The short answer is that tomatoes should never be planted with rosemary. Not much is known about exactly what will happen between the two, but it’s not beneficial. What we do know is that the rosemary herb will quickly deplete the tomato of all its nutrients. This can leave the tomato plant very unhealthy and sick. It could also cause your tomato plant to die.
However, if you’re looking for companion plants for your tomatoes, don’t worry, there are other options. There are plenty of plants and herbs that go very well with tomatoes and will help the plant to grow big and strong. If you’re ready to try companion planting with your tomato plant, read on to learn where to start as I will cover why companion planting is important, how it works, why you shouldn’t plant tomatoes and rosemary together, and what companion plants are good for tomatoes.
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Why Worry About Companion Plants?
Similar to how some humans get along and others don’t, the same is true with plants. Of course, plants aren’t like humans where they’ll “dislike” each other. Rather, they may compete for resources and hurt each other in the end.
However, gardeners have found that there are plenty of plants that can go together. Not only can they go together, but it’s beneficial to do so. Certain plants go so well together that they wind up protecting each other from predators and disease.
When you plan on putting a garden together with multiple plants, you need to make sure that all plants are compatible with one another. This can often be difficult, especially if you have a small space to work with.
Now, “companion planting” specifically refers to planting different kinds of crops close together that will all benefit one another. When these plants are planted close to one another, they’ll increase their nutrient intake, help each other with pest control, increase pollination, and increase overall plant production.
Companion planting isn’t known to work for sure. Many scientists say it’s not a valid practice. However, many experienced gardeners feel differently.
Companion planting really comes down to years of experimentation. Gardeners tried many plants over the years to learn which plants work well with each other. This experience has been passed down to other gardeners over the years.
How Does Companion Planting Work?
It is thought that companion planting works because it increases the diversity in your garden. Increasing the diversity means that you’ll have plants with different strengths that are able to better fight off diseases and predators.
For example, imagine an insect comes to your garden and you only have one kind of plant growing. Now, imagine that that plant is the insect’s favorite food. Well, you’ve just lost your whole garden because the insect has destroyed it.
A lot of gardeners would counteract this by planting another plant next to it. Not just any plant will do though. You need to pick a plant that the insect doesn’t like. This way, the insect won’t want to go through that plant to get to the one it wants. That second plant is therefore protecting the first one.
When an insect is halted in its tracks like this, it’ll also give you a chance to notice any damage done to your crops. This will give you time to correct the problem before the insect returns and manages to destroy all of its favorite plants.
For this to be effective, gardeners will alternate the planting of two crops. In a single row, the plants will be alternated so that they can protect one another. This is also sometimes called “intercropping”.
Intercropping versus Companion Planting
Intercropping can be even more effective when done with more than just varieties of plants. For example, a lot of people grow onions, carrots, and lettuce together. They don’t compete with each other because their roots all reach to different levels. Above ground, they also have different growing patterns, so they never interfere with one another.
Many plants that are intercropped help each other through symbiotic relationships. For example, some plants don’t do well with high levels of nitrogen, while others thrive in it. Plant a crop that loves nitrogen next to a plant that doesn’t and they will both benefit.
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Can You Plant Rosemary With Tomatoes?
It is not recommended to plant rosemary and tomatoes together because they require different growing conditions.
Rosemary plants like sandy soil that is easily drainable. Tomato plants on the other hand prefer wetter soil. However, they do both like similar temperatures.
Why Companion Planting Rosemary And Tomatoes Is Not A Good Idea
Besides the two plants liking different growing conditions, there are other reasons the two shouldn’t go together. Rosemary plants are dangerous to tomato plants because they will quickly deplete the tomatoes of their nutrients. If you try to plant the two together, you’ll quickly find your tomatoes beginning to die off.
Best Companion Herbs For Tomatoes
Although rosemary is not a good companion plant for tomatoes, there are other herbs that work well with tomatoes. Here are some of the best herbs:
- Basil: This herb helps to repel insects like flies and mosquitoes. It also helps to improve the growth and flavor of the tomato plant.
- Chives: Improves the health and flavor of tomato plants.
- Mint: Improves the health and flavor of tomato plants. Take caution when planting mint because it’s an invasive species and can take over your garden.
- Parsley: Improves the health and flavor of tomato plants.
- Garlic: This herb helps to repel red spider mites. You can even use a garlic spray to control late blight.
Final Words on Planting Tomatoes and Rosemary Together
As you can see, planting tomato plants and rosemary plants together is never a good idea. Although they can technically live in the same conditions, the rosemary plant will deplete your tomato plant of all its nutrients.
If you are looking for companions for your tomato plant, try some other herbs and plants instead. Basil is the best herb to go with tomatoes because it repels insects and it improves growth of the tomato plant. Other good options are chives, mint, parsley, and garlic.
Companion planting is still debatable among the scientific community. Researchers are not sure how well it really works. However, among gardeners, the results speak for themselves. Crops surrounded by the right plants are more likely to protect each other. In this way, you should have a healthy and happy garden each year.
Want to learn more? Click here to find all my rosemary guides. You can also find out how big rosemary grows here or click here to find out where to plant rosemary and here for whether rosemary can survive winter. Want to know if rosemary spreads? Find the answer here.
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