Buds for your Buds: 5 Companion Plants for your Canna-patch
Cannabis planting season is upon us, and with just a few more weeks to get your seeds in the soil, you might want to consider planting some buds for your buds.
It’s called companion planting, a gardening technique that uses a combination of plants with the aim of creating a symbiotic micro-ecosystem that is robust, regenerative and self-sustaining.
This technique has been shown to promote pollination, pest control and better yield, among others. The idea is that once you have a healthy micro-ecosystem up and running, there is less input required while still reaping the fullest expression of the plants in return - maybe even more!
Companion planting has actually been practiced by Native American tribes for millennia with the ‘three sisters’: maize (corn), beans and squash. Each plant has a different skill, the cornstalk acts as a natural trellis for the bean vines to climb, the squash runs along the ground with wide leaves, protecting the soil from drying out, preventing weeds and acting as a living mulch, while the beans provide nitrogen to the soil, the essential nutrient for all plant growth.
By applying the same principles to cannabis cultivation, permaculturists of the craft cannabis world have discovered a whole list of companion plants that they say are terpene boosting, resin increasing, pest repelling, and beneficial overall.
Every plant is unique, so it is important that you look into the characteristics of the cultivar you are about to plant and its ideal growing conditions - experiment at will.
Here are 5 potential candidates that will not only befriend your cannabis plant, but also have their own list of benefits and uses for your consumption.
Also known as ‘king of the herbs’, basil is loved universally for its long list of health benefits. The aromatic nature of this plant deters many different bugs - including mosquitoes - by overwhelming them with its scent. It is also believed to boost the terpene profile and the oil production in cannabis.
When grown outdoors along with cannabis, the chamomile plant will attract bees helping pollination. They are also very efficient in accumulating calcium, potassium and sulphur, which they release back into the soil once they have died. Chamomile tea is also one the most versatile home remedies for common colds, stomach aches and relaxation.
One of the OGs of the companion plant world, the Marigold plant family has a number of distinct species - calendula being one of the most well-known for its healing and antibacterial properties. Marigolds have bright and colourful flowers that produce a wafty scent known to repel insects, rabbits and deer, among other garden pests, and is often used as a companion plant in the veggie patch. It is said to promote growth of its neighbours by infusing insect repelling chemicals into the soil that can last for years.
A culinary favourite around the world, dill is revered for its smell and taste, but you might be surprised to know that this compact herb is somewhat of ‘tough guy’ of the plant world. When it comes to cannabis enemy number one, the spider mites, dill is particularly fierce. It’s tactic - distraction! Dill entices the insect with its presence, becoming the preferred target and saving the cannabis plant from the attack. A genuine hero of the garden battle ground! Plus it’s great on everything from your egg breakfast to your roast dinner.
Quality cannabis plants will be sure to fill your garden with a pungent aroma, and while we definitely want this, sometimes it can be a bit of a nuisance. Lavender is arguably the best plant for odour reduction. It is also great remedy for sleep, it’s used extensively in aromatherapy, and has many other Google-able uses.
Aside from aiding your cannabis plant, adding a dash of colour to your grow might be reason enough to consider companion planting. Whether it’s a suburban backyard or your apartment balcony, by surrounding your cannabis plant with flowers and herbs, you can create your own little oasis resplendent with colours, aromas and character - an oasis just for you.