You Shouldn't Grow These Two Herbs In The Same Pot

Companion planting is a gardening hack that can increase the productivity and growth of each season's crops. When placing certain plants together, their needs can complement one another and result in full and healthy produce. Companion planting also helps keep weeds from infiltrating the garden, decreases pest and disease risk, and helps with moisture retention in the soil. However, certain plants shouldn't be paired, and the common herbs fennel and cilantro are two such examples.

A poor plant pairing can set your garden up for failure, as certain plants will compete with each other for nutrients, space, and sunlight. The end consequence of incompatible planting is one or both of the plants dying. Just as many recipes refrain from combing the two herbs cilantro and fennel due to competing flavors, so should your garden. Although both are leafy, green, and part of the parsley family, they are competitive plants that will only hinder the other's growth.

Why fennel and cilantro are bad companions

While fennel and cilantro make a lousy pairing due to their competitive nature and rapid growth, fennel tends to make a poor companion for most plants. Fennel releases a negative allelopathic chemical into its soil as a defense mechanism, restraining the germination and growth of neighboring plants. However, sage, lettuce, and peas are among the small number of plants that can grow well next to the herb. Although fennel is hard to pair with other plants, it makes up for it by requiring little care and thriving in hardy conditions.

Cilantro, on the other hand, pairs well with many other herbs like basil, caraway, and chervil and with vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes, and asparagus. Other herbs to be careful about planting with cilantro include rosemary, lavender, and thyme. Overall, cilantro has a shallow root system that thrives in moist conditions, so placing it with any plants that need a well-drying and drier climate is bound to pose issues. Fennel prefers drier, aerated soil, which is another reason it doesn't grow successfully with cilantro.