Using Marigolds Around Plants – Do Marigolds Keep Bugs Away

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By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

How do marigolds help a garden? Scientists have discovered that using marigolds around plants such as roses, strawberries, potatoesand tomatoesdeters root knot nematodes, tiny worms that live in the soil. Although it hasn’t been proven, many long-time gardeners claim that marigolds also control pests like tomato hornworms, cabbageworms, thrips, squash bugs, whitefliesand others.

Do marigolds keep bugs away? The best way to find out is to experiment in your own garden, and you really can’t go wrong. Marigoldsare beautiful, and there’s no doubt that they attract a variety of beneficial insects that prey on bad bugs, which is a very positive attribute indeed! Read on to learn more about marigold plants and pests.

How Do Marigolds Keep Bugs Away?

Research indicates that marigold plant roots produce toxic chemicals that kill root knot nematodes, as well as other harmful nematodes that feed on plant roots. When it comes to using marigolds for pest control, French marigolds have proven to be most effective. Plow the marigolds into the soil at the end of the growing season to provide even more control of nematodes.

Although there is plenty of evidence to support the claim that marigolds help control nematodes, there is no scientific proof as of yet that marigolds control other garden pests. However, as noted above, many gardeners are convinced that using marigolds around plants is a very good gardening practice. Why? Apparently, it’s the pungent scent of marigolds that keep pests at bay.

Planting Marigolds for Pest Control

Plant marigolds generously for control of pests around vegetables and ornamental plants. Arrange the marigolds any way you like. For example, plant marigolds around the perimeter of the garden, in rows between rows of vegetables, or in groupings.

Be sure the marigolds are scented, however, as many newer, hybrid varieties don’t have as much of the familiar marigold aroma.

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