Cilantro, coriander, Mexican parsley. There are many names to refer to this popular herb. Its fresh and zesty flavor is a must-have in a multitude of culinary dishes, and its easy-to-grow nature makes it a great plant to have in a pot or in your garden, ready to use.
But more than taking good care of it and giving it the conditions it needs to thrive, cilantro benefits a lot from having the right plants as company in the garden. Finding the right cilantro companion plants can go a long way.
So, either if you want some fresh condiments always at hand or if you’re trying to improve your garden’s health organically, here’s all you need to know about companion planting for cilantro.
Benefits of Companion Planting With Cilantro?
Here are some of the major benefits of introducing cilantro to any garden:
- Fresh herbs – obviously, one of the best things about planting your own herbs is having them available at all times, fresh and ready to use.
- Deterring pests – cilantro is known for being able to keep damaging insects away from the surrounding area.
- Attracts beneficial bugs - predatory insects like ladybugs, hoverflies, and parasitic wasps, tend to gravitate toward cilantro.
- Protects crops – both from keeping the bad bugs out and introducing good bugs that feed unwanted pests, cilantro protects your garden and the plants you decide to plant in it.
What Grows Well with Cilantro
Cilantro is fond of plants that can provide some shade, especially when planted during summer or in hotter weather. Things like tall flowers or other plants that might develop thick foliage are ideal for making sure this herb can survive hotter days.
It also thrives next to nitrogen-fixing plants, as this nutrient is crucial for cilantro to develop its bushy and leafy look.
Best Companion Plants for Cilantro
Here are some of the best plant options for cilantro companion planting:
Leafy greens like cabbage, spinach, lettuce and many more will greatly benefit from being planted next to cilantro, as it will attract beneficial insects to prey on pests like spider mites, beetles, and others.
Similar to the leafy veggies, potato crops will be protected when next to cilantro, which attracts natural predators to get rid of pests.
Cilantro will protect asparagus during its delicate growing phase by repelling insects. Also, these two plants won’t compete for food.
This herb will not compete with cilantro while also protecting it from cilantro-preying pests. It’s often considered the best cilantro companion plant.
Although a less popular herb, anise and cilantro go great together since cilantro is known to accelerate and improve the germination of anise seeds. Some also say anise does the same for cilantro seeds as well.
Cilantro will protect tomatoes by deterring pests, and tomatoes will provide much-needed shade and cool soil during summer. The downside is they have different nutritional needs, and tomatoes might be affected by the nitrogen-rich soil that cilantro requires.
This flowering plant attracts beneficial insects like lady beetles, which will feed on aphids and protect not only cilantro but also other surrounding plants.
This small, daisy-like flowering plant provides shade with its dense foliage while also attracting good insects to its surroundings. It also has the benefit of being low maintenance.
Besides their large flower heads and dense foliage that provide shade to cilantro, these plants attract pollinators and other beneficial insects into your garden.
Sugar snap peas
This legume supplies nitrogen to the soil, an essential nutrient for cilantro’s development and overall health. It also promotes microbe diversity, which enriches the soil by making more nutrients available.
Green beans, much like sugar snap peas, are great as a companion plant for cilantro, as they offer shade, are nitrogen-fixing plants, and promote microbe diversity.
Besides their beautiful flowers that attract beneficial insects, lupines also produce nitrogen and improve soil quality for surrounding plants.
List of Cilantro Companion Plants
Depending on the result you want to achieve and what benefits you’re hoping to get out of your companion planting, here’s what to plant with cilantro:
For Deterring Pests
For Attracting Beneficial Insects
- Sweet alyssum
To Help Provide Cool Soil
What Not to Plant with Cilantro — Bad Companions
As with everything, not all plants will like to grow next to one another, so it’s important to know what not to plant near cilantro and to make sure never to pair it with the following:
- Fennel – it restrains cilantro growth as they compete for nutrients. Also, fennel secretes a chemical that inhibits other plants from developing around it.
- Dill – cilantro and dill are able to cross-pollinate, which would result in hybrid offspring instead of the normal development of each herb, thus preventing adequate growth and reproduction
- Herbs like lavender, thyme, and rosemary – these herbs prefer dryer conditions and might have adverse reactions to the moist soil that cilantro needs.
- Carrots – these veggies will experience stunted growth and the risk for cross-pollination when planted next to cilantro since both plants are from the same family.
Rules of Companion Planting for Cilantro
Planting beneficial plants next to each other and avoiding damaging ones is not all you need for guaranteed success:
- Enough space to grow without touching other plants – cilantro are fast growers and can outcompete weeds, but also some veggies like brassicas, so either plant them after the brassicas are established or space them out enough so they don’t have to compete for space later.
- Soil amending – in general, fruit-baring plants might not benefit from being next to cilantro, as this herb needs plenty of nitrogen in the soil, which interferes whit fruit production and leads plants to focus on leaf production instead. You can either avoid them altogether or have enough space between them so that you can use soil amendments without damaging one another.
- Providing shade – although cilantro grows in full sun, these cool weather plants are not resistant to scorching summer sun at high temperatures, so it’s important to provide shade and keep the soil moisture consistent. Tall flowers are great options, as they work as a three-in-one by providing shade, wind protection, and attracting pollinators and other good insects.
Where Is the Best Place to Plant Cilantro?
Grow your cilantro close to your vegetables, in a shaded spot, either near brassicas or legumes, for best results. You can add some tall flowers to attract nice little bugs and provide some shade as well.
What Is Considered as the Best Companion Plant for Cilantro?
There is no absolute winner, but there are a few strong candidates. Chervil, another herb, is one of them. But other options like sweet alyssum and almost all kinds of legumes are at the top of the list of ideal companion plants for cilantro.
Can you Plant Cilantro with Tomatoes?
Opinions divide on this a little. Some say tomatoes provide much-needed shade and are protected by cilantro, while others argue that cilantro’s need for nitrogen in the soil interferes negatively with tomato fruit production. To reduce the risk of spoiled companionship, make sure to monitor and have them properly spaced.