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Calendula Companion Planting: A Comprehensive Guide

calendula companion planting

What is Calendula Companion Planting?

Calendula, also known as pot marigold, is a versatile and beautiful plant that is commonly grown for its medicinal properties. It has been used for centuries to treat a wide range of ailments, from headaches and cramps to skin irritations and infections. But did you know that calendula can also be an excellent companion plant in your garden?

Companion planting is the practice of growing different plants together that benefit each other in some way. In the case of calendula companion planting, this means planting calendula alongside other plants to improve soil health, deter pests, attract beneficial insects, and even boost the growth and flavor of nearby crops.

Here's everything you need to know about calendula companion planting:

Benefits of Calendula Companion Planting

There are many benefits to planting calendula alongside other crops. Some of the key benefits include:

Improved Soil Health

Calendula is a natural bio-accumulator, meaning it absorbs nutrients and minerals from the soil and stores them in its leaves and flowers. When the plant dies back, these nutrients are released back into the soil, enriching it and making it more fertile for future crops.

Pest Deterrent

Calendula has natural pest-repelling properties that can help protect nearby crops from common garden pests like aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies. It also attracts beneficial insects like ladybugs, lacewings, and hoverflies, which feed on these pests and help keep your garden healthy and thriving.

Flavor Enhancer

Calendula has a subtle, slightly spicy flavor that can enhance the taste of nearby crops like tomatoes, peppers, and beans. It's also a great edible flower that can be used in salads, soups, and other dishes to add color and flavor.

How to Plant Calendula with Other Crops

When planting calendula with other crops, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Choose Compatible Plants

Not all plants make good companions for calendula. Some plants, like brassicas (cabbage, broccoli, etc.) and nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, etc.), are not compatible with calendula because they attract similar pests and diseases. Instead, opt for plants that complement calendula's natural pest-repelling properties, like marigolds, nasturtiums, and herbs like basil and parsley.

Plant at the Right Time

Calendula is a cool-season annual that prefers to grow in cooler temperatures. It can be planted in early spring or late fall, depending on your climate. When planting with other crops, make sure to choose varieties that have similar growing requirements and can tolerate the same temperatures and soil conditions.

Plant in the Right Location

Calendula prefers full sun and well-draining soil. When planting with other crops, make sure to choose a location that gets plenty of sunlight and has good drainage. You can also plant calendula in pots or containers if you don't have space in your garden.

Examples of Calendula Companion Planting

Here are some examples of crops that make good companions for calendula:

Tomatoes

Tomatoes and calendula are a classic companion planting combination. Calendula repels tomato hornworms, while the shade from the tomato plants helps keep the calendula cool and moist.

Cucumbers

Cucumbers and calendula are another great combination. Calendula attracts beneficial insects like bees and hoverflies, which help pollinate the cucumber flowers and increase yields.

Carrots

Calendula and carrots make excellent companions. Calendula repels carrot flies, while the root systems of the two plants complement each other in the soil.

FAQs

Q: Can I plant calendula with any type of crop?

A: No, not all crops make good companions for calendula. Some crops, like brassicas and nightshades, are not compatible because they attract similar pests and diseases.

Q: When is the best time to plant calendula with other crops?

A: Calendula prefers cooler temperatures and can be planted in early spring or late fall, depending on your climate. Make sure to choose crops that have similar growing requirements and can tolerate the same temperatures and soil conditions.

Q: How do I care for my calendula plants when companion planting?

A: Calendula is a low-maintenance plant that requires minimal care. Water regularly and fertilize once a month with a balanced organic fertilizer. Deadhead spent flowers to encourage more blooms.

Q: Can I eat calendula flowers?

A: Yes, calendula flowers are edible and can be used in salads, soups, and other dishes to add color and flavor.

Q: What are some other plants that make good companions for calendula?

A: Other plants that make good companions for calendula include marigolds, nasturtiums, and herbs like basil and parsley.

Calendula companion planting is a simple and effective way to improve the health and productivity of your garden. By planting calendula alongside other crops, you can benefit from its natural pest-repelling properties, improve soil health, and even enhance the flavor of nearby crops. So why not give it a try? Your garden (and your taste buds) will thank you!

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