Sunday, March 12, 2023

12 Companion Plants For Tomatoes

1. Herbs

Growing herbs with your tomatoes is a smart choice. Many herbs not only require minimal space to grow (both in terms of height and root coverage) but they also are easy to care for. They won’t take a ton of nutrients from your soil and they won’t compete with your tomatoes for water, sunlight, or airflow, either.

Some of the best herbs to grow with your tomatoes include:

  • Mint
  • Parsley
  • Sage
  • Lemon balm
  • Chives
  • Basil
  • Dill (harvest early so its tall, bushy growth doesn’t interfere with your tomatoes)

Many of these, like basil, can help to repel disease and insects, too. Some gardeners report that basil improves the growth and flavor of your tomatoes, too.

2. Groundcovers

Just about any groundcover plant can be grown with tomatoes. Many of these are also herbs, like marjoram and oregano, but you can grow any plant that grows low to the ground with tomatoes. They won’t take up much space or compete for nutrients.

3. Lettuce

Grow leaf lettuce and other leafy greens (with the exception of spinach, a heavy feeder) beneath your tomatoes. Not only will the lettuce act as a living mulch to keep the soil cooler, but it can reduce the spread of disease in the garden, too.

Plus, lettuce likes to be kept cool, so growing it in the shadow of your tomatoes is a good way to extend the amount of time before it goes to seed, too.

4. Beans

Many people don’t think of growing beans next to or underneath their tomato plants, but it’s actually a smart choice. Beans are not heavy nitrogen feeders, and instead, add nitrogen back to the soil. Tomatoes, on the other hand, consume heavy amounts of nitrogen. Growing these two plants together is a smart choice that will maximize the space you have a labile. Choose bush beans instead of pole beans for the best results.

5. Radishes

Radishes love the shade, so growing radishes under tomatoes is a smart choice. Your radishes will stay cool, which can prevent them from bolting.

6. Root Vegetables

Most root vegetables grow well in the shadow of tomatoes, too. Some good options include parsnips, carrots, beets, and rutabagas. All of these crops grow best when they are exposed to soil that is high in phosphorus but not quite as high in nitrogen. When these root vegetables are provided with too much nitrogen, they produce bushy tops at the expense of their roots.

As a result, you’ll be left with small, inedible tubers.

Growing these crops beneath your tomatoes is a great way to ensure that they don’t receive too much nitrogen – but your tomatoes will love the nitrogen instead!

7. Flowers

Flowers not only increase pollination from beneficial insects but also reduce the likelihood of pests being drawn to your tomatoes, too. Marigolds can reduce the likelihood of soil-based nematodes as well as pests that target tomatoes like hornworms and

The viola is another good choice. Violas don’t need a lot of sun and can be planted right inside the bed. Lavender, technically an herb, is a great choice, too. It forms a low-to-the-ground cover and doesn’t need a lot of nutrients or sunlight in order to be productive

One flower that many people don’t think of growing with tomatoes is the rose. Although roses can compete with tomatoes for space if both plants aren’t pruned properly, tomatoes can actually help roses in that they can protect them from a disease named black spot.

8. Onions

Onions are great to grow beneath tomatoes because they don’t take up a lot of space and produce minimal foliage. They won’t restrict airflow and they also don’t absorb too many of the nutrients in the soil that your tomatoes need.

9. Garlic

Like onions, garlic also takes up minimal space and won’t compete much for nutrients. It can control late blight and also helps to repel red spider mites. Another benefit of growing garlic near tomatoes? You’ll have everything you need growing together to make a homemade spaghetti sauce!

10. Amaranth

Amaranth is a grain crop that grows surprisingly well next to tomatoes. It can help repel insects and won’t compete for space or water.

11. Borage

Borage grows in a fashion similar to lettuce, so you can plant it beneath your tomato plants without having to worry about it competing for space or nutrients. It can supposedly protect your plants from tomato hornworms, too. You can harvest the leaves young and enjoy them in salads.

12. Asparagus

Asparagus is another crop you can grow under your tomatoes, but you’ll have to be a bit careful about how you do it. Asparagus is a perennial, which means it will come back year after year.

You will just need to be mindful of where your plants are growing when you plant your tomato seedlings in the spring – that way, you won’t disturb the developing shoots.

Harvest the asparagus shoots young so they don’t interfere with the foliage of your tomatoes. Then, you can reap the many benefits of both.

Asparagus helps clear the soil of nematodes, which tend to be drawn to tomatoes, while tomatoes will help asparagus in return by getting rid of asparagus beetles. It’s a win-win for everyone!


Sunday, February 12, 2023

12 Health Benefits of Thyme


Thanks to its distinctive taste, thyme has remained a culinary staple to this day. But thyme also boasts a slew of helpful medicinal qualities.

Thyme’s benefits include:

  • fighting acne
  • lowering blood pressure
  • helping to alleviate cough
  • boosting immunity
  • disinfecting
  • repelling pests
  • aromatherapy
  • boosting mood
  • culinary uses
  • preventing bacterial infections
  • helping to treat yeast infections
  • possibly helping against certain types of cancer

Want to learn more about how this humble spice does so much? Dig into the research below.


If you’re tired of buying and trying over-the-counter acne medication with no good results, you may be in luck. Thyme is known for its antibacterial properties, and it might have a future as an acne-fighting ingredient.

When thyme is steeped in alcohol for days or weeks, it turns into a solution known as a tincture.

In an older 2010 study, thyme essential oil was found to have antibacterial activity against P. acnes, the bacteria thought to cause acne. However, we still don’t know if thyme oil actually reduces pimples.

Blood pressure

Thymus linearis Benth. is a species of thyme found in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

A 2014 study found that an extract was able to significantly lower heart rate in rats with high blood pressure. It was also able to lower their cholesterol.

Still, we need human studies to confirm these effects.


Thyme essential oil, which is obtained from its leaves, is often used as a natural cough remedy.

In one older 2006 study, a combination of thyme and ivy leaves helped to alleviate coughing and other symptoms of acute bronchitis.

A 2018 study found a combination of thyme and primula extracts to reduce inflammation and mucous in an animal model.

Next time you’re faced with a cough or sore throat, try drinking some thyme tea.


Getting all the vitamins your body needs every day can be challenging.

Luckily, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that thyme is packed with helpful nutrients, including:

  • vitamin A
  • vitamin C
  • copper
  • fiber
  • iron
  • manganese

However, thyme isn’t a great source of these nutrients unless you consume it in excessive quantities. For example, 1 teaspoon of thyme has 1.28 milligrams of vitamin C — according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), that’s only 1 percent of your daily needs.


Mold is a common yet potentially dangerous air pollutant that can lurk in your home. Once you identify it, you’ll want to take the necessary steps to get rid of it once and for all. In some cases, thyme oil may be the answer.

A 2017 study showed that thyme may be effective at controlling gray mold rot in guava fruit.

These effects may translate to mold in the home as well.

An older 2007 study suggests thyme can be used as a disinfectant in dwellings where there’s a low concentration of mold.

Still, if you find significant mold in your home, it’s best to hire a professional to remove it.


The Environmental Protection Agency says that thymol, a kind of thyme oil, is also an ingredient in many pesticides — both outdoor and indoor — and is commonly used to target:

  • bacteria
  • viruses
  • rats
  • mice
  • other animal pests

A 2021 study showed thyme essential oil to be effective against adult mosquitoes and their larvae.

You can make a homemade repellant by mixing 4 drops of thyme oil for every teaspoon of olive oil, or mixing 5 drops for every 2 ounces of water.


You can now find organic and natural skin care products at most retailers, and many contain thyme.

Thyme is also a popular ingredient in natural deodorants and is often included in potpourri.

You can use thyme essential oil in an aromatherapy diffuser to potentially reap the benefits of its mood-boosting properties, though more research is needed.


Thyme essential oil is often used for aromatic and therapeutic purposes because of its active substance, carvacrol.

In a 2013 animal study, carvacrol was shown to increase concentrations of serotonin and dopamine, two hormones that regulate mood.

If you use thyme or thyme oil regularly, it might have a positive effect on your feelings and mood. Still, more human studies are needed.


Thyme is a wonderful ingredient that’s used in cuisines around the world, particularly in France, Italy, and across the Mediterranean.

Thyme is a main ingredient in this tasty take on pesto sauce, which you can use as a condiment or add to pasta or rice.

Fresh leaves or whole sprigs can be used while preparing meat or poultry. Thyme is also an excellent ingredient to use with fish, like in this heart-healthy white fish recipe.

This whole wheat macaroni and cheese with mushrooms and thyme is a grown-up spin on a childhood favorite, and it’s a great way to add some thyme to your diet.

Thyme may also have a positive effect on the safety and longevity of cooking oils. A 2012 study indicated that thyme extract might prolong the stability of sunflower oil at different temperatures as well as provide antioxidant effects.

You can make your own thyme-infused oil by following this recipe. Still, there’s no guarantee that this homemade version will affect your oil’s stability.

Bacterial infection

Ever had food poisoning? Thyme may be able to help prevent it.

A 2013 in vitro study found that thyme oil showed potential as a natural preservative of food products against several common foodborne bacteria that cause human illness, even at low concentrations.

In addition, a 2011 in vitro study found thyme oil effective against resistant strains of Staphylococcus, Enterococcus, Escherichia, and Pseudomonas bacteria.

It’s important to note that this doesn’t mean that ingesting thyme oil will prevent you from getting food poisoning. Plus, if you were to take thyme supplements on a regular basis, you’d also likely be killing a lot of the good bacteria in your gut.

Yeast infection

Thyme isn’t just potentially effective against bacteria. It may pack some punch when it comes to fungus too.

A 2021 in vitro study found very low doses of thyme essential oil to be fungicidal against Candida albicans, a common cause of yeast infections, even when the fungus was resistant to the prescription medication fluconazole.

Still, human research is needed to know whether ingesting thyme oil can treat Candida.


A 2018 in vitro study found both thyme and clove essential oils to inhibit breast cancer cell lines. A 2021 study replicated these results.

These studies only provide very weak evidence of a potential benefit of thyme for cancer, and human studies are needed to confirm any potential benefits.


Thyme is a versatile herb with a broad wheelhouse of beneficial uses. Still, most of the research has been in lab or animal studies, so the scientific evidence to support these beneficial uses is fairly weak. Using thyme shouldn’t replace medical care and treatment.

If you’re interested in diving into the benefits of thyme, you may want to explore complementary and alternative medicine by finding a qualified professional, like a naturopath or osteopath, in conjunction with conventional treatment.

It can enhance your cooking, your health, your skin, and even the scent of your space. It might be about thyme to add this multipurpose plant to your toolkit.


Thursday, January 12, 2023

12 Rose Companion Plants


These 12 plants either look great with roses, thrive in the same conditions, or help your roses out somehow – perfect for your traditional or non-traditional rose garden.  

1. Lavender

Lavender and roses are a classic pair, often planted close together. The short purple spires of lavender offset the tall stems and cupped flowers of roses wonderfully.

Not only that, but they both thrive in the same conditions. Certain rose varieties, like shrub roses and floribunda roses, love soils that drain well, just like lavender. The full sun that gives lavender its fervor is also favored by some rose varieties.

Lavender has some other benefits too. It’s known to repel deer and rabbits and attracts the best pollinators around – bees. Some even suggest they make good host plants for aphids, protecting your roses from that pesky pest.

This addition is easy to care for, needing very little fuss and even less water to thrive. Lavender grows best in USDA Zones 5-9 and as long as they get full sun, they’ll flourish. 

2. Alyssum

Alyssum’s low-growing nature creates a beautiful carpet of soft-colored flowers. When paired with roses, it only looks better.

Like lavender, alyssum grows best in Zones 5-9 and enjoys rich soil with good drainage. Alyssums aren’t huge fans of full sun though, especially in hotter climates. They make a wonderful choice for gardeners living in hot areas and looking to add something to their rose bushes in shadier spots in their garden.

They have a similar smell to honey and when paired with your roses, make the air in your garden irresistible.  

3. Foxgloves

Tall plants also look great with roses – especially foxgloves. When planted together they make a striking pair and create interesting borders along long walkways.

Foxgloves’ tubular flowers bloom in late summer and can be pink, purple, white, and even yellow, a variety of colors that’ll complement any rose.

Foxgloves enjoy a range of light conditions, thriving in some shade and even full sun. Your climate dictates the amount of sunlight foxgloves may need. They’ll enjoy more sun in cooler areas, whereas shade would be ideal in hotter ones.

Foxgloves thrive in USDA Zones 5-9 but can be sensitive to prolonged high temperatures. Soil that drains well will keep foxgloves tall and vibrant alongside your roses.

4. Lady’s Mantle

For traditional cottage gardens covered with roses, lady’s mantle is the perfect perennial pairing. It’s relatively short, forming a ground cover with its small yellow flowers. Even better, it makes for an interesting border plant and is an option if you’re wanting an easy plant to cover the stems of your tall roses.

Lady’s mantle enjoys various light conditions, thriving best in partial shade. It can do well in full sun, but be on the lookout for sunscald. It isn’t too picky about soil, but lady’s mantle is not a fan of waterlogged soil. Well-draining soil of any kind is necessary.

Lady’s mantel adapts to temperature changes well, but will need more shade in hotter climates. It grows best in USDA Zones 3-7.

5. Baby’s Breath

A common sight in many bouquets and floral arrangements is baby’s breath. Its soft white and pink clouds of flowers never grow old in gardens, especially when paired with darker orange and red roses.

Baby’s breath is a good choice for gardeners wanting to create a floral feature in their garden with as little effort as possible. Good drainage (a theme throughout these companion plants) is a must for this hardy perennial.

Baby’s breath requires full sun and doesn’t need a lot of water. It is drought tolerant and handles dry climates better than humid ones (USDA Zones 3-9).

Roses and baby’s breath make a great pair, complimenting each other gracefully in your garden and in cut flower bouquets.

6. Shasta Daisy

Shasta daisies, like roses, are a garden classic, featuring the well-known white flowers with yellow centers. The simplicity of this flower pairs well with the intricacy of roses of any color.

Shasta daisies are hardy in USDA Zones 5 through 9, enjoying full sun and soil that drains well. Long periods of extreme temperatures, hot or cold, stress this somewhat drought tolerant plant. As long as the temperatures remain stable, Shasta daisies are easy plants to care for, needing very little water once they’re established.   

7. Marigolds

Marigolds are the ultimate companion plant. And not just because they look good with roses and share similar needs. They also attract some of the most beneficial insects to your garden.

If you’ve got a vegetable patch nearby, you also won’t regret planting marigolds in your garden. They deter hornworms and prevent root-knot nematodes from taking hold. For roses, marigolds strengthen growth while attracting bees and other pollinators.

The yellow, orange and golden hues add life to rose beds and brighten up any area in your garden. If its charming colors, flowers, and benefits haven’t won you over yet, then one simple fact might – marigolds can grow in almost any climate, from USDA Zones 2 to 11. They are easy to care for, loving full sun and needing water once a week once established.

8. Parsley

A pair that may not be the first to pop into your head are parsley and roses. Not only do they look surprisingly great together, but parsley also has many benefits for roses. Parsley deters many unwanted insects from your roses, including aphids and rose beetles. Even better, this herb may actually enhance the fragrance of your roses.

Parsley grows in a wide variety of climates (USDA Zones 2-11) and isn’t affected by humidity. Parsley enjoys consistently moist soil, well-draining soil. Other than more frequent watering, parsley is easy to care for and will do wonders if added to your garden.

9. Sage

Sage is another herb to opt for if you’re wanting to prevent aphids and beetles from attacking your roses. Much like lavender, sage’s purple blooms create an interesting image when paired with rose bushes.

They too will fill up the gaps created by the long stems of roses, while ensuring your roses remain… well… rosy. Sage thrives in full sun and needs dry, well-drained soil. It is also drought tolerant and won’t grow if overwatered.

Along with deterring a few pests, sage attracts a handful of beneficial insects too. Butterflies, bees, and even hummingbirds are sure to make an appearance in your garden.

If you’re unsure of where to place your sage, it does best as a border plant. In amongst your rose bushes, your path will transform with a touch of sage.

10. Pincushions

A shift back to handsome pairings now. Pincushion flowers are small but interesting, adding some life around the base of roses.

If you’re one for picking flowers and showing them off in your home, pincushions are an excellent choice for your rose bed. Its many colors will pop along the lower half of your rose bushes.

Pincushions are very easy to care for, thriving in temperate climates. Extreme heat, cold, and high humidity are unwelcome though (USDA Zones 3-7). They’re sun lovers, needing plenty of light to give you the show-stopping blooms these plants are known for.

In warmer climates, some afternoon shade may be needed. Once established, pincushions can go without water for some time (depending on the weather), making this flowering plant another easy yet stunning companion for your roses.

11. Snapdragons

Snapdragons are a spring favorite, for gardens and bumblebees alike. Its long, snout-shaped blooms contrast well with the shapes of roses. Snapdragons fill in the gaps, creating an irresistible flower display. Coming in almost every hue, your garden will be filled with colorful floral magic.

To ensure the magical sight, give snapdragons plenty of sun and partial shade in warmer areas. They do best in cooler climates but are hardy in USDA Zones 7-11.

Due to their differing flowering times, you may miss out on seeing the two together, but you will have a touch of summer with you in winter when roses are dormant. They are slightly thirstier than other perennials – but a welcome price to pay for its warm blooms.

12. Alliums

Another interesting companion for your roses are members of the onion family – alliums.

Seasoned rose growers will tell you that pairing members of this family with your roses do wonders. Their strong scent wards off aphids and other pests and many suggest that they prevent black spots on roses.

Garlic and chives are often recommended. Chives’ flowers are a soft white, complementing any rose beautifully. They’re relatively easy to care for, needing full sun and well-draining soil.

For those who would like to continue to showcase the roses, then ornamental onions are the choice for you. You will gain all the benefits of planting a member of the onion family while keeping your rose bush or beds looking marvelous.

Alliums thrive in USDA Zones 4-10 and are native to the middle east. They’re not at all fussy about their soil type, so long as it doesn’t hang on to water. Watering doesn’t need to be frequent, and they’ll appreciate full sun.

What Not To Plant With Roses

Roses thrive in almost any USDA hardiness zone, depending on the variety. They love the sun and need soil that drains well. Roses are also classified heavy feeders, needing nutritious soil lower in nitrogen. Constantly wet roots and soil will lead to a plethora of problems, especially root rot.

With these conditions in mind, there are a few plants not suited to roses:

Bunchberry – needs shade and lots of water to thrive.

Toad lilies – need well-draining soil but do best in full shade.

Leopard plants – have a love for shade and need slightly alkaline soil that is moist.

Fuchsia – shade is a requirement for this plant to thrive, along with rich moist soil.


12 Rose Companion Plants (& What Not To Grow Near Roses)