With warm summer temps comes the insect army to invade your pride and joy — your garden. Once they're upon you, ridding flowers and veggies of insects can be tricky. Instead of waiting for the onslaught, try a proactive approach with companion plants. What are companion plants you say? Glad you asked! It's a well known fact that insects are naturally drawn to certain plants. So to prevent these insects from creeping in to feast on your hard work, we challenge you to a game of garden chess. That's right, strategery meets gardening and companion plants are the pawns. Rather than loading your fresh produce and flowers with chemical pesticides, try using a companion plant, or a plant that is known to attract or deter the pests you wish to avoid elsewhere in your garden. That's brilliant right? Before you hop right in the garden, consider this. Companion plants can work in a couple of different ways. The first way is to incorporate plants known to produce oils or "poisons" to deter unwanted guests from visiting. The second way is to place plants known to strongly attract pests and divert their attention, controlling the damage zones. Regardless of the direction you go, the first step is knowing your companion plant basics!
Basil — Flies and thrips and mosquitoes, oh my! Not a problem when basil's around. The oils in these companion plants are known to repel such pests.
Catnip — Go and get some right meow! This awesome plant keeps almost everything at bay, with the exception of our feline friends. Catnip effectively repels aphids, weevils, ants, beetles, and more! Helpful hint: Catnip works just as well in the kitchen if you're worried about home invaders.
Chives — Does your garden include carrots and/or apple trees? Check out chives to get rid of carrot rust flies, Japanese beetles, and scab. Plus they make a delicious addition in the kitchen!
Chrysanthemums — Possibly my favorite, this companion plant deters all sorts of nasty critters like ticks, lice, silverfish, roaches, bedbugs, and more! Itchy just thinking about it, Chrysanthemums are a natural insecticide and a common ingredient in insecticides, making them a phenomenal companion plant!
Dahlias — If nematodes are your problems, Dahlias are your girl. Bonus! These flowers add a gorgeous pop of color to your garden.
Dill — Looking for a companion plant to attract the bugs away from your garden produce? Look no further! Dill attracts predatory wasps, hoverflies, caterpillars, and hornworms while simultaneously repelling spiders and mites. If you're not thrilled about growing dill in your garden, sprinkled dried dill around plants with these problematic bugs for a quick fix!
Four O'Clocks — A kiss of death for Japanese beetles, this poisonous plant is a great deterrent for unwanted pests. Unfortunately, this plant isn't picky about its poison though, so make sure it's not easily accessible to children and pets.
Garlic — Who doesn't love garlic? Not only is it healthy and delicious, but it repels aphids, the dandelion of insects! It also wards off root maggots, snails, and codling moths.
Geraniums — Scented geraniums, specifically, coerce beetles with their seductive scents, making them a beetle favorite! Little do they know, these companion plants are toxic
Marigolds — Perhaps the most widely recognized companion plant, the range of marigolds repel a variety of pests. It's important to note — if using this plant as a deterrent, only scented marigolds will do the trick AND be prepared for an increase in snails, mites, and spiders who absolutely love marigolds.
Nasturtiums — Hugely effective at trapping aphids, they seem to flock to the yellow blossoms on Nasturtiums. If you're looking to rid your garden of aphids and choose to go the Nasturtiums route, be prepared to handpick aphids regularly (yes, they're that effective!)
Sunflowers — These hearty companion plants serve as a great line of defense against ants, who will actually relocate to live directly on these plants. They make a great line of defense around the perimeter of your garden and they're pretty too! Before you prepare for your next garden warfare, work smart, not hard. Plan your garden strategy with companion plants! If you need help selecting the right companion plants for your garden, contact Jolly Lane Greenhouse today!