Thyme is an excellent herb to grow in your garden every year. As a member of the mint family, the evergreen and aromatic herb goes well with other plants. Its fragrant leaves repel pests, and its tiny flowers attract pollinators.
All in all, it protects other veggies and herbs in the garden, but not all plants pair well with thyme.
Here’s a list of the 25 top recommended companion plants for thyme.
Thyme and oregano are herbs with similar growing conditions, but when paired together, it’s the oregano that gets most of the benefits in this companionship. Oregano has a low profile and thrives in moist soil and partial shade. Thyme is a little taller, so it will protect oregano from exposure to harsh sunlight, especially in the afternoons.
Rosemary is an ideal companion to thyme since they both belong to the sage family. Together they repel a wide variety of insects, so they can protect each other. However, there’s a caveat. Rosemary is an evergreen shrub, and many varieties would tower over the thyme plants cutting off sunlight. So you should look for small rosemary varieties that let thyme thrive without crowding it.
As a herb, fennel goes well with thyme as long as you space them well and do not grow them in the same planter or pot. Fennel has larger and more flashy foliage, which can eclipse thyme and cast a shadow over those lush green leaves. Ideally, you’d plant fennel in the background and keep thyme at the front of the veggie patch. Together, they’ll keep most pests away from the veggies and flowers in the garden.
Tarragon is another herb to pair with thyme. When choosing a tarragon species as a thyme companion, make sure the tarragon variety is aromatic. You can use both herbs as the first line of defense against pests. Tarragon is a tall plant averaging 5 feet tall. However, since it has slender leaves, its foliage will allow dappled light to pass through, so it won’t overshadow thyme or cover it in partial shade.
Lavender and thyme have a lot in common. They both prefer warm weather, well-draining soil, and similar pH levels. Starting the ornamental lavender with the medicinal thyme will ensure the success of both herbs. Their flowers complement each other and work together to attract good bugs and pollinators to the garden. Make sure to space the plants 24 inches apart to improve ventilation and sun exposure.
6. Other Thyme Varieties
If you’re at a loss as to which plants go well with thyme, then you can’t go wrong with other thyme varieties. You won’t have a problem with competition over resources, contradicting flowering seasons, or different growing conditions.
A thyme corner in the garden sounds like a great idea, especially when you run out of landscaping ideas for the garden. Some recommended thyme varieties include lemon thyme, wooly thyme, creeping pink thyme, and Elfin thyme.
Sage can be a good companion for thyme as long as you arrange the herbs in a way that sidesteps the creeping habit of sage. If you mix the plants, there’s a good chance that thyme will become overcrowded and not survive, so plant sage in the middle, and frame the patch with well-spaced-out thyme plants. I recommend lemon thyme to go with sage. Their aromas complement each other, and they both prefer dry soil.
8. Lemon Verbena
When looking for a companion herb to thyme, you need to consider the aromas of both plants and whether the end result will be offensive to the nose or not. The thyme fragrance goes well with lemon odors and flavors. That makes lemon verbena a good match for thyme. Always keep lemon verbena bushes in the back since they tower over the thyme.
9. Lemon Balm
Lemon balm has the same qualities that make lemon verbena a good companion for thyme, but lemon balm doesn’t reach the same heights as lemon verbena at maturity nor does it have the same creeping habits as sage. Although it doesn’t repel insects, it attracts pollinators and is favored by honey bees.
Marjoram has citrus and sweet pine flavors that go well with thyme. Its low profile makes it a good companion for thyme as long as you space the plants and allow marjoram to get enough sunlight exposure. Marjoram also thrives in almost the same growing conditions as the hardy thyme, so you can plant them both in the same patch.
A member of the daisy family, calendula or marigold is a flowering plant with culinary and medicinal uses. When pairing it with thyme, choose a perennial variety. The yellow blooms are breathtaking and brighten the thyme patch.
Echinacea is another member of the daisy family andis commonly known as coneflower. The mature plant grows to about 4 feet and has large and showy flowers. When pairing it with thyme in the same patch, make sure that thyme is facing the sun and that echinacea is in the background. Keep enough space between the two plants.
When you pair thyme with vegetables of different kinds, you’re mainly using its natural odors to repel pests and protect the vegetables. This applies to potatoes as well since they’re prone to attacks by beetles. Beetles target the fruits as well as the stems of the plants, which can be devastating for the crops. They also carry fungal spores that cause fungal infections. Thyme attracts wasps that prey on beetles and protect the vegetable.
Thyme can also protect your tomato crop against the hornworm, a vicious pest that leaves plants skeletonized. Whether the tomatoes are vines or bushes, you should plant thyme on the borders of the tomato patch and keep at least 2 feet of space from the tomato plants to improve ventilation and prevent competition over resources.
Broccoli is another veggie that could use some natural protection against pests. It is susceptible to cutworms, cabbage worms, cabbage loopers, and flea beetles among others. Luckily, these pests find the aromatic thyme repulsive. Plant a few thyme plants around the broccoli patch keeping them within 2 feet of the veggies. Broccoli and thyme thrive in practically the same soil conditions and temperatures.
Although kale leaves are a little chewy and not exactly tasty, some bugs, like flea beetles and harlequin bugs, feed on the leaves and cause a lot of damage to the plant. That’s where thyme comes in as a companion plant to keep such pests away from kale. Keep in mind that kale needs as much sunlight as thyme, so don’t plant the herb too close to kale.
Kohlrabi is easy to grow, but it’s also prone to several pests that include slugs, snails, cutworms, and cabbage worms. Plant thyme near the veggie to protect it against these pests. Don’t plant thyme between the rows since its roots are rather competitive. Keep it at least 2 feet away from the kohlrabi. That will also come in handy when you fertilize the veggie.
As with other veggies, cauliflower tends to fall prey to certain pests such as whiteflies, cabbage moths, and cabbage root maggots among others. Like with other veggies, you can’t spray the bugs with pesticides since the chemicals would end up in the food. Thyme is a safe option when you want to protect the cauliflower plants.
19. Brussels Sprouts
Thyme also does wonders when paired with Brussels sprouts. The herb is quite effective against a plethora of bugs including armyworms, diamondback moths, and earwigs on top of the other worms that attack cabbages and cauliflowers. Keep the thyme on the perimeter of the Brussels sprouts patch since it doesn’t need as much watering as the veggie.
If you’re growing eggplants and you’re struggling with American serpentine leafminers, melon thrips, silver whiteflies, or tomato pinworms among other pests, then a few thyme plants planted strategically within 2 feet of the eggplants should protect them. Separate the herbs from the vegetables with a row to avoid overwatering and overfertilizing the thyme.
Along with aphids, rose sawflies are quite destructive as far as roses are concerned. Since roses are not edible, you can always use pesticides to deter these pests. However, that doesn’t always work, especially if you have fruits or veggies growing near the roses. Thyme is a lot safer to use to protect the roses. Plant it about 3 feet from the rose bushes.
If you have noticed, many of the pests that attack the veggies on this list have the word “cabbage” in their names. That’s because the succulent leaves of cabbage are a magnet for a wide variety of pests. However, the vast majority of these pests are repelled by the odors of thyme. Plant a row of thyme around the cabbage patch, and keep them separated.
Strawberry bud weevil, strawberry sap bugs, tarnished plant bugs, and spittlebugs are some of the pests that damage strawberry crops. With thyme plants in the vicinity, you can always avoid many of these pests and limit the damage they cause to the strawberries. Since the fruit plants need partial shade, keep the thyme 2 feet away from the strawberry plants.
Like many other fruits, blueberries rely on pollinators. One way to attract those pollinators is to plant thyme near the blueberries. Thyme also protects the blueberries against blueberry maggots, plum curculio, and spotted wing drosophila among many other pests.
It’s not uncommon for shallots to suffer from onion maggots, pink rot, purple blotch, and downy mildew among other colorful diseases transmitted mainly by pests. The powerful aromas of the shallots don’t seem to work against these pests. However, thyme prevents many of these bugs from getting near the shallots. Keep the thyme about 2 feet from the shallots.
While thyme is a useful herb on its own, it can be a good companion to other herbs, veggies, and fruits. The flowers of the thyme attract pollinators while its odors repel a wide variety of pests.