Marigold: The Troubles With Companion Planting

Marigolds have come under scientific scrutiny to determine their merit as companion plants.

| February/March 2001

  • Marigold
    Marigold's statue as a perfect companion plant is coming under scrutiny.
    Photo courtesy MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors

  • Marigold

There's not a whole lot of hard science backing up most companion planting suggestions — they're based mainly on folklore and the educated guesses of experienced gardeners. Perhaps one of these days a lot of this advice will be scientifically explained and proven, but some of it is already withering under the glare of careful observation.

Many of the companion lists suggest that marigolds repel some garden pests, particularly cabbage worms and Mexican bean beetles. Research, however, shows that marigolds actually attract cabbage butterflies, which lay eggs that hatch into cabbage worms. Furthermore, though it does appear that marigolds protect beans against Mexican bean beetles and corn earworms, it seems they also exude chemicals harmful to bean plants.

While on the subject of marigolds, we should examine the oft-made assertion that they should be planted among tomatoes to repel certain pernicious root nematodes. It's not all that simple. Root nematodes bothersome to tomatoes are discouraged only by certain French marigolds (Nemagold and Queen Sophia, for example), and only when the entire infested area is planted with marigolds for a whole season. Simply planting a few common marigolds in among the tomatoes will not do the trick.


Fermentation Frenzy!

September 12-13, 2019
Seven Springs, Pa

Fermentation Frenzy! is produced by Fermentation magazine in conjunction with the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR. This one-and-a-half day event is jam-packed with fun and informative hands-on sessions.


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters

click me