Cilantro, coriander, Mexican parsley – this versatile herb goes by many names. Its fresh and zesty flavor is a culinary essential, and its easy-to-grow nature makes it perfect for growing in pots or gardens. But did you know that cilantro thrives even more when planted alongside the right companions? This guide will delve into the art of companion planting for cilantro, providing you with valuable insights on how to optimize your garden’s health.
The Benefits of Companion Planting with Cilantro
Companion planting with cilantro offers numerous advantages that can transform your garden. Here are the key benefits:
- Fresh herbs: Growing cilantro alongside other plants ensures a constant supply of fresh herbs at your fingertips.
- Pest deterrent: Cilantro acts as a natural repellent, keeping damaging insects at bay and protecting surrounding crops.
- Attracts beneficial bugs: Predatory insects such as ladybugs, hoverflies, and parasitic wasps are drawn to cilantro, aiding in pest control.
- Protects crops: By both repelling harmful insects and attracting helpful ones, cilantro acts as a guardian for your garden and its neighboring plants.
Ideal Companions for Cilantro
Cilantro thrives when planted alongside certain plants that provide shade and necessary nutrients. For optimal growth, consider these companion plants:
- Brassicas: Leafy greens like cabbage and spinach benefit greatly from being planted near cilantro. The herb attracts beneficial insects that prey on pests such as spider mites and beetles.
- Potatoes: Similar to leafy vegetables, potatoes benefit from cilantro’s presence as it attracts natural predators that eliminate pests.
- Asparagus: Cilantro protects asparagus during its delicate growing phase by repelling insects. Additionally, these two plants do not compete for nutrients.
- Chervil: This herb complements cilantro without competing for resources, while also protecting it from pests. Chervil is often regarded as the best companion for cilantro.
- Anise: Although less popular, anise and cilantro make a great pairing. Cilantro is known to accelerate and improve the germination of anise seeds, and vice versa.
- Tomatoes: Cilantro safeguards tomatoes by deterring pests, while the tomatoes provide shade and cool soil during hot summers. However, note that their nutritional needs differ, and the nitrogen-rich soil required by cilantro may affect tomato growth.
- Sweet alyssum: This flowering plant attracts beneficial insects like lady beetles, which feed on aphids and protect not only cilantro but also other nearby plants.
- Coreopsis: With its dense foliage, this daisy-like plant provides shade and attracts beneficial insects. It is also low maintenance.
- Zinnias: These plants not only provide shade to cilantro with their large flower heads and dense foliage but also attract pollinators and other beneficial insects to your garden.
- Sugar snap peas: This legume supplies nitrogen to the soil, which is crucial for cilantro’s growth and overall health. It also promotes microbe diversity, enriching the soil with more nutrients.
- Green beans: Like sugar snap peas, green beans offer shade, fix nitrogen in the soil, and promote microbe diversity, making them excellent companions for cilantro.
- Lupines: Besides their beautiful flowers that attract beneficial insects, lupines contribute nitrogen to the soil and improve its quality.
The Best Combinations: Cilantro Companion Plant List
To achieve desired outcomes and reap the benefits of companion planting, here’s a list of plants that go well with cilantro:
For Deterring Pests:
For Attracting Beneficial Insects:
- Sweet alyssum
To Help Provide Cool Soil:
What Not to Plant with Cilantro — Bad Companions
While companion planting offers many benefits, some plant combinations may not flourish together. Avoid planting cilantro near the following:
- Fennel: It restricts cilantro’s growth as both plants compete for nutrients. Additionally, fennel secretes a chemical that inhibits the development of other nearby plants.
- Dill: Cilantro and dill can cross-pollinate, resulting in hybrid offspring that hinder the individual growth of each herb.
- Herbs like lavender, thyme, and rosemary: These herbs prefer drier conditions and may react negatively to the moist soil cilantro requires.
- Carrots: Planting cilantro and carrots together can lead to stunted growth and a higher risk of cross-pollination, as both plants belong to the same family.
Rules for Successful Companion Planting with Cilantro
To ensure successful companion planting with cilantro, follow these guidelines:
- Provide ample space: Cilantro is a fast grower and can outcompete weeds as well as certain vegetables like brassicas. Plant cilantro after brassicas are established or space them apart to prevent competition.
- Soil amending: Fruit-bearing plants may not benefit from being planted near cilantro, as the herb requires nitrogen-rich soil. Either avoid planting them together or leave sufficient space to amend the soil without damaging other plants.
- Provide shade: Although cilantro thrives in full sun, it is not resistant to scorching summer heat. Ensure consistent soil moisture and shade by planting tall flowers. These flowers not only provide shade but also offer wind protection and attract pollinators and beneficial insects.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the best place to plant cilantro?
Plant cilantro in a shaded spot close to your vegetables, preferably near brassicas or legumes. Adding tall flowers will attract beneficial insects and provide additional shade.
What is the best companion plant for cilantro?
While there is no definitive answer, chervil, sweet alyssum, and various legumes are highly recommended as ideal companions for cilantro.
Can you plant cilantro with tomatoes?
Opinions vary on this. Some believe that cilantro protects tomatoes and provides much-needed shade, while others argue that cilantro’s nitrogen requirements may hinder tomato fruit production. Proper spacing and monitoring can reduce the likelihood of any negative effects.
Companion planting with cilantro is an excellent way to optimize your garden’s health and enhance the growth of surrounding plants. Experiment with different combinations, and watch your garden flourish with the power of companion planting!