What is Marigold Companion Planting?

More gardeners are discovering the benefits of companion planting. This method of planning and planting your garden promotes better growth and natural pest control, benefiting from the symbiotic and synergistic relationships between specific plants and creating a garden with greater biodiversity.

What is Companion Planting

Companion planting refers to the practice of growing specific plants together so that they help each other. Ways they do this include:

  • Improving growth
  • Fixing nitrogen
  • Protecting from sun or wind
  • Enhancing flavor or fragrance
  • Deterring pests
  • Attracting pollinators
  • Trapping pests
Companion Planting

Some plants thrive in the presence of certain others; some plants dislike being in the vicinity of certain others – and this may even result in the demise of the weaker plant. The biochemical process involved in this is quite complex.

Choosing the right companion plants to grow in your garden requires some research, and you’ll need to ask yourself:

  • What plants are my priority?
  • How much space do I have?
  • How much time/inclination do I have for maintenance?
  • Does my garden get lots of full sunlight exposure, or is it shaded?
  • Do you live in a drier area or is water plentiful?
  • What visual effect do I seek in my garden?

For example, tomatoes and basil are often grown together. The basil helps repel pests from eating the tomatoes, and each enhances the flavor of the other. You do, however, need several basil plants to effectively protect a single tomato plant from pests.

What are Marigolds?

Marigolds are bright, dependable, blooming plants that deliver a burst of color to your garden throughout summer and the beginning of autumn. They are not only a pretty, punchy visual addition to your garden; they also deliver a load of garden benefits.

Benefits of Planting Marigolds in your Garden

  • Keeping Insects away – many experienced gardeners report that marigolds are effective for repelling an array of insects from both flowers and fruits and vegetables. These pests include:
    • Aphids
    • Nematodes
    • Squash bugs
    • Potato beetles
    • Flea beetles
    • Japanese beetles
    • Cucumber beetles
    • Corn earworms
    • Cabbage worms
  • As a natural pesticide – nematodes are tiny worms that may help or hinder growth in your garden. Some are parasitic and they attack some plants at the roots, including potatoes, corn, lettuce, capsicums, carrots, and cherry tomatoes. They may also attack the stems and leaves of onions, alfalfa, rye, and chrysanthemums. Marigolds can actively reduce the number of parasitic nematodes in the soil.
  • Attracting good insects to your garden – bees love marigolds! This will promote pollination for happier, healthier plants in your garden and beyond. They also attract predatory insects like ladybugs, lacewings, and others which feed on aphids and other damaging pests. They also attract butterflies.
  • Protecting certain vegetables from pests – as well as deterring insects, marigolds have a very distinctive aroma. This may help deter critters like rabbits from feasting on your vegetables, as rabbits particularly will prefer to eat the marigolds.

Slugs will also gravitate to marigolds, and as such, they can be used as a plant trap to help protect your vegetables.

Slugs will also gravitate to marigolds, and as such, they can be used as a plant trap to help protect your vegetables.

Great Vegetable Companions for Marigolds

Marigold companion planting will enhance the growth and flavor of:

  • Onion
  • Asparagus
  • Tomato
  • Cucumber
  • Melon
  • Squash
  • Eggplant
  • Lettuce
  • Potato
  • Pumpkin
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Radish
  • Capsicum and chilli
  • Cabbage

BUT DO NOT plant marigolds with beans! (Neither will be happy)

Preparation and Planting of Marigolds

  • Choose the right marigold variety for your needs – some are petite, while others grow to a meter tall.
  • If planting marigolds alongside foliage or flowering plants, choose those that require the same growing conditions.
  • Plant marigolds either with flowers of similar hues or of complementary colors. Blue flowers look great with orange marigolds, while purple flowers look beautiful alongside yellow marigolds. Flowering plants which work well alongside marigolds include allium, gerbera daisies, asters, salvia, lantana, lavender, geranium, zinnias, roses, and clematis.
  • Plant marigolds as single companion plants; randomly between other plants; between rows of vegetables or fruits; as a border; or as a cover crop.

Caring for Marigolds

  • Marigolds thrive in sunny, hot weather and they are very drought tolerant. They will thrive in most types of soil, but it must be well-drained.
  • Slugs love to eat marigolds at night. Make sure to go out at night with a torch and pick them off. The most humane way to destroy the slugs is to put them in a bucket of soapy water.
  • Let some of your marigolds go to seed at the end of the season – they will self-seed and pop up as “wanted weeds” next summer!

Marigolds are a fantastic all-rounder for your garden! They are also edible! As long as you have not used any chemicals on them, the petals can be rinsed and added to salads in summer. Is there any more versatile addition to your garden for summer than some marigolds?

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