Marigolds are beautiful and aromatic flowers that make an excellent addition to any garden. In addition to providing color and flare, marigolds have a knack for attracting beneficial insects, while deterring unwanted pests. When planted correctly, you can greatly enhance the health and well being of your garden.
Choose scented marigolds. Not all marigolds have a scent. Some varieties have been bred to have no scent at all, making them preferable for those planting for sheer aesthetics, but useless at deterring insects. The pungent scent emitted by marigolds is what makes them such a powerful insect repellent.
Be aware of friends and foes. As with all plants, marigolds can thrive with some, while deterring the growth of others. Map out your garden in accordance with the plants that marigolds to best with, to ensure you plant them in areas will they will help, rather than hinder the growth of the garden. Marigolds do great with strawberries, roses, carrots, tomatoes, basil, potatoes, squash, and eggplants. They have a poor relationship with members of the Brassica family such as broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and kale.
Recognize the beneficial relationships. Understanding the relationship between marigolds and their companions can help you to decide where to plant the marigolds. Marigolds are excellent at repelling the Mexican bean beetle, which are known to destroy green beans and bush beans. Planting marigolds nearby can help to deter these pernicious critters. Marigolds are also excellent at deterring squash bugs and can greatly help the growth of the squash plants. They are also known for deterring harmful nematodes, due to a substance they emit through their roots. These nematodes particularly affect tomatoes, strawberries, roses, and potatoes, all of which would greatly benefit from marigold as a companion.
Know how close to plant them for maximum benefit. As stated previously, there are some plants that marigolds do well with, and others that they hinder. Be sure to plant marigolds at least three rows away from plants that they are known to hinder. The marigolds should be planted no more than two rows from plants that they are known to help. Keep in mind that there are also a variety of neutral plant relationships that can be utilized throughout the extra space in your garden. Just because two plants don’t have a specifically advantageous relationship, doesn’t mean they can’t be planted together. Just be sure to avoid interplanting plants that are known to have a negative relationship.