Garlic is a truly epic plant that can be used in countless ways. Not only does it have a delicious aromatic flavor that can season nearly any dish, but it also makes an excellent companion for most plants in the garden. Garlic is a natural anti-fungal and can repel pests with its strong scent, and there’s a lot of garlic companion plants that really benefit from companion planting garlic nearby!
Garlic is a powerful companion plant because of its strong scent and natural pest repellent properties. Its smell can drive countless pests away from your valuable crops, but it can also be used to attract beneficial insects for pollination. When gardening in a small space, garlic can have a huge impact when interplanted closely with other fruits and vegetables.
There are only a few plants, like beans, that a garlic bulb might not grow well with. It truly is a great choice to companion plant among the crops in your garden. Let’s learn more about the best garlic companion plants that will work in your garden!
What Is Companion Planting?
Companion planting is a popular way of arranging crops in the garden, particularly in smaller-scale and home gardens, where space is limited, and every plant counts. Companion planting can help maximize space and increase the quality of crops you are growing. Some combinations of plants can even help improve the flavor of their neighbors!
One of the many reasons why companion planting remains popular in gardening is its ability to repel predatory insects. Some plants have a strong aroma or are natural repellents for insects that like to eat vegetables. Other plants secrete oils in the soil that repel pests like nematodes. Another benefit of companion planting is to help attract beneficial insects to pollinate your garden. By using companion planting to attract beneficial bugs to your garden, you can enjoy the benefits of increased pollination and greater biodiversity.
Additionally, companion planting is useful when planning the use of your garden space because it can help maximize limited physical space. Some companion plants can be grown as groundcovers, occupying the space directly at soil level, and providing the additional benefit of shading the soil and inhibiting weeds from germinating. Other plants can grow tall and shade heat-sensitive crops beneath them. Finally, if you are planting a slower-growing variety, companion plants can help mark the location of where the slow to germinate seeds are planted so that you don’t accidentally overplant your garden!
Next, let’s talk about the benefits of using garlic as a companion plant, and what crops grow with it!
Good Garlic Companion Plants
One of the best uses of garlic is as companions with fruit trees. Garlic has antifungal properties that can protect fruit trees from a variety of diseases, including apple scab in apple trees, and leaf curl in peach trees. This is an easy and organic way to grow garlic and protect your valuable fruit trees. Garlic can also repel aphids, mites, fungus gnats, cabbage loopers, ants, snails, onion flies, codling moths, and Japanese beetles. Talk about a powerhouse! The scent of garlic is so strong it can keep rabbits and deer away.
If you want to plant your garlic with herbs, try chamomile. Chamomile can help improve the flavor of garlic. Another herb that pairs well with garlic is rue. Rue is a strongly scented herb known to keep flies and maggots away, so it can help prevent maggots from attacking your plants. Yarrow and summer savory will improve the health and production of garlic. Garlic repels spider mites, which makes it a great combination with dill. Tarragon is another great companion plant because it increases the growth of garlic.
Garlic is one of the best companion plants for flowers because it is a natural pest repellent. For example, rose pests hate the smell of garlic! Insects like aphids, ants, mites, snails, and even blackspot fungi will avoid the strong scent of garlic. Garlic can also deter pests away from geraniums. Garlic and marigolds are both known to repel many pests, so they can make a powerful combination along the edge of your garden to repel pests with the scent and attract beneficial pollinators. One benefit of planting garlic with nasturtiums is that nasturtiums can shade out weeds in the bed, and make use of otherwise wasted space around the soil surface. Nasturtiums also produce an edible flower that can be eaten or left on the plant to distract pests as a “trap crop”.
Garlic and leafy greens grow well together because they occupy different spaces in your garden bed. The garlic bulb will form below the soil surface, while their green scapes grow tall and narrow. Leafy greens have shallow roots and grow near the soil surface, occupying space that would otherwise be left empty. For example, arugula and lettuce are low-growing leafy greens that pair well with garlic. Be sure to choose a smaller variety of lettuce that won’t block the sunlight from reaching your pant. Lettuce also will not compete with garlic for the same nutrients in the soil.
Spinach is a good companion plant for garlic because they are both cold hardy, and will grow together through the winter until spinach is killed by colder temperatures. Similar to nasturtiums, spinach can form a ground cover around your garlic and keep weeds from taking over.
Garlic is an excellent companion plant for the Brassica family because it repels many of their common pests, including cabbage loopers, cabbage worms, cabbage maggots, and Japanese beetles. In particular, garlic and cabbage are excellent companions because not only can the scent of garlic protect the delicate cabbage plants from pest attacks, but it may also deter grazing animals from making a snack out of your harvest. Garlic is known to deter animals that chew on crops such as deer, rabbits, squirrels, and moose. It can also improve the flavor of broccoli when planted nearby. If you struggle with pests attacking brassica plants like kale, kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts, collards, or cauliflower in the garden, try interplanting garlic or adding it as a border around your garden beds to deter pests from attacking.
Garlic grows well with carrots since it confuses carrot flies and can help protect them from infestation. It can help protect carrots from root maggots with the oils it secretes, and this benefit also extends to celery plants, which are in the same family as carrots. Garlic can also act as an effective fungicide against late potato blight, protecting your potato crop. By growing the bulbs near your potatoes, you can try to prevent this infection from taking hold.
Beets and garlic are both root crops, but they grow at different depths in the soil, making them good companions. They don’t like the same nutrients, and garlic can protect beets from fungal infection. Another root crop used for companion planting with garlic is parsnips. Parsnips are vulnerable to root maggots, so the antifungal properties of garlic can be incredibly helpful to them.
Garlic is a great companion for tomatoes because it deters spider mites and other pests that will attack tomatoes, and is also said to improve the flavor of tomatoes. Hot and mild peppers will also enjoy the same benefits as tomatoes when companion planted with garlic. Although peppers and garlic grow at different times of the year, young pepper plants can be better protected by planting them nearby before garlic is planted in early spring. Another member of the Solanaceae family, eggplant, also grows well with garlic because it helps protect the vulnerable eggplant fruits from attack by pests.
Whether you should plant strawberries with garlic is still debated fiercely among gardeners. Some gardeners say that it may inhibit the growth of strawberries. On the other hand, garlic is proven to deter spider mites, which love to feast on strawberries. We will leave this pairing choice up to you! Next, we will talk about some plants you definitely shouldn’t plant with garlic.
What Not To Plant With Garlic
One of the few downsides to growing garlic in the garden is that it will build up sulfur in the soil, which can inhibit the growth of certain plants. Garlic will stunt the growth of beans, peas, and most legumes, and should be planted further away to prevent reduced growth. Much like beans, the herbs parsley and sage might not do the best near garlic. Although not proven in scientific studies, gardeners often report that it may stunt the growth of parsley and sage when planted nearby.
You should avoid growing garlic near asparagus because garlic is a member of the allium family, which can inhibit the growth of asparagus. There’s a scientific reason for this– asparagus takes several years to form spears. Garlic can build up sulfurs and other compounds in the soil where it is growing. If you plant these plants together, the garlic will increase the sulfur in the soil, while depleting the exact nutrients that asparagus needs to produce spears. This explains why when they are grown together, asparagus will not have the nutrients it needs in the soil and will grow smaller roots and produce fewer spears.
Finally, avoid planting garlic near large sections of your garden with only members of the allium family like onions, chives, leeks, and shallots. This will give any pests that feed on them the opportunity to attack all of the plants at once. By inter-planting your garlic among beds and near a variety of vegetables, you don’t run the risk of having one pest destroy your entire crop in one go.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Where should I plant garlic in my garden?
A: Everywhere! Garlic has antifungal properties, repels an incredible number of pests (including rabbits and deer), and compliments almost any plant in the garden.
Q: Will garlic grow in shade?
A: Probably not– Garlic thrives in full sun! It is possible to grow it in the shade, but the bulbs will be smaller.