Thyme is a popular culinary herb that is easy to grow. Here are the best and worst companion plants for thyme.
Why Does Thyme Need Companion Plants?
Here are the ways companion plants work with thyme.
Thyme repels many common insect pests. Plants like the Alliums, chamomile, lavender, marjoram, oregano, sage, and rosemary also repel these insects, so make a good border with thyme to keep vegetables safe.
Bring Pest Predators
While thyme will bring pollinators and plant predators to gardens when blooming, companions like chamomile, lavender, sage, and rosemary do the same thing. Together, these plants benefit the whole garden.
Beets have very long taproots that bring water and nutrients up from deep in the soil. They bring more than the beets can use, so the extra is available to thyme planted near the beets.
Benefit from Thyme
Many plants benefit from having thyme near them, whether because of thyme’s ability to repel pests, attract pollinators, or just enhance the flavor of companion plants. These include blueberries, the Brassicas, corn, eggplant, potatoes, and strawberries.
For more benefits from companion planting, you can read this article.
Top 15 Best Companion Plants for Thyme
Here are the top fifteen companion plants for thyme and what they do to help grow good crops of thyme or work with thyme to help grow more vegetables or other plants.
Alliums like onions and garlic repel aphids and spider mites, along with other pests. Alliums also have similar growth habits to thyme and grow well with it. Plant the thyme in the same row as Alliums or in the space between rows for the best results.
Blueberries like acid soil, and not too many companion plants do well in that. Thyme does well in a wide range of soil pH, so can be planted near blueberries to attract pollinators, repel pest insects, and act as a living mulch around the blueberry plant. Plant creeping thyme in a circle around the blueberry plant for the best results.
Brassicas like cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli have problems with cabbage loopers, armyworms, diamondback moths, and cabbage butterflies. Thyme repels these pests to protect the Brassicas from them. Use creeping thyme as a living mulch between plants or in the spaces between rows to get the best results.
As I mentioned above, beets have tap roots that can be 48 inches long. This allows them to bring water and nutrients up from well below the roots of most herbs and vegetables. Beets bring up more water and nutrients than they can use and excrete the excess into the soil, where plants growing near the beets can absorb them. Thyme planted in adjacent rows or between rows of beets can benefit from this largesse. In return, thyme repels insect pests and helps beet grow better and have a better flavor.
Chamomile is another aromatic plant that repels insects that might bother the thyme. It also attracts pollinators and insect predators. Finally, chamomile needs the same light, amount of water, and nutrients that thyme needs, so they can be grown together easily. Plant a mixture of thyme and chamomile in a border around your vegetable garden to reduce insect pests and increase insect predators.
Thyme can act as a living mulch around corn stalks and in the rows between them. This keeps the soil cooler in summer and warmer in the spring and fall than it would be if it were bare. Soil also stays more moist with thyme on it. Finally, thyme is supposed to improve the flavor of corn grown near it. Plant thyme all around corn for the best results.
Thyme helps eggplants in several ways. It repels moths and other insect pests. It attracts pollinators and predatory insects that pollinate the eggplant and eat pests on it. Thyme also improves the growth and flavor of eggplants grown near it. Use thyme as a living mulch around eggplant in the rows and between rows for the best results.
Lavender repels whiteflies and slugs away from plants. It also attracts pollinators and insect predators. Thyme repels some insect pests that bother lavender. Grow a border of lavender and thyme around your vegetables to repel insects, or grow them in a row with each other for the best results.
Thyme repels aphids which like to eat lettuce. Thyme also improves the flavor of lettuce grown near it. An easy way to help your lettuce is to grow creeping thyme between rows of lettuce.
Marjoram attracts beneficial insects and helps repel pests. It also needs the same amount of light, water, and nutrients as thyme. Planting them together makes it easy to care for both plants. I would plant thyme between rows of marjoram, or plant both as a border at the head of rows of vegetables.
Oregano repels cabbage moths and carrot flies. Thyme needs the same amounts of light, water, and nutrients as oregano. Planting them together around carrots or Brassicas will help keep pests away from these plants.
Thyme repels blackflies and aphids, which bother roses. Roses planted with thyme around them also just grow better. Use creeping thyme as a living mulch around your roses for the best results.
Like oregano, rosemary repels insect pests and attracts predatory insects. It grows well with thyme, especially if thyme is used as a living mulch around the rosemary bush. Plant a combination of thyme and rosemary at the head of rows of vulnerable vegetables like carrots and Brassicas to keep them safe.
Potatoes have a lot of trouble with aphids. Thyme not only repels aphids but other potato pests such as the Colorado potato beetle. Thyme is also supposed to make potatoes grown near it taste better. Plant thyme between rows of potatoes for the best results.
Creeping thyme makes an ideal living mulch around strawberries to keep weeds down, repel insect pests, and attract beneficial insects. In addition, thyme is supposed to improve the flavor of strawberries grown near it. Grow thyme in and around your strawberry patch to enjoy these benefits.
Top 5 Worst Companion Plants for Thyme
Companion planting means taking note of some plants that do not need to be grown together as well as those to plant nearby.
Mint needs more moisture than thyme, so thyme will get root rot if planted in the ground next to mint. Actually, mint is so invasive that I never plant it in the ground. I always plant mint in a pot to keep it under control. Mint in pots can be placed near thyme without a problem.
Cilantro is a good herb to repel pests but should not be planted near thyme. Like mint, cilantro needs more moisture than thyme. Either thyme will get root rot, or cilantro will die of lack of moisture, so keep these plants separated in the garden.
Fennel produces a chemical that it secretes into the soil. This chemical stunts or kills other plants. Put fennel in a pot by itself or in a corner of the garden away from other plants. Fennel is a nurse plant for swallowtail caterpillars, so plant enough to share with them.
Like mint and cilantro, basil needs more moisture than thyme. Plant mint, cilantro, basil, and other herbs that need lots of moisture together. Plant thyme, sage, rosemary, lavender, and other herbs that do not need as much moisture in a different location. This keeps everyone happy.
In addition to needing more moisture than thyme, cucumbers planted near thyme develop an off-flavor. They should be kept separate for this reason.
In conclusion, thyme works with many herbs to repel insect pests and attract predatory insects and pollinators. Thyme also improves the flavor of some vegetables when grown near them. Thyme likes dry soil, so don’t try to grow it near herbs like cilantro, mint, and basil that need more moisture. Cucumbers grown near thyme develop an off-flavor, and fennel isn’t a good companion for any plant.