7 Reasons Why You Should Plant Marigolds With Tomato Plants

7 Reasons Why You Should Plant Marigolds With  Tomato Plants

As summer approaches, visions of vine-ripened tomatoes dance in my head. I’m itching to sink my teeth into juicy, flavorful homegrown tomatoes straight from the garden. But before those tomato plants start pumping out red (and yellow, and purple) beauties, I make sure to plant plenty of marigolds among them.

You might think marigolds are just another pretty face in the garden. But these cheerful flowers are so much more than meets the eye. They have remarkable powers when it comes to helping your tomato plants thrive and bear bushels of delicious tomatoes.

Over my years of growing tomatoes, I’ve become a true believer in pairing them with marigolds. Here are seven reasons why this dynamic duo is unbeatable for a productive veggie patch.

1. Marigolds give pests the brush-off

Tomatoes attract their fair share of insect pests, but marigolds actively repel them with their pungent scent. It’s like they form a force field of odor around your tomato plants that sends bugs packing.

Companion planting with marigolds is like having a reliable bodyguard for your tomatoes. Aphids, whiteflies, and other tiny sap-sucking villains won’t loiter around your plants with marigolds on patrol. Even burrowing pests like nematodes will think twice about attacking roots near marigolds.

By keeping damaging insects at arm’s length, marigolds help ensure your tomatoes grow strong and suffer less pest damage. It’s a totally organic pest control system!

2. Pollinators flock to marigold’s beacon

While driving away unwanted insects, marigolds have the opposite effect on beneficial pollinators like butterflies and bees. Their bright blossoms are a veritable magnet, drawing pollinators by the dozen.

More pollinator visits mean better pollination and fruit set for your tomato plants. And we all know more flowers and fruit equals a bigger tomato harvest for your kitchen. It’s a beautiful mutually beneficial relationship in the garden.

3. Marigolds shield plants from animal invaders

Tomatoes need protection from more than just tiny insects. Hungry animals like deer, rabbits, and birds can sabotage your tomato crop just before you harvest it.

Luckily, most animals steer clear of marigolds and their pungent aroma. By planting a border of marigolds around your veggie patch, you create a living fence that gently discourages animal trespassers. Those tomatoes will stay safely on the vine until you’re ready to eat them.

4. Marigold roots enrich the soil

While marigolds ‘pretty faces attract pollinators above ground, their roots work hard below ground to make soil healthier for your tomatoes.

Marigolds release natural compounds that feed soil microbes and suppress disease. A vibrant underground ecosystem equates to richer soil that nourishes tomatoes’ roots and keeps plants resilient. Marigolds are like an edible multivitamin for your soil!

5. Marigolds Spread like an organic mulch

As marigolds grow, they spread into a dense carpet of fern-like foliage around your tomato plants. This living ground cover mimics mulch by suppressing weeds, conserving moisture, and keeping roots cool.

But unlike plastic or wood chip mulch, marigolds enrich the soil as they spread. The benefits just keep multiplying when you grow these two plants together.

6. Tomato worms abort their tomato-munching missions

Perhaps the most notorious tomato pest is the alien-looking hornworm. These massive green caterpillars can quickly defoliate tomato plants when they go unchecked. But they want nothing to do with the pungent odor of marigolds.

Interplanting marigolds with your tomatoes discourages these ravenous worms from taking up residence in your patch. The marigolds form a sort of insect force field around your plants, sending the worms on their way before they can do damage.

7. Marigolds bring beauty to your garden

Lastly, marigolds grace any garden with months of bright, cheery blooms in sunset shades of yellow, orange, red, and gold. They provide a long season of color that contrasts beautifully with green tomato foliage and fruits in shades of red, pink, purple, yellow, and more.

Growing marigolds and tomatoes together add visual appeal and vibrancy to your garden. It’s a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds!

Tips for Planting Marigolds with Tomatoes

Now that you know why marigolds and tomatoes make great companions, here are some tips for getting the most out of them:

  • Choose marigold varieties carefully. Signet and French marigolds tend to have the strongest pest-deterring properties.
  • Plant marigolds on the sunniest side of your tomatoes to attract beneficial insects.
  • Interplant smaller marigolds throughout the tomato beds. Use larger varieties as borders.
  • Start marigold transplants indoors 4-6 weeks before your last frost date. Plant them in the garden at the same time as your tomato transplants.
  • Pinch back marigold tips to encourage bushy, compact growth and more flowers.
  • Deadhead spent marigold blooms to prolong flowering into fall.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What kind of marigolds work best with tomatoes?

A: The most effective companion marigolds for tomatoes are French marigolds and signet marigolds. French marigolds deter nematodes while signet marigolds attract beneficial insects. Other good options are African marigolds for larger garden spaces and pot marigolds for containers.

Q: When should I plant marigolds with tomatoes?

A: It’s best to plant marigold and tomato seedlings together at the same time. Start seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before your last expected frost date. Transplant them into the garden together after the danger of frost has passed. This gives the marigolds time to become established alongside the tomatoes.

Q: How close should marigolds be planted to tomatoes?

A: In general, marigolds should be planted quite close to tomato plants – within 6-12 inches is ideal. This allows the marigolds’ scent to deter pests effectively. Smaller marigolds can be planted closer, while larger varieties can be 1-2 feet away to allow room for growth. Just ensure the marigolds’ scent can easily reach the tomatoes

Conclusion

There are many beneficial companion plants for tomatoes, but marigolds stand out as one of the best. By attracting pollinators, improving soil health, and protecting against pests above and below ground, marigolds can help your tomatoes thrive. Their natural pest-fighting abilities allow you to grow tomatoes with fewer chemical inputs.

For a vibrant, productive tomato patch, be sure to sow marigolds generously among your plants. You’ll be rewarded with healthier plants, fewer pest problems, and a beautiful landscape. Let marigolds be your go-to companion to grow robust tomatoes this season!


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Mohsin
By Mohsin

Hi, I’m Mohsin, creator of Tomato about website. I have over a two decade of gardening experience and I love helping others growing healthy tomatoes!


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