As a kid, my least favorite flower was the marigold. Companion plants, pollinators, and wondering how the heck to keep rabbits out of my garden was still years away. Marigolds, on the other hand, were right there in front of me. So was the bee that stung me, along with a few of his fellow bees gathering pollen from the flowers. In my eight-year-old mind it was all connected: marigolds attract bees, bees sting you, therefore, marigolds were the worst flower ever.
There was still a lot I didn’t know about garden ecosystems, flower and plant fertilization, and how bees are basically responsible for probably three-fourths of the food in my pantry. It also turns out that there are quite a few marigold companion plants that create little dynamic duos in the garden.
Why the marigold is the perfect companion
Companion planting is one of the oldest approaches to gardening. Different plants support each other in a myriad of ways, from adding nutrients to the soil to preventing pests and diseases to offering each other shade and keeping the soil moist. Some plants are a bit snooty about who they have as a neighbor. Others, like the bright yellow and orange marigold, it turns out, are the life of the party. The more the merrier for marigold companion plants. It’s also quite the benefactor for other plants. Why?
Marigolds attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. They attract predatory insects, like ladybugs, that feed on aphids and other pests. The limonene in marigolds can help deter whiteflies and their roots secrete chemicals that kill nematodes. And not only are they little pest-deterring workhorses, marigolds are easy to grow and they’re truly beautiful. Wow!
10 Marigold companion plants that belong in your garden (and 2 that don’t)
Okay, so the marigold is amazing, but what are the best marigold companion plants? Here are some of my favorites:
It’s important to point out, however, that not all plants work as marigold companion plants. For example, some gardeners swear that marigolds stunt the growth of pole beans. I’ve also heard that marigolds and cabbage don’t get along so well. Admittedly, I can’t say this is definitely true, but I also haven’t tried planting them close together because why take that chance? I do know that marigolds attract slugs and snails, although, if you set your flowers a little bit away from your vegetables, that can be beneficial.
Honestly, though, these are such easy flowers to grow, and they add wonderfully bright colors to your garden. There’s really no downside here.
What do you think? Have you tried planting marigolds as companion plants? I’d love to hear how that worked out and if you would do anything differently in the future.