The Perfect Companions for Growing Cilantro

Cilantro companion plants in pots

Cilantro is not just an easy-to-grow herb but also a great companion for other plants in your garden. It offers numerous benefits and can enhance the growth and productivity of nearby plants. In this article, we will explore the best companion plants for cilantro and those that should be avoided. Let’s dive in!

Why Companion Planting with Cilantro is Beneficial

Companion planting has several advantages, including natural pest control, maximizing space, and providing structure to your garden. However, it’s important to note that not all companion pairings work in every garden. So, you have the freedom to choose the companions based on your specific criteria.

Regardless of the plants you choose to pair with cilantro, it is crucial to ensure that both plants receive the necessary soil, sun, and water conditions. Cilantro thrives in full sun during early spring, part shade in summer, rich soil, and consistent watering.

Here’s how companion planting with cilantro can benefit your garden:

  • Maximizing Space: Cilantro, which prefers part shade in summer, can occupy the spaces near taller sun-loving plants, effectively utilizing the available space.
  • Covering Soil: Cilantro’s low-growing and droopy nature helps cover the soil, retaining moisture and nutrients.
  • Deterring Pests: Cilantro’s aromatic properties repel potato bugs, spider mites, and aphids, keeping them away from your garden.
  • Attracting Pollinators: Being an umbellifer, cilantro attracts black swallowtail butterflies and other pollinators. This improves pollination and increases yields for fruiting vegetables.
  • Attracting Beneficial Insects: Cilantro’s flowers draw beneficial predators such as ladybugs, hoverflies, lacewings, parasitic wasps, and flies. These insects prey on aphids, whiteflies, spider mites, mealybugs, and caterpillars.
  • Providing Shade: Certain companion plants offer shade, extending cilantro’s growing season into the summer.
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Planting lettuces with cilantro

The Best Companion Plants for Cilantro

Companion plants that thrive alongside cilantro usually meet one or more of the following criteria: creating shade, fixing nitrogen in the soil, enjoying similar conditions, or benefiting from cilantro’s ability to attract pests away from them. Here are some excellent pairings for cilantro:

  1. Legumes (peas, beans)
  2. Brassicas (kale, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower)
  3. Leafy greens (lettuce and spinach)
  4. Alliums (onions, garlic, and shallots)
  5. Potatoes
  6. Radishes
  7. Chives
  8. Parsley
  9. Basil

Basil, one of the best cilantro companion plants

Flowers to Grow with Cilantro

Cilantro can also be a valuable addition to a pollinator garden. By interplanting it among tall flowers, you can extend its growing season. Here are some ideal flowers to plant with cilantro based on their soil requirements, watering needs, and height:

  • Zinnia
  • Cosmos
  • Coreopsis
  • Sunflowers
  • Helianthus
  • Yarrow

Cosmos in bloom in a flower garden

What Not to Plant with Cilantro

While cilantro has many compatible companions, there are a few plants that should be kept at a distance. They either have different soil requirements, inhibit cilantro’s growth, or are closely related. Here are some plants you should avoid planting near cilantro:

  • Mediterranean herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano, marjoram, and sage): These herbs prefer fast-draining soil and intense sun, which is not ideal for cilantro. However, potted versions can work well alongside cilantro, forming a pest-deterring barrier for your vegetables.
  • Carrots: Although carrots and cilantro have similar requirements, planting them together can make both more susceptible to damage from insects like carrot flies, cutworms, armyworms, and black swallowtail caterpillars. Consider interplanting with onions, spring onions, shallots, or chives instead.
  • Dill: While dill attracts beneficial insect predators and deters pests, it also attracts pests that can damage cilantro. It’s best to keep them separate.
  • Fennel: Fennel inhibits the growth of many plants, including cilantro, due to its allelopathic properties. It’s also an umbellifer, so it’s generally best to avoid planting it with other carrot family plants.
  • Tomatoes: Cilantro and tomatoes can be grown together, but the cilantro harvest may be slightly affected. In nitrogen-rich soil, tomatoes tend to produce more foliage than fruits. If you choose to grow them together, avoid adding excessive manure or rich compost to the soil surrounding cilantro.
  • Cucumbers: Cucumbers have different soil needs compared to cilantro, making them less suitable companions. However, if space is limited, you can grow cilantro at the base of trellised cucumbers to enjoy some benefits from both. In larger spaces, consider choosing a more compatible companion for cucumbers.
  • Mint: While both cilantro and mint prefer cool weather, rich soil, and full sun, they do not grow well together. Mint has a tendency to overtake the planting area, choking out nearby plants. Cilantro’s slow growth rate makes it unable to compete effectively.
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Rosemary growing in an herb garden


Companion planting with cilantro offers a multitude of benefits for your garden. By choosing the right companions, you can maximize space, deter pests, attract beneficial insects, and extend cilantro’s growing season.

Remember to provide each plant with its specific soil, sun, and water requirements to ensure their optimal growth. And don’t forget to experiment and have fun with your garden!

For more gardening tips and insights, visit Ames Farm Center, your go-to destination for all things gardening. Happy planting!