Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is a hardy perennial that prefers dry and sandy environments. It is one of the most important medicinal plants because of its ethnopharmacological relevance and high content of bioactive compounds. This flowering plant is loved for its versatility.
Over the years, people have used thyme as a flavoring agent, culinary herb, and herbal medicine. However, it is not just a flavoring agent but also a great companion in the garden for other plants. Like another aromatic herb, thyme works well with many garden plants to boost defenses and increase growth.
25 Thyme Companion Plants
The best thyme companion plants are those that can attract beneficial pollinators and act as support for thyme plants.
The presence of strawberries can benefit thyme for a myriad of reasons. Strawberries can be beneficial for thyme by providing a ground cover.
The strawberry plant grows close to the ground by sending out runners, which can help to smoother weeds and ensure that the soil around the thyme plants doesn’t dry out quickly. On the other hand, thyme has an intense aroma that keeps pests away, which can help prevent your strawberries from getting damaged.
Rosemary and thyme are great companion plants as they can survive together because of their similar water and sunlight needs. Rosemary plant grows up to 6 feet tall and 4 to 5 feet wide when planted in the ground.
So, when developing these two plants together, ensure you plant thyme in front of rosemary for your thyme plants to get adequate sunlight. Since rosemary grows taller, they should be planted with plenty of space between them.
Like rosemary, sage is another excellent herb to grow with thyme. These plants can be grown together without any worries and attract more beneficial pollinators. Sage plants grow taller than thyme, so ensure you plant thyme in front of sage for the plant to get adequate sunlight.
Sage is drought resistant like thyme and does not have different watering requirements. Planting them together requires an extra step, as sage plants can reach up to 1-3 feet tall and wide as they grow.
Shallots are a perennial plant from the Alliaceae family, closely related to onions. Shallots are cool-weather vegetables that grow to about 8 inches (20cm) tall in a clump with narrow green leaves.
They are similar to onions which makes them good thyme companion plants. Planting thyme near shallots can help to improve and enhance their flavor.
Oregano and thyme have similar growing conditions, so they can be an ideal combination. Thyme acts as a blanket to oregano and provides the plant with shade, and it also keeps the soil warm and helps in the overall growth of the oregano plant.
When it comes to planting, plant thyme and oregano transplant outdoors after all danger of frost has passed. Plant both plants in well-drained, gravely, slightly alkaline soil in full sun. Only grow these plants in highly fertile soils; otherwise, their flavor will be reduced.
All members of the cabbage family are great thyme companion plants. Cabbage can benefit from being planted alongside thyme since thyme repels pests that can attack them. Since cabbages require a lot of space for growth like thyme, maintain a gap of at least 24 to 36 inches between each plant.
Thyme can deter hornworms and other pests that may be a problem for your tomato plants. The tomato hornworm is among the threats tomatoes face during the fruiting season.
However, thyme will not only deter these hornworms but also improve the taste of your tomatoes. When planting, maintain a gap of not more than two feet between the plants.
Potatoes are highly susceptible to beetles and various fungal diseases that can reduce their yield and flavor. Potatoes and thyme are excellent companions in many ways. They taste good when paired together and grow well when planted close to each other in the garden. Thyme attracts parasitic wasps that prey on potato beetles and helps keep them at bay.
Thyme works as an excellent deterrent for moths when grown next to eggplants. Remember to maintain a distance of 2.5 feet between the plants while planting in rows to prevent both plants from competing for nutrients.
10. Salad Burnet
Salad Burnet is a perennial often grown because of its medicinal uses. This herbaceous plant grows to 40-60 cm in height with pinnate leaves and pairs of round-toothed leaflets. Growing thyme and salad burnet together is a perfect match because the two plants have strong scents that work beautifully well together.
Roses are a beautiful addition to any garden because they add a pop of color and bring your whole garden to life. Roses grow up to 15 feet in every direction. Roses and thyme have been great companion plants for many years.
Roses attract nasty pests, including blackflies and aphids. However, thyme can protect roses from these pests due to its scent. The only difference between these two plants is their root system.
Thyme has shorter roots that grow in more shallow soils, while the roots of roses grow deeper underground. Because of this, the two plants are less likely to compete with each other and will have an easier time growing together.
Lavender and thyme are ideal companions with similar growing needs, such as light and water. Both plants can be given the same amount of water since they flourish in well-drained, sandy soils. Growing these two plants together shouldn’t be a problem as long as they are both given 6 hours of full sun every day and good drainage.
Moreover, thyme is short compared to lavender which can sometimes reach 4 feet. When planting, ensure you plant thyme in front of lavender to provide them with adequate sunlight.
Blueberries and thyme are wonderful companions as thyme will help to attract more pollinating insects like bees and yield more fruit. The two plants require slightly different ph levels and would grow well together due to how adaptable thyme is.
Thyme tolerates moderately acidic soil, while blueberries may require a higher acidity. Since blueberries are bushy, you must plant thyme 2 to 2.5 feet apart from the blueberry bush. This way, thyme will repel most of the pests, such as mosquitoes belowground, and control the growth of weeds.
14. Brussel Sprouts
Brussel sprouts are members of the brassica family and are considered ideal companion plants for thyme due to their harmonious relationship with each other. A brussel sprout plant will reach up to 3 feet tall, depending on the variety, and bear as many as a hundred edible sprouts when adequately spaced.
Thyme is known to protect Brussel sprouts from hornworms and fly infestations. As a result of this, you can safely grow these two plants together in the garden or indoors.
Marjoram is a Mediterranean plant that is great for gardening with thyme and all other herbs because it can enhance nearby plants’ growth and flavor. Marjoram has a mounded, shrubby appearance with aromatic, ovate, gray-green leaves that stretch around an inch long. They can be challenging to start with from seeds, so it’s best to begin with, small plants from the nursery.
Kale has gained popularity for being a superfood packed with nutrients and health benefits. They can be grown in extremely hot and extremely cold environments, making them universally good plants.
Kale grows up to a height of 22 to 36 inches, although some varieties can grow up to 3 feet (90 cm) tall. Kale and thyme pair well on a dinner plate and will grow well when planted next to each other.
Lovage is a small spice crop that has been used as a food, flavoring, and medicinal plant since ancient times. It belongs to the family Apiaceae, and it is an aromatic, clump-forming herb with rhizomatous roots and stout hollow-ridged stems up to 2.4 m. Lovage is either propagated through seeds or root divisions, and it prefers well-drained fertile soil.
18. Bronze Fennel
Bronze fennel is an edible plant that reaches a height and spread of about 2m x 1m. The ferny, purple foliage adds height and elegance to a border, and the yellow flowers in midsummer are irresistible to bees and hoverflies.
Bronze fennel can be planted in fertile soil and a sunny spot, and it will thrive best in moist conditions, provided it is not waterlogged. Bronze fennel and thyme will grow well when planted next to each other.
19. Bok Choy
Bok Choy offers many benefits. Its nutrients are packed with anti-cancerous properties like foliate, selenium, vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene.
Bok choy also contains nutrients that target bone health, heart health, blood pressure, inflammation, immunity, and many more. When planted together, thyme will offer benefits like pest management and nutrient enhancement.
Kohlrabi is extremely sensitive to pests and some temperatures despite the fact that the plant is relatively easy to leave growing on its own. Thyme’s natural oil can help repel insects from eating away your kohlrabi.
21. Lemon Verbena
Lemon Verbena is a flowering plant known for its soothing aroma and bright taste. It has been used as a medicinal plant for centuries to stop muscle spasms or as a fever reducer and sedative for indigestion and to increase appetite.
In their native habitat, lemon verbena can grow up to 12 feet tall or sometimes even more. When paired together, thyme will spread around the verbena’s roots and help retain its moisture.
Cauliflower is a nutritional vegetable with green leaves that is a good source of vitamins. When paired together, thyme will provide ground cover and keep the weeds at bay. The strong scent of thyme also hides the cauliflower plant and tricks garden pests.
Bay is an aromatic herb, and a rich source of Vitamin C. Bay leaf has many biologic activities such as wound healing activity, antioxidant activity, antibacterial activity, antiviral activity, and many others. Bay grows well with thyme when planted next to each other.
Savory is an annual herb that grows in a mound-like formation and tends to reach a foot (31 cm) in height. The plant has thin, branching stems with a purple cast that are covered in fine hairs.
The plant likes rich, moist, well-drained soil and full sun. Planting savory together with your thyme is said to improve its flavor.
Basil and thyme are excellent companion plant that thrives best when grown side by side. They require different growing conditions for soil nutrients and water needs, though they both require 6 to 8 hours of sunlight for optimal growth. However, basil and thyme should be planted in different containers due to their different water and soil needs.
Plants To Avoid Growing With Thyme
Thyme is an excellent companion to many plants, providing more benefits when paired with them. Unfortunately, it doesn’t go well with some plants.
Chives are not a good thyme companion plant as it thrives in well-drained, moist soil, whereas thyme thrives in sandy soil.
Cilantro enjoys moist soil due to the plant needing more water than most other plants. Not watering your cilantro plants enough will cause them to wilt and die.
Meanwhile, thyme loves well-draining soil and sandy soil. Therefore, both plants do not grow well together because they have different soil requirements.
Parsley and thyme do not go well together as the two plants have different soil requirements.
Mint is a herb, but it doesn’t make an excellent thyme companion plant. That’s because both plants have different growing requirements, and mint needs a lot of water than thyme, the same way they need moist soil while thyme doesn’t.
On a final note, When choosing a companion plant for thyme, select plants that prefer similar low soil moisture; also, maintain the required spacing between both plants so they don’t rob each other of their nutrients. Finally, water the plants every 10-15 days and maintain about 40% relative humidity.