I never thought this would happen, I know, but don't stuff your corners with stragglers whose nugs won't be anything better than lackluster! You are now at a crossroads; choose between helper plants or their exotic cousins.
Planting helper plants will do anything from sound the bug alarm to even preventing pests all together. Or grow the exotic and unique plants you may never have seen, much less cultivated before.
Which is better? What works? Why bother?
Growing companion plants will only help the health of your grow and strengthen your knowledge and confidence growing cannabis on your own. For starters, there are two groups of helper plants available to you, let's call them guardians and gardeners. Guardians are plants that either ward off or attract bad bugs—when also present in the grow environment—away from cannabis while gardeners improve growing conditions Exotic plants are just that … exotic. Sometimes finicky and always cool looking they will add a challenge and beauty to any grow. Now these categories are important; one might be what you need, all three might just crowd your plants.
Guardian plants are your garden’s warriors: Most plants will be for your amusement, not your benefit, however companion/guardian plants are as simple as basil, marigold or beans. Each of these plants will improve your grow in very different ways.
• Basil: An herb, basil’s strong scent helps ward off pests such as flies, mosquitos and thrips. Great indoors or out.
• Garlic: Grown alongside, or used in a spray, garlic is a must to keep out a wide variety of pests and has the added benefit of being a natural fungicide. Great indoors or out.
• Marigold: Not just another pretty flower in the grow, marigold is the soldier you want fighting alongside your plants. With its bright petals and appealing scent, these flowers will sacrifice themselves in the line of duty, attracting pests before your cannabis does. Great indoors or out.
• Mint: Similar to basil, this pungent plant will have any pests running to the door for some fresh air. Plant separately from cannabis as this will spread fast.
• Peppermint: Like garlic, peppermint makes for a wonderful and popular organic pest repellent in spray form. When planted in a grow their odor acts as a strong deterrent. Plant separately from your cannabis as this will spread fast. Great indoors or out.
Gardener plants are your garden’s caretakers, listen to them: Ever vigilant, gardener plants tend to your flowers 24 hours a day. That's a bit more than any grower will ever want to spend with their plants.
• Beans: Always climbing, beans are great at replenishing your soil’s nitrogen by pulling it out of the surrounding air. Just don't let this tasty snack grow into a bean stock fit for Jack, your plants won't like the crowding. Better suited for outdoor grows.
• Chrysanthemum: Quite ornate, these flowers look good while they protect your cannabis roots. A natural pesticide against nematodes which can damage your cannabis roots, chrysanthemum is also found in many organic sprays due to its high pyrethrin content. This chemical is known to disrupt the function of insect nervous systems. Great for indoor or outdoor grows.
• Alfalfa: No, hay isn't just for horses. Turns out it is great for cannabis too. Alfalfa, like beans, helps replenish nitrogen depleted soil. This plant is also great for nutrient layering, where plant trimmings are blended into the soil or left on top. Be careful as it spreads fast. Better for outdoor setups.
• Chamomile: A secret favorite of many organic cannabis growers, chamomile concentrates and then disperses nutrients such as calcium, sulphur and potassium back into your soil. Better for outdoor grows where it can commingle in the soil.
Exotic Plants add to visual and/or fragrance appeal of your grow. (Primarily Indoor Grow): Grow Exotic Plants for fun and nothing more. Yes it's that simple. You just want that something that grows in summer, the winter, that jungle or place far far away then look no further.
All these little trees require similar conditions and lighting, but slightly more room, so you need only pick the one that has your favorite color and flavor.
• Kaffir Lime Tree: An old world delight, the kaffir lime tree has been grown indoors for generations. Popular in asian cuisine, the leaves and lime rind are most treasured for cooking. Trim to shape.
• Meyers Lemon Tree: Bitter and small, these beauties can be found indoors and outdoors throughout the world. Heck, even Louis XIV grew them all over Versailles, no grow tent though.
• Tangerine Tree: Another dwarf citrus tree that loves the indoors and lots of light, Tangerine trees are pungent with tasty fruit. .
• Pineapple: This one should be grown for its shock value alone. Show all your friends that pineapples are surprisingly not grown on “trees.” Take a fresh pineapple and decapitate it. Don't fret, just enjoy the fruit as usual and take your now severed pineapple head, pot it and sure enough in no time at all you will have another tasty treat. Now start the process all over again … off with its head!
Edible plants allow you to spice up a meal and add a side salad, just don't forget the Cannabis appetizer: Veggies and Herbs anyone? You can grow almost anything alongside your ladies, just remember the largest of them may eventually need new homes. Think of it as the cannabis plants as the parents and once the veggies are little tenagers, time to kick them out of the nest and get your flower on… Or whatever parents do when the kids are gone.
• Tomatoes: Eat fresh tomatoes in the middle of winter… need I say anymore.
• Grapes: Grapes are a strange and holly fruit. Use your grow to get these upward thinking plants indoors and move outdoors when the time is right.
• Peppers: As a fan of spicy, anything hot has a spot in my grow. Also if you grow outdoors, peppers are a great way to deter those larger pests like deer, mice and rabbits.
• Chives: Tasty with a grow difficulty of maybe one, chives are fun and fast growing plus they also deter aphids and spider mites.
• Strawberries: Small and colorful, strawberries are an easy addition to indoor or outdoor grows. Just remember if you grow them inside you will need to hand pollinate them.
Vacancy? Don't let these other plants get the best of you and your grow. Remember they are your friends, not your pot plants. Always grow from seed or clean produce with a indoor soil brand you trust. Water, watch grow, smell, eat and enjoy. And that's it. Keep in mind this list is far from complete and new methods and techniques are coming out all the time so look for our next installment on plants your flower will love. Now get out there and diversify your grow today!