Boost your cannabis garden with companion plants. Image by Prostock-studio
This National Gardening Month, start or elevate a cannabis garden and nurture it with the right companion plants.
Companion plants, according to The Spruce, are plants that grow beside each other in the same garden for each others’ mutual benefit.
“That could be as simple as growing nectar-rich flowers among crops to attract pollinators or two vegetables grown side by side to confuse or repel pests,” according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. Overall, they can offer shade, provide natural support, improve plant and soil health or prevent weeds from growing.
To contextualize, the publication explains that a classic partnership from history is the “three sisters” – maize, beans and squash. As Native American cultures discovered, “the tall corn supports climbing beans, the low-growing squash shades the ground to prevent moisture loss and its big, prickly leaves discourage weeds and pests; and the fast-growing beans are ‘nitrogen fixers’ which make nitrogen available to other plants,” The Almanac reports.
Way of Leaf offers more pros to companion planting, especially for cannabis. Certain plants can serve as a defense and repellent from crop-destroying pests through their odor. Others attract beneficial insects like ladybugs, which prey on pests. There are also plants that improve soil quality and root networks, keeping cannabis rich and nourished.
To grow a cannabis garden to its fullest potential, here’s 10 of the best plants to offer defense, support and nutrients.
Basil is a great herb to add extra flavor to meals, but it’s also a strong companion plant.
Way of Leaf explains that basil is called the “prince of plants” because of its immense potential across gardens. Interestingly, basil can improve the flavor of cannabis by strengthening terpene production.
Basil can also offer benefits through its scent. According to Royal Queen Seeds, the plant’s aroma drives away potential pests like whiteflies and mosquitoes while attracting pollinator species like honeybees. Overall, this increases the biodiversity of the garden and promotes plant health.
Basil is the best companion plant for growing cannabis, according to I Love Growing Marijuana, a resource for cannabis cultivators. The scent also helps camouflage the smell of cannabis. Additionally, it may increase the oil production and resin content of buds, creating more product.
Not only do these plants look good, they smell good too. Fortunately, lavender’s great color and scent will level up gardens while protecting cannabis.
Blooming Anomaly, a blog for gardeners, highlights that lavender’s strong scent can attract pollinators like bees.
Also, lavender’s purple color will draw pests away from cannabis plants, Royal Queen Seeds says.
For example, Amsterdam Genetics, a seed company, specifies that lavender protects cannabis plants from fleas, ticks, mice and moths.
Dill has great benefits for overall health and the heart, and it can also serve as a loyal companion plant.
In fact, Gardening Know How states that dill will repel spider mites, caterpillars and aphids by attracting wasps. Though they have a bad reputation, wasps protect gardens.
Interestingly, according to Amsterdam Genetics, dill is known to attract predator insects like ladybugs. These kinds of beneficial insects can prey on pest species like aphids. Dill also works to attract pollinators, including bees and butterflies.
Tall, yellow and beautiful, sunflowers can add a good vibe to any garden.
Sunflowers, according to Royal Queen Seeds, attract the attention of aphids, whiteflies, slugs and snails away from other plants like cannabis. These pests would otherwise destroy cannabis.
Furthermore, because of their height and vibrant color, the plants can conceal cannabis from onlooker’s eyes. Those interested in keeping their cannabis plants a secret can benefit from a sunflower’s nearly 10 foot height. The plant also improves soil through its root network: it boosts drainage in the garden, fostering a better environment for plants.
Borage can get to three feet tall, truly standing out in a garden.
I Love Growing Marijuana states that borage can nourish cannabis plants by acting as a fertilizer, which is a safer alternative to chemicals or other products. It is rich in nitrogen, which is essential for plant growth — including cannabis.
Tenth Acre Farm, a permaculture gardening resource, also emphasizes that borage increases soil quality. It grows well in temperatures and moisture levels similar to cannabis. The plant itself fills the earth with vitamins and minerals, and including borage in a compost can encourage photosynthesis.
Yarrow is associated with healing and love, and it can even strengthen cannabis plants.
Royal Queen Seeds states that yarrow boosts essential oil production of neighboring plants, making it a great companion plant. These oils can help protect against insects and animals, and diseases.
Tenth Acre Farm explains that yarrow increases oil production in plants, increasing resin and cannabis bud content overall. This may reduce the need for fertilizers. Yarrow also attracts beneficial pest-eating insects like ladybugs, predator wasps, hoverflies and more.
Red and White Clover
Clovers can provide nutrients to both humans and plants alike.
Insteading, a blog for homesteaders, highlights that clover varieties as companion plants provide nourishment, allowing healthier growth and more minerals.
Hobby Farms clarifies that red and white clover increases nitrogen for surrounding plants and brings nutrients to the surface. Additionally, their roots boost soil drainage and maintain soil fertility, preventing root rot and assisting gardens overall. Another bonus — these plants are also easy to grow.
Furthermore, white clover suppresses bad weeds, making gardening easier, according to Royal Seed Queens.
In addition to being a great tea and relaxing herb, chamomile has immense benefits for cannabis.
It may also aid in terpene production for cannabis, NatuRx emphasizes. When chamomile dies, nutrients are released back into the soil, further benefiting the garden.
According to Gardening Know How, chamomile prevents fungus from growing on plants. This can be done by spraying chamomile tea on cannabis seedlings or clones. However, planted chamomile will act as continuous insect repellent and mulch, offering nutrients and a strong border.
Garlic is great to add flavor to a dish, but its aversive smell makes it tough to deal with.
In fact, NatuRx states that garlic acts as a pesticide.
Overall, the harsh smell of garlic also affects insects – some naturally avoid it. For example, garlic repels maggots, slugs, snails and spider mites, according to Amsterdam Genetics. While hanging garlic around plants offers defense against insects, the odor won’t rub off on cannabis.
Alfalfa can grow in many different conditions, including hot, cold or drought-like environments.
It is one of the plants that adds nourishment to plants, according to I Love Growing Marijuana.
More specifically, Way of Leaf confirms that alfalfa can boost the nitrogen concentration in the soil and aid in soil drainage. This improves soil quality, in turn boosting the quality of surrounding plants. It can also act as mulch to feed soil, and repels insects like caterpillars, worms and aphids.
Companion plants aren’t essential for gardens, but they can allow cannabis to grow to its fullest potential. Problems like pests or poor soil quality affect cannabis plants and inhibit the quality overall. But, investing in some new seeds will naturally boost any garden — cannabis or otherwise — helping it flourish.