Are you interested in knowing about the companion plants for thyme?
Thyme, being an aromatic as well as a medicinal plant, is quite popular among people with vegetable patches. It is also known to grow well with several other herbs, vegetables, and flower varieties.
I tried growing thyme with some other herbs but unfortunately found that though it grew well with sage, both the plants withered when I raised it next to cilantro.
So how can we find out which plants grow with thyme and which ones repel it?
Companion planting helped protect plants from pests, improved growth, and also enhanced biodiversity in an area.
In this article, I’ll help you in knowing all about the best companion plants for thyme.
23 best companion plants for thyme:
- Bay plant
- Lemon verbena
- Salad burnet
This article also includes the ideal conditions for the growth of thyme, which plants to avoid, and where thyme grows best.
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Best Companion Plants For Thyme
Scientific Name: Fragaria ananassa
Planting strawberries next to thyme benefits the plant a lot. Thyme attracts beneficial insects which keep away/feed on harmful pests that destroy strawberry plants. Thyme also attracts bees, aiding in the pollination of the thyme plant companion.
Scientific Name: Solanum melongena L.
Thyme and eggplant can grow together as both plants need well-drained soil for proper growth. Thyme’s scent repels garden moths, aphids, and other harmful pests which feed on eggplants.
Scientific Name: Solanum lycopersicum
Tomato plants are a great thyme companion as thyme protects the tomato fruits from hornworms, whiteflies, and other harmful pests. As per research, thyme contains essential oils which deter tomato fusarium and wilt as well.
Scientific Name: genus Rosa
Companion planting for thyme is easier if both plants have similar soil, water, and sun requirements. Roses are thyme companions as both plants complement each other instead of fighting for nutrients.
Though thyme flowers, the flowers don’t compete with roses for attracting pollinators. Planting them together improves pollination and also protects the rose plant from thrips, aphids, whiteflies, and other insects.
Scientific Name: Solanum tuberosum
Thyme attracts a lot of beneficial insects like hoverflies, parasitic wasps, tachinid flies, and many others. The caterpillar/larva of these insects feed on whiteflies, spider mites, and beetles which usually destroy/harm the potato crop. Growing potatoes next to thyme also increases pollination as thyme attracts bees.
- Cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata) – Plants from the brassica family grow well with thyme. The strong smell of thyme repels cabbage worms, moths, and bugs that `feed on cabbage plants, allowing the cabbage plant to grow properly.
- Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis) – Planting cauliflower next to thyme benefits it as thyme prevents the common pests, moths, cabbage butterflies, and whiteflies from destroying the crop. Thyme’s aroma masks the scent of cauliflower. Thyme’s aromatic flowers also attract bees and birds which feed on the pests.
Scientific Name: Allium cepa var. aggregatum
Shallots can grow well with thyme as the growth habits (soil and sun requirements) are similar for both plants. The distinct odor of thyme also masks the smell of shallots, preventing shallot pests from attacking the crop.
Scientific Name: Vaccinium sect. Cyanococcus
Thyme is an excellent companion for blueberries. Companion planting with thyme is beneficial for the blueberry plants as thyme attracts pollinators – bees, butterflies, and a few birds too! This makes pollination easier for the blueberry plants. Thyme also repels blueberry pests and insects.
Scientific Name: Salvia rosmarinus
Rosemary is one of the thyme companion herbs as both herbs complement each other. The pest-repelling effect is magnified because rosemary also has a strong odor like thyme.
Rosemary is also known for attracting mason bees, honeybees, and other pollinators and the combination of purplish-white flowers of rosemary and thyme makes a great border of flowers in the garden.
Scientific Name: Origanum majorana
Another herb that can grow as thyme’s companion is marjoram. As it is a drought-resistant plant, it can grow in well-drained soil with thyme.
The slightly pungent aroma of marjoram with the aromatic thyme attracts pollinators and also prevents harmful insects.
Marjoram is a thyme and basil companion as it also repels whiteflies and aphids and can survive in conditions similar to basil as well as thyme.
Scientific Name: Origanum vulgare
A common Mediterranean herb, Oregano prefers full sunlight and well-drained soil, which makes it a good companion for thyme. Oregano also has pesticidal properties and repels many destructive insects.
Growing thyme with oregano, the pest-repelling behavior is enhanced which is also beneficial for other surrounding crops too.
Scientific Name: Salvia officinalis
Sage prefers to grow in sandy, well-drained soil with lots of sunlight, and when planted next to thyme, can flourish. The odor of sage deters snails, moths, and flea beetles and the purple-blue flowers are favorites of hummingbirds and many types of bees.
Scientific Name: Lavandula
Lavender and thyme can be planted together as companion plants as they thrive in dry soil conditions and more sunlight. The purplish flowers attract bumblebees and enhance pollination for thyme and other companions.
Lavender is also a known repellent of moths, flies, and bugs while thyme repels hornworms and maggots.
Scientific Name: Anethum graveolens
Dill along with oregano, and marjoram are some lemon thyme companion plants. Dill grows well in slightly acidic, well-drained soil and hence can be planted with thyme. Dill is known to repel spider mites which are harmful for lemon thyme but attract bees and butterflies helping in pollination.
15. Bay Tree
Scientific Name: Laurus nobilis
Bay tree and thyme can grow as companions and can be planted in pots together. Both have similar planting habits and don’t compete for nutrients. Bay tree repels some bugs and insects while thyme repels whiteflies and maggots.
Thyme has small purple-white flowers which attract bees and other pollinators and this benefits the bay laurel too.
16. Lemon Verbena
Scientific Name: Aloysia citrodora
Lemon verbena grows well when planted next to lemon thyme. Growing in dry soil and requiring lots of sunlight, both plants suit each other. As lemon verbena attracts whiteflies, the strong smell of thyme masks its odor, protecting it from pests.
Scientific Name: Satureja
Summer savory and winter savory both can grow as thyme companions as all of them require well-drained, neutral to slightly alkaline soil. Savory plants and thyme have thymol which makes them pest-repellent.
Both winter and summer savory attract bees and beneficial pollinators while thyme also plays its part in pollination by attracting butterflies.
18. Salad Burnet
Scientific Name: Sanguisorba minor
Salad Burnet is also a great companion for thyme and it also has similar growth habits to thyme. Salad burnet can grow in dry soil and helps prevent erosion for other companion plants.
Like thyme, salad burnet is also a good pollination agent as it attracts honeybees, bees, and other pollinators.
Scientific Name: Zea mays
Corn is the answer if you wonder what grows well with thyme. Corn is commonly infested by corn earworms which are consequently repelled by thyme. Thyme keeps away the earworms with its strong scent, allowing the corn crop to grow properly.
Scientific Name: Lactuca sativa
Creeping thyme is known to be a good ground cover and as such when planted with lettuce, benefits the plant. The pest-repellent properties of thyme keep the harmful bugs away and also attract beneficial insects to the crop.
Scientific Name: Vitis
If you wonder whether thyme grows well with any fruit and what to plant with thyme, you would be delighted to know that thyme plant benefits grapevines. The strong smell of thyme keeps the pests and bugs away.
As per research, it was also found that intercropping thyme with grapevines mostly resulted in increased crop yields, though more research is being done on the same.
Scientific Name: Zinnia
Zinnias are one of my favorite thyme companions. Preferring well-drained soil, thyme and zinnia improve the overall diversity in a garden. The bright and multicolored zinnias complement the blue-purplish thyme flowers.
Studies have found that zinnias are highly attractive to butterflies like swallowtails, monarchs, and hummingbirds too, improving pollination in other companion crops.
Scientific Name: Viola tricolor var. Hortensis
Pansies and thyme make good companion partners. Their soil and sunlight requirements are similar and as such, they grow well with each other. Planting thyme protects pansies and other crops from pests and their collective flower display attracts pollinators.
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Where Does Thyme Grow?
Thyme was natively found and grown in the Mediterranean region. It can be grown anywhere with sunny weather and warmer climates. Thyme needs to be planted in a place that receives a lot of sunlight the whole day and can be planted in 5-9 USDA zones.
What Shouldn’t Be Planted Near Thyme
Herbs like basil, cilantro, parsley, and mint are bad companion plants for thyme. All of these plants require good moisture in the soil whereas thyme prefers dry, well-drained soil and would wilt in wet soil.
What Are The Ideal Conditions For Thyme?
- Thyme is an evergreen perennial herb and grows in hot, sunlit areas. It needs to be kept in proper sunlight for the most part of the day for optimal growth. It will survive in partial shade but the lifespan and yield would decrease.
- The ideal temperature for thyme is between 65 – 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The plant is a hardy type and can survive even at temperatures as cold as -25 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Thyme thrives in sandy/loamy, well-draining alkaline soil and absolutely cannot survive in overly moist soil. The plant may wilt and die if the soil is too wet without draining. However, thyme can last up to 4 weeks without water and is extremely drought-tolerant.
- Thyme can be grown either from seeds or directly from saplings. As the germination of seeds takes more time, some plant enthusiasts prefer planting them as young plants while others like me prefer to grow them from seeds.
These are open-pollinated, non-GMO seeds with an 87% germination rate. Each packet has 1000 seeds and comes with planting instructions.
These are non-hybrid, non-GMO seeds. They remain viable for years and the packet has sowing and planting instructions as well as instructions for storing seeds for a longer time.
This is a combo pack of 15 different herb varieties including thyme, sage, and rosemary. These are all heirloom and non-GMO seeds. The packet also comes with plant markers.
- Thyme plants need to be spaced 12-24 inches apart for ideal growth of thyme plants as thyme tends to spread.
- Thyme grows well in both pots as well as the ground. Clay or terracotta pots are most favorable for thyme plants due to their better drainage.
This set of 3 porous terracotta pots comes in sizes 4.2 inches, 5.3 inches, and 6.5 inches. They have drainage holes so that unnecessary water isn’t retained.
This is a set of 4 pots, sized 6 inches in height and 6 inches in outer diameter. They have drainage holes at the bottom for increased drainage efficiency and can be used indoors or outdoors.
This is a set of 3 pots, of sizes 6 inches, 7 inches, and 8 inches. Larger pots allow maximum breathability for plants and also have bigger drainage holes promoting optimum growth.
FAQs On Companion Plants For Thyme
How Tall Does Thyme Grow?
You might wonder how tall thyme grows. Thyme usually grows 6-12 inches in height but can grow up to 15 inches and does well next to brassicas and tomatoes.
Does Thyme Take Over A Garden?
Does thyme take over a garden? Wild thyme, oregano, foxgloves, and pennyroyal can take over the garden very quickly. As they’re self-seeding, it’s difficult to remove them as they can grow from small roots.
Does Thyme Come Back Every Year?
You might wonder does thyme come back every year. Yes, some culinary herbs like thyme, oregano, mint, and sage come back every year, spreading all over the area. Most of the herbs growing in the US are perennials.
Does Thyme Need Full Sun?
Does thyme need full sun? Yes, thyme grows extremely well in full sunlight. Thyme and other drought-resistant varieties can be planted together in well-draining soil. Thyme needs to be kept in a sunlit area, if indoors.
For all the plant lovers and people with vegetable patches, companion planting turns out to be highly advantageous as they can grow many plants that they prefer together according to the suitability as many plants support each other’s growth.
Companion planting focuses on plants that can grow in similar soil, and require similar nutrition, and their behavior and growth patterns when planted together.
Thyme, which is not only an ornamental but also a herb used commonly for culinary purposes, makes a good companion plant.
Hope this article on companion plants for thyme was helpful. Let me know your own experiences with planting thyme alongside these or other plants in the comments below.
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