Best Companion Plants for Olive Trees: What to Plant With Olive Trees?

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Best companion plants for olive trees are the ones to improve the health of your olive tree, meets the same water needs, and aren’t fragile for dropping olive fruits. By selecting the right plant combinations for your olive trees, you can create balance and harmonize colors, sizes, leaf shapes in your landscape. Indeed, combining plants in a garden is an art that rewards you with a magical view.

So in this article, we will help you to find out which plants benefit your olive tree, grow along nicely, and ensure successful thriving. Stay with us and keep reading to learn more about what you can plant next to your olive tree.

What are Best Companion Plants for Olive Trees?

1.     Plants that deter or lure away harmful bugs

Olive trees growing outdoors or inside are well vulnerable to pests such as scale insects, aphids, and other bugs. So First, let’s look into the best companion plants for olive trees that either deter or lure away harmful unwanted bugs. These are the most popular and easy to grow, the perfect combination to olive trees:


Marigolds are an excellent combination for olive trees because they easy adaptable, low maintenance, and can withstand hot summers. Moreover, marigolds smell drives away so many unwanted insects so they not only protect but prize with beautiful yellow or orange flowers.

marigolds can grow under olive tree
Marigolds flowers growing under olive tree add a spark to your garden and helps to keep your tree free of harmful bugs due to its pest-repellant properties


Petunias are one of the most popular companion plants for olive trees. You can find petunias in every color and their care is simple and easy. As well, petunias have this welcoming feature to deter common olive tree pests.

olive tree care, watering requirements

This olive tree in a container looks gorgeous – it is planted next to different color flowers with pink color petunias

underplanting olive trees
You can find petunias in many colors which can enrich and decorate your home surroundings


Borage is another similar herb plant that prevents olive trees from pests and attracts pollinating bees. It is easy growing annual herb.

The best thing about borage all parts of this herb are tasty and have culinary use: you can use vivid blue starry flowers to decorate salads and you can add cucumber flavored leaves into your tea or other beverages.

borage is beautiful blue flower plant
Borage is the favorite plant of the honey bees, bumblebees, and small, native bees. It keeps a vital balance in your garden and helps with pollination


Nasturtium plants as well are easy to grow, maybe climbing, cascading, or bushy. These amazing plants are editable and can be used to lure aphids away from your olive tree growing next to.

nasturtium is gorgeous plant to grow under olive trees
Nasturtium is a cheerful, quick-growing plant with colorful, edible flowers. Nasturtium is a great companion for olive trees and adores by good garden pests

2.     Plants that attract the right bugs

Secondly, you can pick a special companion for planting under olive trees that has more to do with attracting the right bugs. In this case, these good bugs like to eat other bugs such as aphids that love to eat olive tree leaves.

Underplanted olive trees with daisies
Here is olive grove in Kalamata naturally underplanted with beautiful daisies – one of the most popular wild flowers to enjoy


Yarrow is a lovely addition next to your olive tree. It is a carefree plant with little need.

Yarrow not only commonly used as a medical herb that treats minor wounds, reduces fever, and more, but as well attracts lacewings and ladybugs, which feed on aphids.

yarrow is perfect companion plant
Yarrow plant is easy to grow and well adaptable, has a medical purpose as well

Dill or Fennel

Dill is not only a popular herb in your kitchen but can be a great companion to your olive tree.

So if you grow your own fresh dill, you get another benefit of it, since it helps to charm ladybugs or lacewings, which eats aphids.

dill is both for culinary and decorative purpose
Dill has a grassy look, most commonly used in soups or stews

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm creates a bushy and leafy impression for your landscape. This herb has a pleasant lemon smell and small white flowers that attract tachinid fly and wasps, which kill harmful caterpillars from your olive trees.

lemon balm creates green look to your garden
Lemon balm is a perennial herb you can grow in the garden to help attract bees. Beyond the garden, you can use lemon balm for a variety of purposes including stress relief or improve digestive health

Parsley and tansy

Another great companion plant for olive trees can be parsley known for its nutritional value and amazing flavor added to the dishes.

Moreover, growing parsley also makes a lovely edging herb plant with its curly foliage that invites good flies and wasps which kill harmful predators for your olive trees and other plants.

parsley works well as a companion plant for olive trees
Parsley is a widely cultivated herb suitable to grow next to olive trees or anywhere in your garden

3.     Legumes to Build up Minerals

Furthermore, another good set of olive tree companions are legumes, such as peas and alfalfa, and here is why.

Peas and Alfalfa

For example, peas not only looking very beautiful as a plant but as well it leak nitrogen into the ground, which benefits very hungry olive trees.

Basically, let your legumes nurture for a while to build up nitrogen, then collect peas and cut them back to the ground to release it into the soil.

peas amazing flowers brings charm to your garden
Peas are grown virtually everywhere for its editable seeds. As well, you can grow them under an olive tree to bring a different charm to your garden

4.     Classic Mediterranean Herbs

Finally, a good classic combination for olive trees is Mediterranean herbs including basil, bay leaf, chervil, chives, cilantro, dill, fennel, fenugreek, lavender, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, saffron, sage, savory, tarragon, thyme and much more.

They grow well with olive trees and have similar needs in terms of watering and soil nutrition. And the most important, you can use them for both culinary and decorative purposes.


The most commonly grown herb plant with an olive tree is lavender. It is popular for its fragrant aroma that attracts pollination for your plants.

Lavender is an excellent herb to build up variety in your backyard and create a magical landscape.

lavender is the most popular olive tree companion
Lavender is one of the best companion plants for olive trees that makes a stunning addition to your landscape and has many culinary uses


Well, thyme is used for both culinary and decorative uses. It is easy to grow and flourish well under olive trees and among other plants.

thyme is common plant to grow next to olive trees
Thyme is a Mediterranean herb with dietary, medicinal, and ornamental uses. Can be mixed with other plants growing under the olive trees


If you are looking for a Mediterranean native herb plant, then oregano must be your choice. There is no authentic Greek dish without oregano, so this herb is valued by every Greek family and grows everywhere: under the olive tree, in the pots indoor, or in the kitchen.

You will never regret introducing oregano in your seasoning set due to its strong aroma and spicy intense flavor.

5.     Other Companion Plants for Olive Trees Ideas

underplanted olive trees
Olive tree underplanted with white African daisies which are similar to common daisy variety but have much bigger flowers


Bulbs are annual plants and blooms during spring and summer, whereas become dormant in winter. The good thing about bulbs is that they use collected space and have huge stunning flowers.

bulbs is easy care plant suitable to grow under olive trees
Bulbs will add brilliant color to your garden throughout the spring or summer and is a great companion to olive trees


Succulents are remarkably adaptable and can be one of the most favorite options as companion plants for olive trees. They are tiny plants so you can mix and match lots of different varieties.

succulents always great idea to plant in your backyard
Succulents are incredibly resilient plants, requiring little care, and not easily damaged


Santolina is one of the Mediterranean evergreen subshrubs suitable for hot, dry summer and full sun. It grows easily and suits various soils and is a great addition to any landscape. In terms of color match, Santolina looks very similar and fits perfectly with silver-green olive oil leaves color.

santolina cmpanion plant for olive tree
Santolina is medium hight and works well in terms of matching olive tree leaves color


Germander comes from the Mediterranean and is drought, soil, and exposure tolerant. It is an evergreen subshrub that blooms lavender-like flowers.

Germander plant for plant combiantion
Germander not only has an attractive look but also is used to treat fever, stomachache, and diarrhea

Bunch Grasses

Tussock grasses or bunch grasses grow in clumps or tufts and have a decorative purpose for your landscape. For this reason, it can be one of the best options for a companion plant for your olive tree growing outdoors or in a large pot.


Final Thoughts: Companion Plants for Olive Trees

To summarize, potential companion plants for olive trees mentioned in this article are easy to grow and very adaptable. They are drought and soil tolerant and have the same soil and weather condition requirements as olive trees. So many of them can be the best combination for your tree and add charm to your landscape.

Thus if you are not sure which companion plant to choose for your olive trees, then you can mix multiple plants and herbs and place them under your olive tree.

For example, it never can go wrong if you plant lavender together with rosemary or oregano. Or red petunias in terracotta pots under the olive tree.

Alternatively, grow leaf vegetables or draft tomatoes. You would not only create a unique landscape but as well have fresh herbs for seasoning your dishes.

Don’t be afraid to try to mix different varieties of plants next to olive trees – you can always transplant them easily into a new space next spring!

I hope this article gave you many ideas for the best plant combination to grow well with olive trees. Let us know what variations you have tried in your garden and share the comments in the section below.

best olive trees for landscaping
Read more about olive trees for landscaping

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8 thoughts on “Best Companion Plants for Olive Trees: What to Plant With Olive Trees?”

  1. Thanks! This has really helped me plan out my permaculture olive grove. My only issue with all this underplanting is whether it makes harvesting the olives very challenging. We have only done one harvest last year and were sold the most enormous unwieldy nets (that’s the norm here in Italy – is it how its done in Greece too?). It was pretty hard getting them around the trees and then making sure all the olives were caught by the net. I’m trying to imagine how you could do it with other plans grown close by. Thanks!

  2. Hi Cleona, yes we use the same enormous nets here in Greece. The thing about companion plants for olive trees that it works perfectly for single trees planted in the backyard or potted olive trees for decoration purposes. However, even if you want to underplant olive grove you can use seasonal plants such as lavender, other herbs that will be in a dormant state when you harvest olives in late autumn and shouldn’t be huge harm if you put a net or step on them during olive collection time.

  3. Michelle Reichadt

    I am looking for ideas of what to plant under our very old large olive trees that are at least 100 years old. Their bases are nearly 2 m across and and the trees are approx 20 m high, so underneath is in heavy shade. We have hot dry summers and cold frosty winters. Annual rainfall is approx 350mm / year. (Southern Australia) Any ideas would be appreciated. Thankyou

  4. Greetings from Cyprus and thank you so much for your helpful list! I am not sure however I have seen any references to any Dacus repellent plants? I am planning on planting a couple of olive trees in my backyard for personal consumption (both for green and black olives and some olive oil down the road, to sustain my family of four) and considering that dacus is the most severe problem of the olive tree in our area, I would appreciate any tips you may have. I was considering planting a hedge of lavender coupled with some other Mediterranean herbs (for example: thyme, lemon thyme, oregano and rosemary), based on the plants’ same water needs and on how majestic it would look. But, after talking with some professionals and realising how severe the dacus problem has been in the recent years, I am willing to try anything to avoid the need for spraying and/or using traps.
    I am working with an empty plot so no limitations there :)

  5. Hi Michelle, ideally you should look for local plants that grow in shade or partial shade. Some examples of shade-tolerant plants with deep green foliage are Mona Lavender, Sweet Box, Winter Daphne, Silver Spurflower, New Zealand Rock Lilly. All these plants like well-drained soil, so you can implement an irrigation system to keep them saturated during the driest season. You can try to grow different species and expand the one that is the most tolerant of environmental conditions in your location.

  6. Hi Iliada, Greetings from Greece to you too! Theoretically, there are some Mediterranean and other plants that work as fruit fly repellants, such as basil, peppermint, mint, citronella, eucalyptus, lemongrass, lavender, clove, marigold, and tansy. However, if Dacus fly is a huge problem in your area, I’m afraid, companion plants won’t be enough, you need to use also other prevention methods such as sticky traps or special sprays. As well, by speaking with local growers or professionals, they may share their know-how and suggest the least harmful way to protect your olive trees from these flies since they already dealing with this issue.

  7. Hi,

    I recently repotted my small olive plant. (3feet tall).

    I’m not happy with the pot, so am eager to repot to terracotta. Would I do damage? I’m new to this. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.


  8. Hi Anthony, terracotta pots are durable clay pots for olive trees, just ensure good drainage and it will go well. You can find more about material types of pots in our article “large pots for olive trees”.

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