The Best Marigold Companion Plants For Your Garden

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If you are into gardening, you should definitely consider planting marigold companion plants, as they can greatly improve the health and vitality of your garden. This article is aimed at gardeners who want to learn about the advantages of marigolds and identify the plants that thrive in their company. It provides valuable insights and practical guidance for creating a flourishing garden ecosystem.

A lovely potager style garden with cane bell shaped plant protectors. The garden has neat tidy rows of herbs, vegetables and marigolds.

Whether you’re growing vegetables, herbs, or flowers, incorporating marigolds into your garden can bring many benefits. From repelling bugs to enriching the soil, marigolds are crucial in promoting plant health and overall garden resilience.
Understanding which plants complement marigolds best fosters a balanced environment where each species thrives and supports others’ growth.

Table of Contents

    Choose The Right Variety Of Marigolds for Companion planting

    When selecting marigold varieties for companion planting, the right cultivars can significantly impact their effectiveness in pest control and overall garden health. While all marigold varieties possess some pest-repellent properties, certain cultivars within the Tagetes genus stand out for their remarkable abilities.

    1. Tagetes patula (French Marigolds): French marigolds are known for their compact growth habit and vibrant flowers, making them a popular choice for companion planting. These varieties emit a strong fragrance that deters many pests, including aphids, nematodes, and whiteflies. Their dense foliage provides excellent ground cover, suppressing weed growth and conserving soil moisture.
    2. Tagetes erecta (Mexican or African Marigolds): Mexican or African marigolds are renowned for their large, showy blooms and robust growth. These tall varieties are effective barrier plants, deterring pests such as nematodes and root-knot nematodes. Their strong scent repels pests and attracts beneficial insects like ladybugs and hoverflies, contributing to a balanced garden ecosystem.
    3. Specific Cultivar Recommendations: For maximum pest-repelling properties, consider cultivars such as ‘Disco Mix’ or ‘Bonanza Mix’ for French marigolds and ‘Crackerjack Mix’ or ‘Inca II Mix’ for African marigolds. These cultivars exhibit robust growth, vibrant colors, and potent pest-repellent qualities, making them ideal choices for companion planting in diverse garden settings.
    Lawn in a garden with blooming  yellow and orange marigold flowers.

    Good Marigold Companion Plants

    Good marigold companion plants benefit from marigolds without competing for resources. It’s important to select companion plants with similar resource requirements to marigolds to prevent competition for water, nutrients, and sunlight. This ensures a harmonious garden ecosystem where each plant contributes to overall health and productivity.

    Here are some of my favorite marigold companions:

    Tomatoes and Peppers

    Marigolds make excellent companion plants for peppers and tomatoes.

    Research studies have shown that marigolds are very good at destroying root-knot-nematodes in the soil. However, the flowers only kill the nematodes under the soil, so either plant your tomatoes in beds that grew and tilled marigolds the year before, or wait until the plants are at least two months old and till them into the soil.

    The pungent scent of marigolds also discourages various pests such as tomato hornworms, whiteflies, and thrips. Deer and rabbits are not fussy for marigolds and will only eat them if no other food source is available.

    Marigolds will attract spider mites and slugs making them a good trap crop if those pests are an issue in your garden.

    For years experienced gardens have said that marigolds help improve the flavor of their tomato plants!

    Related: Blossom end rot. Just hearing the phrase is enough to make any gardener shiver, but fear not! We’ve got a complete guide to understanding, preventing, and managing blossom end rot in your tomato patch.

    Tomatoes planted with marigolds through a garden bed.


    Marigolds are said to deter Colorado potato beetles, making them an excellent companion plants for potatoes. Adding marigolds to the potato bed is a natural way to help keep these pesky potato bugs off your precious potato crop. The flowers will also help protect sweet potato vines!

    Marigolds also add a pop of lovely color to rows or beds of potatoes.


    Marigolds can also help protect eggplants from pests like nematodes and flea beetles. Using marigolds as companion plants for eggplants can contribute to higher yields and healthier eggplant crops.

    Marigolds deter nematodes, harmful worms that attack eggplant roots, and repel flea beetles. Surrounding eggplants with marigolds creates a shield against nematodes, protecting roots, while also repelling flea beetles, which damage foliage.

    The vibrant blooms of marigolds attract a myriad of beneficial insects such as ladybugs and hoverflies, which are natural predators of many common garden pests. This attraction fosters a balanced ecosystem within the garden, providing additional protection to eggplants and neighboring plants alike.

    Marigolds being grown as companions for members of the nightshade family (tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, eggplants).

    Beans and Peas

    In the case of beans and peas, marigolds protect the plants by repelling the Mexican bean beetle. Mexican bean beetles damage bean plants by feeding aggressively on the leaves. This destruction will severely impact the yields of your bush bean plants.

    For trellised or supported beans and peas like pole beans and sweet peas, plant the marigolds near the base of the plants.

    Tall bean and pea poles growing tall and green interplanted with marigolds at the bases of the plants.

    Cucumber, Melons, Pumpkins, and Squash

    Marigolds make great companion plants for pumpkins, melons, cucumbers and squash. They help repel cucumber beetles and act as a trap crop for flea beetles. Marigolds will get lost under the larger pumpkin plants, so we recommend planting them around the edges of the beds.

    The brightly colored flowers of the marigolds will also help attract pollinators like bees. Members of the cucumber family require pollinators, and any addition you can make to attract them to your garden will help increase your fall yields.

    Tilling marigolds into the beds at the end of the season will also help destroy root-knot nematodes that harm members of the cucumber family.

    Pumpkins companion planted with marigolds and nasturtiums.


    I love to grow nasturtiums with marigolds all over the garden. Nasturtiums, like marigolds, benefit your garden by repelling some pests and luring away others. Planting marigold and nasturtium companion plants makes an excellent one-two punch for harmful pests.

    The sun-loving flowers both like similar growing conditions and grow happily with one another, adding a lovely pop of color all around the vegetable garden.

    Poor Marigold Companions

    Plants that make bad companions for marigolds are those that have conflicting growth habits, resource needs, or allelopathic effects. Some examples include:

    Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Brussels Sprouts

    For many years it was recommended marigolds be planted next to members of the cabbage family to help ward off cabbage moths, but recent studies have thrown up a large questions mark around that pairing.

    It’s now known that marigolds attract cabbage moths, so interplanting with brassicas may make pest management more difficult.

    With that said, there are still gardeners who swear anecdotally that planting marigolds with cabbages will deter cabbage moths.

    Broccoli and marigolds growing together as companion plants. The broccoli leaves are purple at the edges, showing a possible phosphorus deficiency.

    The Benefits of Companion Planting with Marigolds

    Marigolds are one of the hardest working summer flowers and are a good companion plant in the vegetable garden. They offer a host of benefits such as: 

    • Attract pollinators:  Their bright colors and abundant food sources attract bees. Those pollinators will help increase yields in your vegetable gardens. 
    • Attract beneficial predatory insects:  Marigolds attract helpful bugs like parasitic wasps and ladybugs, which feast on garden pests like aphids and spider mites.
    • Repel harmful insects: Marigolds’ strong scents act as pest control for common garden pests such as squash bugs and tomato worms. Flowers are a favorite food of pests like slugs, spider mites, and Japanese beetles. They make great trap crops in the garden to keep these pests away from your veggies.
    • Help improve the soil: Tilling the flowers into the ground at the end of the season helps kill pests like root-knot nematodes. Growing plants provide a living mulch to help keep the soil cool and moist.
    • They help control weeds: Densely planting marigolds under plants like beans or in open spaces around other veggies makes it difficult for weeds to take hold.
    • Companion planting can help with disease issues. Diseases are spread more quickly through your garden when plants of the same type are planted in a large grouping. Adding different species throughout the planting can help break up the garden and slow the spread of diseases like powdery mildew or blight.
    • Provide an additional food crop: Many marigold varieties have edible flowers and leaves, meaning marigolds do double-duty in your garden as a companion plant and a food crop!

    Seasonal Considerations

    Timing plays a crucial role in the success of companion planting with marigolds. Understanding the optimal planting times and seasonal considerations can help maximize the benefits of companion planting and ensure a bountiful harvest.

    1. Early Planting: Consider planting marigolds early in the growing season to establish a strong presence in the garden before pest populations surge. Early planting allows marigolds to release their natural compounds into the soil, creating a protective barrier against common garden pests.
    2. Companion Planting Schedule: Coordinate the planting of marigolds with companion crops to maximize their pest-repellent effects. For example, plant marigolds alongside susceptible crops like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants early in the season to deter pests such as aphids, whiteflies, and nematodes.
    3. Succession Planting: Implement succession planting strategies to ensure a continuous supply of marigolds throughout the growing season. By staggering plantings at regular intervals, gardeners can maintain a steady presence of marigolds in the garden, providing ongoing pest protection and soil enrichment.
    4. Late-season Maintenance: As the growing season progresses, monitor marigold plants for signs of senescence or pest infestations. Deadheading spent flowers regularly promotes continuous blooming and prevents the spread of diseases.

    Expert Tips

    1. Choose the Right Variety: Choose pest-repellent marigold varieties like French or Mexican/African marigolds.
    2. Rotate Companion Plants Annually: To prevent pests and diseases from affecting marigolds and their companions, it’s recommended that the companion plants be rotated every year.
    3. Mix Companion Plants Strategically: Intermix marigolds with companion plants to maximize their benefits and create a diverse garden ecosystem.
    4. Plant Marigolds as Edging: Use marigolds as edging plants around garden beds to provide a natural barrier against pests and create visual interest.
    5. Deadhead Spent Flowers Regularly: Deadhead spent flowers regularly to promote continuous blooming and prevent the spread of diseases. Toss the spend blooms back into the garden bed to be tilled under at the end of the season for additional pest-repelling power.
    6. Monitor for Pests: Keep a close eye on plants for signs of pest infestation and take prompt action to address any issues, such as handpicking pests or using organic pest control methods. Make notes of pest pressures and adjust your companion plants accordingly the following year.
    7. Practice Companion Planting Principles: Familiarize yourself with the principles of companion planting and experiment with different plant combinations to find what works best for your garden.


    Do marigolds really repel pests?

    Yes, marigolds contain compounds that repel pests like aphids, nematodes, and whiteflies, making them valuable companions in the garden.

    Can I plant marigolds next to vegetables?

    Absolutely! Marigolds are excellent companions for many vegetables, helping to deter pests and improve soil health.

    Are all marigold varieties equally effective for pest control?

    While all marigold varieties possess some pest-repellent properties, certain varieties like Tagetes patula (French marigolds) and Tagetes erecta (Mexican or African marigolds) are particularly known for their effectiveness.

    How close should I plant marigolds to other crops?

    For best results, plant marigolds close enough to other crops to provide pest protection without overshadowing or competing for resources.

    Do marigolds attract beneficial insects?

    Yes, marigolds attract beneficial insects like ladybugs and hoverflies, which prey on garden pests and help maintain a balanced ecosystem.

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    Final Thoughts

    Marigolds serve as invaluable companions in the garden, offering myriad benefits from pest control to soil enrichment. Their natural pest-repellent properties and soil-enhancing abilities contribute to the overall health and vitality of the garden ecosystem. However, the success of companion planting hinges on selecting companions that align with the unique needs of your garden.

    Understanding the growth habits, soil preferences, and pest vulnerabilities of marigolds and companions is key for a balanced garden. Choose companions that complement marigolds, maximizing the benefits of companion planting for vibrant and thriving gardens.

    Join the Conversation

    Your feedback matters! We’d love to hear about your experiences with companion planting and any insights you have on the topic. Whether you’ve tried planting marigolds with other companions or have questions about how to optimize your garden’s ecosystem, we invite you to share your thoughts in the comments below. Your contributions help build a vibrant community of gardeners eager to learn and grow together.

    Author: Laura Kennedy

    Writer & Owner of Little Yellow Wheelbarrow

    Laura is a highly skilled gardener and fervent flower enthusiast. Despite her playful battle with plant spacing guidelines, Laura’s work inspires gardeners to create thriving, beautiful spaces that reflect both creativity and sustainability.

    Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on February 3, 2022. It was updated on March 6, 2024 to add a table of contents, expert tips, and FAQ.

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