close-up view of purple color wild bergamot wildflowers

Chicago Home and Lifestyles – Plants you should keep separated

close-up view of purple color wild bergamot wildflowers

Plants can act like feuding neighbors. While we think they should all live together harmoniously, some plants just do not get along. Even when grown under ideal conditions they may not thrive. Here are my tips on how to tackle this dilemma.

Plants that should be kept by themselves or contained:

Gardenias. They are gorgeous flowers but are prone to chronic disease despite being well taken care of. It’s best to plant them in a space of their own so they only infect themselves. 

Garlic. It builds up sulfur in the soil that can stunt other plants in your garden like leafy vegetables and legumes like peas and beans. So, keep your garlic in a planter of its own for the best results. 

Mint. While lovely in smell and flavor, mint is best suited for container gardening. Left alone it will take over and intertwine with shrubs and perennials, pushing out any other plants in the vicinity. Keep it contained. 

Bee balm, also known as monarda. As its name implies, Bee balm is great at attracting pollinators and we all need these types of plants in the garden and landscape. Unfortunately, it is susceptible to powdery mildew, a persistent fungal disease that can be deadly to many garden vegetables like cucumbers. Place bee balm in a large container away from vegetables.   

Drought tolerant plants vs. moisture loving plants:

Dry soil. Plants like cornflower, lavender, and asters along with herbs like rosemary and shade enjoy drier soil. 

Wet soil. Moisture lovers include plants like salvias, irises, canna, and hibiscus. 

These should never be planted next to each other as it will cause root rot. 

Plants that should be kept seperate:

Roses and Hydrangeas. These two may look gorgeous together but growing them together is another story. Roses and hydrangeas want to occupy the same space root wise and compete with their high impact blooms. 

Tomatoes and potatoes. These compete for the same nutrients in the soil. They are also in the same family and are susceptible to the same diseases like blight. Keep tomatoes away from potatoes as well as cabbage and broccoli. 

There are more that I can name but the lesson is: always do your research when selecting plants. Choose plants that are similar in the type of soil, light, and water they need. Also, put plants together that have similar form, bloom impact and root systems. 

Kathleen Weaver-Zech and Dean’s Team Chicago