For the last 50 years, cannabis cultivators have well progressed in terms of their skills, community, and technology. As connoisseurs are being connected more through the internet, the more ideas are being shared across the globe. One of the emerging ideas that are being shared now is permaculture. Permaculture promotes a natural way of cultivating cannabis in which you will cultivate not only cannabis but also other plants that will contribute to the overall well-being of the eco-system, consequently, affecting your cannabis plant. This is where cannabis companion plants are to be considered.
Plants have thrived in a diverse ecological system for hundreds of millions of years without any human assistance. Eventually, humans learned how to cultivate plants for a purpose. We grow them separately (monoculture) to achieve maximum production in a restricted, easily accessible location. But in doing so, we miss a lot of good things found in a diverse ecosystem. Though not duplicating, but rather, imitating some of the natural ecosystem’s key factors, cannabis permaculture seeks a philosophy of natural cultivation. Here, the environment should not only include cannabis plants, but also “companion plants” that will contribute to cannabis’ growth. This particular element in a natural ecosystem, namely, the existence and benefits of other plants to a particular plant, is gaining popularity among growers because of its efficiency and support for the environment. Cannabis companion plants help fight pests and diseases and contribute to the soil’s nourishment. This method is called companion planting
Benefits of Cannabis Companion Planting
1. Natural Defense
The first and obvious benefit of having a companion plant is protection. They are effective in preventing several kinds of pests that can damage your weed plants. Many of these companion plants emit pungent flavors into the atmosphere and serve as a repellent against insects. On the other hand, some of the plants, instead of driving pests away, attract insects to themselves and away from your cannabis. Larger species of companion plants can be grown as barriers for cannabis from harsh weather conditions. For example, tall breeds of sunflowers and tomatoes protect your sensitive cannabis strains from strong winds and storms.
2. Soil Nourishment
What makes cannabis cultivation great is the healthy soil under it. Just beneath the soil’s surface, the area where the plant roots and soil communicate is called the rhizosphere. This is where the roots release natural chemicals and attract unique species of microorganisms. These microbes allow plants in different ways to access their nutrients. As an example, mycorrhizal fungi are attracted to the plant roots’ sugary chemicals and provide roots with the nutrients it needs in return. Moreover, sugars are also enjoyed by bacteria. As a consequence, they leave many nutrients close to the roots when they eventually die.
These microbial colonies are very well maintained by polyculture systems. Cover crops are useful in shielding the soil from too much sunlight, while others send out more chemicals into the soil, resulting in a flourishing soil condition. Plants that fix nitrogen also improve soil health and speed up growth. In particular, they create a relationship with soil microbes that pushes the nitrogen to be pulled into the ground.
Besides having a direct effect on your cannabis cultivation, having these cannabis companion plants itself can be beneficial to you. One of the benefits is food. Several companion plants produce fruit (tomatoes). Some of them have leaves that can be used for tea (lemon balm or yarrow). Some can be used in the kitchen (basil). Some may even be used as natural medicines.
Examples of Cannabis Companion Plants
Here we will include some of the most common companion plants that have been tried and tested by many growers.
Beautiful orange flowers, with aromatic leaves, are to be expected from marigold. This flower attracts aphids to themselves, away from the cannabis plants. It grows annually or biennially and thrives in every season besides the winter. Marigold cultivates perfectly in well-draining, sandy soil. This flower reaches its maximum at 50 cm. It likes a minimal amount of sun and so thrives wonderfully under a polyculture canopy.
Marigold both sends certain pests away from the cultivation area with its pungent aroma and draws some insects to themselves and away from weed plants. Cabbage moths and white cabbage flies will stay away from the marigold’s scent. This grows from February to April. Using garden beds, you can plant them between weed plants with 20 to 30 cm spacing.
2. Sweet Basil
Not only that basil proves to be very useful in the kitchen for various dishes and comfort food, but it is also one of the most aromatic plants of all. Most likely, just like what you experience with marijuana, you will smell it before you see it. The sweet basil plant sends out a strong aroma that scares away asparagus beetles and aphids. Moreover, it attracts several species of pollinators that enhances your garden’s biodiversity.
Plant seeds into large pots of soil (well-draining). Place them outside, full sun, and you will have seedlings rising after 20 days. They love a dry environment and soil that is slightly acidic. Usually thrives between February to June. Grow them in pots or garden beds alongside your weed plants. You can also grow dill alongside it to potentially increase resin production.
Besides being a culinary ingredient, chervil is an excellent companion plant that protects your cannabis from harmful insects. They draw aphids to themselves through their aniseed scent, away from your cannabis crop.
As early as March, sow chervil seeds straight into your high compost soil. In approximately one week, the seeds will enter germination, and shortly after, the seedling stage. Chervil thrives well both with direct and partial sunlight. It loves constant moisture.
Be watchful of chervil’s ability to multiply itself and overrun the surrounding garden beds. Cut the heads of the flowers on time to prevent it from overrunning the garden. This cannabis companion plant usually grows from March to August. Plant chervils in separate pots or containers beside your weed pots, or in between weed plants in raised beds.
Cannabis companion plants are truly amazing and natural. Just think of its “indirect” benefit to your weed cultivation. These plants can be very colorful and mesmerizing to look at. This can help you inspired every time you look and work in your garden. Furthermore, some of us can have annoying neighbors who will spy on everyone. They use both their eyes and noses. Therefore, a tall and leafy companion plant can hide your cannabis. Plant peppermints or jasmines to hide your weed’s aroma. Cannabis companion plants not only protect your weed and nourish the soil, but they also inspire your green thumb and hide your cannabis from prying neighbors.