The Best Cilantro Companion Plants For Your Garden

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cilantro companion plants
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Whether you’re aiming to jazz up your landscape or simply want some tasty herbs, these cilantro companion plants will not only brighten your garden but also add flavor to every meal.

Cilantro is the classic herb every home cook should have in their kitchen. All it takes is a small pot, a sunny window, and an occasional spritz of water, and you’re good to go. If you have more space to work with, you could bring your cilantro outdoors in the garden and pair it up with some friends.

So this cilantro companion planting guide is for the green thumbs out there – let’s get planting!

Close up vertical image of cilantro growing

What is Companion Planting?

Companion planting is the method of arranging plants nearby to benefit one another. It can help manage weeds, attract beneficial insects, and provide support to your cilantro crop without the need for pesticides or fertilizers.

The Benefits of Companion Planting for Cilantro

Here are a few perks of growing companion plants for cilantro:

  • Pest control: Companions like chives alongside cilantro can keep those pesky pests away.
  • Complementary growth: This can happen in different ways, like offering shade, shielding from wind, or even through allelopathy (where plants release substances to inhibit or support the growth of nearby plants).
  • Spatial efficiency: You can make the most of your garden space by growing different plants together, which support each other’s growth.
  • Plant health: Adding chives or onions near cilantro can help keep fungal diseases at bay.

Understanding the Needs of Cilantro: (A Quick Care Guide)

Cilantro is one of the easiest herbs to grow. It loves full sun in colder climates and prefers some afternoon shade in warmer areas. Water regularly (not too much) when the soil starts to look dry.

Cilantro grows quickly and starts bolting after a few months, especially if exposed to harsh summer heat. You can extend the life of your cilantro by replacing it with a new batch every few weeks and harvesting it regularly to discourage flowering. You can also protect it with shade and mulch.

The Best Cilantro Companion Plants

Let’s take a look at the best plants to grow with cilantro and how they benefit each other:

1. Chives

Think of chives as the bodyguards of the vegetable world. They’re fantastic at fending off bad guys, like aphids and other pests, that might be eyeing your cilantro. Chives also don’t mind full sun or partial shade, so they’ll do great next to your cilantro.

2. Lettuce

Lettuce and cilantro both enjoy each other’s company. With its compact size and shallow roots, lettuce won’t hog space or sunlight, leaving plenty for your cilantro to thrive. Plus, they both enjoy the shelter from summer sun and damp soil, so taking care of both is a breeze.

They’re also quick growers, so you can maintain the same pruning schedule for both.

3. Beans

Beans are generous friends that keep giving. They fix nitrogen which improves the fertility of your garden soil, and the other plants nearby get to reap the benefits. Cilantro is not a heavy feeder, so the nitrogen part is not crucial for it. But if you plant them together, especially pole beans or wax beans, they can offer shade, wind protection, and structure for cilantro to grow.

Plus, it’s a space saver—beans on a trellis on poles leave plenty of room in the soil for other companions.

4. Tomatoes

The taller tomato plants provide the perfect dappled shade that cilantro loves, helping it stay cool, especially during those hot summer days. In this setup, cilantro also plays a role in helping the tomatoes by attracting beneficial insects, like lacewings and ladybugs, that pollinate tomatoes and also prey on the aphids, whiteflies, and caterpillars that like to feed on tomato foliage.

Cilantro also acts as lining mulch, covering the ground to help conserve moisture in the soil.

5. Peas

Just like beans, peas also fix nitrogen in the soil and help improve fertility. But it’s a cool-weather crop, so its relationship with cilantro is slightly different. You start peas weeks before the final frost, while cilantro is sown directly after.

By the time cilantro takes off, the peas will start to die back, so it’s the perfect situation for both. It also works as an early weed blocker and provides some sun protection when the days get warmer.

6. Kale

Kale is another low-maintenance plant that matches the cilantro profile like a glove. They both enjoy the shade from the summer sun, regular drinks, and nutritious soil. Kale is also one of the few vegetables that can take severe frost and provide shelter to other fragile plants.

So in case you have a late frost, kale can help keep cilantro warm and safe a few weeks into the season.

7. Okra

Much like tomatoes, okra also has a tall structure and sprawling foliage that provides shelter from the elements. Even in the hottest summers, your cilantro will do great with a little shade from the okra. Its blooms also invite ladybugs and other predator insects to control pests on cilantro.

Best Cilantro Companion Herbs

1. Aniseed

A lesser-known but highly recommended companion to cilantro. Aniseed or anise has a strong licorice scent that fends off aphids and leafhoppers. At the same time, its bright blooms attract bees and other pollinators.

Cilantro grows well alongside aniseed, just that aniseed is a bit more demanding when it comes to space. It likes to spread, so give it room to grow and make sure they don’t compete with each other for nutrients or sunlight.

2. Parsley

Parsley and cilantro look similar and need similar conditions to thrive. In a companion planting setup, you can have them next to each other, in the same pot, or even intermingle both herbs together.

Parsley won’t crowd out the cilantro, and both will benefit from its weed-blocking abilities too. It’s also the safest companion if you want to save the trouble of maintaining a separate pot.

3. Basil

Basil is usually taller, so it can provide shelter and shade, especially in warmer climates. Basil blooms also attract beneficial insects that help keep the pests away from your cilantro. It also prefers moist soil, and with some regular pruning, both can enjoy the same sunny spot all season long.

4. Oregano

Oregano is another winner in terms of companion planting for cilantro. Both of them are similar growers, and they don’t compete for the same nutrients. Plus, oregano has a strong scent which is generally unpleasant to pests, including aphids, cucumber beetles, and squash bugs.

Cilantro Companion Plants to Avoid

Now let’s discuss some plants that don’t pair well with cilantro:

Squash: Almost every type of squash, from zucchini to pumpkins, need a lot of space, so they’ll crowd out your cilantro before you even know it. Their large leaves also cast too much shade, which cilantro doesn’t really appreciate.

Rosemary: Rosemary needs dry soil for maximum flavor, while cilantro needs regular watering. So unless you plan to divide your pot between two plants, they’re not really a good match.

Thyme: Like rosemary, thyme doesn’t like staying wet, and cilantro requires moist soil. Plus, their shallow roots can compete for the same nutrients in the ground, weakening both of them over time.

Fennel: Fennel has an aggressive nature, and it is a heavy feeder, so it’ll suck up all the nutrients from your cilantro’s soil before you know it. Fennel also self-seeds and spreads through your garden easily, so they’ll still compete for nutrients even if they’re far apart.

Lavender: Lavender grows in sandy, well-drained soil, and they don’t compete well with other plants crowded around them.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I not plant next to cilantro?

Avoid plants that don’t like moist soil, are heavy feeders, or have an aggressive or spreading nature. A few examples that you should avoid are squash, rosemary, thyme, fennel, and lavender.

What can be planted next to cilantro?

Plants that can provide dappled shade, fix nitrogen into the soil, or have pest-repellant properties do well, along with cilantro. We highly recommend pole beans, tomatoes, okra, aniseed, parsley, and oregano. Make sure you give each plant enough space so they don’t compete for nutrients or sunlight.

How often should I water cilantro?

Cilantro needs regular watering to stay alive and healthy, preferably 1 inch per week. Add more water in hotter and windier conditions, but make sure to avoid over-watering as it can lead to root rot.

Do coriander and cilantro need different conditions?

Coriander and cilantro are actually the same plants; they just go by two different names in different parts of the world. So they share the exact needs and conditions regarding sunlight, soil quality, watering, and fertilizing.

Final Thoughts

Cilantro is usually a carefree plant that requires little maintenance and grows happily in most conditions. But you can increase its yield and aroma by pairing it with companion plants like pole beans, tomatoes, okra, aniseed, and oregano. They will protect your cilantro from weather, wind, and pests and provide it with additional nutrients.

Meanwhile, you should avoid growing it near plants that don’t like moist soil, are heavy feeders, or have an aggressive or spreading nature. When growing cilantro in a pot, make sure to give each plant enough space so they don’t compete with each other, and you can enjoy a vibrant cilantro harvest all season long.

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A close-up of cilantro leaves, with text overlay: "Best & Worst Cilantro Companion Plants"

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