The 10 Best Thyme Companion Plants (Plus 5 to Avoid)

Have you ever noticed that your thyme plant is not thriving as well as it could?

I’ve been in the same boat, scouring through countless gardening manuals and resources, only to discover a concept known as companion planting.

This blog post will introduce you to this strategy and the fantastic benefits of pairing your thyme with suitable companion plants.

Let’s take a look at a list of companion plants for thyme, including rosemary, sage, tomatoes, lavender, potatoes, strawberries, shallots, roses, and eggplant.

Get ready for an incredible journey towards a more vibrant and flourishing garden!

Key Takeaways

  • Thyme is a versatile herb that can be grown in various climates and soil conditions.
  • Companion planting with thyme can help repel pests, attract beneficial insects, enhance flavors, and improve soil quality.
  • The 10 thyme companion plants include rosemary, lavender, sage, tomatoes, strawberries, potatoes, shallots, eggplants, and roses.
  • Bad companion plants for thyme include basil, mint, cucumbers, water spinach, and celery.

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Understanding Thyme: A Brief Overview

thyme companion plants - closeup of thyme herb growing

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris), part of the mint family, has a rich pedigree in both culinary and gardening circles.

Hailing from the Mediterranean region known for its flavorful herbs and aromatic spices, thyme is an evergreen herbaceous plant that stays low to the ground.

It’s beloved by gardeners and chefs alike for its petite yet robust leaves that pack a powerful punch when it comes to adding zest to dishes.

What makes this hardy perennial even more appealing is its adaptability. You can grow thyme virtually anywhere, from rugged northern climates right down to tropical gardens where warmth reigns supreme.

In addition, it thrives best with full sun exposure, well-drained soil that is preferably sandy, and a slightly alkaline pH level of between 6 and 8.

Its pretty white flowers attract pollinators like bees and butterflies during the spring and summer seasons, while its strong scent serves as organic pest control, keeping unwanted bugs at bay.

This drought-tolerant plant barely requires any watering once established, making it ideal for dry climates or water conservation efforts.

With all these tempting thyme traits in mind, let’s delve into how companion planting enhances our fragrant friend even further!

The Concept of Companion Planting

Companion planting is like making friends in the garden. It’s a way to help plants grow better and stay healthy.

Some plants protect others from bugs or diseases. They do this by giving off smells that these bugs don’t like.

Other plants attract good insects, such as ladybugs and bees, that can help with pests or pollination.

Sun-loving, tall plants also act as a shade for smaller ones, preferring less sun exposure. This helps them both grow nicely together.

Another cool thing about companion planting is how some crops enhance each other’s flavors! Plus, you won’t need fertilizers quite as often if your plants provide nutrients to each other.

Growing different crops together in small gardens makes excellent use of space and boosts productivity, too! Not only does it keep your garden looking lively, but it also makes a perfect home for a variety of species.

So, think of it as neighbors helping neighbors, but in the world of gardening.

Benefits of Companion Planting with Thyme

Thyme is a lovely herb to grow in your garden. It adds a beautiful scent to the air and drives away bad bugs. There are hardly any plant pests that like the smell of thyme. So, this helps keep your veggies safe from harm.

Good bugs love thyme. Bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects visit for its sweet nectar. They then help the plants by moving pollen around. Next time you see a bee buzzing around the thyme in your veggie garden, just know it’s doing good work!

Plants grow better when they have friends nearby. We call this companion planting. Thyme works well with many plants, including tomatoes, beets, lettuce, and more!

Planting them close together can fill up empty spaces and increase yield.

Thyme also acts as a natural guard against diseases that might cause you to want to eat other vegetables in your garden patch because it emits scents that confuse these nasty marauders!

Characteristics Of Thyme

Plant Family
Watering Conditions
Well-draining soil, allow soil to dry between waterings
Mature Size
Typically 6-12 inches tall and wide
Soil Requirements
Well-draining soil with good drainage; pH 6.0-8.0
Sunlight Needs
Full sun
Temperature Tolerance
Hardy in USDA zones 5-9
Growth Habit
Perennial herb
Flowering Period
Flower Color
Lavender, pink, or white
Foliage Characteristics
Small, aromatic, gray-green leaves
Propagation Methods
Cuttings, division, or seeds (less common)
Pruning and Maintenance
Prune regularly to maintain shape and encourage bushiness; replace plants every few years
Common Pests and Diseases
Few pest or disease issues; may encounter aphids or root rot
Companion Planting
Thyme can be planted alongside other herbs and vegetables
Edible Parts
Edible leaves (used as a culinary herb)
Wildlife Attraction
Thyme flowers attract pollinators like bees and butterflies
Special Care Instructions
Thyme prefers well-draining soil and can tolerate drought; protect from excessive moisture

10 Good Companion Plants For Thyme

Rosemary, lavender, sage, cabbage, tomatoes, strawberries, potatoes, shallots, eggplants, and roses are some of the best companion plants for thyme.

1. Rosemary

closeup of young rosemary plant growing in a pot, with other herbs growing in the background - thyme companion planting

Rosemary and thyme make excellent companions. They both like similar growing conditions, so they will likely thrive together.

Rosemary also has aromatic leaves that can repel pests and enhance the flavors of nearby plants.

It also attracts beneficial insects like bees and parasitic wasps, which can help control garden pests.

Planting these herbs together packs a powerful, nasty bug-repelling punch, while they also team up to attract beneficial bugs!

2. Lavender

Lavender is an ideal companion plant for thyme. It can help repel pests and has the added benefit of making your garden smell amazing. Lavender and thyme also have similar care needs, preferring drier soil and full sun.

Another benefit of planting lavender with thyme is that it attracts pollinators like bees to your garden. So, if you want to add another fragrant herb to your garden, plant thyme and lavender together!

3. Sage

Sage is one of the best plants to pair with thyme. They both have similar growing requirements and can help each other thrive.

Scientific studies have shown that sage can repel harmful insects like hornworms and cabbage flies, protecting your thyme plants.

Plus, sage emits a wonderful aroma and enhances the flavors of nearby vegetables. If you’re looking at planting herbs that will flourish together in your garden, grow some sage alongside your thyme.

4. Cabbage

Cabbage is a good companion for thyme if you want to attract even more pollinators and help with pest management—and who wouldn’t?

However, it’s important to note that cabbage requires wet conditions, while thyme prefers drier soil.

This means you should keep the thyme and cabbage plants relatively separate to ensure the cabbage gets its swamp-like environment.

So, if you’re considering planting cabbage near thyme, provide different growing conditions for each plant to ensure their healthy development. Container planting your thyme works well in this kind of situation.

5. Tomatoes

tomato vine showing four healthy, ripe tomatoes glistening with water droplets

Choosing tomatoes for your thyme companion planting is an excellent way to nurture both plants! They not only look great together, but they also mutually benefit each other.

Tomato plants attract helpful insects like bees and parasitic wasps that control pests and aid pollination.

Thyme, on the other hand, helps improve soil quality and fertility, which is essential for growing healthy tomatoes. Both plants enjoy full sun exposure and well-drained soil, making them compatible companions.

If you’re planting thyme in your garden, consider adding some tomatoes next to it for a thriving and beautiful garden bed!

6. Strawberries

Strawberries are one of the best companion plants for thyme. Aesthetically, strawberries make a delightful companion to thyme, but this pairing also comes with many benefits.

Strawberries provide ground cover, which helps to prevent soil erosion and keep weeds at bay. They also attract beneficial insects like bees and butterflies, which are important pollinators for both thyme and strawberries.

Additionally, strawberries have natural antifungal properties that can help protect the thyme plant from diseases.

It’s easy to see why you should add a strawberry plant (or a few plants!) to your list of thyme companion plants.

7. Potatoes

Potatoes are among the best companion plants for thyme in a flourishing garden. When planted alongside each other, thyme helps protect potatoes from fungi that can harm them and reduce their yield.

Additionally, potatoes attract hoverflies, which are beneficial insects that eat harmful insects, making them great allies for your garden.

In addition to these benefits, interplanting thyme and potatoes maximizes space and improves productivity in small gardens.

By planting them together, you can provide windbreaks and prevent soil erosion, protecting your garden from damage.

Enhance the health of your thyme and potato plants while maximizing space in your garden by planting these two crops as companions. 

8. Shallots

Shallots and thyme grow well together. Shallots have an onion-like taste and aroma, which makes them a perfect match for thyme. When planted together, shallots and thyme can benefit each other’s growth.

Shallots can support the thyme plants, preventing them from falling over. Planting shallots alongside thyme creates a visually appealing and aromatic garden bed.

Add flavor and beauty to your garden—consider planting shallots with thyme!

9. Eggplants

Eggplants are a great companion for thyme in your garden. They provide many benefits that can help your thyme and other plants in your garden thrive. For starters, eggplants have deep roots that can help prevent soil erosion and improve soil quality and fertility.

Secondly, they naturally repel pests like aphids and spider mites, so you won’t have to use harmful chemicals on your plants.

Additionally, eggplants attract beneficial insects such as bees and parasitic wasps, which can help control pests in your garden.

Consider planting some eggplants if you’re looking for a companion plant for your thyme that adds beauty to your garden and provides these incredible benefits.

10. Roses

Roses are a great companion for thyme in your garden. They have similar growing requirements, which makes them a perfect match.

Planting thyme with roses can attract more pollinators to your garden, like bees and butterflies.

Thyme also helps with pest management when grown alongside roses. You can even grow them together in containers or pots if there is enough space for both plants to thrive.

If a flourishing garden is what you’re after, consider growing thyme near roses. 

Plants to Avoid Growing Near Thyme

Don’t plant thyme near basil, mint, cucumbers, water spinach, and celery. Find out why these are the worst thyme companion plants below:

1. Basil

pots containing various herbs, including thyme and basil, with a lantern next to them

Basil is not a good companion plant for thyme. They have different growing requirements and can potentially cause issues for each other. It’s best to keep them separate in your garden.

2. Mint

Mint is not a good companion plant for thyme. Mint likes to grow in moist soil, while thyme prefers drier conditions. If you plant mint near thyme, it can cause problems for both plants.

Mint tends to spread and become invasive, which can overshadow your thyme plants. It’s best to keep these two herbs separate in your garden to ensure their healthy growth and prevent any issues that may arise.

3. Cucumbers

Cucumbers are not a good companion plant for thyme. Planting them near each other can cause problems because they have different preferences for soil moisture. Cucumbers like moist soil, while thyme prefers drier conditions.

This difference in preference may affect the growth and health of both plants, so it’s best to avoid planting them together.

4. Water Spinach

If you’re looking for a good thyme companion plant, avoid water spinach. Water spinach has very different growing requirements compared to thyme. Growing water spinach near thyme can be problematic because it will compete for nutrients and water.

Water spinach prefers moist soil, while thyme thrives in dry and sandy soil. This means that water spinach may require more frequent watering than thyme.

Another issue is that water spinach is a fast-growing vine that can overshadow and smother thyme if planted together.

So, it’s best to avoid planting water spinach near your thyme plants to ensure the health and growth of both plants.

5. Celery

Celery is not a good companion plant for thyme. They have different needs and can compete for nutrients. Celery plants also grow very tall and may provide too much shade for the thyme plant, harming its growth.

Thyme also prefers drier conditions, while celery, like water spinach and cucumber, requires more water.

It’s best to avoid planting them together in your garden.

Choosing the Best Thyme Companion Plant

companion plants for thyme - closeup of healthy thyme plant

Consider each plant’s growing requirements to make your life easier when caring for your garden.

Consider the Growing Requirements

Each plant has different needs for sunlight, soil type, and water. Some plants like full sun, while others prefer partial shade.

Make sure you choose companion plants that have similar growing conditions as thyme. Thyme grows best in full sun and prefers dry, sandy soil, so it’s essential to consider each plant’s soil quality and fertility requirements before you try companion planting. 

Paying attention to these factors will help ensure your thyme and its companions grow together happily and produce a flourishing garden.

Choose What You Use Most Frequently

I always recommend choosing companion plants that you use most frequently in your garden. This way, you can enjoy the benefits of having them nearby and easily access them whenever you need to harvest or use them.

Think about the vegetables, herbs, or flowers you often use in your cooking or for other purposes. Is it tomatoes? Strawberries? Rosemary? Lavender?

Pick plants that are not only beneficial to thyme but also ones that you will fully utilize in your daily life.

By selecting companion plants based on what you use most frequently, you’ll create a flourishing garden where everything serves a purpose and brings joy to your gardening experience.

Final Thoughts

Companion planting with thyme can significantly benefit your garden. By choosing the right companions like rosemary, lavender, sage, and tomatoes, you can enhance flavors, attract beneficial insects, and improve soil quality.

Just be sure to avoid planting basil, mint, cucumbers, water spinach, or celery near thyme, as they may interfere with its growth.

With the right mix of plants, your garden will thrive and flourish.

FAQs About Plants To Grow With Thyme

What should I not plant next to thyme?

Avoid growing thyme with other plants that require moist or waterlogged soil, as thyme prefers drier, sandier, and well-draining conditions.

What plants go well with thyme?

Rosemary, sage, and oregano are good companion plants for thyme, as they have similar sunlight and soil preferences.

Where does thyme like to be planted?

Thyme prefers well-draining soil and full sun, making it suitable for rock gardens, containers, and herb beds.

Will thyme choke out weeds?

Thyme’s dense growth can help suppress some weeds but might not completely eliminate them.

Does thyme spread in the garden?

Thyme can spread gradually through creeping stems, forming a low-growing ground cover over time.

Is thyme invasive?

Thyme is not considered highly invasive, but thyme has several varieties with aggressive growth habits that might spread more rapidly.

How do I care for thyme and its companion plants in my garden?

To care for thyme and its companion plants in your garden, provide them with adequate sunlight (at least 6 hours per day), well-drained soil that is slightly alkaline to neutral pH level (around 6-7), regular watering when the top inch of soil feels dry to touch, but avoid overwatering.

Additionally, mulching around the base of the plants can help conserve moisture and suppress weed growth.

Is thyme easy to grow?

Yes, thyme is easy to grow. It is a low-maintenance herb that thrives in full sun and well-draining soil.

What are some other thyme companion plants?

Some other thyme companion plants include creeping thyme, lemon thyme, and various herbs like chives and rosemary.

Why is thyme considered an excellent companion plant?

Thyme is considered an excellent companion plant because it can enhance the growth and flavor of nearby plants. Additionally, thyme attracts beneficial insects and repels pests.