The Benefits Of Planting Basil And Peppers Next To Each Other

Basil is one of the most common plants to grow in gardens or on kitchen window sills for a number of reasons — it's easy-peasy to grow; it looks lush; and, most importantly, it's a super-useful ingredient to have on hand to throw into salads and flavor cooked dishes. This popular herb is also loved for its medicinal properties as it is thought to be antiviral, antibacterial, and an antioxidant. Who wouldn't want all of that goodness in their diet? 

If you're looking for companion planting combination ideas to make the most of your growing space let's talk about the benefits of planting basil and peppers next to each other! Peppers are another really useful ingredient to grow in your garden or on a kitchen window sill. Where basil freshens food up, spicy peppers add much-needed zip to a variety of dishes; and sweet peppers, well, they help to sweeten things up! But the best thing is that when you grow these two plants side-by-side not only will the taste of your peppers be enhanced as they grow, but the basil will also help to repel common pests — so they truly are every gardener's dream combo.

How to plant basil and peppers together

When planting basil and peppers together go for heirloom seeds for maximum flavor and pest resistance. There are a wide variety of both basil and pepper seeds to choose from — from Genovese, Thai, and lemon basil to bell peppers, jalapeños, and habaneros. Choose the varieties you most like to use in your cooking. You'll need slightly acidic and well-draining soil with a pH level of around 6.0 to 6.5 and compost.

It's best to start your seeds indoors. Wait six to eight weeks before the last frost so that they will be ready for planting in your garden once the frost has passed, and gradually acclimatize the seedlings to the outdoors by "hardening them off." This refers to putting them outdoors during the day and protecting them at night to get them used to fluctuating temperatures and the new environment. Do this over about two weeks.

Another great reason to plant basil and peppers together is that they both have the same environmental preferences. They both like to be planted in a sunny location and need at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day in order for the peppers to produce fruit. If you are planting in garden beds place your peppers about 18 inches apart and then pop a basil plant in each space. This should provide ample room for the roots to spread out with the plants still benefiting from being planted close together.

Why basil and peppers are great companion plants

There are so many reasons why basil and peppers make great companion plants, and we've already mentioned a few — they have the same growing requirements and basil also enhances the flavor of peppers and wards off pests. But did you know that interplanting pepper plants with basil helps to mask pepper plants from one of the most notorious garden and plant pests — thrips? Basil releases volatile chemicals that confuse and repel the thrips, making it difficult for them to find the pepper plants to munch on! Other pests that basil can help to repel include spider mites, aphids, mosquitoes, and flies. 

Perhaps one of the most useful aspects of planting basil and peppers together though is that basil attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies, which peppers need in order to produce fruit. However, one thing to be wary of when choosing which varieties of basil and peppers to grow together is growing sweet and spicy peppers together. If you plant sweet peppers within 20 feet of hot peppers your sweet peppers may end up being more fiery than you'd prefer!