Do Marigolds Repel Bees?
Marigold flowers are commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). They have been used for centuries to treat everything from coughs and colds to headaches and menstrual cramps. Traditional TCM uses include treating heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, allergies, rheumatism and even cancer. Some TCM practitioners believe that they can cure many other diseases too.
In addition to their use in TCM, marigolds are also popularly known for their ability to repel insects. There are several theories as to why this might be true. One theory suggests that the flower’s fragrance attracts bugs because it contains a pheromone which causes them to flee. Another theory is that the scent of marigold flowers makes them smell unpleasant to mosquitoes and other flying insects, thus making them avoid eating or drinking there. A third theory is that the fragrant oils in marigold flowers cause insects to lose interest in food and drink there.
The best way to determine if marigolds repel bees is simply to try them out! If you’re not sure how, here are some tips:
If you live near a bee yard or apiary where bees gather nectar and pollen from the surrounding area, then chances are that your garden will experience fewer insect problems when the bees visit.
If you are not sure whether or not you live near a bee yard or apiary, then it is probably best to plant some marigolds around the edges of your garden. Marigolds can also be grown as a colorful addition to flower beds and containers. Because of their scent, bees will be less inclined to gather nectar and pollen there.
Planting marigolds in your garden may help to decrease the number of bees that gather nectar and pollen in your garden. But, if you are allergic to bee stings, you should avoid having marigolds or bees in your garden as well as bee sting allergy medication.
Do Marigolds Attract Butterflies?
Marigolds have been used for centuries to naturally keep insects away from gardens. They are also grown to attract butterflies and other beneficial insects. The flowers come in a variety of different colors and sizes, from the small, star-shaped calendula to the large, single-stemmed French marigolds.
Marigolds are annuals or perennials that can be successfully planted throughout most of the United States. In colder climates, plant them in pots and bring them indoors when the temperature falls below freezing. In warmer areas, they can be planted as annuals and will self-seed in the spring.
Although marigolds can be used to repel most insects, bees and butterflies are not deterred by their scent. The flowers are also fragrant and will attract other beneficial insects and wildlife to your garden. They are naturally strong-smelling plants that will help keep away harmful insects without the use of harsh chemicals. Most varieties of marigolds grown for this purpose have yellow flowers.
In addition to repelling insects, the flowers can be dried and added to sachets or potpourri to keep moths away from clothing and other items. Many people also use them in cooking, especially in Mexican and Indian dishes. The flowers can also be brewed into tea.
Marigolds have many benefits for the garden, from repelling harmful insects to attracting beneficial ones. They can be grown as annuals or perennials in most parts of the United States and are relatively easy to care for. The flowers are also very decorative and will add color and interest to your yard or garden.
Other Bee-Friendly Plants to Grow
Besides marigolds, there are many other types of plants that will attract bees to your yard. Here’s a list of some of the most popular:
Bee balm: Also known as horsemint or bergamot, this plant has spikes of red or purple flowers and a minty scent.
Coneflowers: Coneflowers have large, yellow petals and a sweet scent.
Coreopsis: These flowers bloom in shades of yellow, pink and red and have a sweet and gentle scent.
English daisies: These tiny white flowers have a sweet and fruity scent.
Hollyhock: This tall plant offers blooms that come in a variety of colors and have a spicy scent.
Lobelia: Also called smoking flowers, these plants are great for attracting butterflies and bees with their wide variety of colors and long stems.
Before planting your marigolds or other bee-friendly flowers, you’ll need to prepare the soil. Here are a few steps to get you started:
If needed, loosen the soil with a pitchfork or shovel. If the soil is very hard and packed, you may want to double dig the area. To do this, dig out a section of soil to a depth of 12 inches. After digging down 12 inches, toss the soil to the side and break up the chunks of soil into a series of chunks no larger than a dinner plate. After doing this, you can return the chunks of soil that you dug out to fill in the bottom layer.
This process may take a while, but it’s an easy way to give your plants a good start in great soil.
After preparing the soil, you’re ready to plant! As these plants are relatively low-maintenance, simply dig a hole 2-3 times wider and deeper than the root ball of the plant. This will ensure that there is plenty of room for your plant to grow. After digging the hole, remove the plant from its pot. If the roots are entangled, gently loosen them with your hands.
Carefully place the plant into the hole and gently firm the soil around it. After this, water the plant well.
After planting, your plants only need minimal attention. If growing marigolds for pests, you can deadhead the flowers to keep them from dying and releasing the scent that attracts the insects. Simply pinch off the old flowers and the plants will produce more! You should also keep an eye on your plants and remove any weeds that appear.
These plants will appreciate a layer of mulch around their bases, as this will help keep in moisture and keep weeds from growing. If you want, you can also fertilize your plants monthly with a general-purpose fertilizer.
These plants are relatively low maintenance and easy to grow, making them perfect for the beginning gardener!
Tips for Growing in Containers
If you’d prefer to plant your marigolds in containers, this is easy to do as well. Whether you grow one large container of marigolds or a few individual pots, here are a few tips:
Containers should have good drainage, but clay pots aren’t the best option. Instead, choose plastic or wooden containers as they allow for better drainage.
Plant your marigold in a small pot as there is less chance that the plant’s roots will get “root-bound” (when the roots circle around in the pot and cut off the supply of nutrients and water). Using multiple smaller pots also allows you to place them closer together, maximizing your garden space.
Select a container that allows at least one inch of soil for each depth of the pot. In other words, a one foot deep pot needs a minimum of one foot of soil to grow properly.
Like with soil preparation, when planting the marigold, dig a hole big enough to encompass the entire pot that the plant is in. This ensures the roots have enough room to grow and spread.
Monthly fertilizing or watering is sufficient for container grown plants.
These tips, along with proper soil preparation, will help you grow a fantastic garden!
Marigolds are wonderful plants, both for your garden and your home. Whether you’re growing them in the ground or in containers, they’re relatively easy to care for and don’t require much time or effort on your part. Best of all, marigold’s natural abilities will keep some common pests away without any extra work on your part!
Growing your own flowers not only gives you a beautiful garden to look at, but it also gives you the satisfaction of knowing you grew them yourself!
Marigolds are a common flower that have multiple uses. If you’re looking for something simple and easy to grow, marigolds are an excellent choice! They’re also relatively easy to turn into essential oils, so if you’d like to give that a try, the first step is growing!
Sources & references used in this article:
Residual effect of lambda-cyhalothrin on abundance of insect pollinators in marigold field patch by HM Tahir, ZI Khan, S Batool, K Ahmad, S Begum – pu.edu.pk
Plants Important to Honey Bees by LJ Connor – 1976 – kb.osu.edu
An Introduction to Beekeeping. by CJ Burgin, FM Fuller Jr… – … Extension Service; no …, 1959 – oaktrust.library.tamu.edu
The ecology and evolution of pollen odors by HEM Dobson, G Bergström – Plant Systematics and Evolution, 2000 – Springer