There are 10 good companion plants for garlic in this list and 10 additional ones that make bad companions for garlic.
Garlic is a garden staple – you’ve just gotta have it! Aside from being easy to grow, it imparts a distinctive flavor that simply can’t be beat when you put it to good use. If you’re going to grow garlic, however, it’s best to strategize so that you can get the ‘most bulbs for your buck’.
Pests such as Onion flies, for instance, need to be dealt with, and you can’t have any plants fighting with your garlic for nutrients, otherwise you’ll end up with a paltry yield as a reward for all of your patience and hard work.
Thankfully, the right companion plants can not only help your garlic, but benefit also from its natural pest-repellent properties and that’s going to be the subject of our article today. If you want to learn about companion planting for getting the most out of your garlic, then read on and we’ll tell you all about it!
Table of Contents
Finding the right ‘roommate’ for your garlic
In the sections below, we’re going to present you with a list of what we like to call ‘garlic groupies’ that will actively help, benefit, or both when grown together with your garlic. We’ll tell you a little about each and once the ‘garlic groupies’ are done, then we’ll also share with you a list of the plants that you definitely don’t want too close to your garlic.
We’ll try to keep things brief, with a little information for each plant and what it brings to the table, as well as what makes it a good or bad match for your natural vampire-repellent. Let’s take a look now, starting with the good companions and you can see what you think – the right ‘roomy’ can really make a world of difference, as you’re about to see!
Good companion plants for Garlic
Below you’ll find a nice little list of plants that will do well with your garlic. We’ll tell you a little about each, including why they are a good fit, and afterwards we’ll tell you about some plants that you’ll definitely want to keep at a distance. If you’re ready, let’s take a look at our ‘garlic groupies’ for your garden!
If you love beets, then both your beetroot and garlic can greatly benefit from living in close quarters. Since your beets ‘hang their hats’ underground, they won’t be competing for soil nutrients at the same level, so already you’re off to a good start. In this relationship, however, the garlic is the partner that is contributing most.
The flavor of your beets, for instance, is said to be improved by growing up near garlic and the garlic’s scent will keep away some pests that might otherwise molest your beets. Aside from the insects that don’t like the smell, garlic helps to prevent fungal infections on your beets and if any pesky gophers want to eat them, they’ll also scent the garlic and they’ll be more likely to target something else!
All by its lonesome, Cabbage is pretty vulnerable stuff. Insects are attracted to it and even if they weren’t a problem, deer, rabbits, mice, squirrels, and other small animals just love the stuff. This is where having garlic close can come in handy. While humans love garlic, cabbage worms, diamondback moths, and cabbage loopers definitely do NOT.
Small animals that get a whiff of the garlic tend to stay away as well. Now, there is a caveat – you’ll want to plant the cabbage and the garlic 12 – 15 inches apart. That’s because they WILL compete for resources if they are too close together. If you space them, however, then they will get along fairly well and you’ll have a little extra protection for your cabbage.
Homemade chamomile tea is really something else. Aside from being quite delicious, it also settles the stomach and will help you to get sleep if you sometimes have bouts of insomnia. As it turns out, it’s also a great companion plant for your garlic. While having these two close is certainly an odd mix of smells, having the chamomile close is believed to improve the flavor of your garlic buds.
As an added bonus to this pairing, in the battle of scents the chamomile actually does quite well, so much so that if you don’t like the garlic smell in your garden (even though you love the garlic), the chamomile’s presence can really help to sweeten things up!
4. Fruit Trees
If you have never tried using garlic to defend your fruit trees, then you’ve got a new goal for when you plant your next rows of garlic. Garlic can be highly beneficial when planted at the base of a fruit tree. For one thing, the roots will soak up some of the garlic’s sulfur and this will help to ‘fungus-proof’ your trees.
For peach trees, it can help to prevent leaf curl, and it protects apple trees from getting apple scab, but that’s not all. Pests like aphids, mites, and Japanese Beetles will be less likely to visit your trees with the aromatic garlic around, and it also keeps away many animals that might otherwise snack on your tree.
It sounds weird, but these two play quite well together, so try planting some garlic rows at the base of one of your fruit trees and watch what happens – they really do make great natural companions!
Peppers, along with other members of the nightshade family such as potatoes and eggplants, are an excellent fit for pairing with your garlic. While peppers are tough little plants, they are quite susceptible to phytophthora blight, white mold, and verticillium wilt, but with garlic growing close these will have less of a chance of getting hold.
Beyond this enhanced immunity for the peppers, these two won’t be fighting over resources, and so they should do quite well together side by side. Granted, it’s a bit of a one-sided exchange in the favor of the peppers, but as companion plants these two will get along like gangbusters.
While peppers won’t stand up for your garlic, one companion plant that WILL step up is Rue. While garlic tends to drive away most pests on its own, there are certainly some vulnerabilities that it still has, with onion flies and their maggots being one of garlic’s worst enemies.
The thing is, Rue has pest-repellent properties of its own, and planting it close will keep away those pesky onion flies and even better, keep them from laying eggs in your garlic. So, if you want a little extra defense for your garlic, then you should definitely consider Rue. Just plant a little to make a sort of ‘natural fence’ around your patch of garlic and other alliums and let Nature do the rest.
You’ll be very happy that you did, but don’t take our word for it – just give it a try and you’ll see for yourself firsthand!
Spinach and garlic can be the best of friends if you plant them together, as these two are both quite resistant to the chills that can come in the spring and the fall. What’s more, spinach grows low to the ground, and this means that as it spreads it can help to create a natural barrier against weeds that might want to move in next to your garlic.
You’ll need to plant it multiple times, as spinach grows and may be harvested very quickly, but if you do this and if you go with a spinach cultivar that has a 6 to 9 inch spread to it, then your garlic and spinach will get along like the best of friends!
8. Summer Savory
Used as a kitchen spice and considered a medicinal plant by some, Summer Savory is an excellent choice for planting with your garlic or any other alliums. When grown close, these two won’t compete for resources, but rather the Summer Savory is said to encourage growth, yield, and even taste properties for your garlic.
Aside from being accustomed to the chill like your garlic is, Summer Savory also has its own scent, so that your garlic will seem less overpowering. As a final bonus, it also attracts pollinators, so that your whole garden can benefit from having a little Summer Savory as your Garlic’s companion plant!
One of the best ‘companion plant pairings’ around is garlic and tomatoes. You’ll want to space them a little, just to make sure that the tomato plants don’t throw shade on your garlic, but if you do then your tomatoes will definitely benefit from this pairing. Garlic is a natural deterrent for spider mites, and if you’ve ever had them in your tomatoes, then you know what a nice, little perk this is.
Probably the best strategy is to simply plant some rows of garlic in-between your rows of tomatoes – that way, they’ll act as a natural defense to spider mites and a handful of other insects, and when it’s time to harvest them both you’ll have an easy time of doing it!
If you like growing a medicinal herb garden, then Yarrow is a great option that will pair well when you grow it with garlic. Like Rue, it is believed to encourage the growth and yield of your alliums, and it also helps to keep flying pests away such as mosquitos and flies.
Not only can you take advantage of this and make some homemade mosquito candles, but that Yarrow should also help to keep onion flies from making a nest out of your garlic and laying eggs in there. Finally, Yarrow is a flowering plant, so you’ll have more pollinators visiting your garden to the benefit of many of your other plants there. Not bad at all, as far as companion plants go!
Bad companion plants for Garlic
Now that you know a little about some good plants for keeping your garlic company, it’s time to tell you about the BAD ones. Below you will find a list of plants that should definitely not be planted next and for each one we’ll tell you a little about them and why they don’t make the best of roommates for your garlic. Let’s take a look!
While Asparagus is certainly delicious with garlic (and a little butter), it doesn’t make a good companion plant for it and we’ll tell you why. Garlic produces enzymes that will get at the roots of your asparagus and while it won’t kill them, it will result in less asparagus spears being produced.
As such, you can still grow asparagus, just make sure that it has its own little plot far away from your garlic and other alliums.
Beans and, in fact, legumes in general, make poor companion plants for your garlic. The reason has to do with nitrogen content in the soil. Garlic likes a moderate amount of nitrogen, but beans and other legumes actually boost the nitrogen levels of the soil by transforming available nitrogen into a form that plants can make use of.
This can be an excellent thing for plants that can make use of it, such as pumpkins that are just springing up, but you’ll want to keep those beans away from your garlic – otherwise it will grow up a bit stunted and slowly, with noticeably smaller bulbs!
Cauliflower shouldn’t be planted too close to garlic. While you could get away with spacing it about 15 inches away, planting it too close is going to start a ‘resource war’ and both plants will be all the poorer for it. Cauliflower also attracts a lot of pests and while garlic is good for keeping many types at bay, if the cauliflower is too close then some of those pests are going to indulge in a little garlic, too!
Fennel and garlic are another combination that is doomed to fail if you plant them together in your garden. First off, they have different soil requirements, as your garlic likes moderate nitrogen levels, along with moisture-retention, and a pH of around 6 to 7, while your fennel doesn’t need so much nitrogen and prefers a neutral pH, along with a well-draining soil.
Even so, placed together they will grow, but they’re going to fight over water and nutrients and the end result will be a lower yield for both plants.
While you could technically grow Hyssop with your garlic, their harvest times don’t really sync up so well and so this can make things a little inconvenient for you if you like your companion plants to be harvestable at the same times. That’s because your hyssop is usually going to be harvested when the flowers are in full bloom, while garlic is best harvested when the leaves are all withered up.
Both of these scenarios happen in summer, but with the time difference that you’ll have, it’s just not the most convenient harvest scenario and so another companion plant will likely be a much better fit.
If you think that a patch of mint might be just the thing to help reduce the sulfurous odor of your garlic, then you might want to think again. While the scent of mint is certainly robust, garlic has a tendency to spread and to overwhelm a mint patch fairly quickly. These two will also compete for nutrients and water in the process, so while the garlic will eventually invade the mint patch, they’re both going to produce poorly in the end.
It’s best to keep your mint somewhere else and to avoid this trouble altogether and simply sweeten up your garlic patch with a little chamomile or another aromatic option instead.
7. Other alliums
While garlic is good with a lot of other plants all by its lonesome, you want to avoid grouping alliums together. The reason for this is specialized pests that can eat alliums up with onion flies being public enemy number one. If you’ve planted a patch of garlic and onions (or maybe shallots, for instance), then the onion flies will get a whiff of those sharp, strong odors, and they’ll lay some eggs in your alliums which will quickly turn into maggots!
These little pests will feast and every allium in that patch is potentially vulnerable. As such, keep alliums separated in your garden – this will make it harder for the onion flies to get all of your alliums. Alternately, you could intersperse some rue in there, but it’s really much better practice to keep your alliums more scattered to ensure that you get the highest yield possible from each.
Garlic and parsley may meet on a plate, but it’s best that they stay separated in your garden. For one thing, parley is a biennial plant, so it’s going to take 2 seasons for it to complete its growth cycle, while your garlic only needs one.
The biggest problem with this pairing though is the fight over resources. They’ll both be looking for similar soil nutrients and trying to outgrow each other to get the most sunlight, and this will tax both plants enough that you’ll end up stunting the growth of both of them. It’s just not worth the hassle, so be sure to keep these two on their own separate turfs and far away from each other.
Peas are another bad pairing with garlic, as are a small type of legume. This means that they are going to kick up the nitrogen levels wherever they are planted and while your garlic might like this at first, that nitrogen will quickly build up to levels that are not optimal for your garlic to grow. You’ll get smaller bulbs and stunted growth, so it’s best to avoid this pairing altogether.
Our final no-no on the garlic companion list is Sage and while you can certainly grow this woody perennial in your garden, it’s best to make sure that it’s nowhere near your garlic. The first problem you’ll have is the soil preference – garlic likes soil that retains moisture, and the Sage is NOT going to like that. It will still grow, albeit poorly, and in the process the Sage will have its revenge by stunting the growth of your garlic’s bulbs, in turn.
Kept on their own sides of the garden, both will do fine, but never side-by-side – these two simply do not get along.
Before we finish things up for the day, we thought that we’d make a little use of our remaining space to share some frequently asked questions with you. Below we’ll give you some of the most common questions that we receive on companion planting and garlic so that you can make good use of this information in picking companion plants on your own. Let’s take a peek!
How and when is the best time to plant garlic?
Seasonally, fall to spring is the absolute best time for growing your garlic. Any cloves that you plant during this time should quickly take root and by the time that it starts to get chilly out, your garlic will be well-established, happy, and healthy.
At the latest, plant it by October, so that you can make sure that the roots are firmly established before the winter arrives.
What kind of soil is best for garlic?
Garlic likes a soil medium that is well-draining, but which also will retain a little moisture – just not to the point that it’s soggy. A pH of 6.0-7.0 is also ideal and a little compost added from spring to fall will also help your garlic to grow up healthy and strong.
Knowing these requirements will help to narrow-down the list of companion plants, so that choosing them will be a little bit easier – you just want to make sure that your choices won’t fight over nutrients or sunlight.
What nutrients does garlic need, so that I can pick a good companion plant myself?
Garlic grows best with a moderate level of nitrogen and potassium but it will also need phosphorus, magnesium, and sulfur as well – just in smaller quantities than the first two, and the nitrogen and potassium are the most important.
Now that you know, just be sure that your chosen companions won’t be competing for these same resources or if they will, be sure that the companion is a light feeder so that you can supplement the soil accordingly to make sure that both plants get what they need.
What pests does garlic repel?
A lot of pests can’t stand the smell of garlic, with examples including aphids, armyworms, beetles, caterpillars, cutworms, mites, mosquitoes, and some types of fly (excepting onion flies, however, who will happily lay eggs in your garlic).
If you have some plants that could make use of these qualities, then you might just have a potential companion plant for your garlic that will do very well with it nearby.
As you can see, companion planting makes solid sense in your garden and can really help you to up your ‘garden game’ – it just takes a little planning. The most important part is going to be knowing what each plant needs by way of resources, as well as what perks they’ll bring to the table, and what pests they will attract that are beneficial or otherwise.
Think of it like a similar process to picking ‘college roommates’ and you’ve got the right idea. If they aren’t fighting for resources and if each one is bringing something to the table that promotes the growth of both, then this is a promising start. Consider also when the harvest time is for each, as this will make it easier and you won’t be making extra work for yourself.
While the list that we’ve shared today will get you started, be sure to experiment and do a little research on your own to see which pairings you like the best. With a little teamwork from a companion, you’ll be amazed at exactly how much better both plants can be!
We hope that you’ve enjoyed our little article for the day and we hope to see you again soon!
More companion plants