

Pumpkins

Pumpkins are heavy feeders and need more nutrients than rosemary. Pumpkins also have deep roots that could compete with rosemary’s shallow root system causing both plants to suffer. So while they may look nice planted together, it isn’t the best idea! 

Basil

Basil requires a lot of space and nutrients to thrive, while rosemary needs very little.  As such, they can easily compete for resources making it difficult for both plants to survive. 

Plus, the strong scent of basil can overpower the delicate aroma of rosemary, making them incompatible companions. So save yourself some trouble and keep them separate.  

Cucumbers

Lastly, do not plant cucumbers near rosemary as they require more water and nutrients. The strong scent of cucumber can also overwhelm the delicate aroma of rosemary, making them difficult plant partners. 

Caring for Rosemary in Your Garden

Once you’ve chosen the perfect variety of rosemary, there are a few things to remember.

  1. Rosemary prefers sunny spots with well-draining soil – it dislikes soggy roots!
  2. Water your rosemary regularly during the hot summer months and less frequently during the winter.
  3. Prune your rosemary to encourage healthy growth and maintain its shape if necessary.
  4. Feed with a balanced fertilizer every two weeks during its growing season (spring/summer).
  5. Keep an eye out for pests such as whiteflies, aphids, or caterpillars which can be treated with insecticidal soap or other natural remedies if needed.
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Susan Patterson

Susan Patterson Stevens is a Master Gardener and Certified Health Coach who has been growing gardens for over 25 years. She is a best-selling author of gardening and natural health books. She combines here her love of growing with her passion for wellness and is on a mission to make gardening and wellness accessible for everyone. When she is not busy getting her hands dirty, you can find Susan biking, hiking, kayaking, crafting natural remedies, or working on art projects with her husband Thomas in the Southwest where she lives. Susan is also the owner of EarthenMamma.com a website dedicated to small-space growing solutions and garden information and resources.

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