Have you ever admired the vibrant colours of marigolds and wondered if these beautiful flowers have more to offer than just aesthetic appeal? Do marigolds deter aphids, for example? Or are they only good for their looks?
Yes, marigolds do deter aphids from the area where marigolds are planted but there is a risk that the aphids will simply move to a different part of your garden instead. Better plants for deterring aphids are catnip and garlic.
Do Aphids Like Marigolds?
Aphids do not like marigolds and will avoid them.
This is a benefit not only to the marigolds but to your whole garden, as they will often leave the flowers surrounding the marigolds alone.
That being said, whilst gardeners have spoken about the great benefits of having marigolds to deter aphids, it has been suggested that there is no scientific proof that aphids dislike marigolds. But the results in the gardens speak for themselves.
Which Marigolds Are Effective?
It’s worth noting that not all marigolds are created equal regarding their ability to deter aphids. Here are a couple of varieties that I’ve found to be particularly effective:
- French Marigolds (Tagetes Patula): This variety is often recommended for deterring pests in the garden, including aphids. They have a strong scent that aphids find off-putting. French marigolds also produce a substance called alpha-terthienyl, which can deter other pests.
- Mexican Marigolds (Tagetes Erecta): These marigolds, also known as Aztec marigolds or African marigolds, are another good choice for repelling aphids. They have a more pungent scent than their French counterparts, which many pests, including aphids, find unattractive.
Deterrence Not Eradication
Remember, using marigolds for pest control is more about deterrence than eradication. They can help make your garden less appealing to aphids, but they won’t necessarily kill existing aphid populations.
Why Do Marigolds Deter Aphids?
So, if it is true that aphids dislike marigolds and are driven away by them, then there has to be some reason for that.
The reason is plain and simple, the smell. Marigolds have a particularly strong and distinct smell, especially to insects, that aphids dislike.
However, some aspects of marigolds can be appealing to aphids which, include their colour. Yellow is an aphid’s favourite colour, so they may still visit the plant despite the smell. Try to avoid growing bright yellow marigold varieties if you can.
Also, ensure that you are growing scented marigolds, as some strains of marigolds have been bred to lack their odour.
Why Do My Marigolds Have Aphids On Them?
Although marigolds generally deter aphids, this is only if the marigolds are strongly scented. Some hybrid marigolds will lack a strong scent and, therefore, will not deter aphids and may attract them instead.
Do Marigolds Deter Other Pests?
Yes, the strong smell from marigolds can work to deter a range of pests, including carrot fly, thrips, weevils and midges. This is why marigolds are often interplanted with carrots to protect them.
Fed Up With Aphids Ruining Plants?
We’ve Put Together a Complete and Free Guide on How to GET RID Aphids Once and For All! – Including 5 Deterrents to Try:
Are Marigolds Aphid Trap Plants?
A trap plant is a plant that attracts aphids to it and away from your other crops. A good example of a trap plant is the sunflower. The aphids are attracted to its bright yellow petals.
The colony will move over to the sunflower and leave the rest of your garden alone.
A sunflower is sturdy enough to withstand a group of aphids, keeping your other plants safe.
Marigolds can act as a trap plants. If they are unscented and yellow, then the aphids will be attracted to them.
This may be worth doing as it is much easier to keep your other plants alive, and you can control and remove them more efficiently if they are all in the area of one plant.
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Ryan is a keen gardener from the UK who’s spent years dealing with countless, common pests over the years so knows the ins and outs of how to deal with pests in the garden