Do Marigolds Stop Cabbage Worms – Is this Good Companion Planting?

Will marigolds stop cabbage worms from attacking cabbage? This was a hot topic last week as the Facebook post shown below made the rounds in many gardening groups, everything from local Canadian groups, to Gardening in Western Australia. Through this one post, thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of gardeners are now convinced that marigolds stop cabbage worms.

That is too bad, since this may just be another myth that has no scientific basis.

In this post I will discuss why you should have been very skeptical when you first saw this post, and then I’ll look at the real science behind the claim.

Do Marigolds Stop Cabbage Worms?
Do Marigolds Stop Cabbage Worms?

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Are Marigolds Good for Companion Planting?

There is a lot of talk about companion planting, especially for the vegetable garden, and marigolds seem to be at the top of most plant lists. They make other plants grow better and their strong smell keeps pests away. They even stop root knot nematodes.

Much of this information is anecdotal and I suspect some of it is just made up to sell some popular books. What do marigolds actually do in the garden?

Are Marigolds a Good Companion Plant?
Are Marigolds a Good Companion Plant?

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Will Marigolds Stop Root Knot Nematodes?

Companion planting is a standard recommendation for growing vegetables. One of the most commonly recommended plants for this is the marigold, which is supposed to be good for preventing various pests from eating the vegetables. I will limit the discussion in this post to using marigolds to reduce or eliminate nematodes in the garden.

nematodes and marigolds - Root knot nematodes on carrots
Root knot nematodes on carrots

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