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Companion Planting for Insect Control

I read that planting certain flowers in the vegetable garden will keep out unwanted pests. Which ones are effective?

Nasturtiums and marigolds are traditional choices for insect control. Some gardeners believe they trap insects before they enter the garden, while others believe they attract insect pests to the garden. Research supports the claim that marigolds help control some pests, such as nematodes—a type of parasitic worm. But don't count on them for animal control. I have seen many a rabbit and groundhog start with the marigolds and eat their way through the garden.

Otherwise, I have not seen research that supports many of these claims. University research has shown that certain flowers attract and feed beneficial insects that can help you in your battle against pests.

Consider adding some of these plants in or near your garden to attract beneficial insects. Sweet alyssum, columbine, thyme, lavender, veronica, potentilla groundcovers, sedum, goldenrod, asters, dill and fennel are just a few plants to consider.

Increase garden success by growing vegetables that are pest resistant, rotating plantings each year, weeding your garden (these unwanted plants often attract insects) and removing pests as soon as you see them. And while you’re at it, add a few flowers among your vegetables–it can’t hurt. I always mix in a few blooming beauties for fun and additional color.


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