Words By: Andrew Macfarlane, writer and budding horticulturist
Let’s just clear up the obvious, these companions aren’t your actual friends. No, we’re talking about the best companion plants for cannabis. Teaming up plants in planting beds can help with numerous factors involved in the domestic gardening and permaculture world.
Yes, we know that most of you reading this will be rocking a monoculture setup, AKA: the only thing you’re growing is cannabis. But utilizing cannabis companion plants is the truly organic and environmentally friendly route to canna-gardening. All you need to get going is some Freedom Farm Organic Craft Soil, and maybe a quick visit to a local nursery for some of the companion plants mentioned below. PLUS, learning to care for and propagate a variety of different plants only improves your cannabis growing skills.
If you really want one plant that can control pests, camouflage your weed and propagate easily, basil is your guy. Just cut off a stem, pop it into some water and within a week it’s grown new roots.
Other than basil, here are a few more alternative companion plants for cannabis that can help in three main ways: pest control, nutrients, and camouflage…
With this type of Cannabis Companion Plant, you can repel pests, and hide your vulnerable cannabis. A winner for pest control has to be the marigold. With its bright orange flowers, it’s a cannabis plant’s best friend.
Marigolds deter all the usual suspects. These include aphids, mosquitos, and beetles. Some marigolds have even been known to stop rabbits and deer nibbling on crops.
Other plants that will act as a deterrent include lavender, mint, lemon balm, roses, and sunflowers. With herbs, the smell plays a large role in masking the scent of the plant and overwhelming pests’ senses. Lavender and lemon balm attract pollinators. Sure, you don’t really what to pollinate your crop, but why not help the bees? It’s something we should all do.
While some of you would be surprised by the inclusion of roses and sunflowers*, they actually attract pests. This results in them ending up as sacrificial plants. These types of plants have evolved to combat mainstream pests.
*Side note from the writer: Please be aware they’ll be beautiful at first, but something out of a horror film next. Think of the Nightmare before Christmas. Other organic blogs will harp on about the fact they have evolved resistances, but honestly, you’re buying these guys to be eaten.
No – these plants aren’t going to develop and secrete their own supply of organic fertiliser into the soil. That’s what you buy the Flora Tripack Hard Water pack for. It’s got those juicy nutrients your canna-babies crave!
These plants will help to maintain the soil. Alfalfa is a nitrogen-fixing plant, which means it helps regulate nitrogen levels in the soil. It also gathers all the crucial plant minerals. This includes iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. If you can’t get your hand on Alfalfa, there are other plants that do a similar job, like red clover and borage.
Alfalfa leaves also enhance composting. Pull a leaf off the plant, stick it into the ground or compost heap, and boom! It slowly starts releasing potassium and calcium. Another plant that does the same thing is Comfrey. This plant has deep roots and is incredibly hard to kill; it’s honestly called a weed more often than not. Plants with deep roots, such as red clover, also help with drainage.
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Then, water retention is also important. No one wants to wastewater, and planting groundcover plants like cerastium, sage, and even strawberries will help regulate water retention in your soil. But enough of that. Let’s get to the most important part of growing a cannabis crop…hiding it away from the neighbours.
Right, so there are some plants we’ve already mentioned, like sunflowers and roses, that can also camouflage your crop. After all, it won’t be a good idea to cover the plant in shade. So you need an alternative to distracting the Peeping Toms looking into your garden or onto your balcony. If you are cultivating many seedlings, try growing some tomatoes near them. They look very similar for about two weeks – and you’ll manage to end up with some tomatoes! Cannabis is a very fragrant plant. If you’re an indoor grower, you’ll know this and have invested in a Carbon Filter.
But if you’re reading this article about companion plants, you’re probably not growing this crop indoors. So, to dull down those wafting notes, try planting some herbs like lavender, lemon balm, and mint. Be warned though, the mint can become a weed and take over your gardening bed!
Discover more incredible cultivation tips and advice on Zootly.co.za and their wide range of growing mediums, types of equipment, tents lights and nutrients right here.