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Marigold Companions

Growing Marigolds

(tips on growing marigold in your garden)

Blooming Marigold
Blooming Marigold

Bright orange flowers add a splash of color to your garden. But, those lovely marigold flowers can also provide a natural pest deterrent as well as strength to other plants.

We talk about a number of plants that make great companions for marigold and have found two vegetables that experts disagree on. After you check out the rest of this marigold companion guide, be sure to also check out our guides on growing marigold and companion planting guides.

Marigold Companion Planting

Marigold companion planting enhances the growth of basil, broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers, eggplant, gourds, kale, potatoes, squash and tomatoes. Marigold also makes a good companion plant to melons because it deters beetles.

Beans and cabbage are listed as bad companion plants for marigolds.

Marigolds, Cabbage & Broccoli.

As you might have noticed, I listed cabbage on both the good companions and the bad companions lists. Like so many things in gardening, the experts often have differing opinions. Cabbage and I suspect it’s fellow Brassica broccoli appear to be questionable companions. Since neither of our conflicting sources mentioned why they felt positively or negatively about cabbage as a companion, it might be best to assume the worst and consider both broccoli and cabbage as bad companions for marigolds.

Marigold & Insects

Marigolds have traditionally been used as borders around treasured flower beds and vegetable gardens. Scented varieties of marigold will deter beetles, beet leaf hoppers, Mexican bean beetle and nematodes. Pot marigold repels asparagus beetle and tomato worm and Mexican marigold is thought to repel rabbits.

We found out the hard way that the newer hybrid marigolds have not retained this natural pest controlling scent. We purchased some light yellow plants and the ravenous aphids promptly destroyed them. Of course, I suppose, you could argue that the nasty little things were so busy eating our marigolds that they left our vegetable garden unmolested.

Not all the news about marigold is good though. They do tend to attract spider mites and slugs.

Marigolds as a Natural Pesticide.

The roots of French marigolds produce a chemical that is so strong it is an effective pesticide for years after the plants are gone.

Mexican marigolds produce a stronger version of this chemical which has the potential to inhibit the growth of some of the more tender herbs.

Additional Marigold Information

(Calendula officinalis, Linn.)

To learn more about growing marigolds be sure to check out our marigold fact sheet.

Further Reading

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore marigolds. Their colors are so bright and striking in a garden. But, when it comes down to it, many of us plant them in hopes that they will be able to chase away harmful garden pests or at least keep them away from more valuable things like our prize tomatoes. If you are trying to keep your garden pesticide free, The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Pest and Disease Control: A Complete Guide to Maintaining a Healthy Garden and Yard the Earth-Friendly Way might offer some additional ideas to winning the war against aphids or whatever little insect demons are plaguing your garden.

13 thoughts on “Marigold Companions”

  1. I am 75 years old and just decided to learn about the beautiful marigold and after learning all their qualities I love them more now than ever beforre!

    1. No worries. There’s so many variables involved that what works in one area might not work in another (or just might be folklore that doesn’t work at all). I’ve heard time and time again to plant marigolds to deter bunnies. Yet, I’ve seen where bunnies actually ate them – guess they didn’t get the memo they’re supposed to hate them.

  2. I have a very small back area and have marigold starts against the fence. I ended up with several strong marigold seedlings and I’m wondering if I can plant a couple in the area of the morning glories or if that is a bad idea. I’m sorry if this is not the right place for such a question. Thank you

    1. Sorry I meant I have morning glory starts against the fence and wondering if I could put a couple Marigold starts next to them

      1. To be honest, I’m guessing here, but; our experience with morning glory is it kinda grows where it wants to; and it often grows in odd places. I would think if they’re already established that the marigolds wouldn’t bother it. Maybe just plant a few starts? Hopefully, we’ll get someone else to stop by and share their own experience.

  3. Your first paragraph is rather unclear. Your first sentence states marigolds are good companions for cabbage and your second sentence says cabbage is a bad companion for marigolds???

    1. And, the next paragraph said that the “expert” opinions did not explain why companion planting marigold with cabbage is preferred or not; which is why I mentioned both and suggested to assume the worst rather than risk losing your crop.

    1. That would make a ton of sense! Particularly as we watched the very pests that were supposed to hate marigolds happily munching on them. But after visiting the article you suggested; we did have true marigolds. I do wonder though if they’ve been so very hybridized that they have become somewhat less effective for pest management.

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