Other gardeners grow marigolds in the hope that they will help in the battle against destructive insects and animal pests. A recent question from Sherwin inquired into the benefits of growing marigolds in the garden for companion purposes and as an organic insect control:
Will Common Marigolds Actually Repel Garden Insect Pests?
“I have read many pages on the internet saying that they are, but the preeminent and prominent gardener in the Atlanta area (Walter Reeves) says that they are of limited effectiveness for repelling garden pests.”
“Do you have anything good or bad to say about your personal experience with marigolds?”
Growing Marigolds as a Companion Plant
Thanks for the question Sherwin, add me to the list of gardeners that like to include marigolds in their garden; but I do so more for the ornamental qualities than with any expectation that they will control insect pests.
I’ve read reports recommending the use of marigolds as an insect repellant, in particular to repel cucumber beetles and other pests around melons, squash, and cucumbers. I am not aware of any research were this practice has been proven to be effective.
Also, my dad swears that a row of marigolds surrounding the garden one year kept all the rabbits at bay. As far as my own observations go, I can’t make any claims one way or the other to the effectiveness of planting marigolds for the purposes of companion gardening or insect control.
Marigold Variety in the Vegetable Patch
On the other hand adding variety to the garden is always a good thing! Growing marigolds can’t do any harm and who knows, maybe there is something to the folklore and reputation that they have earned in certain gardening circles.
Another factor to consider is the variety of marigolds that you grow in the garden. It could be that the naysayers have only experimented with the newer strains of marigolds.
The modern hybrids with their interesting patterns and colors are fine if it’s the colorful appearance that you’re after, but for companion planting purposes stick with the old-fashioned, unadulterated varieties.
French marigolds are one of the particular varieties that is recommended for repelling insects, along with Mexican Marigolds which are reputed to exude a substance from their root systems that is helpful in controlling soil-borne nematodes.
The Best Reason for Growing Marigolds as Companion Plants
So get your marigold seeds or seedlings and plant away… at the very least their flowers will add variety and bright colors to dress up your vegetable garden. Grow them because you enjoy them; and if they should happen to reduce harmful insect populations or attract beneficial bugs, that will be an extra and welcomed bonus!
Do you have your an opinion or experience involving using marigolds as a companion plant to deter garden pests? If so what did you discover regarding the effectiveness, and what varieties of marigolds did you grow as companion plants?
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