Cannabis Companion Planting To Prevent Pests

When using outdoor cannabis seeds, experienced cultivators are often advocates of cannabis companion planting to prevent pests in the garden, greenhouse or polytunnel. Rather than reach for off-the shelf solutions, some of which are very unfriendly for the environment, natural solutions offer the gardener an effective first line of defense against pests which plague weed plants and companion plants can add value in other areas too.

Companion planting with cannabis

While there is no such thing as specific ‘cannabis companion plants’, many plants and flowers used by traditional gardeners are known for their pest prevention qualities. After all, weed may be one of the items on the menu but most common cannabis pests have a range of tastes!

What is not in doubt is the benefits of preventative pest control in the form of companion planting with cannabis. While some flowers and plants have an excellent deterrent quality (giving off a scent that deters insects for example) others have value because they attract insect predators to police your pest problem! Companion planting with cannabis can also  serve a sacrificial purpose – garden pests will feast on certain plants so they will leave your weed plants alone!

So if you’re planting outdoor cannabis seeds this Spring then now is also the time to think about getting some cannabis companion plants in the ground. Planting a protective border is good, and the more plant diversity you can introduce into the garden, the better it is for natural pest control.

Cannabis pests: Protection from spider mites

Red spider mites are an old enemy of weed gardeners and while an attack may not be devastating for an outdoor cannabis crop, keeping the little suckers off your plants in the first place is a good idea! This is an opportunity for companion planting with cannabis to show its benefits.

Nature’s helpers in this battle include chrysanthemum, which contains a natural insecticide in the form of inherent compounds called pyrethrins. These have been extracted and used as an insecticide through history, but Chrysanthemums are known for their repellent properties in relation to spider mites. Depending on the garden plot size, cannabis companion vegetables known for deterring red spider mites are onions, leeks and rhubarb.

Cannabis pests: Protection from aphids and caterpillars

Aphids and caterpillars can be destructive unwelcome guests in the garden as summer progresses. The herb dill is a great all round companion plant, one which caterpillars and aphids dislike due to its strong aroma, while at the same time attracting beneficial insects. The colorful nasturtium flower is also a good caterpillar neutralizer when used as a sacrificial crop as the plant acts as a magnet for butterflies to drop their eggs rather than dropping them on your special plants. Onions, garlic and peppermint are also renowned for being a big turn off for aphids.

Cannabis companion plants to keep Whitefly away

The marigold is a favorite flower of easy gardening grandmothers around the world, and it has a reputation as a superb protector in the garden so it makes a great cannabis companion. The list of insects and garden pests which object to the strong scent of the marigold are slugs , snails, beetles and whitefly. The science is split on the topic with a research team from Rutgers University casting doubt  on the effectiveness of marigolds to protect some crops, while a 2019 UK research study suggests they are effective at keeping whitefly away. Nevertheless, many gardeners still regard the marigold as essential planting, with the added bonus that this flower will attract beneficial insects such as hover flies and lady bugs.

Other benefits of a cannabis companion

As well as providing a living insect repellent, beneficial insect host or diversion tactic, cannabis companions can also offer further protective services when blended into teas  or infusions and you can find out more about this from our recent article  Outdoor Cannabis – Stop Pests and Strengthen Plants Naturally . The other benefits of some of the companion plants discussed is that they are also a lovely piece of eye candy for the garden and of course all those bright colours divert attention away from what else is growing in your garden – very handy if you have nosy neighbors!

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