Whether you want to attract/repel insects, weed, or fertilize the soil, there are great natural ways to do it: with plants.
Here is our selection of eight plant species, flowers or foliage, with amazing benefits for your garden.
Wormwood – A great weedkiller
Latin name: Artemisia
How to use it: It hangs near shrubs, large perennials, and currant to limit weeding.
How it works: The different wormwood species contain artemisinin, which diffuses into the upper soil layer. This biochemical, created by roots and leaves as they decompose, blocks seed germination or significantly limit their growth.
Similar weedkillers: Sage, oregano and thyme.
Tip: Among the wormwood plants, the absinthium/grand wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) is so powerful you should planting it near roses and vegetables.
Dill – Nectar for beneficial insects
Latin name: Anethum graveolens
How to use it: Its foliage and yellow-green flower umbels give lightness to bedding plants.
How it works: Some of the pests are eliminated by larvae from beneficial insects (ladybugs, hoverflies, lacewings). The females of these insects need food to lay their eggs. They can find that in the pollen of many plants, including dill.
Similar nectar plants: Fennel and coriander.
Tip: Dill can naturally fight against the carrot fly.
Buddleia – Home for wasps
Latin name: Buddleja
How to use it: Buddleia can be placed in hedges bordering gardens and orchards.
How it works: Of course, its beautiful purple clusters attract quite a few butterflies. But their stems are also useful. Many species of wasps set up their nests in hollow “marrow” stems of the plant. They’ll be useful in the garden as they eat caterpillars and larvae from pests.
Similar marrow plants: Elderberry, bamboo and deutzia.
Tip: Always leave a few twigs on the ground when you’re cutting the plant. Insects will nest in these few branches. An essential shelter.
Nasturtium – It’s a trap (against aphids)
Latin name: Tropaeolum majus
How to use it: Put the plants near the ones most susceptible to be attacked by aphids, such as rose plants.
How it works: There are some plants that irresistibly attract pests, while sparing nearby crops. This is the case of the nasturtium against aphids.
Similar anti-aphid plants: Feverfew, angelica and sage.
Tip: Remember to destroy unsightly leaves when covered with aphids. You can also choose to keep them, in which case they’ll serve as pantry for nearby insects.
Spinach – Positive proximity
Latin name: Spinacia oleracea
How to use it: Sow rows of spinach between vegetable beds of the Brassicaceae family (cabbage, turnips, watercress) to fight against flea beetles.
How it works: The roots broadcast substances that promote growth. They’ll also strengthen resistance to parasites of plants growing nearby.
Tip: Spinach can also be used as natural fertilizer in the garden.
Rosemary – The beetle hunter
Latin name: Rosmarinus
How to use it: Have the rosemary sprigs between rows of cabbage (or any other vegetable of the Brassicaceae family) to prevent attacks from beetles.
How it works: The strong scent of rosemary pushes away many pests. Another advantage of the plant is that rosemary, like most herbs, is full of nectar that nourishes and attracts many wanted insects when flowers are scarce.
Similar repellent plants: Thyme and sage.
Tip: In the garden, this honey plant attracts pollinators (bees, bumblebees, etc.). This is essential for a good harvest of fruits and vegetables.
Field marigold – Decoy for moths
Latin name: Calendula arvensis
How to use it: The field marigold is sown in rows between vegetables to limit attacks from cabbage butterflies.
How it works: The pests are attracted by the smell of vegetables. If you grow flowers of similar height nearby, insects will find it difficult to land on their victims.
Tip: Don’t hesitate to mix and match the field marigold with other flowers that can also serve as a decoy.
Southern cone marigold – Fighting against nematodes
Latin name: Tagetes minuta
How to use it: Plant a border of giant marigolds near tomatoes to fight against nematodes.
How it works: This species, which can rise to a height of more than 13 feet, has strong roots that reshape the soil in depth. A lush foliage and long growth also helps to suppress weeds. Finally, and most importantly, the roots emit active substances in the fight against nematodes, which persist in the soil for the following three years.
Tip: Don’t let go to seeding-level, as the plant reseeds profusely and becomes invasive.