Best garlic companion plants

Garlic is one of the most versatile vegetables in your home vegetable garden. It can be eaten raw, roasted, marinated or used as a spice for many different dishes. 

To ensure you get the very best harvest from your garlic plants, we offer help and advice about the best companion plants when you plant garlic!

Garlic bulbs have natural pest repelling properties which make it an excellent companion plant many plants, vegetables and herbs in your garden.

Pungent plants like garlic will deter pests that would harm many other plant species. It also improves soil fertility by adding nutrients to the ground as it decomposes. 

Is garlic a cool weather crop?

The best time to plant garlic and grow your companion plants is in the Fall as many types of garlic need cold temperatures to get activated and start developing root systems.

But do not plant too early as you do not want above ground growth as the first frost will kill your plants. A week or so before first frost works great.

This does of course calls for careful planning when you plant garlic long before you will plant your herbs and vegetables early spring next year.

You can however also plant garlic early spring if you place your garlic in the fridge before planting or choose to plant one of the soft neck garlic varieties.

Related: Read more about planting hard and soft neck garlic

Insects can carry diseases from one plant to another, so be sure you do not plant garlic next to anything that is not suitable to grow next to garlic. It is also wise not to grow garlic in the same garden bed as last year.

Garlic is one of the best vegetables in the world, but this does not mean that it is immune to all pests and diseases. But when planted with other plants, garlic’s natural pest repelling chemicals are released into the air to protect everything around it.

In this article, we will discuss 9 companion plants that work well when planting garlic and give you an idea of how to plant garlic together with them for maximum effect. 

What is companion planting?

Companion planting, or “companion gardening” as it’s sometimes called, is a method of growing vegetables together so they can help each other out. Certain plant types work together to promote growth or deter pests from entering their space. 

If you are new to growing herbs and vegetables it is important to understand that insect pests and other diseases can affect all or maybe just a few of your plants even if you do everything correctly.

I grow many tomato plants and every year a few plants are affected by leaf miners with the tell tale sign of white squiggly lines across the leaves. And if left untreated nearby plants are always at risk of being affected.

You will be pleased to know that as companion plants go, garlic is known to repel pests and diseases including beetles like Japanese beetles, aphids, mites like spider mites, flies (not onion flies) and worms like cabbage worms.

But even though garlic deter spider mites and other harmful pests it is important to remember that companion planting is just one part of the puzzle. Early detection is key to prevent that a problem with only a few plants does not end up hurting most plants.

And garlic is a perennial – though most often grown as an annual – that does best in the company of other plants and naturally deters pests.

How Can I Best Prepare My Soil For Companion Planting Garlic?

Garlic needs lots of sunshine, but doesn’t do well with too much water or heavy clay soil. The type of soil can affect the flavor, size and shelf life of your garlic.

Before planting garlic cloves from a garlic bulb, buy or mix your own quality soil. Learn more about soil in our guide about how to buy or mix your own potting soil.

You need to choose companion plants that have the same soil requirements. Decide where you will grow your garlic and allocate some space in your garden or garden beds. For more help read our guide on how to grow garlic from garlic gloves.

Companion planting can help improve your soil by adding nitrogen to the ground or nutrients throughout. This results in stronger plants that can better resist diseases, and better quality, tastier garlic bulbs.

What plants should I avoid when companion planting with Garlic?

Whilst we are mostly interested in finding out about good garlic companion plants, it’s important to know what companion plant can actually fail amongst your garlic bulbs. So save yourself time and money and move these favorite veggies to another part of your garden.

Asparagus

Did you know that planting garlic too close to asparagus will actually stunt the growth of both plants? Asparagus can grow up to 12 feet tall and deep-rooted garlic could block the sunlight needed for the plant. These two plants can also cross-pollinate ruining both crops.

Parsley

Avoid choosing parsley as a companion plant for garlic. If they are too close to one another, their flavors will mix. Parsley also has a tendency to spread which can lead to an over-crowded space that doesn’t look appealing at all.

Beans

Beans can actually stunt the growth of your garlic cloves and prevent them forming into garlic bulbs. Keep both bush beans and pole beans in separate planters or vegetable patches.

Strawberries

Avoid planting garlic close to strawberries. Strawberries and garlic are both perennial plants that grow in the same climate, but they do not make good companions for each other.

Strawberries prefer a neutral soil, while garlic prefers an acidic soil. As such, planting them together will likely result in stunted strawberry plants.

What are good companion plants for garlic? 

What are the best companion plants to grow? Here are 9 great herbs and vegetables that make good garlic companion plants when you plant garlic to help deter all those common garden pests.

I will also include one bonus tip to consider when companion planting garlic. For many it comes as a surprise but fruit trees will actually benefit when you plant garlic close by.

1. Basil 

Basil deters pests like flies and mosquitoes from coming near the plant. It is a great companion plant to grow with garlic. 

Basil works best when planted around the outside of your garlic patch. You can harvest it from time to time while you wait for your garlic to grow.

Basil is also an excellent companion plant for peppers and tomatoes.

2. Dill 

Dill helps repel aphids and spider mites which may attack your garlic plants. As a companion plant it can also help protect against some fungal diseases like black rot. This can cause the leaves of the plant to turn grey and curl up on themselves, so called leaf curl, eventually killing off whole patches of plants.

Companion planting with dill will prevent this from happening.

Dill has a very strong smell, so it’s best planted on the opposite end of your garlic patch to keep it from interfering with your garlic harvest.

3. Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums are excellent companion plants and will attract beneficial insects and pollinators like butterflies and hummingbirds. 

They also attract ladybugs, which will prey on aphids and other pests. They can be planted along the edges of your garlic patch to provide maximum pest protection.

4. Onions

A companion plant that is very similar in hardiness to garlic are onions. Onions are easier to grow than most people realize, but they do require regular watering during dry periods or when planted in hot climates/summer.

Onions of all varieties work well but the best and easiest to grow alongside your garlic is probably going to be the scallions.

Whereas both onions and garlic help protect many plants against pests they are not effective against the onion flies that damage the roots and bulbs of onions and related plants.

Scallions are very fast growing, so they will give your garlic some early companionship. They are an excellent companion plant and a natural fungicide meaning that it is also a natural pest repellent.

5. Potatoes 

Potatoes are another great companion plant for your garlic because they add nitrogen in the soil and help it become more fertile.

Garlic will also repel pests and can act as a fungicide and help ward of problems like late potato blight. This also hold true for sweet potatoes.

6. Kale

Kale is a great vegetable to companion plant with your garlic and possibly our favorite in the brassica family.

It is easy to grow and very hardy. Kale will produce well in most climates, and can handle cold temperatures.

It also provides a lot of nutrients to the soil, and will not compete with the garlic for resources.

Most members of the brassica family benefit from being planted with garlic as it repels many common pasts including cabbage loopers, cabbage worms and cabbage moths.

7. Beets

We love beets.

And growing this vegetable companion planting with garlic means that the two will grow together in the same space without overcrowding each other. Beets help keep soil moist, which is great for growing garlic!

8. Spinach

Growing spinach at the same time as growing garlic is very common as it is an excellent garlic companion.

Spinach is not only a natural fertilizer for your soil meaning healthier harvests in future seasons, but also has a growth rate that compliments garlic.

9. Companion Planting with Flowers

For a really attractive garlic patch in your garden, we recommend making room for a rose bush or two when you plant garlic. Pairing garlic together with rose bushes can make the garlic harvest more successful as roses attract beneficial insects.

Releasing a chemical, rose bushes attract parasitic wasps, known to prey on pests like aphids and spider mites. These insects help protect your plants from harmful invaders by feeding off of them!

Garlic will also protect your roses from many common rose pests and fungal diseases like black spot.

Marigolds and geraniums will also grow beautifully amongst garlic plants.

BONUS TIP! Garlic companion plants and fruit trees

Garlic deters pests that are harmful to fruit trees including Japanese beetles, snails, caterpillars and aphids. Many pests are quite simply repelled by the pungent aroma the garlic plant.

Plant garlic around for example apple trees and peach trees to keep away borers and deter pests like apple scab.

Added garlic benefits include that garlic plants do wonders in attracting pollinators necessary for your fruit trees to yield a harvest.

Summary and conclusion

Reading about companion plants it is easy to feel overwhelmed.

Always remember that you garden is a unique eco system. Information about which plants to plant where is to be treated as advice given based on experience. And most likjely it will work for you as well.

But you should always be observant to learn what works best for you in your garden.

This does not mean that advise given is wrong. It just means that you should keep an open mind and become the expert of you garden.

This way garlic planted in your garden will yield you the maximum benefits.

Meet the author: Mattias is an experienced gardener spending most of his free time on his knees among herbs, plants and garden vegetables. For the past two years he has been sharing gardening projects and how-to tutorials on the NordicLavender website and YouTube channel.