Can thyme and basil be planted together? (Solved!)

Thyme and basil can be planted together but it is important to channel more water to the basil than the thyme. Basil is a plant that likes moist soil so it is important to water the basil plant more than the thyme. This is easier if there is around 5 inches of space between plants. Add mulch around both plants and this will absorb extra moisture.

Allowing a 5 inch gap between the plants will help to keep the basil plant moist while allowing thyme to dry out between watering. Thyme can show signs of overwatering when the tips of the leaves start to turn black.

This article will explore how you can successfully grow basil and thyme together in a garden bed or pots.

Growing basil and thyme together – Conditions they both like

Here are the conditions that both basil and thyme love and how it can help you to successfully grow both herbs together.

Full sun

Both basil and thyme love a full sun position if you can find one. Thyme is a Mediterranean herb that loves a bright sunny summer and long light days through the spring and summer. Basil too will grow lots of leaves in the warm summer sun and so both of these herbs will love a bright position in your garden.

Good soil

Basil and thyme will benefit from soil that is improved with aged cow manure, worm castings and compost before planting out new plants. This will help to improve the drainage increase the organic content of the soil and help to feed the plants.

Soil bacteria will arrive to break down the organic matter and worms will mix this through the soil. Small air pockets will be created as worms work their way through the soil and allow space for the basil and thyme roots to spread.

When planting theses herbs out into an in ground garden bed or raised garden mix through these organic substances through the top 10 inches with a garden fork.


Both basil and thyme love a covering of mulch and there are a few options that work well for both. Try straw mulch, bark mulch or sugar cane mulch around both herbs. Straw and sugar cane will both break down quickly and can be replaced after 3 months.

Bark mulch will break down slowly and can be topped up around the thyme plant at the end of the basil growing season in Fall.

Growing basil and thyme together – Different growing conditions

There are some differences in the growing conditions of basil and thyme and it is important to know these before planting them together. Following these tips will help you to account for these so both plants still grow well.

Watering needs

Basil and thyme have different watering needs so it is important to treat them differently. Basil loves regular water, it hates drying out and likes tropical and sub-tropical climates.

Thyme is a Mediterranean herb so likes to dry out between watering. If the roots of thyme is kept too wet it can rot quickly and the leaves can turn black.

It can be easy to overwater thyme when planted next to basil so here are my tips for keeping them both healthy.

  • Plant basil and thyme at least 5 inches apart, this will allow you to give more water to the basil.
  • Water basil every 2-3 days during summer and apply the water near the roots
  • Put bark or sugar cane mulch around both plants to absorb extra water
  • Plant them out in a sunny position so
  • Water the basil in the morning
  • Only water the thyme once a week in warmer weather, you may not need to water at all during winter, spring and fall.


The pruning needs of thyme and basil differ slightly and both will benefit from a different approach. Trimming or pinching off the top of the basil plant regularly will encourage it to send out new stems and add new leaves.

Thyme can be picked in bunches by trimming a handful off and leaving 1-2 inches of the plant near the ground. Removing 1/3 of the thyme will not damage the plant and it will quickly re-grow from the lower stems.

Growing time

Basil is an annual herb that is best planted in the spring as its peak growing season is in the summer. After the summer the basil will die off in the cooler seasons of fall and spring. This annual herb will need to be replanted in the next spring as soon as the risk of frost has passed.

Thyme on the other hand is a perennial herb. This means that you will only need to plant it once and it will grow all year. It will grow the fastest in spring and summer but will still have green leaves over winter.

If you plant basil with thyme, by the end of the summer growing season the basil can be removed and the thyme can be allowed to take over the space. This works well in pots as you can grow basil and thyme together for one season and then remove the basil to give the thyme more room.

Can thyme and basil be planted together? | Summary

While it can be a challenge growing thyme and basil together it can be done if you follow this guide. Remember that watering is the main difference between the needs of these two plants. Basil likes regular water while thyme needs to dry out between.

Keep an eye on your thyme leaves and if you notice the tips are going black, slow down the watering near the thyme and keep the water as best you can on the side of the basil plant.

When you are aware of the different needs of these plants it is easy to keep both happy. At the end of the growing season, the basil can be removed and replaced with other Mediterranean winter herbs like sage, oregano and marjoram.

These are Mediterranean herbs that are easy to grow together with thyme. They are perennial so stay green all year round and like the same amount of water as thyme.