Choosing the right companion plants turn herb garden ideas into major medicinal grows.
It turns out, herb garden ideas that combine the cannabis plant with common culinary herbs are an excellent approach for reducing pests. Some well placed herbs will also boost the garden’s medicinal value. Herb garden ideas, which work a careful selection of herbs and edible flowers in and around cannabis plants, take companion planting to an entirely new level. Companion planting with cannabis is a new take on an old gardening technique.
What does companion planting cannabis with herbs look like in practice?
What is Companion Planting?
Companion planting is the technique of planting different plants together in the same space to take advantage of their complementary qualities. Vegetable gardeners will be very familiar with this approach. Not only is it useful for pest control but many believe some plants grow better with others, leading to improved harvests. Other gardeners plant edible plants together which taste even better when combined, growing a recipe in a single garden — for example, tomatoes and oregano together, or carrots and onions.
Considering cannabis is a medicinal herb great for culinary infusions, there is no reason why the companion planting approach isn’t adaptable with this flower. It’s an excellent idea to borrow companion planting practices for cannabis cultivation, especially for outdoor cultivation.
Convincing Reasons to Companion Plant:
- Attract pollinators
- Deter pests
- Improve soil (nitrogen fixers)
- Create a natural trellis
- Shade sun-sensitive plants
- Control weed growth
Which Herbs Grow Well With Cannabis?
Outdoor cannabis plants are more susceptible to pests and disease than their indoor counterparts. Fungus gnats, aphids, and spider mites are all unfortunately common issues the outdoor cannabis gardener must contend with. Furthermore, without immediate action, these microscopic pests can reap total crop destruction in only a few days.
For patients growing their own medicine, harsh chemicals and pesticides aren’t an option. So even supposedly approved pesticides on medical cannabis plants is a controversial idea. Why? Because cannabis is typically smoked or vaporized, and there is little to no research on what damage these harsh chemicals can do to the respiratory system. As the world has witnessed in the vape industry, chemicals approved for foods are not necessarily healthy for inhalation.
The pesticide-free benefits provided by companion planting is the main appeal. The following are a few companion plant solutions for the most common cannabis-infestations:
For cultivators who have experienced past infestations of aphids amongst their cannabis plants, try interplanting rows of chives and garlic to deter future issues. Dill, cilantro, and fennel are a few other potent options for preventing aphid infestations. Gardeners can also plant nasturtiums, an edible flower, in the undergrowth of cannabis. These flowers attract aphids and will hopefully pull them away from the plants that matter.
Marigolds are always a smart go-to companion plant for pest control. When in doubt, these bright red and orange flowers are a great herb garden idea simply because they seem to deter all pests. Furthermore, they will work well to prevent fungus gnats.
For gardens prone to spider mites, there are several useful companion herbs to intersperse among the young seedlings. These include coriander, dill, anise, and cilantro. Garlic and onions are also known to prevent spider mites from moving in on valuable crops like cannabis.
Medicinal Herbs Beyond Cannabis
Another aspect of companion planting is medicinal considerations. Just like cannabis, many of the most popular culinary herbs have immense medicinal potential. Cannabis has a lengthy history of therapeutic consumption, dating back thousands of years. So do herbs like mint, rosemary, and garlic.
Combine the healing properties of medical cannabis with the benefits of several complementary companion plants. Herb garden ideas should incorporate cannabis into the plot to compliment the medicinal properties of other herbs.
Patients growing cannabis at home tend to choose strains which work well for their specific medical concern. As a few examples, patients may choose THC-rich strains for chronic pain relief or more balanced strains to alleviate the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. So, perhaps consider incorporating herbs with known therapeutic properties which target the same condition.
Ideas for Companion Planting a Medicinal Herb Garden
Mint is a sweet-leaning culinary herb that is delicious fresh, dried, and extracted. Keep in mind, mint spreads very quickly and can easily take over an entire garden, so it should always be contained in a separate pot.
Herbal medicine has long used mint as a remedy for gastrointestinal upset, headaches, and appetite stimulation. Recent laboratory research into the therapeutic applications of mint has focused on its antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. A report published in ACS Publications (2010) states that “Antimicrobial and Antioxidant Activities of Melissa officinalis L. (Lamiaceae) Essential Oil” found a certain type of mint essential oil as useful against thirteen bacterial strains and six fungi.
Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus)
Rosemary is a large, hardy, and fragrant bush commonly associated with French and Italian cuisine. As a perennial it should come back year after year and grow to sizes that may rival smaller cannabis strains.
Long used in folklore, herbalism, and religious ceremonies, a growing body of research supports rosemary for medicinal applications. Like mint, rosemary seems to have antimicrobial and antibacterial applications. According to a study published in Public Library of Science One (PLoS1) (2019) rosemary may have topical applications as well.
Garlic (Allium sativum)
A potent bulbous plant, garlic is an excellent addition to any herb garden for its culinary, medicinal, and pest-deterrent potential. In warmer North American regions, it handles winters well. Planted in the fall, it gets a head start before cannabis season begins in spring.
According to a summary in “Health Effects of Garlic” from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, “Historically, garlic has been used around the world to treat many conditions, including hypertension, infections, and snakebites, and some cultures have used it to ward off evil spirits.” Today, laboratory, animal, and limited clinical studies have found garlic has cholesterol-lowering properties as well as anticancer characteristics.
The Benefits of Companion Planting with Cannabis Home Grow
With so many patients choosing to grow their own medicine, it only makes sense to cultivate it alongside other medicinally valuable herbs. Herb garden ideas that incorporate herbs, flowers, and cannabis into one unique design provide value in more ways than one.
In essence, companion planting herbs and flowers around medical cannabis can help deter pests, keep weeds down, and improve the soil. Patients may also find immense benefit (and pleasure) from bringing in medicinally valuable herbs like rosemary, garlic, and mint to their cannabis crop. Companion planting is an old idea, but one with immense potential for the modern cannabis gardener.