Can Marigolds Be Planted With Peppers in Your Garden?
Thinking of planting some marigolds with your garden grown peppers this season? Curious to know if it's a good idea or not? In this article, gardening expert Natalie Leiker examines if planting marigolds with peppers in your garden is a good idea, or if you should stick to other companion plants.
So, if you’ve landed here, there’s a good chance you’ve heard all the benefits that marigolds can offer as a vegetable companion plant. Marigolds are easy to grow, and have many different benefits when grown alongside of vegetables in the garden. But what about peppers? Can marigolds be grown alongside peppers in the garden?
Marigolds are usually treated as an annual flower. There are many different varieties, with French Marigolds and African Marigolds being the most popular. And their use in the vegetable garden is backed by science, so there’s no mystery why they are so popular.
So, whether you want to attract pollinators, add a pop of color, or repel certain harmful pests, marigolds just might be a great option alongside your peppers this season. In this article, we’ll examine if marigolds can be planted near your pepper plants, in detail, and how to do it successfully if you decide to attempt it. Let’s dig in!
The Short Answer
Yes! Marigolds and peppers make great garden companions as they have very similar growing requirements and love the warm weather. The two are fairly low maintenance and easy to grow. Marigolds will not take the pepper’s nutrients, and can even help repel harmful insects in the garden.
The Long Answer
Yes! Peppers and Marigolds make great garden companions. There are a few things to consider when planting the two together, and your strategy may differ depending on how your garden is setup, and what types of peppers you plan to grow.
Peppers are full sun, heat-loving vegetables that are a staple to most home gardeners. They are planted in mid to late spring and can produce bounties of peppers if given the right conditions.
Peppers are fairly easy-going plants. They are prone to a few insects such as potato beetles, worms, and root nematodes. Marigolds can help in deterring some of these pests and help protect your pepper plants from damage.
Bell peppers are one of the most popular garden grown vegetables, and certain varieties can have a smaller footprint, making them a great choice for vegetable gardeners.
Marigolds are flowering annuals that do best in warm climates. They have fine, dark-green leaves, and display blooms in warmer shade (reds, yellows, oranges). There are two types of marigolds: African and French. African marigolds tend to be taller than French marigolds.
Marigolds contain chemical compounds in their leaves and root systems that are known to deter harmful insects and other garden pests.
They can keep away bugs such as potato beetles, root-knot nematodes, and cabbage worms. They can also attract beneficial insects such as hoverflies, butterflies, and ladybugs.
Benefits of Marigolds in the Garden:
- Add biodiversity to your garden and backyard areas.
- Attract butterflies and other pollinators to the surrounding areas.
- Deter harmful insects and other pesky critters.
- Low maintenance to grow and provide pop of color all summer long.
Both of these plants are fairly low maintenance once established. Picking a good location, soil, and climate are just a few things to consider when considering planting these two together.
Both of these plants need full sun to grow best. This means they should be in an area that receives 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily.
Both plants are true annuals, meaning they will only live for one season, and then die off before winter sets in. They grow best in warm climates and are very tender to cool temperatures that dip below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
When choosing a location for both plants, it is important to consider space and sunlight. Some pepper varieties grow large and tall, while some stay compact or can even be planted in containers. Keep in mind the mature size of your pepper plants when choosing a location.
Both of these plants grow best in full sun. Plant marigolds in a location that won’t get shaded out by the pepper plant or other crops.
Container vs. Garden
When it comes to planting them together, most gardeners are either planting them together in raised beds, in the ground, or in containers. There’s a slightly different approach depending on how you plan to grow them together.
There are certain varieties of peppers that maintain a small, compact growing habit making them perfect for patio pots or containers. If you are planting your pepper plants in containers or pots, but still want to plant marigolds nearby, plant the two in separate containers.
Although marigolds and patio pepper varieties have a smaller growth footprint, using two separate containers will ensure both root systems have enough room. Place the containers close together so that the peppers will still benefit from your marigolds.
Planting in the garden or a raised bed is a relatively simple process. Take note of which parts of your garden receive the most sunlight throughout the day. You’ll want to plant your peppers and marigolds in that location. Take into account both of the plants’ mature size when picking the right location to ensure they both have enough room to grow.
Marigolds should be planted at least ten inches away from your other crops or plants. This will ensure they have enough room to grow to mature size, and still allow good air flow to the plants leaves.
Pepper plants at mature size can range anywhere from 2 feet to 5 feet tall depending on the variety. Most grow to about 2 feet in diameter. Keep this in mind when spacing out your pepper plants. You want to give the plants enough room to reach mature size comfortably but allow room for the plant to breathe and make harvesting accessible.
When planting marigolds and peppers together allow each plant to have its required space, and some. You want to make sure they don’t grow too close together as this can crowd the leaves, hindering air flow and sunlight.
Seeds vs. Transplants
Marigold seeds and transplants are easily accessible at nurseries or local garden centers. Pepper seeds are usually sold at these places as well, but you will see more varieties readily available as transplants.
Starting pepper plants from seed can be a cost effective way to start your own pepper plants in early spring. Seeds can also be direct sown into your garden if you live in a warmer climate that has a long growing season.
Seeds should be kept warm and moist until germination (usually 10-14 days). Germination time can fluctuate depending on temperatures and environmental factors.
When transplanting, make sure the danger of frost has passed in your area. Pepper and marigold plants are very sensitive to cold temperatures and this could severely damage your plants. Water frequently after transplanting to help the root systems get well established.
Pepper plants do best in well-draining, fertile soil. They do not like to stay wet for too long, so soils that contain clay can negatively affect their growth.
Before planting peppers in a garden bed amend with a compost or peat-based mulch to aerate and freshen the soil. Marigolds are not too picky when it comes to soil, if your soil is well-draining they will be perfectly content.
Pepper plants will benefit from frequent fertilization once planted in your garden or container. An all purpose fertilizer or vegetable specific blend will work great. Marigolds do not require fertilization throughout the season, but you might see more blooms if fertilized.
Watering consistently and frequently right after you plant is crucial to help the root systems adapt and get well established. Throughout the growing season, water your peppers and marigolds regularly. Both of these plants both dislike staying consistently moist for too long. It is important to let the soil dry out in between waterings.
Once established, pepper plants will not require any maintenance past irrigation and fertilizing. Marigolds are low maintenance as well. While deadheading marigolds is not required in order to keep happy and healthy plants, they will benefit from frequent deadheading. This will also help encourage new flowers once the old ones begin to fade and dry out.
Marigolds and peppers make great companion plants for many reasons. Marigolds add many benefits to your garden and can directly benefit your pepper plants when planted close by. So, just to recap the benefits of marigolds as companions to garden grown peppers:
- Attract butterflies and other pollinating insects.
- Deter harmful insects and root pests.
- Deer and rabbit resistant.
- Add biodiversity, reduce weeds, save space.
Now that you know that there’s some great benefits to planting these two plants together in the same area, it’s time to get planting!