Growing basil with tomatoes | Complete Guide

Basil can be successfully grown with tomatoes as they will enjoy the same amount of water, nutrients and sun. Basil and tomato seedlings can be planted in spring to establish at the same time. Allow around 10 inches of space between the basil seedlings and the tomatoes to give them both the space they need for their roots to grow.

This article will explore all you need to know about growing basil and tomatoes together in your garden beds or pots. There are ways to look after both so they are happy and productive throughout the summer growing season.

I am growing basil and cherry tomatoes together in the same raised garden bed this year so I thought I would share my experience and how you can grow these together yourself at home.

How to grow basil with tomatoes successfully

Here is how to keep basil and tomatoes growing well together in your garden bed. Find out about the perfect watering, sunlight and fertilizer needs of basil and tomatoes when grown together.

Watering basil with tomatoes

Basil and tomatoes like similar amounts of water. Tomatoes like regular water and will need water every 2-3 days in the heat of summer. Basil can survive getting dry if you forget to water but will still grow well if they are watered as regularly as tomatoes.

Both basil and tomatoes benefit from being watered close to their roots. This will avoid soil from splashing on to the leaves and transferring disease. Mulch is also a great way to keep the soil moist for longer.

My new tomatoes for this year and some habanero chili plants.

Full sun position

Basil and tomatoes will both grow well in full sun. Tomatoes will develop sweeter fruit when grown in full sun and basil will grow delicious leaves quickly in a sunny spot. While both basil and tomatoes will still grow in part shade, both will generally grow quicker the more sun they get and tomatoes will be more successfully pollinated.

Planting basil and tomatoes together in pots

Basil and tomatoes make the perfect partners when grown in pots. Tomatoes grow upright so will leave room around the base of the pot to grow basil. Basil seedlings bought from a nursery can be split up into 2-4 pieces and planted around the outside of the pot.

Most basil will be sold with multiple plants in one pot. Just grab it on each side and split the basil into enough pieces.

Make sure you choose a pot that is at least 15-18 inches across. This will give the tomato and basil enough room to grow and share the space. Use a good quality potting soil to give both plants good drainage.

The best way to combine tomatoes plants with basil in the same pot is to plant 1 tomato plant in the middle, surrounded by basil. A single cherry tomato plant will give you lots of tomatoes for making salads at home.

This is a great starting point if you have a small garden or if it is your first time growing tomatoes.

Benefits of planting basil with tomatoes

There are some fantastic benefits of growing basil with tomatoes. They like similar conditions so are easy to care for in the same space. They also grow in the same season and are perfect in the same Italian dishes.

Basil shades the soil

The basil will shade the soil, keeping moisture in for longer like a living mulch.

Basil is a perfect partner for tomatoes and will shade the soil around the base of the tomatoes when planted nearby. This will help to reduce water loss from the soil. Straw mulch can be added around both the basil and tomatoes to keep weeds away and to reduce water evaporation from the soil.

Supermarket basil can be planted out in the garden with your tomatoes.

Water both at the same time

Both tomatoes and basil love regular water and will grow successfully together. Both tomatoes and basil will grow better when they are watered at their base.

Basil won’t need quite as much water as tomatoes but they will still be fine if they do get extra water.

Nutrient needs

Basil and tomatoes will benefit from a handful of pelted chicken manure when you first plant them. They love a feed of fish emulsion during spring and seaweed solution to improve the soil and support root growth.

Stop using nitrogen fertilizer on tomatoes in late spring to encourage fruiting and the basil will grow on the remaining soil nitrogen.

Top benefits of growing basil with tomatoes

  • They grow at the same time during spring and summer
  • There is a lot of space around tomatoes to fill with basil
  • Interplanting basil among your tomatoes will give you lots of basil and might keep white flies away.
  • Basil can be trimmed back throughout the growing season and will and re-grow
  • Basil is an easy plant to grow as a groundcover mulch to protect the tomatoes from drying out.

Does planting basil near tomatoes repel insects?

Basil has been planted together with tomatoes for many years with each gardener having a different reason for doing so. Basil has been known to keep white flies away from tomatoes although I really haven’t noticed any difference.

Basil grown together with tomatoes may also repel other pest insects including black flies. While basil on its own will not necessarily make your garden pest proof they can form part of a mixed planting plan.

Mixing up your planting in your vegetable garden will help to discourage pests, will disguise tasty tomatoes and can confuse pests that are flying by.

I like to mix up the plants growing in my vegetable garden adding flowers such as salvia and marigolds, herbs such as chives and basil mixed with tomatoes and chili plants.

This year I have grown habanero chilis in my garden bed with tomato plants and basil. This will make a delicious mix perfect for pizzas.

Growing basil with tomatoes | Summary

Basil and tomatoes will grow perfectly well together in your raised garden bed, vegetable patch or in a pot. This year I am growing basil, tomatoes, strawberries and habanero chilis all together in a garden bed. These are all living happily in the same space with strawberries and tomatoes now flowering at the same time in spring.