Petunias are popular annual flowering plants that are part of the night shade family which also includes tomatoes and potatoes. They are available in a wide range of colors and are virtually foolproof to grow since they require little maintenance. Even in dry weather, you only need to give them a good watering every 7 to 10 days.
They are some of the most popular summer flowers for gardens in northern temperate climates because of the almost limitless variety of flower colors, sizes and plant architecture. Petunias can easily be grown from seeds but transplanting the plants after purchase from a garden nursery is more prevalent. They are also popular for their abilities as companion plants.
Petunias and Organic Pest Control
Petunias are ideal as companion plants because they are nature’s version of a pesticide. They repel a variety of pests including the asparagus beetle, leafhoppers and tomato worms. They are also effective against some types of aphids and Mexican bean beetles.
Some of the plants that thrive when you plant petunias as companions include brassicas, beans, basil, tomatoes, grapes, corn and peppers. Roses also fare well when this natural insect deterrent is planted in proximity.
Protecting Your Vegetable Harvest
The brassica family includes broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts and cauliflower. When planting with broccoli or cabbage, petunias will increase the likelihood of you getting a good harvest because they trap cabbage worms. These “worms” are in fact a species of caterpillar that will eat through an entire crop if left unchecked so the best, organic method for you to control these pests is to plant petunias in your cabbage beds.
Tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and tobacco are part of the same family and are susceptible to the same type of pests such as aphids, hornworms, cabbage loopers, Japanese beetles and weevils. Planting petunias or geraniums among your crops will either distract or repel these pests from your harvest plants.
Protecting Grape Vines
Grape vines attract a large variety of pests from aphids, mites and moths, to nematodes. Certain nematode species attack grape vine roots, which lead to stunted growth because the nutrient and water absorption cycle is affected. Companion planting around grape vines of petunias will protect your grapes from most of these pests and guarantee better vigor and health for your plants.
Companion planting is the best way for you to control pests in your garden naturally and cleanly. Commercially available pesticides contain chemicals that cannot be considered beneficial to your health.
Attracting Beneficial Insects with Companion Plants
Petunias are one of the most reliable companion plants due to the wide range of pests they repel. Their scent also attracts bees, butterflies and moths to your vegetable garden which are all beneficial to your plants as they help with pollination. In addition, they also add beauty to your garden. A cabbage patch takes on a whole new look if your cabbage plants are interspersed with petunias.