Companion Planting with Garlic

Garlic is one of those main staples every garden should have, especially if you love cooking with it in the kitchen. Not only does this delightful plant taste amazing, but its unique properties will benefit many of your other beloved garden residents. Let’s talk about companion planting with garlic.

The Best Growing Conditions for Garlic

The UK enjoys a temperate climate and has an RHS Rating that ranges from H6 to H3 (USDA hardiness zones 6 through 9). Summers are warm and not too hot. Similarly, winters are cool but not too frigid. As such, the UK is a great place to grow garlic (Allium sativum) and its plant companions.

There are two main types of garlic: hardneck and softneck. Hardneck garlic has a stronger flavour and a more rigid central stem. Softneck garlic has a softer, more flexible neck comprised of elongated leaves and has the longest shelf life. Both are excellent for companion planting. Good varieties for the UK include Solent Wight, Germidour, and Picardy Wight.

Light Needs: Garlic needs about 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight every day. If these sun-loving plants are denied light due to other overshadowing plants or from being planted in the shade, bulbs may fail to reach their full size.

Soil: Garlic grows best in well-draining soil with a pH above 6.5. Add lots of rich compost to improve your soil’s nutrient profile. Soil should remain slightly moist but not soggy. Water garlic at the base of the plant to avoid fungal infections.

Planting: It is best to plant garlic cloves in late autumn for a summer harvest the following year. Garlic takes up very little space in the garden, and so may need a little help from its friends by way of ground cover.

Deadhead emergent flowers to encourage full bulb development. However, don’t let those tasty flowers go to waste! Garlic flowers are edible as well, so enjoy sauteing or roasting them.

Plant Companions for Garlic

Companion planting refers to the practise of grouping and growing plants together in such a way that they benefit one another. Below are a variety of vegetables, herbs, and fruits that have a positive relationship with garlic.

See also  Intercropping and Catch Cropping.


Daucus carota

Type of Plant: Herbaceous Biennial Root Vegetable

How Garlic and Carrots Benefit Each Other: Carrots and garlic share similar growing conditions wherein they both enjoy rich, well-draining soil and lots of sunlight. Garlic benefits carrots by repelling pests like root maggots and carrot flies. Carrots benefit garlic by helping to prevent weeds.

Growth Habit: Carrots have a low, clustering, and bushy growth habit. Also noteworthy, they won’t overshadow your garlic plants.

Uses: Carrots are a wonderful main staple and food source within the garden. The carrot or tap root of the carrot plant is the most popular part for eating. However, carrot greens and flowers are just as edible and can be used much the same way as parsley. Try adding carrot greens to pesto, eggs, stew, soup, sauce, and creamy cheese dip. Add the flowers to salads or mix with other herbs to brew a medicinal tea full of antioxidants.


Anethum graveolens

Type of Plant: Annual Aromatic Herb

How Garlic and Dill Benefit Each Other: Dill, chamomile, and garlic all grow well together. All three are low maintenance with high yields. Additionally, dill improves the flavour of garlic. Garlic returns the favour by repelling aphids and other pests.

Growth Habit: The dill plant is a small to medium-sized bush (about 3 feet tall) that enjoys full sun and well-draining soil.

Uses: The fresh spindly leaves of dill are fabulously delicious when added to poultry, potatoes, soup, salad, flavoured oil, cheese, and various other food items. Edible parts include the leaves, flowers, and seeds.

Other uses include adding to décour and flower arrangements, as dill has a wonderful smell that rivals its amazing flavour. Dill has the best flavour when picked fresh but can also be dried for later use during the winter.

German Chamomile

Matricaria chamomilla

Type of Plant: Annual Flowering Medicinal Herb

How Garlic and Chamomile Benefit Each Other: Garlic and chamomile thrive in similar conditions, which facilitates their growing together. Chamomile will also boost the flavour of your garlic bulbs and attracts beneficial plant pollinators that prey upon unwanted garden pests. Chamomile has anti-fungal and antiseptic properties as well.

Growth Habit: The chamomile bush is a small to medium herbaceous shrub that develops prolific white flowers beginning in late spring and lasting into autumn. Deadheading the spent daisy-like flowers will encourage continued blooming throughout the season.

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Chamomile thrives in well-draining variable soil and likes full sun, though it can tolerate a little shade. It reliably self-seeds, and though an annual, often returns each year. It also tends to spread easily if allowed to do so.

Uses: Chamomile is an enchanting herb that every grower should have in their spring garden as it has so many uses. Its cheerful blooms can be dried and saved for use throughout the year. The dried flowers of chamomile can be used on their own or mixed with other herbs to brew an herbal tea. Medicinally, chamomile is considered to be anti-inflammatory and makes an excellent sleep aid. The tea can also assist with digestion and ease stomachache.

Additionally, chamomile is sometimes used commercially to make cosmetics for both skin and hair products. When combined with lemon, chamomile may gently enhance and subtly lighten the colour of blond hair over time. For anyone who enjoys making their own homemade cosmetics, chamomile is a great resource.


Capsicum annuum

Type of Plant: Annual Nightshade Fruit

How Garlic and Peppers Benefit Each Other: Both peppers and garlic like plenty of sunshine and well-draining soil. The sulphur released by garlic acts as an anti-fungal treatment, which will protect your pepper plants. Garlic goes even further by feeding beneficial microorganisms within the soil and helps peppers thrive. Plus, the potent aroma of garlic repels aphids.

Growth Habit: Peppers grow to be quite large and bushy. Just be sure to grow your garlic on the south side of your peppers so they don’t cast shade on your garlic plants.

Uses: Both sweet and hot peppers have seemingly innumerable uses, from salads to sauces to salsa. These savoury fruits have a long-treasured place in the kitchen.

Spinach Medania

Spinacia oleracea ‘Medania’

Type of Plant: Annual Leafy Vegetable

How Garlic and Spinach Benefit Each Other: Both garlic and spinach share a similar cold tolerance. Therefore, they are great plant companions for spring and autumn gardening. Additionally, garlic will help shield spinach from pests. Meanwhile, spinach will help block weeds for garlic.

Grow Medania spinach in full sun when sowing with garlic in the fall. During spring and summer, this spinach needs partial shade with about 3 to 4 hours of full sun. To provide the necessary shade this spinach variety needs, a third crop can be introduced.

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Growth Habit: This spinach variety is slow-growing and lives low to the ground via leafy clumps. Harvest in 30 days from planting. For a continuous harvest throughout the growing season, pick leaves often, as doing so encourages new growth.

Uses: The leaves of spinach are edible, tasty, and very healthy. Spinach leaves are a great source of fibre, antioxidants, vitamins, and essential nutrients like iron. Eating spinach regularly may improve eye health and regulate blood pressure as well. Besides eating its crunchy leaves in a fresh salad, try sautéing spinach in salted butter with garlic and bacon for a delicious treat even the kids will enjoy!


Solanum lycopersicum

Type of Plant: Annual Nightshade Fruit

How Garlic and Tomatoes Benefit Each Other: Not only does garlic protect tomato plants from opportunistic pests like spider mites but it enhances the flavour of tomatoes as well. Garlic also secretes anti-fungal compounds into the ground, which helps prevent late blight. 

It should be noted that tomatoes and peppers are part of the nightshade family and are therefore susceptible to blight. If you decide to grow them both, you will want to grow them in different places within your garden to prevent blight infections. In this way, if one type of plant becomes infected, the disease won’t easily spread to your other plants.

Growth Habit: The tomato plant has a bushy growth habit, and like garlic, enjoys full sun and well-draining soil. Just be sure that your tomato plants don’t block out the sun for your garlic. In fact, it is best to plant your garlic on the south side of your tall tomato bushes.

Uses: Tomatoes are a delicious savoury fruit used in numerous culinary applications ranging from soup to sauce to salsa. Tomatoes can also be sliced and eaten raw, grilled, or added to sandwiches. With tomatoes, the culinary possibilities are endless. 

It feels good knowing that we can pair or group some of our favourite plants in such a way that they thrive and reach their full potential together. When it comes to plant companions, garlic is a true garden ally. It acts as a natural anti-fungal agent, enriches the soil, helps keep the garden pest-free, and so much more!

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