In Brief: Benefits of Growing Marigolds With Tomatoes
Marigolds are touted as low-maintenance garden buddies to tomato plants. They may offer protection from harmful nematodes, insect pests, and tomato worms. They also aid in trapping snails, slugs, and attracting pollinators. Also, they add a pop of color to your vegetable garden.
In this article, let us take a look at the benefits of planting bright marigolds with tomatoes.
I have prepared this article with hands-on experience in growing marigolds as a companion plant with tomatoes.
Read on to know more information!
- In Brief: Benefits of Growing Marigolds With Tomatoes
- Marigold And Tomatoes: Symbiotic Connection
- Benefits Of Growing Marigolds With Tomatoes
- 1. Marigold adds a pop of color to your garden
- 2. Marigold offers protection from soil-dwelling nematodes
- 3. Marigold shy away from animal predators and garden pests
- 4. Marigold attracts bees and beneficial pollinators
- 5. Marigold repels tomato worms
- 6. Marigold is an efficient trap crop for snails and slugs
- 7. Marigold offers fresh-cut, edible flowers
- 8. Marigold has low maintenance
- Types Of Marigold Suitable For Growing With Tomatoes
- How To Grow Marigold With Tomatoes?
- Considerations While Planting Marigold With Tomatoes
Marigold And Tomatoes: Symbiotic Connection
Marigolds are bright flowering plants that belong to the family Asteraceae. They are often used as companion plants, especially in the vegetable garden, to help out their neighboring plants.
One of my rewarding garden plants is tomatoes. But, some garden pests and predators hinder its growth. To overcome this problem, few gardeners suggest the benefits of planting marigolds and tomatoes together.
In my experience, I find marigolds and tomatoes share a symbiotic connection with a myriad of benefits.
It may reduce the pest population, clean the soil, and promote beneficial insects.
Benefits Of Growing Marigolds With Tomatoes
In this subsection, I will discuss the different benefits of growing marigolds with tomatoes.
1. Marigold adds a pop of color to your garden
Whenever I walk into my tomato garden, marigold plants welcome me with a spark of color. They brighten my garden throughout summer and early autumn. With proper care, they can thrive even in hot summers.
They come in warm colors of creamy white, orange, red, and golden yellow. American and French marigolds add a nice scent to your garden.
Furthermore, they have appealing green foliage even without flowers. You may experiment with different colored marigolds in your vegetable garden.
2. Marigold offers protection from soil-dwelling nematodes
Three years back, I didn’t plant my tomato plants with marigolds, and my tomato plants were infested with aphids and nematodes.
Root-knot nematodes are tiny, microscopic common pests dwelling in the soil. It may affect the root system of tomato plants, impairing the uptake of water and nutrients. It may lead to the death of the plant.
Marigold(Tagetes species) is claimed as a cover crop in suppressing the nematode populations. It has chemicals that show various mechanisms in managing nematode pests. It may thereby help in cleaning the soil by trapping the
parasitic root-knot nematodes.
Nowadays, I always plant marigolds with tomatoes to get a healthy tomato harvest.
3. Marigold shy away from animal predators and garden pests
One of the common pest infestations of tomato plants is whiteflies. I found that planting marigolds next to tomatoes during the growing period kept the whiteflies away.
Also, it discouraged a variety of other pests, including thrips.
The horticultural experts at Iowa State University and Texas A&M University say that marigolds don’t repel rabbits or deer from gardens.
Also, many gardeners find marigold has a distinctive aroma. It may discourage animal predators, including rabbits and deer from nibbling your prized tomatoes.
Future research studies will help to understand how marigolds repel predators.
4. Marigold attracts bees and beneficial pollinators
Honeybees are beneficial insects that aid in pollination. It makes an excellent addition to the vegetable garden.
When I planted marigolds near tomatoes, it attracted more bees, ladybugs, and other beneficial insects. Also, the tomato harvest was more due to increased pollinators.
A popular blogger has mentioned that pot marigolds and corn marigolds are attractive to bees and pollinators.
But, certain types of marigolds, including Tagetes patula are not very popular with bees.
You may grow marigolds in your tomato garden if you want your garden filled with pollinators.
5. Marigold repels tomato worms
Hornworms are green caterpillars with a horn on its tail. Their green color allows them to be camouflaged against the tomato plants.
They dine on tomato plants non-stop and ruin them. They create spotty and chewed leaves and fruit.
I plant marigolds around the tomato plants to protect them from the tomato hornworms.
Marigolds have a strong odor that repels the sphinx moth, which becomes the tomato hornworm. Also, the essential oils in the marigold attract beneficial insects, including parasitic wasps.
It may attack the tomato hornworms and other predator caterpillars.
6. Marigold is an efficient trap crop for snails and slugs
Snails and slugs feed on ripening tomatoes and crawl inside the fruit. You might be surprised to find these creatures, while harvesting tomatoes.
Many gardeners claim that marigolds act as a trap plant attracting slugs and snails to infest on them. You may handpick and remove them once it gathers on the marigold. Thus, we can save our tomato plants from these creatures
7. Marigold offers fresh-cut, edible flowers
Some varieties of marigold are palatable and make a nice salad ingredient. They can be added to any summer dish for color.
They have a mildly citrusy and spicy flavor.
Sometimes, I cook marigold flower petals with rice to impart a yellowish-orange color. I also use them to decorate cupcakes. They are often referred to as the poor man’s saffron. They can be added to teas, stir-fries, and soups.
8. Marigold has low maintenance
Another advantage that I find with marigolds is that they are a low-maintenance plant. Also, they are easy to grow, have a longer bloom time, and have very few insect enemies. They can be started from either seeds or transplants.
If they have plenty of sunlight, they grow well in a variety of soil conditions with minimal effort.
Types Of Marigold Suitable For Growing With Tomatoes
There are over 50 different species of marigold belonging to the genus Tagetes. It also includes species from the genus Calendula (pot marigold).
You may use French (Tagetes patula) and Mexican marigolds with tomato plants. They help in eliminating root-knot nematodes affecting tomato plants.
Signet marigolds (Tagetes tenuifolia) are good for attracting bees and beneficial insects. African(Tagetes erecta), French, and Signet marigolds may be used to deter tomato worms.
You may experiment with different types of marigolds to solve your tomato problems.
How To Grow Marigold With Tomatoes?
Tomatoes and marigolds share similar growing conditions. There are many ways to grow marigold with tomato plants.
It may be planted in the raised bed or hanging baskets.
You may plant tomatoes first and dig a hole 18-24 inches apart for marigolds. Install the tomato cage. This allows plenty of space for tomatoes to grow.
Next, plant the marigold in the hole. I prefer to buy marigold transplants and plant them near tomatoes instead of seeds.
Water the tomato and marigold regularly. You may thin the marigold occasionally to prevent overcrowing.
You may check this video to understand how to grow marigold with tomato plants:
Considerations While Planting Marigold With Tomatoes
Marigolds sprout and bloom well in warm weather within 8 weeks. Their flowering will be affected if planted in moist and shaded areas.
Also, I found that they need moderately fertile and well-drained soil.
Marigold continues to bloom if you remove the drying blossoms and deadheads. You may remove any stones at the bottom that may affect the root growth.
Also, I prefer to water the plants at the base as the excess water on leaves may lead to powdery mildew. You may add a layer of mulch around the marigolds to suppress weeds.
It is recommended not to fertilize marigolds during growth. However, make sure your soil has a good amount of organic matter.
Most of the common marigolds are classified as annuals. They complete their life cycle within one growing season and so, they have to be planted every year. Sometimes, the seed left behind may begin to grow the next season. However, some species of marigolds are perennials.
It is recommended to allow a space of 18-24 inches (46-61cm) between marigold and tomato plants. It allows tomatoes to reap the benefits of companion planting with marigold.
I hope this article has provided you with the different benefits of growing marigolds alongside tomatoes.
Let me know your valuable feedback and suggestions. Also, I would love to hear if you have any tips or experimented with any other type of marigolds that are not included in our list.
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