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Companion Plants for Rosemary (The Best and What to Avoid)

Jump to RecipeClose up of a rosemary plant.

I love growing rosemary in my vegetable garden. It is a staple in the herb garden every year. Rosemary is a fairly easy plant to grow but has a few requirements that will make it easier. This post will go over tips to growing the best rosemary, good companion plants for your rosemary ,and a few plants not to plant next to it.

What is Rosemary?

Rosemary is a popular herb that is often used in Mediterranean cuisine, and it's also a beautiful ornamental plant that adds a fragrant touch to gardens. It's easy to grow, low maintenance, and can be grown indoors or outdoors, making it a favorite among gardeners and herb enthusiasts alike. One way to maximize the benefits of growing rosemary is with companion planting.

Rosemary Growing Conditions

Rosemary is loved for its strong aroma, its use as a culinary herb, and its ease of planting.

This Mediterranean herb is a hardy perennial herb that thrives in warm, dry conditions. It is native to the mediterranean region.  Here are the best growing conditions for rosemary plants:

  1. Sunlight: Rosemary plants need at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. They grow best in full sun, but they can also tolerate partial shade.
  2. Soil: Rosemary prefers very well-draining soil. The soil should almost be slightly sandy, and it should not be too rich in organic matter. It's important to avoid soil that is heavy and clay-like, as this can cause the roots to rot. If you want to get very technical, they prefer slightly alkaline soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.5
  3. Watering: Rosemary plants prefer to be kept on the dry side, so their water requirements are pretty relaxed. Water the plants deeply once a week, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. You don't want to have constantly damp soil. In hot, dry weather, the plants may need to be watered more frequently.
  4. Temperature: Rosemary plants prefer warm temperatures and are hardy to zones 8-10. They can tolerate temperatures as low as 30°F (-1°C), but they may need protection from frost and cold winds. Don't try to leave your plants out in the cold weather, or they will die off quickly.
  5. Humidity: Rosemary prefers low humidity and does not like to be in humid or damp conditions. It's important to avoid overwatering the plants, as this can lead to fungal diseases.
  6. Fertilizer: Rosemary does not need a lot of fertilizer, and too much can actually harm the plant. A slow-release fertilizer can be applied in the spring, or a compost tea can be used to provide nutrients throughout the growing season.I personally don’t add any fertilizer throughout the growing season and mine have done great.

By providing these growing conditions, your rosemary plant should thrive and provide you with fragrant, flavorful leaves for use in your cooking and to enjoy their beauty.

Best Companion Plants for Rosemary

Companion planting is the practice of planting different plants together to provide mutual benefits such as improved growth, increased yield, and pest control. Growing these plants in close proximity to your rosemary is a good idea to make sure your rosemary thrives. these are the best companion plants for rosemary:

Lavender

Lavender is a great companion plant for rosemary because it thrives in similar conditions. Both plants prefer well-drained soil, plenty of sunlight, and moderate watering. Lavender also attracts beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies, which helps to pollinate the rosemary flowers.

Sage

Sage is another herb that is closely related to rosemary, and the two plants make great companions. Sage is also a low-maintenance plant that thrives in similar growing conditions. They also compliment each other well in cooking, so it is a fun blend to grow.

Thyme

Thyme is a small, hardy herb that is often used as a ground cover. It's a great companion plant for rosemary because it can help to deter pests and improve soil health. Thyme also attracts beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies.

Oregano

Oregano is a great companion plant for rosemary because it's a hardy plant that can withstand hot, dry conditions. Oregano also helps to repel pests such as aphids and spider mites, which can damage rosemary plants.

Chives

Chives are a great companion plant for rosemary because they help to repel pests and attract beneficial insects. Chives are also a low-maintenance plant that can be grown in a container or in a garden bed.

Strawberry

Strawberries are sensitive to certain soil-borne diseases, and planting them with rosemary can help repel harmful soil-borne pests and pathogens. Rosemary can also benefit the strawberry plants by using its natural repellent properties against pests like aphids, spider mites, and cabbage loopers, which can benefit the strawberry plants.

Rosemary plant in a pot.

Worst Companion Plants for Rosemary

There are some plants that don't do so well with rosemary. That can be because they require different growing conditions, they attract insect pests, or they use the soil nutrients very differently. Whatever the case, these plant are best grown in separate areas of the garden or place them in different raised beds.

Cabbage

Cabbage is a member of the brassica family, which includes broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. Cabbage prefers cool temperatures and moist soil conditions, while rosemary prefers hot and dry conditions, so it may be challenging to provide the ideal growing conditions for both plants.

Plants in the brassica family also attract cabbage moths. The presence of cabbage moths in the area could attract predators and pests that could also affect your rosemary plants.

These plants are not good companions for rosemary because they are heavy feeders and can deplete the soil of nutrients. Any plant in the cabbage family also attracts pests such as aphids and cabbage worms, which can damage rosemary plants.

Carrots

Carrots are another vegetable that is not a good companion for rosemary. Carrot plants are heavy feeders and can compete with rosemary for nutrients in the soil. Carrots also attract pests such as carrot rust flies. The presence of carrot flies in the area could indirectly affect your rosemary plants by attracting other predators and pests that get rid of the good insects and pollinators.

Fennel

Fennel is a plant that is often grown for its edible bulbs and fronds. However, it's not a good companion for rosemary because it can inhibit the growth of other plants in the garden. Fennel also attracts pests such as aphids and spider mites, which can damage rosemary plants.

Beans

Beans are not good companions for rosemary because they are legumes that fix nitrogen in the soil. This can cause an imbalance of nutrients in the soil and lead to poor growth for both plants. Beans also attract pests such as bean beetles, which can damage rosemary plants.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are not good companions for rosemary because they are heavy feeders that can compete with rosemary for nutrients in the soil. Tomato plants also attract pests such as tomato hornworms, which can damage rose.A tomato hornworm is a large, green caterpillar that is commonly found on tomato plants. Tomato hornworms are known for their ability to strip a tomato plant of its leaves and fruit in just a few days.

Mint

Mint takes up a lot of space in the garden and it thrives in damp soil. Since rosemary likes completely different growing conditions, it’s best to grow these in separate areas of the garden.

Rosemary Diseases

Like any plant, rosemary can be affected by pests and harmful insects. However, rosemary is generally a hardy plant and is less susceptible to pests than other plants. Here are some common pests that can affect rosemary:

  1. Spider Mites: These tiny pests can suck the sap from the leaves of the plant, causing them to turn yellow and dry out. Spider mites thrive in dry, dusty conditions.
  2. Aphids: These small, soft-bodied insects can feed on the sap of rosemary leaves and cause the leaves to curl or become distorted. Aphids are attracted to new growth, so they may be more of a problem in the spring.
  3. Whiteflies: These tiny, moth-like insects can suck the sap from the leaves of the plant, causing them to turn yellow and dry out. Whiteflies can also spread plant viruses.
  4. Rosemary Beetles: These metallic-green beetles can feed on the leaves and flowers of the plant, causing damage and defoliation. Rosemary beetles are more of a problem in the UK and Europe than in other regions.
  5. Mealybugs: These small, white, cottony insects can feed on the sap of the plant and cause damage to the leaves and stems.
  6. Carrot Flies: Carrot flies are small, dark-colored flies that are a common pest of carrot plants. They lay their eggs near the base of carrot plants, and the resulting larvae feed on the roots, causing damage and stunted growth. They don’t typically affect rosemary plants directly, but they attract other pests that may cause damage to your plants.
  7. Cabbage moths: Similar to carrot flies, cabbage moths don’t affect rosemary directly but the presence of cabbage moths in the area could attract predators and pests that could also affect your rosemary plants. That is why we try to plant cabbage in a different area of the garden from rosemary.

To prevent or control these pests, it's important to pay attention to your plants overall health by providing the proper growing conditions. You can also use natural remedies such as insecticidal soap or neem oil to control pests.

Rosemary plant next to a loaf of bread.

How to Use Rosemary

Adding rosemary to your meals is a great way to add some aromatic herbs to your summer dishes.

  1. Soups and stews: Add a sprig or two of rosemary to soups and stews for added flavor. It pairs particularly well with tomato-based soups and stews. I love adding it to a pot of bean.
  2. Vegetables: Rosemary can be added to roasted or sautéed vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, and green beans.
  3. Breads and pastries: Add some chopped rosemary to bread dough or pastry dough for a savory flavor.
  4. Marinades and dressings: Use rosemary in marinades and dressings for salads, and vegetables.
  5. Potatoes: Roasted or mashed potatoes can benefit from the addition of rosemary, which can add a fragrant and savory note to the dish. Roasted rosemary potatoes are one of my favorite ways to use it!

How to Buy Rosemary

If you want to grow rosemary in your garden, i suggest buying it from a plant start. Unless you live in perfect conditions, growing rosemary from seed can be quite difficult. I love picking them up from a local nursery or farmers market.

Rosemary is one of the best herbs because it is as beautiful as it is fragrant. Even if you don't eat a ton of rosemary, it is a beautiful plant to have in the garden and the strong scent of rosemary is worth growing the plant!

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