The Best Companion Planting for Apple Trees

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If you’re looking for the perfect companion plants to support your apple tree, then look no further! This blog post will explore the best companion plants for apple trees that could help promote their growth, enhance their flavor, and provide even more of a bounty come harvest time. We’ll delve into how companion planting can be both beneficial and beautiful as we discuss various fruit-bearing blooms and herbs that are ideal for positioning near or around an apple tree. Ready to add some helpful friends to your existing orchard? Let’s get started!

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. 

What is Companion Planting

Companion planting is a method of gardening in which different plants are grown together to benefit each other. This method can be used to increase the yields, reduce weeds and pests, or simply make your garden look more attractive.

When companion planting with apple trees, it’s important to choose companion plants that will not compete for resources such as nutrients, water and space.

Additionally, companion planting can be used to attract helpful insects such as bees, butterflies and ladybugs who aid in pollination and natural pest control. To do this, you should plant flowers like cosmos and dandelions that provide pollen or nectar for these beneficial insects while they work to protect the apple tree from destructive bugs. By companion planting with apple trees, you can better ensure that your garden remains healthy, productive and beautiful!

Benefits of Companion Planting Apple Trees

Companion planting is a great way to keep your apple trees healthy and thriving. Companion planting involves pairing compatible plants together to encourage growth, discourage pests, and improve the soil quality in your apple orchard. Here are some companion planting tips for apple trees:

  • Plant nitrogen-fixing legumes like peas, beans, and clover near your apple trees to add natural nitrogen back into the soil.
  • Herbs such as basil, oregano, thyme, and dill can help ward off pests from attacking your apples. These types of companion plants also attract beneficial insects that will eat pest species before they have a chance to damage your apple crop.
  • Interplant companion flowers near your apple trees to attract bees and other pollinators. Flowers such as cosmos, poppies, asters, sunflowers or marigolds are great for companion planting with apples.
  • Plant companion vegetables like garlic or onions near your apple trees to deter pests from attacking your orchard. Garlic’s strong scent can also help encourage beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings to visit your garden.

By companion planting with apple trees, you’re helping to create a balanced ecosystem in your garden that will naturally protect your apple crop while improving soil fertility at the same time!

15 Companion Plants for Apple Trees

1. Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is an attractive companion plant. It’s best for attracting beneficial insects, specifically helpful pollinators, like bees.

Benefits provided: Lemon balm produces a strong citrus aroma that wards off many pest species, and it also attracts pollinators like bees when it blooms each year.
Time until harvest: From seeds, lemon blam requires around 70 days to harvest.
Popular varieties: Citronella, Aurea, Variegated, Quedlinburger, Lemonella, and common

2. Borage

Borage makes a wonderful companion for apple trees as it attracts beneficial bugs. It’s also a great addition to fresh garden salads.

Benefits provided: The main benefits of borage as a companion plant are that it repels worms (which love eating apples) and attracts beneficial insects.
Time until harvest: On average, borage takes around 8 weeks to harvest.
Popular varieties: Common, Alba, Variegata, and Creeping

3. Alliums (Chives, Onion, & Garlic)

These beautiful companion plants bloom with gorgeous flowers and at the same time produce a pungent aroma that pest insects avoid for dear life.

Benefits provided: Alliums are well known for being excellent natural pest control due to their pungent oniony smell.
Time until harvest: Generally between 15 and 18 weeks.
Popular varieties: Gladiator, Globemaster, Purple Sensation, Drumstick, Millenium, and Mount Everest

4. Fennel

If you’re already growing herbs like dill around your apple trees, fennel makes a great addition as well. Fennel is particularly helpful in the spring when young aphids are rampantly devouring fresh green shoots on trees and plants.

Benefits provided: Fennel is a great deterrent to aphids that would otherwise be interested in your apple tree each spring.
Time until harvest: Up to 90 days or so from planting.
Popular varieties: Rhondo, Victoria, Cantino, Mantavo, Common, Sweet, and Bulb

5. Dill

Dill is a perfect companion plant for attracting more predator insects like praying mantises and ladybugs to the vicinity of your apple trees.

Benefits provided: Dill attracts tons of beneficial insects, including ladybugs and other predator bugs that feed on common pest species.
Time until harvest: Approximately up to 90 days after planting.
Popular varieties: Bouquet, Greensleeves, Delikat, Dukat, Compatto, Fernleaf, Elephant, and more

6. Mint

Mint is not only enchanting appearance wise, but it also keeps away a lot of nasty pests that would otherwise love to set up shop on your blooming fruit trees.

Benefits provided: Mint wards off moths and other pests due to its menthol aroma.
Time until harvest: Around 90 days or so from planting.
Popular varieties: Apple, Pineapple, Spearmint, Pennyroyal, Ginger, Horsemint, Peppermint, and Red Raripila

7. Comfrey

Comfrey is a great companion plant when you have numerous species growing in a close proximity that all have different nutrient demands. It draws nutrients from deeper in the ground and delivers them to the root zone level of nearby plants.

Benefits provided: Comfrey is one of the best plants for invigorating the flowers of other plants as well as stimulating their root systems.
Time until harvest: Starting in late spring all the way until mid-autumn.
Popular varieties: Common/true and Russian

8. Yarrow

These beautiful wildflowers attract predators that feast on common pests. They also draw in local pollinators like bees to boost your apple tree’s flower/fruit production.

Benefits provided: The biggest factor that makes yarrow a great companion for apple trees is that it attracts bees and other pollinators.
Time until harvest: Depending on the species, yarrow may bloom from April until September.
Popular varieties: Common, Gold, Apple Blossom, Cerise, Moonshine, King Edward, and New Vintage Rose

9. Coriander

This herb is the perfect low-key addition to sunny areas around your apple trees. It attracts bees and other beneficial insects, and you get two harvests (cilantro leaves followed by coriander)! Coriander is also great for helping drain an area with poor natural drainage.

Benefits provided: Coriander is an amazing plant that repels pests, attracts beneficial insects, improves the nutrient levels in the ground, and much more.
Time until harvest: Approximately 35 to 45 days.
Popular varieties: Leisure, Caribe, Jantar, California Long Standing, Santos, Terra, Delfino, Costa Rica, Lemon, Slo Bolt, and Moroccan

10. Marigold

Marigolds are some of the most common garden flowers in the world, no doubt because they have excellent pest control properties. They ward off most types of common garden pests with their smell.

Benefits provided: Marigolds keep more pest insects away than many of the plants on our list combined.
Time until harvest: At least 8 weeks after sprouting.
Popular varieties: Colossus Red Gold, Bolero, Court Jester, Brocade, African, Crackerjack, Brocade, Bouquet, and more

11. Nasturtium

Nastutium, bless its heart, is typically used as a sacrificial trap plant. Harmful insects really seem to love these guys and will go directly to them and infest them instead of bothering your apple trees.

Benefits provided: Because they attract pesky insect species like aphids and worms, Nasturtium is an excellent trap plant.
Time until harvest: Approximately 30 to 55 days after planting.
Popular varieties: Alaska, Black Velvet, Empress of India, Apricot, Jewel, Fiery Festival, Orange Gleam, and more

12. Chamomile

Chamomile protects apple trees and any other nearby plants and trees from harmful bacteria, fungus, and disease. It may even increase the flavor of some fruits and vegetables.

Benefits provided: Chamomile is sought after for its antibacterial and antifungal properties. It helps protect trees and plants from mold, mildew, disease, and more.
Time until harvest: Up to approximately 10 weeks after planting.
Popular varieties: Common, English, Roman, German, and Egyptian

13. Lavender

Lavender smells and looks like a little piece of heaven. It is an excellent companion plant for apple trees, both aesthetically and because it attracts bees and wards off large pests and harmful insects.

Benefits provided: Not only does lavender attract pollinators, but it also repels pests of all sizes including deer and rabbits.
Time until harvest: Lavender plants require around 3 years to reach a fully mature and harvestable state.

Popular varieties: English, Portuguese, French, Spanish, and Jean Davis

14. Artemesia

Sometimes called wormwood, Artemisia species are some of the best companions for repelling larvae, flies, and similar pests. They also grow back each year and be harvested.

Benefits provided: Artemeisa repels worms, larvae, flies, fleas, and moths.
Time until harvest: Around 5 to 6 months after planting.
Popular varieties: Common, Wormwood, Southernwood, Roman, Egyptian, and German

15. Sea Buckthorn

Sea buckthorn provides nitrogen management to the local soil, supporting healthier and happier apple trees. They also produce berries that may be harvested each year!

Benefits provided: Sea Buckthorn fixes nitrogen issues in the surrounding soil.
Time until harvest: Berries are typically ripening by August and may do so until fall.
Popular varieties: Askola, Frugana, Hergo, Leikora, and Pollmix

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