Companion Plants for Cannabis Growing
Growing cannabis plants alone, either indoor or outdoor, leaves them exposed to the elements and can result in problems like mold or bugs. Just like cannabis, companion plants also produce terpenes so planting the right ones at the right time can help you combat pests, improve soil, and invite beneficial microorganisms to your garden.
1. Companion plants
Companion planting is a method of cultivation where specific plants are grown together for their properties and benefits, promoting a natural ecosystem.
This method is super old, dating back to the beginning of agriculture itself, back then farmers didn’t have synthetic products to combat pests so they tried with aromatic plants and realized the benefits of companion planting.
These aromatic plants and cover crops are a natural way to protect you Cannabis plants from pests and diseases, they can attract beneficial bugs that feed on harmful species, some also can combat mold and fungi that can attack your plants.
This happens because plants produce terpenes and other compounds that can deter or attract pests and can live in a beneficial relationship with Cannabis plants.
Now, most growers stick to growing Cannabis but by mimicking nature and maintaining the right biodiversity you can not only avoid problems but also improve soil quality and help fixate nutrients in the soil, resulting in more resiliency to pathogens and healthier plants.
2. Different types of companion plants
Even though companion plants are all plants that can have a beneficial relationship with your cannabis plants, there are different types.
Depending on the type of plant and herb, it can have different effects, from preventing bugs to improving soil and the nutrients available in it, you need to have in mind that each one brings different benefits.
- Cover crops
Cover crops are plants that help in the texture of your soil, help protect beneficial microbes and manage nutrients, making them more available when needed.
- Nitrogen fixers
Nitrogen fixers are plants that pull nitrogen into the soil, which is used by Cannabis plants in photosynthesis, have in mind that nitrogen fixers don’t do it on their own, they need other plants and especially bacteria to do it properly.
Deterrents are all types of plants that emit strong odors, the terpenes produce by them is usually avoided by bugs and other pests, helping you keep your garden bug-free.
Attractor plants are those that attract pollinators and other beneficial bugs. Beneficial bugs can feed on other bugs like whiteflies or aphids, helping you control pests on your cannabis plants.
- Foods and herbs
Foods and herbs that can be consumed by usually don’t bring as many benefits as the other ones cited above but are a good choice to keep your soil active and maintain the microorganisms alive.
3. Best Companion Plants for Cannabis Growing
Even though in nature the companion plants are whatever grows naturally and most aromatic plants can work, there are some of them that can be more effective than others.
If you’re looking for the best plants to grow in between your cannabis plants, here are the best.
Cerastium (Cerastium tomentosum) is a fast-growing cover crop that spreads across the top of the soil, retaining moisture and protecting microbial life in the soil.
Alfalfa ( Medicago sativa) is another cover crop that works with bacteria in the soil by drawing in nitrogen from the atmosphere, boosting vegetative growth and due to the deep roots, increases water penetration keeping the roots hydrated.
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) not only can attract beneficial nitrogen-fixing bacteria that can help you combat or prevent aphids but also boost the production of essential oils in plants nearby, resulting in better tasting buds.
Red clover (Trifolium pratense) apart from attracting beneficial bugs, it’s a plant that works with nitrogen-fixing bacteria to pull high amounts of nitrogen from the atmosphere, improving and encouraging plant matter growth.
Lavender (Lavandula spica) are beautiful plants that emit a strong odor and just like coriander, it will attract a lot of beneficial insects to your garden and prevent harmful bugs from getting into your garden while also helping mask the strong cannabis smell.
Peppermint (Mentha balsamea), as you may know, emits a strong smell, this aroma prevents pests like ants, fleas, aphids, and even mice while helping you mask the pungent odor your plants reek of during flowering.
We recommend keeping a close eye on peppermint plants because they can take over your garden so it’s better that you grow them in individual containers.
Dill (Anethum graveolens) is a member of the celery family, this plant produces a pungent smell that provides protection against caterpillars and spider mites.
Sunflower (Helianthus), apart from adding beauty to your garden, attracts the attention of bugs like aphids, whiteflies, and snails, protecting your plants from them.
Food and herbs
Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is one of the most aromatic herbs and just as we can smell it (and love it) bugs do to. The herb attracts various harmful insects like beetles and aphids, keeping them away from your cannabis plants.
Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) produces a smell that spider mites, beetles, and aphids cannot stand, protecting your cannabis plants against pests and also, can attract wasps that feed on these bugs, keeping the pest population down.
4. Benefits of companion plants
Companion planting is based on the principle of permaculture which proposes that every agricultural activity should be sustainable and self-sufficient, meaning they are closed-loops systems and everything that goes in has to be recycled.
This technique works like that in a way because everything that goes into your garden will result in food, beneficial plants or microorganisms, compost, and nutrients, and nothing will go to waste because it literally goes back into the soil.
Trap cropping consists of drawing attention away from your cannabis plants by having trap crops that pests and bugs prefer, even though you’re sacrificing some plants, your cannabis plants will be secure and bug-free.
One of the benefits of having companion plants (apart from the beauty of a healthy garden) is that depending on the size and plants used, you can effectively camouflage your cannabis plants like in a guerilla grow style.
Improving soil fertility
The soil fertility can be improved by having plants that fixate the nitrogen from the atmosphere. Plants like clover and peas develop a symbiotic relationship that helps fix nitrogen in the soil that can be used by your cannabis, other plants, and microorganisms.
Biological pest control
Some companion plants release chemicals from the roots or leaves that help prevent pests because some of these compounds can influence the growth, survival, and reproduction of some organisms.
Beneficial spatial interactions
Companion planting can provide beneficial spatial interactions, this means that taller plants (which prefer more sun) can share the same space as lower plants (which prefer a bit of shadow, resulting in higher yields from that space of land.
5. What not to grow with your companion plants
Even though companion plants bring a lot of benefits, you have to be careful when choosing, planting unsuitable companion plants can end up affecting your plants in a bad way so you can take a look at this table to know exactly which ones to avoid.
What not to grow with your companion plants
|Companion Plants||Unsuitable plants|
|Yarrow||Allium family (onion, garlic, chives…), Rue|
|Peppermint||Lavender, Dill, Coriander|
|Dill||Cilantro or Coriander|
|Sweet basil||Thyme, Rue|
Now, this doesn’t mean you cannot have them together, for example, you can have dill and coriander in the same growing space but in different places and, preferably, a couple of meters from each other.
6. In conclusion
Companion planting is a natural and very effective way of improving your soil and cannabis plants in general, either with better soil, preventing pests, or just by keeping the moisture locked in, these plants will aid you in the process of growing cannabis.
Have you ever used companion plants while growing cannabis? If you have any tips or just want to share your experience, feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below!
- Benefits of Companion Planting in Gardening.- Leonard Githinji
- Companion Planting. – Reddy, P. (2017).
- Companion plants for predatory bugs. – Lambion, Jérôme & Ingegno, Barbara Letizia & Tavella, Luciana & Alomar, Oscar & Perdikis, Dionysios. (2016).
- Companion Plants and Mixed Cropping. – Mousaei Sanjerehei, Mohammad. (2017).
Companion plants are all plants that can be grown near cannabis and will result in a symbiotic relationship that will benefit both of them.