Parsley has so many uses in the kitchen- that alone is enough to earn it a spot in my garden each year! But parsley is also an easy-going plant that grows well in almost any space you have for it, even if that means you have to tuck it in close to other plants. This technique is known as companion planting, and it has additional benefits to offer besides just saving space.
Parsley’s watering, sunlight and fertilizing needs are similar to many other common garden crops, and parsley is also effective at repelling pests and attracting friendly insects.
Some of the best parsley companion plants include other herbs, peppers of all types, marigolds, tomatoes, asparagus, beans and roses.
In this post, I’ll share my opinions and experience in what to plant with parsley. I’ll also cover the few plants that you should keep at some distance from your parsley and the answers to a few common questions.
Let’s get started!
Best Parsley Companion Plants
Lucky for us, parsley is a good neighbor to most common garden plants. In my experience and research, these 12 plants are some of the very best parsley companion plants:
1. Other Herbs
Parsley is a fantastic addition to a mixed-herb planter. Many other common herbs have very similar care needs to parsley, and it’s convenient to have a variety of fresh herbs to choose from for cooking.
Consider these herbs when planning around your parsley:
I’ve also had luck growing parsley with rosemary in the same container- although that’s a bit trickier because the two herbs have different care needs.
Rosemary prefers its soil to dry out somewhat between deep waterings, while parsley likes to stay evenly moist. I was able to strike a happy medium by leaving a few inches of space between the plants, and watering the rosemary about half as often as I watered the parsley.
Lavender, thyme and oregano are a few other herbs that prefer their soil on the drier side, so use the same tips to grow them near your parsley.
Bell peppers, hot peppers, pimento peppers… In my experience, peppers of all kinds make a great parsley companion plant.
Like parsley, peppers like plenty of sunlight, rich soil and consistent watering, so they can thrive side-by-side even in a small space.
In this planter box, I’ve got flat-leaf parsley, a yellow cherry tomato and a few marigolds. I find this to be a nice combination- the marigolds repel certain pests that might attack parsley or tomatoes with their strong aroma. Also, marigolds have similar light and watering needs as parsley (and tomatoes), making it easy to care for multiple plants at the same time.
If you want some other colorful flowers near your parsley patch, cosmos and zinnias also make great neighbors.
This is the same planter box as the one in the previous photo- I took this photo a couple of months later. It’s pretty easy to see that the yellow cherry tomato plant really exploded in growth. And the parsley continued to produce all season, even though it was a bit crowded by this massive tomato plant.
However, some gardeners report that some tomato varieties seem to suffer stunted growth when planted near parsley. The reports are anecdotal, though, and I wasn’t able to find any hard data to back the claims or find out which varieties are affected.
So keep an eye on your tomato plant’s progress, and be prepared to move your parsley to a different area if needed.
Asparagus is a another perfect example of what grows well with parsley.
If asparagus beetles attack your asparagus patch, you’ll know it by the damaged brown sections and scarred stems they leave behind. These pests tend to show up in mid-spring, just when tender asparagus stalks start pushing through the ground.
As a companion plant, parsley can help protect your asparagus crop. The beetles don’t like parsley’s strong fragrance and will stay away from it.
Also, parsley can tolerate light frosts and cooler temperatures (all the way down to 10 degrees Fahrenheit for short periods). So it can be outside with your asparagus through those unpredictable spring temperature fluctuations.
Beans and other legumes add nitrogen to the soil, so they are perfect neighbors for leaf crops like parsley.
Also, beans appreciate lots of sun and water, just like parsley, so you won’t have to worry about providing separate care.
7. Apple and Pear Trees
Both apple and pear trees are prone to infestations of coddling moths and gypsy moths, which can damage your fruit or the trees themselves.
When allowed to flower, parsley attracts braconid wasps, tachinid flies and hoverflies- all of which are natural predators of coddling moth and gypsy moth larvae. So be sure to include some parsley in your orchard!
The brassica plant family is quite large, and it includes lots of classic garden plants:
- Bok choy
Cutworms and cabbage worms are a common plague for brassicas. Parsley can help you out here- it’s powerful scent actively repels the adult moths before they can lay eggs that hatch into the damaging larva.
Also, flowering parsley is attractive to garden predators, like damselflies, braconid wasps and hoverflies, which are natural predators of cutworms and cabbage worms.
As strange as the pairing may seem, parsley is a good companion for roses for a couple of reasons:
- Parsley can help deter rose beetles, which eat away at a rose bush’s leaves and flower petals.
- Some gardeners believe that planting parsley near roses enhances the rose fragrance.
Nasturtium is one of those plants that’s a nearly universal companion plant- it gets along well almost anywhere you plant it and attracts friendly garden insects. These plants can also act as a trap crop for aphids- the aphids are drawn to the nasturtiums instead of attacking a harvestable crop.
And that’s good news- aphids are a common pest on parsley, particularly the fresh new growth. So planting a nasturtium border around your parsley patch might be a great idea.
Besides that, nasturtiums are just one of the prettiest flowers in the garden, in my opinion!
Sweet corn is one of my favorite summer treats, but not if the ears are infested with worms or decimated by pests.
Planting parsley near your corn patch is a helpful way to keep harmful bugs away. Parsley’s aroma is a deterrent to destructive beetles, and parsley flowers draw in insects that prey on cornworms.
Did you know that carrots and parsley beling to the same plant family? It’s true- and because they’re close relatives, they have similar care needs that make it easier on you to manage your garden chores.
But I do have a word of caution- Since carrots and parsley are genetically related, there is a risk of cross-pollination between the two. While that doesn’t matter if you just want to harvest the total crop each season, you could run into problems if you want to save seed from either your carrots or parsley.
What Not to Plant with Parsley
While parsley makes a good neighbor to many garden plants, there are some that you should plant as far away as your garden space allows.
Fennel’s a pretty awesome plant:
- Attracts beneficial insects while repelling pests
- A distinctive aroma/flavor
- Reported health benefits
Unfortunately, fennel’s root system releases a substance that interferes with the growth of neighboring plants. So it doesn’t make a good choice for companion planting in general, and that goes for parsley as well.
Mint’s fast-growing, aggressive nature is to blame here- if given half a chance, mint will quickly overrun your parsley plants. The best strategy is to give mint its own dedicated pot, or even start an indoor mint plant.
Lettuce typically makes a good companion to most garden plants, but keep it away from your parsley- being planted too close to parsley could cause your lettuce to bolt prematurely.
This large plant family includes onions, garlic, scallions and leeks. These plants seem to stunt parsley’s growth when they’re planted nearby.
Frequently Asked Questions about Parsley Companion Plants
Parsley is a must-have in the kitchen garden, in my opinion. But I hope this post has helped you see that parsley has a lot more to offer than just its refreshing, bright flavor- it’s a fantastic neighbor that enhances just about any garden.
I’d love to hear what you think about parsley companion plants. Are there any parsley companion pairings you’ve grown that aren’t on this list? Or maybe you have more questions- either way, there’s no better way to learn than as a gardening community. So please feel free to share in the comments!