Did you know that planting and growing marigolds with your tomato plants can be one of the best ways to keep your tomatoes healthy, happy, and most of all, incredibly productive?
Believe it or not, one of the best examples of companion planting is growing marigolds right by your tomato plants. Not only do these prolific flowering annuals add big color wherever they grow, they also bring huge benefits along with them. And when it comes to helping tomatoes – they are pure gold!
Marigolds really are the rock star of annual flowers. For starters, the plant is one of the most drought, pest and heat resistant flowers you can grow. Unlike petunias, impatiens and other more vulnerable annuals, marigolds stand up strong to the most brutal of conditions.
The plant’s sturdy stems and foliage can take a lot of abuse before they ever begin to show signs of wear and tear. That includes intense sunlight, a lack of rain or watering, and even strong winds that easily damage other annuals.
But if that wasn’t enough, marigolds actually repel a long list of pests and animals as well. Both rabbits and deer are not fond of them in the least. Nor are squirrels and chipmunks. And as you will see below, they also have the same repelling effect on many damaging insects as well.
But plain and simple – where the benefits of growing marigolds really shine through is when you plant them with your tomato plants. And that is exactly what today’s article is all about!
3 Great Reasons You Should Be Growing Marigolds With Your Tomato Plants
So why are marigolds so incredible to plant around your tomato plants? The truth is, they actually help growing tomatoes in a whole slew of ways – and it all starts with attracting some of the most beneficial insects right to your tomato plants!
#1 Marigolds Attract Beneficial Insects
With their prolific blooms and brightly colored flowers, marigolds lure a long list of helpful insects near your tomato plants. And at the top of the list are honey bees, butterflies and wasps.
Although tomatoes are self fertile and can pollinate themselves, they need movement to move the pollen around to fertilize their flowers. As it just so happens, when bees, butterflies and wasps feed on the tomato plants nectar, all of that buzzing around is an excellent method to spread the plant’s pollen.
But attracting wasps also has an important additional side benefit for tomatoes. Paper wasps love to lay their eggs on tomato hornworms, which is a near mortal enemy of a tomato plant.
Hornworms usually appear in mid summer and can devour tomato plants quickly. Not just the foliage, but the fleshy meat of the fruits as well. But when parasitic wasps lay their eggs on the back of hornworms, they feed from the worm, killing it eventually in the process. See: How To Find Tomato Hornworms – And Save Your Tomato Plants!
Bringing In Even More Help…
But it doesn’t stop there for marigolds attracting helpful insects. Their bright flowers are also a major lure for ladybugs and lacewings. Both of these insects also happen to keep a watchful eye out for tomato plants as well protecting them from aphids and whiteflies.
Aphids and whiteflies are two pests that can decimate tomato plants. Especially when they go unchecked and begin to lay more and more eggs. Both pests multiply at an alarming rate and quickly take their toll on a tomato plant’s health. In fact, if an infestation is bad enough, they can kill tomato plants quite easily.
But when marigolds are growing nearby, rest assured, ladybugs and lacewings will be in the area as well. They visit the bright flowers of the marigolds often. When they do, they are more than happy to take care of the aphids and whiteflies on nearby tomato plants.
#2 Marigolds Repel Pests That Attack Tomatoes
If it wasn’t enough that tomatoes bring in helpful insects for tomato plants, they also keep a few bad insects far away. The strong scent of marigolds are well known to repel whiteflies. Even better, they also repel mosquitoes – helping to keep you safe as well when working in the garden.
But perhaps the most important pest of all that marigolds help to repel is the tomato hornworm. Yes, marigolds not only attract the wasps that attacks the pest that attacks tomato plants, they also help repel the actual pest from getting near them in the first place!
#3 Controlling Nematodes With Marigolds – Growing Marigolds With Tomato Plants
One of the biggest pests in the soil that can cripple tomato plants are root-knot nematodes. The tiny creatures live in the soil and attack the roots of a tomato plant. In mild cases, it can yellow the leaves of a tomato plant and lower the plants ability to produce a full harvest. But in severe cases, it will kill the plant entirely.
The good news? Marigolds produce a compound that kills nematodes in the soil. And when you grow marigolds right near your tomatoes for the season, they will help keep this pest at bay with ease.
How To Plant Marigolds With Tomato Plants
One of the best things about planting marigolds with tomato plants is how easy and inexpensive it can be to do. Although you can purchase transplants in local nurseries and stores, marigolds grow so easily from seed there is little need to.
Marigolds are fast growers. In fact, by simply planting seeds in the soil nearby when you plant your tomato plants in late spring, the annual will quickly germinate and be a few inches tall within a few weeks. Marigold seeds are also easy to save from spent blooms. That, of course, means you can save them to sow for free year after year!
The Power Of French Marigolds
As for the best varieties of marigolds to plant to help tomatoes, although all marigold types are useful, French marigolds seem to be the most effective when it comes to repelling bad insects and bringing in beneficial ones. Affiliate Seed Link: French Marigold Seeds
It is thought that the particular scent of this variety is especially helpful. Again, all varieties work to bring in pollinators and help with repelling some key pests, it’s just that the French marigold variety seems to be the best.
When planting any marigolds around your tomato plants, there are several options that work well. If you have a row of tomatoes you can plant them as a border on the outside of the row.
You can also grow a few plants around the perimeter of each plant. To do this, sow seeds about 18 inches from the main stem. As another alternative, many gardeners simply grow their marigolds in pots, then place them right near their tomato plants.
No matter how you plant them – the key is to get those marigolds as close as possible to your plants to maximize their benefits. Here is to planting marigolds with your tomato plants this year – and growing your best crop of tomatoes ever!
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