By: Liz Baessler
Marjoram is a delicate herb grown for its culinary possibilities and its attractive fragrance. Similar to oregano, it’s a tender perennial that performs very well in containers. It also grows reliably and quickly enough, however, it’s often just treated as an annual. When planting anything in the garden, it’s good to know ahead of time what grows best next to what. Some plants are very good neighbors to others for their pest fighting abilities, while others are not so good because of certain nutrients they take from or put into the soil. Keep reading to learn more about companion planting with marjoram.
Marjoram is a great herb in that it doesn’t really have any bad neighbors. It grows well next to all plants, and it is actually believed to stimulate growth in the plants around it. You can plant your marjoram virtually anywhere in your garden and rest assured it will be doing some good.
Its flowers are very attractive to bees and other pollinators, which will improve the pollination rate of all marjoram companion plants.
So what to plant with marjoram plants? If you want to improve your marjoram’s performance, it does especially well when it’s planted next to stinging nettle. Having this particular plant nearby is said to strengthen the essential oil found in marjoram, making its flavor and scent more distinct.
The one thing you need to worry about when companion planting with marjoram is its growing requirements. Even though its presence is universally helpful, marjoram plant companions will suffer if they have distinctly different growing conditions.
Marjoram grows best in rich, well-draining soil with neutral pH. The best marjoram companion plants thrive in the same kind of soil. Some examples of specific vegetable plants that work well with marjoram in the garden include:
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Marjoram is a year round favourite herb in our garden always close to hand and regularly appearing in the kitchen. It has an almost lemony, flower-fragrant taste and smell – a touch more delicate than its cousin Oregano. We use it on pizzas and salads, with fish, chicken and pork as well as in tomato sauces, soups and stews.
Companions Aubergine, pumpkin, courgette.
Sweet marjoram a popular variety with woody stems that grow to just under knee height and carry loads of smallish aromatic leaves. Strongly flavoured, the most common form of marjoram for the kitchen.
French marjoram used in ‘herbes de Provence’. Has a milder taste than Sweet marjoram but grows taller – to around knee height.
Plant or sow in early spring and summer.
Marjoram does best in a sunny spot but I have it growing in partial shade where its leaves retain a more rounded, delicate flavour through the hotter months of summer. In full sun and on poor soil its fragrance is intensified. It is a great herb for growing in pots along with other herbs and along the edges of flower or vegetable beds as decoration.
Marjoram likes a free-draining, fertile soil that has been enriched with a little rotted manure or compost. Marjoram grows up to about knee height.
In early spring, sow seeds a finger-tip deep directly into the garden or proposed container. Thin seedlings as they develop so that plants end up with about a full hand’s length between them.
Plant shop-bought seedlings with an average spacing of a good hand’s length between them.
Water young seedlings in dry periods. Once they are established and starting to grow you shouldn’t need to continue with watering unless weather is persistently dry and your soil dries out. Mulch to retain soil moisture.
Marjoram grows quickly once the full warmth of summer settles in. Keep picking to stimulate fresh. Cut stems before plants flower (flavour suffers on flowering). Use fresh or tie stems into a bundle and hang upside down to dry. When you need marjoram for a recipe all you need do is grab your bundle and rub or crush the stems until sufficient dried leaves have crumbled into your dish. Marjoram can also be frozen in plastic bags and crumbled or defrosted and chopped.
Allow one of your marjoram plants to flower and self-seed and you may be rewarded with a free crop next spring and summer. If you are in a cooler part of the country with winter frosts then plant marjoram in pots and move them to a greenhouse or take indoors during winter months.
Photo by Africa Studio / Shutterstock.
Companions: Basil, coriander, dill, marigold, parsley, tomato
Basil, marigold, parsley, and tomato protect against asparagus beetle. Coriander and dill repel pests such as aphids and spider mites.
Keep away from: Garlic, onion, potato
Companions: Asparagus, beet, borage, carrot, chamomile, chives, marigold, oregano, pepper, radish, tomato, turnip
Borage improves the growth and flavor of basil. Flowering herbs such as chamomile, chives, and oregano enhance essential oil content in basil. When planted together, basil and marigold are a potent natural pest repellant.
Keep away from: Cucumber, fennel, rue, sage
Benefits of growing basil: Basil repels aphids, asparagus beetle, mosquitoes, and tomato hornworm. It also boosts tomato yields, while the flowers attract insect pollinators.
Photo by: PosiNote / Shutterstock.
Companions: Beet, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrot, catnip, cauliflower, celery, corn, cucumber, eggplant, kale, marigold, nasturtium, peas, potato, radish, rosemary, squash, strawberry, tomato
Catnip repels flea beetle, a common vegetable pest. Marigold and potato deter Mexican bean beetle. Nasturtium and rosemary repel bean beetle.
Keep away from: Allium relatives such as chives, garlic, onion, and shallots can stunt the growth of legumes such as beans.
Benefits of growing beans: Beans provide nitrogen to the soil.
Photo by: smereka / Shutterstock.
Companions: Broccoli, cabbage, carrot, catnip, cauliflower, celery, corn, cucumber, eggplant, marigold, nasturtium, peas, potato, radish, rosemary, squash, strawberry, tomato
Corn acts as a natural trellis while providing shade. Squash shades the roots and repels pests.
Keep away from: Pole beans can experience stunted growth when planted near beets, but bush beans are unaffected. Vegetables in the allium family such as chives, garlic, onion, and shallots can also stunt pole bean growth.
Benefits of growing beans: Beans provide nitrogen to the soil.
Photo by: Denis Pogostin / Shutterstock.
Companions: Beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, onion
Garlic improves growth and flavor of beets.
Keep away from: Pole beans and beets stunt each other’s growth.
Benefits of growing beets: Composted beet leaves add magnesium to the soil.
Photo by: Tatiana Zinchenko / Shutterstock.
Companions: Basil, beet, celery, cucumber, dill, garlic, lettuce, marigold, mint, nasturtium, onion, potato, radish, rosemary, spinach, thyme
Dill attracts predatory wasps that control pests. Rosemary repels cabbage fly. Celery, potato, and onion improve the flavor of broccoli.
Keep away from: Asparagus, beans (pole), corn, melons, pepper, pumpkin, squash, strawberry
Photo by: DronG / Shutterstock.
Companions: Basil, beans, beet, carrot, garlic, mint, nasturtium, onion, peas, thyme
Brussels sprouts are susceptible to a number of insect pests, including aphids, beetles, cabbage looper, cutworm, leafminer, and squash bug. Pungent companions such as basil, garlic, onion, and mint can repel these pests.
Keep away from: Beans (pole), strawberry, tomato. Strawberries can inhibit growth of Brussels sprouts.
Photo by: Bernd Marczak / Pixabay.
Companions: Beans (bush), beet, celery, chamomile, dill, mint, onion, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme
Marigolds and aromatic herbs such as mint, rosemary, and thyme repel cabbage moth. Dill, celery, garlic, mint, and onion enhance the taste of cabbage.
Keep away from: Beans (pole), mustard, strawberry, tomato.
Photo by: Africa Studio / Shutterstock.
Companions: Beans, chives, lettuce, onion, pea, pepper, radish, rosemary, sage, tomato
Beans fix nitrogen into the soil. Chives improve growth and flavor. Onion, parsley, rosemary, and sage deter carrot fly.
Keep away from: Dill, parsnip. Dill may stunt the growth of carrots.
Photo by: Montholz / Shutterstock.
Companions: Beans, cucumber, marigold, melon, parsley, peas, potato, pumpkin, squash, sunflower
Corn is a heavy feeder beans and peas add nitrogen to the soil. Marigolds repel Japanese beetles.
Keep away from: Celery, tomato. Tomato attracts pests that also attack corn, including tomato hornworm and corn earworm.
Benefits of growing corn: Corn provides shade and is a natural trellis for pole beans.
Photo by: Nolte Lourens / Shutterstock.
Companions: Beans, cabbage, cauliflower, corn, dill, lettuce, marigold, nasturtium, peas, radish
Dill attracts beneficial insects that feed on pests such as cucumber beetle. Nasturtium deters aphids and beetles while improving growth and flavor. Radish repels pests including cucumber beetle and rust fly.
Keep away from: Aromatic herbs (except dill), potato, tomato. Cucumbers grow poorly when planted near potatoes or sage.
Photo by: inxti / Shutterstock.
Companions: Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, corn, cucumber, lettuce, onion
Keep away from: Cilantro, carrot, tomato. Dill cross-pollinates with cilantro and carrot.
Benefits of growing dill: Dill discourages pests including aphids, cabbage loopers, and spider mites. It also attracts beneficial insects such as bees, hoverflies, ladybugs, and parasitic wasps.
Photo by: Philippe Motigny / Shutterstock.
Companions: Beans, catnip, marigold, peas, pepper
Catnip repels flea beetles, a common vegetable pest. Eggplant is a heavy feeder beans and peas fix nitrogen into the soil. Marigold deters nematodes.
Keep away from: Other solanum relatives such as pepper, potatoes, tomatoes make eggplant more susceptible to blight.
Photo by: Denis Pogostin / Shutterstock.
Companions: Beet, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, dill, eggplant, kohlrabi, pepper, potato, spinach, tomato
Chamomile improves garlic flavor. Rue repels maggots. Summer savory and yarrow also benefit garlic.
Keep away from: Garlic can stunt the growth of asparagus, beans, parsley, peas, and sage.
Benefits of growing garlic: Garlic keeps away a wide range of pests, including ants, aphids, cabbage looper, fungus gnat, Japanese beetle, onion fly, snails, and spider mites.
Photo by: Quality Stock Arts / Shutterstock.
Companions: Beet, beans, celery, cucumber, dill, garlic, lettuce, mint, onion, peas, pepper, potato, rosemary, sage, spinach
Kale is a heavy nitrogen feeder. Plant near beans or peas, which add nitrogen to the soil.
Keep away from: Avoid planting kale near other brassicas such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower to prevent spread of disease.
Photo by: David Litman / Shutterstock.
Companions: Asparagus, basil, beans, beet, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrot, chives, corn, cucumber, eggplant, garlic, mint, onion, peas, radish, spinach, strawberry, tomato
Basil improves lettuce flavor while repelling mosquitoes. Beets supply minerals to the soil that lettuce needs to thrive. Chives and garlic deter aphids. Mint repels cabbage moths and slugs, which are lettuce pests.
Keep away from: Some sources say to avoid planting lettuce near brassicas such as broccoli and cabbage, while others say it’s fine. Results may vary. Cabbage, celery, and parsley may inhibit lettuce growth.
Companions: Beet, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, peas, squash
Keep away from: Chamomile, parsley
Benefits of growing mint: Mint is a natural pest deterrent. It repels flea beetle, which chews holes in the leaves of cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and radish. It also discourages aphids, carrot root fly, mealy bugs, onion fly, and spider mites. Mint attracts beneficial insects such as hoverflies, ladybugs, and predatory wasps that feed on pests.
Companions: Beet, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrot, chamomile, lettuce, pepper, strawberry, tomato
Keep away from: Asparagus, beans, peas, sage. Don’t plant near other alliums such as garlic, leek, and shallots to avoid spreading onion maggots or rust.
Benefits of growing onions: Onion repels brassica pests including cabbage loopers, cabbage worms, and cabbage maggots. It also deters aphids, carrot fly, and Japanese beetle.
Photo by: Irina Bg / Shutterstock.
Companions: Beans, carrot, celery, corn, cucumber, eggplant, lettuce, potato, radish, spinach, tomato, turnip
Keep away from: Allium relatives such as chives, garlic, onion, and shallots can stunt the growth of peas.
Benefits of growing peas: Peas are good companions to many other vegetables because they increase the availability of nitrogen in the soil.
Companions: Basil, beans, beet, carrot, chives, coriander, cucumber, dill, eggplant, garlic, lettuce, parsley, onion, spinach, tomato
Basil deters aphids, spider mites, and thrips, and improves the flavor of peppers. Dill and coriander repel aphids and encourage beneficial insects. Parsley attracts predatory wasps that feed on aphids. Alliums such as chives, garlic, and onion repel aphids, beetles, slugs, and spider mites.
Keep away from: Brassicas including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower.
Photo by: Dmitri Malyshev / Shutterstock.
Companions: Basil, beans, cabbage, chamomile, corn, horseradish, lettuce, marigold, parsley, peas, radish, spinach, thyme
Beans repel Colorado potato beetle. Horseradish increases disease resistance. Many herbs such as basil, chamomile, parsley, and thyme enhance potato flavor while attracting beneficial insects.
Keep away from: Cucumber, raspberry, and tomato attract harmful insects. Avoid planting near other vegetables in the nightshade family such as eggplant, pepper, and tomato to keep from spreading soil pathogens. Asparagus, carrot, fennel, onion, and turnip can stunt the growth of potatoes.
Photo by: Hirundo / Shutterstock.
Companions: Beans, carrot, chervil, cucumber, lettuce, melon, nasturtium, peas, spinach, squash
Chervil deters aphids and slugs which are radish pests. Chervil and nasturtium improve growth and flavor of radishes.
Keep away from: Brassicas such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower. Hyssop stunts the growth of radish.
Benefits of growing radishes: Radish can be used as a “trap plant” to lure pests such as root maggots and flea beetles away from other vegetables. It also repels cucumber beetle and squash bugs.
Companions: Beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, kale
Keep away from: Pumpkins, squash
Benefits of growing rosemary: The pungent scent of rosemary repels many pests including bean beetle, cabbage looper, cabbage moth, carrot root fly, slugs, snails, and weevils. The flowers of rosemary attract insect pollinators. Rosemary improves the flavor of sage when planted together.
Photo by: Andrei Nekrassov / Shutterstock.
Companions: Beans, borage, corn, marigold, nasturtium, peas, radish, tansy
Borage attracts insect pollinators and improves growth and flavor. Nasturtium deters aphids and squash bugs and improves growth and flavor. Radish and tansy repel squash bugs.
Keep away from: Potato, pumpkin. Potato is a heavy feeder, competing for nutrients. Pumpkin, which is closely related to squash, can cross-pollinate, affecting seed saved for the next year’s crop.
Companions: Beans, borage, caraway, chives, garlic, lettuce, onion, sage, spinach, thyme
Alliums such as garlic and chives repel predatory insects. Borage attracts pollinators and repels strawberry pests while increasing disease resistance. Caraway attracts beneficial insects such as wasps that kill strawberry pests. Planting lettuce, spinach, and strawberry together can enhance productivity.
Keep away from: Plants that are susceptible to verticillium wilt such as eggplant, pepper, potato, and tomato should not be planted nearby. Strawberry can inhibit the growth of brassicas such as broccoli and cauliflower.
Companions: Asparagus, basil, borage, carrot, celery, chives, cucumber, garlic, lettuce, marigold, mint, onion, parsley
Asparagus repels nematodes that attack tomato plants. Basil improves tomato growth and deters pests such as flies and tomato hornworm. Borage improves growth and flavor and repels tomato hornworm.
Keep away from: Don’t plant near dill or brassicas such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower, as they can stunt tomato growth. Keep away from corn, which attracts tomato hornworm.
Benefits of growing tomatoes: Plant tomatoes near asparagus to repel asparagus beetle.
Photo: Besjunior / Shutterstock.
I have not one but two charts for you. As you can see by these companion planting charts, and the plant index in the next section, there are quite a few combinations that work very well together.
The first chart is brought to you by Afristar Foundation, “a public benefit organisation that develops projects and strategies promoting Green Futures centered on a nature-based economy.”
The companion planting chart by Afristar Foundation. Right-click and “Save” to download PDF
The second chart is brought to you by the Yayasan IDEP Foundation, “a local Indonesian NGO based in Bali – Indonesia, founded in 1999, that develops and delivers training, community programs and media related to sustainable development through Permaculture, and Community-based Disaster Management.”
This chart contains a lot of information, and with that many plants in a single spreadsheet I find that it can get a bit… messy.
The companion planting chart by the IDEP Foundation. Right-click and “Save” to download PDF