This article shares the best rosemary companion plants to include in your garden and ten antagonist plants to avoid.
Rosemary is a unique and woody herb that is a helpful addition to any garden. Well-known for its culinary purposes, such as added flavor for bread, biscuits, and meat rubs, rosemary is a robust natural pest abatement plant for such garden pests, including the cabbage month, bean beetles, spider mites, and carrot flies.
What is Companion panting?
Companion planting is still a relatively new concept in modern gardening. However, the concept is common in many indigenous agriculture practices. The Native American Tribe of the Iroquois people is well known for their companion planting of squash, bean, and corn, also known as The Three Sisters. The three plants provide different nutrients as well as physical structures that allow each of the three plants to thrive.
In many ways, companion planting is the concept that energetically, chemically, or structurally different plant combinations are grown together to enhance each other. Like people in relationships, some relationships provide extensive benefits for the people within them, while others can be toxic or unhealthy.
Companion Planting is the Constructive Use of Plant Relationships in Gardening
Although much still needs to be studied when it comes to companion planting, there are many examples from gardeners, horticulturalists, and farmers of plants improving their yields, health, or overall growth when paired with certain plants.
Just as there are plants that are well suited for planting together, there are also plants that can cause problems or hinder the growth and health of plants when planted in conjunction. These non-companion plants are known as Antagonist plants.
What is an example of an Antagonist Plant?
When we think of an antagonist in our favorite novel, we think of the villain or the character who is causing disruption in the plot. An antagonist plant is very similar, although not necessarily evil or cruel; an antagonist plant does not benefit the plants around it.
Wormwood is an example of an extreme antagonist plant, as no plants grow well near it due to its toxic leaf and root excretions. Wormwood is helpful for certain kinds of pest control when adapted into a tea to repel black flies or used to store grain to avoid beetles and weevils. Therefore, wormwood has its purposes and reasons for growing the herb. Like people, plants have their places and other plants they thrive with and those they do not.
What are the benefits of Companion Planting?
Even with so much still unknown about companion planting, many benefits from growing certain plants together have been observed.
Improved Plant Health
Healthier Plant Growth- plants that grow well together often provide nutrients or offer structures or soil benefits to their plant companions. For Rosemary, cabbage is an excellent plant companion as the two offer pest control and increased soil nutrients that allow each plant to thrive at its best.
The Benefits of Rosemary
Rosemary plants offer a great way of support to their companion plants and are most well-known for offering pest control against insect pests. This herbaceous plant also is an excellent deterrent to deer and other animals that could otherwise be considered garden pests. They also provide food for beneficial insects, including bees, for pollinating.
the Best Rosemary Companion Plants
Cabbage, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Turnips, Kale & Radishes
Rosemary’s delicate blue flowers offer food for pollinators, which makes an excellent addition to any garden. Rosemary is a good companion plant for brassicas plants, including cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, turnips, kale, radishes, cauliflower, rutabaga, and kohlrabi. The pungent aroma of rosemary deters pests by hiding the scent of brassicas vegetables, including cabbage moths, cabbage worms, and cabbage loppers. Plants such as broccoli are long-living, and pairing them with perineal rosemary makes an excellent pair for extended pest control and support. Rosemary likes full sunlight and well-draining soil and doesn’t mind having a lot of space to spread out.
Rosemary and carrots are a match made in heaven in the garden and culinary creations. The rosemary scent helps mask the smell of carrots and acts as a pest control for insects, including the carrot fly.
Rosemary’s size and density also offer protection to young carrot sprouts and continued protection while the carrots grow. The nutrients provided by rosemary encourage increased carrot yield and healthier carrots overall.
Rosemary and carrots make great garden friends that will keep your vegetable garden harvest plentiful.
Again, rosemary came to the rescue regarding pests and bean plants. Rosemary plants, when planted in companion with bean plants, help to deter bean beetles, which tend to devour young bean sports and reduce overall bean yield.
Beans also provide support for rosemary plants in return. They provide nitrogen in the soil, which rosemary needs to thrive. Beans also act as wind and sun barriers during hot or blustery days. Beans and rosemary are true life-long garden friends that help each other be their best selves.
Rosemary and sage are like two peas in a pod regarding companion planting. Sage and rosemary require similar growing conditions, which makes them ideal companion plants in the herb garden. They are also both aromatic herbs that, when planted in close proximity to each other they, provide even stronger pest control against harmful insects, including the Mexican bean beetles.
When planted together, Rosemary and sage are also known to enhance each other’s flavor and taste while providing needed pest control. They are both Mediterranean herbs that like well-drained soil. They are also known to help protect the cabbage family. Both are perennial herbs that have a similar growing season. Plant sage and rosemary near one another, and your garden will thrive.
Like broccoli, cabbage, and carrots, parsnips are another great plant to pair with rosemary. Rosemary provides excellent pest control for parsnips while also protecting against wind and intense sun while parsnip plants are establishing.
Plant onions and rosemary together in your garden for the ultimate pest control. Both plants have strong smells that pests dislike. When planted together, your garden will have excellent protection against the insects and critters that might consider eating the other plants in your garden.
Sage isn’t the only herb that enjoys similar growing conditions as rosemary. Lavender aromatic plants are fresh herbs that make a perfect companion plan to rosemary; Lavender also prefers dry soil, and its aroma also helps to repel pests and is disliked by deer.
Oregano is a potent herb and provides many benefits to the garden. Pair oregano with rosemary, and you have a potent combination for pest control, beauty, and many herbs to use in cooking.
Mix rosemary’s blue dew-drop flowers with the boldness of marigold’s stunning orange orb-like flowers, and you have a winning visual combination. Not only are marigolds excellent pest control plants on their own, but when combined with rosemary, you have a winning pairing that will provide a solid natural pest control and deer deterrent.
Rosemary is a popular herb that makes a great companion plant and is one of the best options when it comes to culinary herbs to plant alongside strawberries. The scent of rosemary helps to protect strawberry plants from pests, and they also like lots of sunlight, like strawberries.
5 Antagonist Plants to Avoid Pairing with Rosemary
Just as there are a plethora of plants that pair well with rosemary, there are many that are not ideal matches. Like in human relationships, some plants have a more challenging time getting along. Below is a list of plants to avoid pairing and planting alongside rosemary.
Although mint and rosemary have similar growing needs, mint is incredibly invasive and will quickly take up the soil and resources that rosemary requires. The selfishness of mint makes it not an ideal choice to pair with rosemary.
Rosemary and basil are two of the most popular plants for any new or experienced gardener to grow; however, the two plants have such vastly different needs they do not pair well in the garden. Basil requires far more water than rosemary, and its life cycle is much shorter, making it less resilient. In many cases, you can plant rosemary once (it’s perineal), and it will return again and again each season. In some cases, rosemary won’t even die back. It’s best to avoid planting basil and rosemary together in a garden bed.
As much as we all love growing tomatoes, unless the tomatoes and rosemary are combined into a tasty pasta sauce, they should not be paired in the garden. Tomatoes require different growing requirements and watering that mismatch the needs of rosemary. It’s best to keep these plants separate.
Like tomatoes, cucumbers need much more water than rosemary, making them not ideal companion plants. Cucumbers also need higher amounts of nitrogen in the soil that rosemary has a difficult time tolerating.
Although rosemary plants are very hardy, they tend to get root rot or mildew when given too much water.
Pumpkins are not a good companion plant for rosemary as they produce mildew and like the soil to be more waterlogged than rosemary.
Tips on growing rosemary
- Rosemary requires 6-8 hours of sunlight Plant your rosemary in bright and sunny areas with plenty of sunshine.
- When considering companion plants pay attention to water and soil needs and plant alongside plants that enjoy the pest control benefits of rosemary.
- Rosemary doesn’t require a lot of water. Water it once or twice a week and ensure the soil is dry before watering again.
- Rosemary enjoys rich soil, and good companion plants will like similar conditions.
- Plant rosemary in the spring to allow for optimum root growth and total growth of the leaves and woody stems.
- Learn more about the benefits of growing rosemary.
Summing up companion rosemary companion plants
With a bit of attention and understanding of your garden pest needs, rosemary makes an excellent addition to the garden. Its hardy disposition and longevity make it also a great long-term addition to the garden that will keep your garden happy, healthy, and thriving.