We’ve all been there…waiting patiently for that orchid to bloom only to recoil in horror upon discovering that the infant petals have been chewed to bits. Whether leaves are overcome by fungi or ripe fruits and vegetables are devoured, it’s like a stab to the heart to watch your plant babies struggle and it might make you want to reach for those chemical pesticides out of sheer desperation. But, are toxic chemicals the answer? Of course not! Pest control is a vital part of gardening that requires consistent attention. Luckily, there are plenty of organic, all natural pest control solutions, including reliable tricks invented by mother nature herself.
Companion planting is a clever tactic for creating a healthy garden when certain plant types are planted close together. In an effort to keep gardens organic and eco friendly, green thumbs are turning to companion planting as a natural means to ward off pests and boost resistance to disease. It’s time to toss those pesticides aside- here are 5 plants that can help protect your garden.
This annual features pretty star-shaped blooms and is a potent herb used in cooking and teas. It’s also a pest control superstar! Borage is a pollinator, and when planted in the garden will attract bees and wasps- natural enemies against hornworms and cabbage worms. The leaves are rich in nutrients, further nourishing soil and mulch to make surrounding plants more disease resistant.
Like borage, clovers are nitrogen fixers, meaning they pull nitrogen from the air and into the soil so surrounding plants can benefit from the nutrient-rich environment. Use clover as ground cover to create a protective green layer over soil that effectively repels pests, such as cabbage worms and aphids.
This velvety soft plant is well known for its calming scent and light purple color, but did you know it’s also a fighter against fleas, moths and mosquitoes? Plant some lavender next to cabbage, cauliflower and rue to attract the nectar-seeking insects that pests fear and avoid. It can be used to add an aromatic touch around your patio and can be used for teas and baked goods as well.
It’s all pros and really no cons when it comes to adding marigolds to your garden. They’re cheap to purchase and brighten flowerbeds with vivid hues of orange and gold. Marigolds are known to support the plants around them, helping to nourish soil. Plant them next to your tomatoes- the two make a great team to keep whiteflies away.
What better way to decrease bugs in your patio than by releasing a plant predator ready to devour them for dinner? Pitcher plants are carnivorous, with long pit-shaped bodies filled with digestive fluid, which they use this to trap insects for food. There are many varieties of pitcher plants, but hanging types look lovely suspended from a patio ceiling.
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