Companion planting is an old gardening tactic that many growers use in their vegetable patches to improve the health of their plants naturally. But did you know that companion planting can benefit your cannabis crops too? With natural advantages including pest control, beneficial insect attraction, soil health improvements, and even boosted flavor and aroma, companion planting is an easy way to enhance your organic cannabis grow.
Benefits of Companion Planting
Companion planting has a host of benefits and is especially helpful for organic cannabis grows! Here’s why:
Attracts Beneficial Insects
For growers who want to bring in beneficial insects, companion planting is a natural way to draw in some friends and avoid the use of pesticides. For vegetable gardens, some plants are added to draw in pollinators, but with plants like cannabis where pollination is not always a priority, it’s more important to attract predator insects.
Many plants draw in insects that prey on garden pests, such as spider mites and thrips, acting as a natural method of pest control. Since spider mites and thrips are some of the most significant pest issues in a cannabis grow, an easy and natural way to discourage them from taking up residence in your crop is by planting companions like marigold, yarrow, and fennel.
Deters or Traps Pest Insects
Another method of organic pest control that companion plants provide is by deterring and trapping pest insects. Some pests are sensitive to oils and scents caused by common plants, and the simple addition of these around the edges of your grow can work to keep them out. Plants like marigold, coriander, mints, and rosemary have intense aromatics that ward off pests like aphids, spider mites, and beetles. Other plants like marigolds and daisies are more attractive to garden pests than cannabis and serve as decoys, trapping pests and keeping them occupied.
Stops Disease Spread
When placed between your crops, some companion plants help break the spread of fungal diseases and viruses with natural resistances and immunities that offer protection to their neighbors. For example, if powdery mildew is running rampant through your hemp, planting chamomile or mustard, which have natural anti-fungal properties, can stop the spread in its tracks.
Improves Soil Health
Many companion plants are utilized to help restore the health of the soil. For organic and no-till growing practices, soil health is just as important as plant health. Certain companions are nitrogen fixers that naturally bring nitrogen levels in the soil back up to usable levels. Others can be added as cover crops to replenish nutrients in the soil and prevent weeds from taking over between seasons. Good examples of nitrogen-fixing plants and cover crops include alfalfa and clover.
Finally, another use for companion planting is to improve flavor in target plants. Some companions encourage aromatic oil production, enhancing flavor and aroma naturally. If you’d like to boost your buds, chamomile and yarrow are both known to improve essential oil production in cannabis crops.