Planting garlic companions can help keep pests and diseases away from vegetables, fruits, and even flowers, including roses. Its pungent aroma actively repels many pests that can attack crops and produces a natural fungicide in the soil. Nearby plants can absorb it into their roots and protect them from fungal infections.
Companion planting is a very effective way to organically control pests in the garden and also to supplement both the growth and flavor of certain edibles. Using companion planting also reduces the need to use chemicals in the garden.
If you are learning to grow garlic, it really pays to consider the best companion plants to grow around it and reap all the benefits that companion planting offers.
Drew is a former professional gardener specializing in growing vegetables for restaurants. He previously worked in certified organic vegetable gardens and, wherever he gardened, always grew edibles using organic principles.
Benefits of Companion Planting Garlic
One of the main benefits of companion planting with garlic is the pungent smell the plant gives off. Whether you grow hardneck or softneck garlic, it is a natural pest and fungus repellent, making it a fantastic companion plant in the garden.
Common garden pests including aphids, ants, snails, gnats and moths all hate the smell of garlic. Even larger pests, such as rabbits and deer, can be deterred from munching on crops by the strong smell given off by garlic planted nearby.
Gardeners all over the world make homemade garlic sprays or buy garlic repellent sprays such as Garlic Barrier on Amazon. (opens in a new tab)to take advantage of the power of garlic when it comes to deterring pests.
In addition to protecting against pests, planting garlic can also play a role in disease prevention. Garlic can actually help prevent fungal infections on plants because it contains sulfur which can eliminate fungus. Plants growing near garlic benefit from the absorption of this sulfur in their roots, which reduces the risk of fungal infections.
Best Crops For Companion Planting With Garlic
Garlic is a fantastic crop for companion planting because it has a long list of plants that can benefit from being a neighbor. This includes not only other vegetables, but also fruits, herbs and even ornamental plants.
Cristian DeRusha, Farm Manager at Arden Farm (opens in a new tab) in Florida, describes the list of beneficial companion plants for garlic as “extensive” and claims that in addition to deterring pests and disease, the crop also contributes to bumper harvests because it can attract pollinators to the garden.
“Garlic is relatively low maintenance and takes up very little space in your plot, which means it will thrive alongside plants with more specific growing needs and even help boost their flavor,” says Cristian.
- Vegetable companion plants “You should plant garlic near vegetables, such as beets, potatoes, carrots, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, cauliflower, and broccoli,” says Cristian. This is because garlic repels many of their predators. “Leafy greens like cabbage, lettuce, arugula, spinach, and kale also thrive near garlic because they don’t compete for nutrients.” So be sure to add it to your list of kale companion plants and potato companion plants.
- Companion plants of fruit trees Fruit trees can benefit from being planted near garlic because pests including caterpillars, aphids and borers are repelled by the smell of garlic. Garlic can also help protect apple trees from scab and peach trees from the development of peach leaf curl. This all adds up to the fact that it can help attract pollinators to boost the tree’s fruit harvest.
- Flower Companion Plants Garlic also provides benefits to flowers, so it might be worth considering giving space in a garden border or flower bed. Garlic is very beneficial for roses as it deters aphids and helps control rose black spot. Garlic is also said to help grow bigger and stronger roses and increase the fragrance of flowers. Geraniums, marigolds and nasturtiums are also good companions for garlic as it can also help repel their pests.
Garlic bulbs for planting are readily available online at Burpee (opens in a new tab)Amazon (opens in a new tab) and natural hills (opens in a new tab).
Garlic companion plants to avoid
There are many plants that will be very happy when grown near garlic, although there are also some that will not thrive and can be negatively affected by growing near garlic. If you are planning a vegetable garden and intend to grow garlic, do not plant any near your bulbs.
Jen McDonald, organic garden specialist and co-founder of Garden Girls (opens in a new tab), knows that garlic has “many benefits” as a companion plant, but cautions which plants are best kept away from the crop. She advises, “Peas, beans, melon, and asparagus should not be planted next to garlic, as potent garlic will stunt its neighbor’s growth.”
It is recommended that you do not plant garlic too close to other alliums, including onions and leeks, as this can encourage onion maggots in the area. However, there are many other suitable onion planting options if you are growing these crops.
Garlic is also claimed to be able to inhibit the growth of strawberries, however, garlic may actually provide benefits as a strawberry companion plant as it deters spider mites and fruit plant fungus.
What herbs can I plant with garlic?
There are some herbs that will thrive near garlic and some that won’t. If you enjoy growing garlic and are thinking about potential herb garden ideas, it pays to know what relationships the plant may have with nearby herbs.
Growing garlic near yarrow or tarragon will increase the plant’s growth and improve its health, while planting garlic near chamomile will improve the flavor of the bulb. Dill is another herb with a great relationship to garlic. The smell of the bulb will prevent aphids from attacking the dill, and the dill in turn will enhance the flavor of the garlic bulbs. Garlic also benefits from being planted close to the rue, as the strong smell of the rue repels onion flies which can attack the garlic bulbs.
On the contrary, garlic can have a negative impact on certain herbs. It is a plant that stunts the growth of sage and parsley as they compete for the same resources in the soil. It’s a lose-lose and will mean smaller bulbs when it’s time to harvest the garlic and also stunted herbaceous plants.
What should I add to my soil before planting garlic?
Garlic likes well-drained, moderately fertile soil. Before planting, incorporate compost or well-rotted manure into the planting site to improve drainage and increase soil nutrient levels. Garlic can be planted in fall or spring. Adding amendments before planting hardier forms of garlic in the fall means no additional fertilizer would be needed until spring. Any manure added to the site should be well decomposed as fresh manure is capable of burning plant roots.
What is the best cover crop for garlic?
Cover crops, also known as green manures, are plants grown with the intention of being turned into soil. It is a common practice in crop rotation and can increase soil fertility and organic matter levels. Good cover crops to plant before garlic include buckwheat and alfalfa. These summer-growing green manures can effectively suppress weeds and add nutrients and organic matter to the soil.