Plant to Plant Interactions

To an inexperienced gardener, it seems strange that planting certain plants in close proximity to one another could have any affect on the plants. However, that is not the case with numerous plants and its certainly not the case with nasturtium. The act of planting a diverse selection of plants in the same vicinity is called companion planting. this technique has many benefits for gardens and is being used more often as a resource for organic farmers.

The nasturtium plant provides other plants with protection from predacious insects. The aroma of this plant releases chemicals in the air that repel certain kinds of insects. This is a great adaptation for the nasturtium plant, to learn more about other types of adaptations visit the adaptation page. This protection does more than just project the nasturtium, it also offers a shield for other plants that surround the nasturtium as well. It is very potent to aphids, squash bugs, and striped pumpkin beetles. These insects often attack a specific assortment of plants, these plants are the companion plants to nasturtium because there require protection in order to thrive. These plants include tomatoes, cucumbers, kale kohlrabi, collards, broccoli, cabbage, and radishes. Apple trees are also observed to benefit from nasturtium, some orchards plant nasturtium around the base of the trees to protect their harvest. Although, nasturtium keeps away many insects it does not repel insects that are vital for survival such as the bumblebee.


There has recently been a huge demand for organic foods throughout the world. People want to purchase and eat foods that were not grown with the aids of harsh chemicals, pesticides, or herbicides. This leads to the problem of how to cultivate a large healthy harvest when without these chemicals insects have no reason not to consume the plants in the field. Many farmers are turning to slightly less harsh OMRI materials to restrain the insects but this is a costly process that provides mediocre results. In order to keep costs down and still produce a successful crop, farmers are starting to investigate large scale companion planting. Instead of planting rows and rows of the same crop with minimal protection, a large selection of diverse plants are sowed together. This companion planting allows plants natural defense mechanisms to provide a community shelter. Nasturtium has one of the most potent effects on insects so they are often lined around the edges of these gardens.

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