Did you know that marigolds can help your tomato plants? Marigolds are considered companion plants to tomatoes in that they protect and enhance the growth of your tomatoes. So not only are these flowers pretty but they also do important jobs in the garden.
What "jobs" do marigolds do in your garden?
Attract bees and other tomato benefiting insects
Marigolds help attract bees and other beneficial insects to tomato plants. Although tomato plants are self-pollinating plants, they do benefit from insect pollination to increase the fruit production of each plant. Marigolds also attract beneficial insects that will eat pests that would otherwise harm tomato plants.
Snails and slugs love to eat marigold plants. Therefore, you can use marigolds to trap snails and slugs before they can get to your tomatoes. Planting marigolds as a barrier will keep your tomato plants safe from these pests.
Deter tomato pests
Have you ever noticed the strong smell of a marigold? The smell helps deter pests such as tomato worms, rabbits, cats etc. Researchers have detected that marigold plants actually release a gaseous chemical called limonene that is a main component in the oil of citrus peels. This chemical in turn deters pests such as those listed above as well as whiteflies. It is important to note that you need to plant marigolds before you have a whitefly problem to deter whiteflies from the onset.
Keep the soil healthy
Marigold plants also release compounds in the soil (thiophene & alpha-terthienyl) that kill and repel parasites (nematodes) so that the roots of your tomato plants are safe.