Companion Planting with Essential Oils, the Gardener's Friends

Inter-planting, "companion planting", vegetables with herbs and flowers is based on the idea that crops grown together act in a beneficial partnership.  

Using essential oils avoids the use of chemical sprays.

Companion planting can reduce the time and effort involved in pest control and wastage due to sickly plants. 

For more information about Good and Bad Companion Plants - Click Here

Planting this way can confuse destructive pests by:

  • mingling of flower scents or leaf odor
  • hiding the plants from easy view    and
  • enticing predatory insects by providing shelter and food  

It improves the soil by:

  • sharing nutrients and/or replacing lost nutrients
  • attracting earthworms and beneficial insects, and
  • reduces the likelihood of bacterial diseases.

Gardening with essential oils works because:

  • a plant attracts predators that eat the pests on its neighbor
  • a plant repels its neighbor's pests through scent or chemical emissions
  • a plant emits chemicals which aid another plant's vigor and growth, and
  • a plant's growing patterns match another plant's.

Ways to Use Companion Planting with Essential Oils

There are three ways:

  • Grow the plant
  • Spread the cuttings from the plant
  • Use the essential oil from the plant

Growing the plants close to each other is the most common way to protect and enhance the stamina of the plants.

Cuttings from the plant ie stalks, flowers and leaves spread around the recipient plant is another way to combine compatible plants.

Using essential oils in the spray can when watering or fertilizing is another easy way to combine the two compatible plants.

Regional Pests and Viruses

It is important to note that each country and even each region in a country will have its own unique variety of pests and viruses for the native plants grown in those areas.   It is also interesting to note that even globally common pests will have different habitat requirements and feeding patterns to their cousins in other time zones.

For example Aphids in Australia are all female and are parthenogenetic ie  they produce live females which are already carrying their own female offspring when they are born.  So attempting to control the breeding cycle of aphids by combining plants will not succeed in Australia.

The European codling moth is controlled in the garden as it has only one season.  However, in warmer countries codling moths may breed more than once and any planting based on flowering will fail as the last generations of codling moth are produced after the flowers’ wilt.

A great Australian magazine on all things organic is Earth Garden.  It has excellent articles on gardening and sustainable living.

I think it's good to think of our home gardens as not being separate from or different to the way plants grow in the wild.

In nature plants don't grow in rows, evenly spaced, with only one species to be seen. 

This form of planting is a sure way to attract pests - the plant is obvious, the scent is unhindered and the color of any flower is unbroken - all acting as flags or landing lights to feeding insects.

Sow seedlings in small blocks, if you must, but it is even better to grow them intermingled with their beneficial plants/herbs, spread out around the garden.  Don't try to be "tidy", let the garden be as natural as possible and watch the results.

But the bottom line is, try it for yourself.  Experiment, use the local plants, fertilize the soil with compost, learn the habits of your regional pests, discover the types of fungus and bacterial problems which affect your plants, attract as many birds and beneficial predators as you can and ENJOY your garden!!

Especially companion planting with essential oils!