Are Marigolds A Good Companion Plant For Peppers?

If you are looking to take your garden to the next level, consider companion planting. It's a gardening technique where two different species are planted close together, providing mutual benefits for both. One plant may help to repel certain types of pests that are harmful to the other, or they could complement each other's nutrient needs. Generally, companion planting fosters growth and fertility in your garden, and may reduce your reliance on synthetic pesticides and fertilizers that can harm the environment. If you're looking for a perfect companion plant pair, marigolds make a great neighbor for your pepper plants.

If you'd like to reap the benefits of companion planting by improving the health of your pepper plants, add some gorgeous marigolds around your peppers. One of the best advantages of growing these two species next to one another is that marigolds have a strong scent that is known to deter many garden pests, like aphids and whiteflies, that can wreak havoc on your peppers. Choosing this method will alleviate your need to use pesticides on your peppers, which is better for your health when you harvest and eat them.

Benefits of companion planting marigolds and peppers

Choosing to introduce marigolds in your garden near your pepper plants has a host of other benefits for your peppers and likely some of the other crops you have in proximity. While marigolds are one of the flowers that are known to be a natural deterrent to common pests, they also attract great pollinators to their golden flowers. Having ample pollinators in your garden is important, as many fruits and veggies rely on pollination in order to produce abundant fruits that grow to a healthy size. Moreover, marigolds attract predatory insects that will feed on pests that may damage your peppers. Predators that enjoy marigolds, like parasitic wasps, can help control pest populations that would otherwise require pesticides to quell. 

Another benefit that marigolds, particularly French marigolds, can offer pepper plants is the control of nematodes, which are parasitic roundworms, within the soil. Marigolds slowly release natural compounds from their roots like alpha-terthienyl that act as a natural nematicide, which can help control their populations in the root zones. Since nematodes are known to attack the roots of pepper plants, marigolds can help avoid stunted growth and reduced fruit production in your pepper plants. Companion planting with marigolds can lead to a stronger pepper plant and larger fruit yield.

Growing marigolds and peppers together

Should you decide that marigolds would be a great companion plant for your peppers, it's important to know their growing habits and how to keep both plants happy in your garden. Marigolds tend to stick closer to the ground, suppressing the growth of weeds with their dense foliage and vibrant flowers. These weeds would otherwise compete with the peppers for nutrients, water, and sunlight. Additionally, marigolds have a shallow root system while peppers' are much deeper, so they do not compete for the same nutrients in the soil. Similarly, peppers are heavy feeders while marigolds are not, so the flowers will not inhibit the growth of your pepper plants by stealing their resources in the soil. 

To help both of these plants thrive, plant them in full sunlight so they receive 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight daily. When it's time to water, aim for consistent moisture for both plants, ensuring that you water deeply so the soil remains moist but not waterlogged. Since peppers are heavy feeders, you can fertilize regularly throughout the season to keep them happy. Be wary of bushier growth on your marigolds and feel free to prune them back if they get too aggressive. Also, be sure to deadhead spent flowers to prolong blooming throughout the season, so you can take advantage of the marigold's ability to lure pollinators.