Garlic companion plants are plants that grow well with garlic, either due to space use or to an affinity for allium family plants. Since garlic is often seeded the fall before it grows, being able to plant a few companion plants with the garlic in the spring can be useful. Especially for using the space as the garlic gets close to harvest.
Garlic has a pungent odor that is highly repellent to many types of garden pests. Even some deer dislike the smell of garlic, so garlic inter-planted and companion planted with other veggies and herbs can act as a multi-pest repellent. Last fall I harvested garlic in September, and suddenly had the local doe coming into my garden and snacking on my plants and trees. Before the garlic was harvested, since it was near the lower end of the garden, it had actually repelled her from coming and feeding on the rest of the plants. Possibly the scent of garlic overpowered the softer scents of the more tasty plants. I’d still trust a fence first, but if deer jump your fences, then planting garlic around the edges of your garden may help repel them from exploring the rest of it.
Some of the insects that garlic repels include,fungus gnats, spider mites, cabbage loopers,Japanese beetles, aphids, ants, snails, and onion flies. As well as being repellent to deer, rabbits, and possibly squirrels. However, fall planted garlic cloves can be very attractive to voles during the winter, and voles often are attracted to root crops near garlic, and garlic itself during the growing season.
Root Vegetable Companions:
It might seem counterintuitive to plant other root vegetables alongside garlic. However, garlic is great for repelling rust fly, and helping prevent mildew and fungus on other root vegetable crops.
Beets and carrots can be grown alongside, or inter-planted with garlic. Beets pull from different soil levels than garlic, especially long tubular beets vs. round beets. The heavy mulching for garlic also helps repress weeds for the beets, and both crops together can help loosen the soil and make the bed more ready for next year’s crops. Garlic specifically helps protect beets from fusarium wilt and downy mildew, two fungal attackers that beets can be prone to.
Brassica family plants like kale, kolrabi, cabbage, napa cabbage, bok choi, and others, are some of the best garlic companion plants. The garlic helps confuse cabbage moth, protecting this family of plants from cabbage worms, maggots, and other common garden pests. Dill is another aromatic herb to plant with Brassicas for the same purpose.
Since brassicas are heavy feeders, the extra mulching for broccoli and cauliflower also helps keep moisture with the garlic. Garlic takes up very little space around these plants, and you can fit several rows of garlic in amongst the broccoli. On average, garlic is also harvested earlier than the broccoli and cauliflower, so harvesting the garlic will also give the rest of the needed space to the brassica plants.
Other leafy greens can also be companion planted with garlic, including lettuce, arugula, spinach, and chard. The leafy greens draw from a different soil level than garlic, for their nutrients, and therefore don’t compete with the garlic. They also get to harvest faster than garlic, so you can plant them alongside the early germinating garlic, and harvest them before the garlic is ready. Greens will be ready to harvest before you need to cut water to the garlic for the garlic’s harvest, too.
Trees and Shrubs:
Garlic can be a good companion plant for young fruit trees. Garlic repels Japanese beetles, which mate and lay eggs in the soil under fruit trees before hatching and feeding on the tree’s leaves. Garlic can also help repel tent and army caterpillars, aphids, and borers from fruit trees. Planting narrow beds of garlic among young, or partially established fruit trees is a good way to companion plant garlic with trees.
Garlic is a great companion plant for apple trees, helping repel apple scab. It’s also good for peach trees, helping prevent peach leaf curl.
Garlic can also be companion planted with small shrubs, like raspberry, blueberry, or current, where there’s lots of light close to the plants. It can also be used as a companion plant for your favorite rose bush, as can other herbs with a strong scent.
A heavily mulched garlic bed can also help provide water and nutrients to trees’ and shrub’s feeder roots, without adding a lot of work. Just make sure to not mulch all the way up to the trunk of your trees.
Garlic Companion Plants: Vegetables
In the vegetable and flower garden, garlic can be a companion plant for many vegetables and flowers. Nasturtiums, often planted as a trap crop to attract insect pests, can be partially protected by being planted with garlic. If you like this peppery, edible flower, then planting a few nasturtiums with your garlic can help you make sure you get the flowers you enjoy. Other flowers that benefit from garlic include chamomile, marigolds, calendula, and geraniums.
Garlic, like basil, can also be planted with tomatoes. The herbs help increase the flavor of the tomatoes, while the tomato’s root system helps draw up deep nutrients to the more surface growing garlic. Peppers and eggplant can also be planted with, and near, garlic.
Carrots, parsley, strawberries, and maybe even asparagus can also be planted near and alongside garlic. Garlic bulbs only take up about four square inches, and have a semi shallow root system. They fit in with many different plants, though planting them in a dedicated bed is the preferred method of getting a good harvest. If you practice square foot gardening, or permaculture techniques, garlic can be spread throughout the garden for it’s beneficial, pest repelling, anti-fungal companion plant properties.
Garlic Companion Plants: Herbs
Tarragon is an aromatic herb that helps garlic grow, and is a good creeping ground cover to help reduce weeds around your garlic. I like mulching garlic heavily with straw, but the tarragon can help with suppressing weeds too. As well as the herb encouraging garlic to grow.
Thyme can also be a good ground cover near garlic, and a good companion plant. The aromatic flowering herbs, like oregano, are also great bee attractants for your garden.
Rue and sage can be planted near garlic, and near tomatoes and other vegetables, as some of the best companion plants. Herbs help attract beneficial insects, while simultaneously being repellent to the less beneficial insects and garden pests.
I would avoid planting garlic alongside chives, walking onions, and other members of the allium family. With them being closely related any onion pests could transfer to garlic, and they will draw from similar soil levels.
Companion Planting Garlic In the Rest of the Garden:
Avoid planting garlic, onions, chives, and shallots, alongside beans. They are all a member of the allium family, like garlic. For some reason the allium family doesn’t get along well with beans, and can slow the growth of bean plants.They can also have a similar effect on peas. This may be because the allium family are potent antibacterial agents, and peas and beans have a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen fixing bacteria. Once the alliums are no longer in the bed, beans and peas can be planted as cover crops, or as rotational crops without any ill effect. In fact, planting beans or peas before garlic can help improve the nitrogen content of the soil, and help your garlic grow better.
You can make garlic leaf sprays for potato fungus and rusts, and also use it to help with rose fungus and rusts. Garlic is a very potent natural fungicide, as well as being anti-bacterial and good against bacterial wilt. A foliar spray with some garlic can help prevent fungal damage on potatoes, roses, and other fungal sensitive plants. Make your own garlic based fungicides for your garden. Whey can also be included in the foliar spray, or used instead of the heavier garlic, if treating early.
Back to You:
Garlic’s pungent aroma can help protect your garden both from insect pests, and four legged pests. It’s great for repelling rose pests, and some of the harmful moths and butterflies. Companion planting, in general, is a great way to increase pollination for your vegetable crops, as many companion herbs and other plants help attract pollinators, beneficial wasps, and other insect friends.
Lastly, a good mulch around garlic, and your other crops, can help increase your soil fertility and create fertile soil for your garden.
What are your favorite garlic companion plants? What other pairings have you used in companion planting? Leave a comment!