12 Plants that should never be planted side by side

As any avid gardener knows, much careful planning is required when deciding which plants to grow in your garden. While compatibility is key, it’s essential to understand that not all plants can live harmoniously side by side.

To help you create a thriving garden, we’ve compiled a list of plant pairings that just don’t make good neighbors. Knowing these incompatible relationships will ensure a healthy and successful garden.

Mind the watering needs: gardenias and moisture-loving plants

When it comes to watering needs, some plant friendships can be quite tenuous. According to NYBG-certified horticulturist, pairing gardenias with moisture-loving plants is one such problematic partnership.

Gardenias require well-draining soil and consistent watering, but they dislike having consistently wet feet. On the other hand, moisture-loving plants like ferns or hostas prefer damp soil conditions. As a result, it’s best not to plant gardenias next to water-loving plants; stick to growing them independently.

The garlic effect: legumes, leafy greens, and garlic don’t mix

While garlic is excellent at enhancing many dishes, it unfortunately doesn’t do the same for its fellow garden residents. It turns out that garlic accumulates sulfur in the soil, which can impede the growth of certain vegetables and herbs.

  • Legumes: beans and peas are sensitive to high sulfur levels in the soil and may experience stunted growth.
  • Leafy greens: parsley, along with other leafy greens, may similarly struggle to thrive when planted near garlic.
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Garlic is best planted alone or with other sulfur-tolerant plants, ensuring a better chance of success for your overall garden.

Beauty in opposition: knockout roses and annabelle hydrangeas

Though they make stunning companions in floral arrangements, Knockout Roses and Annabelle Hydrangeas may not fare well when planted close to one another. According to Sara Downing, Principal,

“First, plants should be similar in many ways—the type of soil they like to grow in.”

Roses and hydrangeas have different soil requirements, which makes their coexistence difficult. For example, roses prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil (pH 6-7), whereas hydrangeas thrive in acidic soil (pH 5.5).

Additionally, the aggressive growth and size of hydrangeas can stifle the delicate nature of roses. To ensure both plant varieties blossom, plant them separately and cater to their specific needs.

An overpowering companion: eucalyptus trees and neighboring plants

Eucalyptus trees are beautiful, aromatic additions to any landscape. However, they tend to dominate the territories they occupy and may disturb nearby plants as they release compounds that hinder surrounding growth. Moreover, these towering trees require a significant amount of water and nutrients, further minimizing resources available for neighboring plants.

To avoid overshadowing your smaller flora, keep eucalyptus trees at a safe distance from more delicate plant species.

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Incompatibility isn’t the end of the story

It’s essential to realize that incompatible pairings don’t necessarily spell disaster. By implementing thoughtful garden planning and making educated choices, you can still achieve a diverse, flourishing garden filled with multiple species.

Understanding the unique needs of each plant and appropriately catering to those requirements is paramount, as some plants might benefit from being placed together, while others require isolation. Ultimately, knowing what works best for your specific plants will pave the way for optimal growth and overall garden success.

Final thoughts: creating harmony in your garden

Gardening is undeniably an art form that requires thoughtfulness, diligence, and creativity. By paying attention to plant compatibilities and preferences, you’ll be better equipped to curate a beautiful landscape that not only thrives but also brings immense joy.

Happy gardening!


Justin, an avid writer, is equally passionate about gardening, especially cultivating beautiful flowers and productive vegetable patches. His writing skillfully intertwines his gardening experiences with vivid descriptions and keen insights, inspiring readers to appreciate nature's beauty and consider their own gardening adventures.