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Popular Herbs You Shouldn’t Grow Near Cucumbers

Popular Herbs You Shouldn’t Grow Near Cucumbers

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Cucumber is the summer veg that seems to get along with pretty much every other vegetable you can think of.

However, there are herbs that you shouldn’t grow near cucumbers for various reasons, and those include almost all aromatics.

Companion planting is all about mutual benefit; herbs deter pests and improve flavor while other veggies provide them with protection, perhaps some ground cover, moisture protection, and weed suppression.

But why is it such a terrible idea to grow cucumbers near aromatics?

It’s because…

Aromatics And Cucumbers Are Terrible Companions

… aromatic herbs can change the flavor of cucumbers in a bad way. Cucumbers are mostly composed of water, which absorbs the flavor of nearby aromatic herbs such as basil, sage, mint, etc.

But there are other reasons why herbs and cucumbers aren’t great companion plants.

For instance, mint is quite invasive and may outcompete cucumbers, uptaking all the moisture and nutrients they need for proper growth.

Sage, on the other hand, is drought-tolerant and cannot thrive in the same moist growing conditions as cucumbers. Additionally, cucumbers can overgrow it and block the sunlight, and this herb requires plenty of it.

Basil now seems like a great companion. It thrives in similar conditions as cucumbers and it isn’t invasive. However, it will change the flavor of your veg, and if you don’t want your cucumbers to taste like basil, don’t grow them together.

Finally, the most important reason why you shouldn’t grow cucumbers near aromatic herbs is because they are allelopathic, or rather herbs will stunt the growth of cucumbers. (1)

Of course, it doesn’t mean that you have to choose one plant over the other. Plant the cucumbers in your vegetable garden, mint in a pot to prevent it from invading your yard, keep basil on your kitchen counter, and grow sage near lavender and rosemary.

Best Cucumber Companion Plants

But just because some aromatics are bad neighbors to cucumbers, it doesn’t mean that you should avoid planting all herbs near this veg.

Dill and cucumbers are great companions. They have similar growing conditions which makes their care easier, and dill attracts beneficial bugs and pollinators that make sure your cucumbers are pest free and properly pollinated.

Another obvious choice are marigolds. They even repel deer, so you’re more than likely to be left with an intact cucumber harvest. They exude chemicals that kill root-knot nematodes and attract pollinators and parasitic insects that prey on pests.

Sunflowers are another great option that add beauty to your vegetable plot and attract numerous pollinators that will ensure you get a high cucumber yield. 

But they help in another way. Their strong stalks provide natural trellises to cucumbers, preventing them from dragging on the ground where high moisture leads to increased risk of fungal diseases.

Finally, you can grow cover crops that will serve as pollinator magnets and ensure a high yield. And after they finish flowering, you can cut them and use them as green manure. 

They will also fix nitrogen while they’re alive, so they do seem like a perfect neighbor, giving your cucumbers everything they need.


1. Gruenhagen, G. (1996). Bad Neighbors. UA Cochise County Master Gardeners.