Companion plants for growing marijuana

Published Jul 28, 2019 12:07 p.m. ET
iStock / Steve Burch

If you are just starting out with learning how to grow marijuana, then companion plants can help by doing some of the work for you. If you have never heard of this term before, then you are in for a real treat, as mother nature is a true and powerful provider for all things. Despite many growers swearing by top of the line, pesticides, super soils and other additives, there is nothing more pure-tasting than an organically grown cannabis plant. Here you will learn what companion species are, how they work, a handy list of the best types for growing marijuana, and how to actually plant them in your garden for the most effective results.

What are companion plants?

Companion plants is a term that is used to describe plant species that can grow safely beside another plant and often compliment the growth in some way, shape or form. When growing marijuana, there are a few plants that can offer benefits, including natural irrigation, fertilizer, nutrient refinement and pest control. This method is frequently used outdoors. However, it can also be replicated in an indoor grow room with the right tools and space.

Which plant species work as companion plants for growing marijuana?

Wondering where to begin? There are hundreds of different beneficial plant species that can be grown with cannabis plants, but there is only a handful that is considered to be the most effective at what they do:

1. Chrysanthemum
This gorgeous plant species is used to make organic pesticides, and growing marijuana alongside them will provide a secure layer of protection against nematodes. These creatures are tiny, microscopic worms, that will often attack the roots of sweet plants like cannabis. Just remember that these plants contain pyrethrin, which can cause dysfunction in the nervous system of bugs and small animals if consumed in large quantities.

2. Alfalfa
These plants are nutrient providers and adding them to your cannabis garden can help to create a layer of nutrient-abundant elements that can help to increase your plant’s average intake. They are also perfect for rejuvenating less than ideal soils into a healthy environment over time.

3. Garlic
Garlic is another organic pesticide producer and it works just as well growing naturally alongside cannabis plants in your garden. This plant species will help to ward off predators with its pungent smells and even works on small furry pot eaters like rabbits.

4. Chamomile
Some people choose not to use companion plants because they rarely provide useful elements besides protection or essential nutrients. However, chamomile tea is delicious, and the plants are often referred to as the ultimate cannabis partners as they help to contain sulfur, calcium and potassium in the soil, which will ultimately make your growing marijuana plants quite a bit stronger.

5. Herbs
Chives, basil, sage, chickweed and cilantro are all excellent companion herb plants for cannabis. The smellier ones like basil, chives and sage produce oils and a pungent smell that will naturally deter predators like spider mites, aphids, flies and beetles.


6. Beans
Adding a few bean plants to the garden where the cannabis is being grown is the perfect way to supplement the Nitrogen supply to your plants. Reason being, they can draw nitrogen from the air and convert it into a form that is easier to absorb than most top-shelf nutrients.

7. Peppermint
These plants are often processed into an oil that is used as a pesticide but using them to grow cannabis plants can provide a natural barrier for bugs and other common pests while also attracting beneficial ones. This makes it multifunctional, completely non-toxic and an excellent companion for growing marijuana.

How to grow marijuana using companion plants

There is no better natural way to provide for a cannabis plant, than through using the best companion species. The ideal one will typically depend on the region you live in and the problems that are common in your crops, but they are all used in the very same way. If you are growing marijuana and want to use one of the above additions, then there are a few things that you will need to keep in mind;

1. Companion plants need their own room to grow
If you are currently facing an infestation and would like to quickly throw these companion species in, it probably won’t work. The same is true if you aren’t considering the space that is needed to hold so many living plants. Most plants that get placed too close together will slowly drain the nutrients from one another and risk root entanglement. Both can be incredibly damaging to a cannabis plant. The average garden should be plotted and measured out well before planting and should be large enough to provide 1 2ftx2ft area per cannabis plant and one that measures 1ftx1ft per companion plant.

2. Plant early
Digging up the soils that surround your cannabis plant can disturb the essential roots system, even if you feel it is a safe enough distance away. Once the integrity of one section of dirt in any garden is shifted, the rest will move to accommodate. Hence, it is always a good idea to plant your companion plants at the exact same time as you plant freshly growing marijuana seedlings.

3. Location is important
If you were to plant a small patch of companion species in a tiny corner of your garden, you would likely still reap some benefit from its presence, but the most solid layer of protection is always going to be one that is evenly spread out. So, it is recommended to either surround your garden with companion plants all around the circumference or to plant them in every other row.

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