The Benefits of Companion Planting for Cannabis

Various plants with cannabis plants for companion planting

Did you know that you can make your cannabis garden more efficient and more sustainable using companion planting techniques? This permaculture design technique enhances your cannabis plants’ health and even their yield. Companion planting is an invaluable technique for the novice and seasoned grower.

Companion planting is a practice that can benefit most plants. In particular, companion planting for cannabis has proven that many different crops can be useful partners to growers all over the world.

Yet, it is considered very common to cultivate cannabis plants in a monoculture setting. That is, the cannabis plants are the sole crop grown in a designated area. While this system is widely used for contextual reasons (lack of space, unsuitable grow space, etc.), switching to companion planting for cannabis plants can be a fairly painless project, whether you grow indoors, or outdoors.

Why choose companion planting for cannabis?

  1. To protect and nurture your plants

Permaculture is the practice of utilizing natural resources or mimicking them in order to increase the sustainability of one’s crop(s). Companion planting is one of many techniques included in the permaculture system, and consists of planting different crops in proximity, in order to improve quality as well as productivity.

The goal, of course, is to obtain a better end product, as well as a cleaner one, via improvements in terms of pest control, provision of nutrients, and harvest.

Growing cannabis in particular, as opposed to other plants, can also imply certain things, such as the need for an inconspicuous installation. Especially if you benefit from an outdoor grow space, several options exist that can help to keep your cannabis plants safe.

  1. To make your cannabis garden more eco-friendly

The use of artificial compounds to enhance or protect a crop is a recent development in the art of growing. On the other hand, permaculture is an integrant part of the history of agriculture all over the world. Its roots were anchored centuries ago, only to be resurrected at the beginning of the 20th century by a senior lecturer at the University of Tasmania.

While synthetic nutrients have been deemed preferable in certain contexts, especially from a commercial standpoint, cannabis growers may want to switch to an organic, more eco-friendly manner to sustain their gardens.

The need for organic, safe, and fully natural crops is becoming more and more pressing, and the cannabis world is no exception. Monoculture, while it may be the default for many, has no equivalent in nature: there is virtually no example of it that has not been orchestrated by humans.

Even if you are the happy-go-lucky type of grower, hands on and content caring for your plants, one is never safe from unforeseen circumstances, be they unwelcome pests, sub-optimal weather, and so forth. Having a few infiltrated agents within your grow space can only help! Besides, there is such a variety of companion plants you can grow, that you could end up with quite the varied garden … not to mention a delicious one.

How to prepare your soil for companion planting

The “pest fighting” parameter of companion planting rests upon the fact that there is such a thing as beneficial bacteria. Indeed, it has been scientifically proven that some of them actually protect plants from other bacterial diseases.

The use of manmade pesticides or nutrients can be extremely harmful to soils. In fact, they have the capability to entirely destroy the bacterial and fungal ecosystem present in the rhizosphere, also known as the area in which roots and bacteria meet. The symbiotic relationship developed in this rhizosphere is vital to the health of the cultivated plants, future cultivated plants, and the soil itself.

The use of non-natural products can result in a setback of actual centuries before the soil can be healthy and nourishing again.

The solution? Layering!

Companion planting for cannabis certainly is a smart way to pamper your crop, but what use is it if the soil in which your plants are growing is struggling and devoid of any nutritional worth?

By layering plant materials on top of the first layer of your soils, you can enable the accelerated rebirth of the valuable ecosystem of bacteria, yeasts and fungi that can make the difference between an average crop and an exceptional one. The bacteria present in said top layer will feed from this plant material, transforming it into more nutrients.

The good news is, you can do this in your garden or any other outdoor grow space, but also in your pots.

What plant materials to use for layering, and how?

Layering is easy. Find plant materials that have not been in contact with any chemicals (nutrients, pesticides, etc.) … and create layers. Almost anything works: fallen leaves, straw, various plant residues from trimming, cut grass, etc. Alternatively, you can also create additional layers using what you would usually put into your compost bin: leftover food, biodegradable plant-based items, etc. The keyword is: organic.

Yellow and red marigold flowers in the green field

Best pest fighting companion plants for cannabis

  1. Repellent companions:

  • Marigold: Repels white flies and other insects through a chemical released directly in the soil and eventually, into neighbouring plants, making them repellent to pests.
  • Digitalis purpurea a.k.a. Foxglove: Attracts Dicyphus Hesperus, an insect which can help in eradicating whiteflies, aphids and spider mites.
  • Verbascum a.k.a. Mullein: see Foxglove.
  • Cilantro: Repels aphids and spider mites.
  • Peppermint: Repels aphids. Its menthol content can also attract beneficial insects.
  • Garlic: Repels aphids, snails/slugs, Japanese beetles, root maggots, and even certain animals. Also acts as a natural fungicide.
  • Dill (or Fennel, Cumin, and Anise): Repels spider mites, aphids, and caterpillars by attracting their common predator, wasps.
  • Basil: Repels various insects and snails/slugs by releasing insecticide from its foliage.
  • Costmary: Repels moths.
  • Chrysanthemum: Combats damaging insects and nematodes due to its pyrethrin content (a compound with insecticidal properties).
White flowers and a ladybug and a wasp on them
  1. Friendly companions:

  • Sunflower: Attracts beneficial mites and flower bugs which eat spider mites, fungus gnats, and scales.
  • Yarrow: Attracts predatory wasps and ladybirds.

You can protect your cannabis plants in many other ways, especially if you know from a previous grow session which pests in particular need to be monitored.
Isolate the issue, and consider planting these specific pests’ favourite treats: if you can’t eradicate them, you can fool them into snacking on another one of your crops. For instance, dill, fennel, and parsley are butterflies’ favourite munchies.

Clover camouflaging cannabis plants on the ground

Best nutritional companion plants for cannabis

  • Alfalfa: Provides nitrogen. Can also be used as a nitrogen-rich layer during cultivation; trim it and don’t clean the plant material off your soil.
  • Borage (or other species from the Comfrey family): Provides additional nutrients. Plants of the Comfrey type act as a fertilizer, by bringing nutrients and minerals via their deep roots. This makes them the ideal outdoor companions, although some of them need their own space, as their growth is quick and space-consuming. Just like alfalfa, it can be trimmed and left as mulch.
  • Clover (Microclover, Dutch White, Red, and Crimson): Provides additional nutrients. Clover brings up trace nutrients in the same manner Borage does. It also has nitrogen fixing properties: by degrading organic matter, it releases nitrogen to be used by other organisms. Moreover, its living mulch state protects the soil around your cannabis plants, and improves water distribution by trapping in moisture with its shallow roots. Choose Microclover or Dutch White Clover for small to medium sized indoor containers.
  • Chickweed: Provides additional nutrients. Acts as living mulch, can also be trimmed and left to feed the soil.
Chamomile and hemp plants on a field

Companion plants to increase productivity

  • Chamomile: Provides calcium and potassium. Releases them upon decomposition, thus feeding your cannabis plants in order to promote stem growth and fortification. Also increases oil production in nearby plants, and releases sulfur, a natural insect repellent.
  • Stinging Nettle: Increases oil production in nearby plants. This will have a positive impact on the resin content of your cannabis buds.
  • Yarrow: Increases oil production in nearby plants. Also prevents soil erosion by protecting its first layers.
  • Oregano (or Marjoram): Increases the yield of nearby plants. Also attract beneficial insects.

Best companion plants for camouflaging cannabis

Many a plant can be used in order to shield your cannabis plants from interested passers-by, the elements, or ever-curious wildlife. Of course, this depends on the setup of your grow space, and what other natural or manmade protections your garden already benefits from.

Stinging nettle plants

Nevertheless, there still is an obvious protective companion for your cannabis garden, almost regardless of setup:

  • Stinging Nettle: On top of improving your harvest (see above) stinging nettle is quite efficient at dissuading anyone from standing between you and your cannabis plants, for rather obvious reasons (ouch!).

There are many other options for camouflaging your plants, such as bamboo, honeysuckle, willow trees, okra, etc. Pick one that matches your growing environment, and get started soon to gain as much momentum as possible.

In the same manner, the number of plants, herbs, and flowers that can help you hide the heady scent of your ladies is endless: lavender, basil, jasmine, mint, southernwood (which releases a citrusy smell upon being touched) … just pick one and get started!

Of course, all of this is not specific to cannabis. Companion planting for cannabis may be one great asset for the everyday cannabis enthusiast, but whichever plants you are growing – do them a favour, and provide them with an environment as natural and as supportive as possible.

  • Disclaimer:
    Laws and regulations regarding cannabis cultivation differ from country to country. Sensi Seeds therefore strongly advises you to check your local laws and regulations. Do not act in conflict with the law.


19 thoughts on “The Benefits of Companion Planting for Cannabis”

  1. Hello … if I have my cannabis plants in ten gallon containers should I add the companion plant(s) ie marigolds etc . , directly in the same pot or in a separate pot placed beside ? Thx

    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hi Bruce,

      If you have enough space, planting the companion plants in the same container will give you the best results. If that’s not possible, the next best thing would be to have them in containers as close to the cannabis plants as possible. Collecting any fallen leaves from the companion plants and adding them to the containers with cannabis plants will also help. Good luck with your gardening!

      With best wishes,


    2. I’ve been wondering that as well. Just popped a little basil in there to see how it goes! I planted super late in the year, though, which is why I chose a planter. I may have to bring them inside our sunroom or make a little greenhouse!

      Josh with Ormus

  2. Hi!

    For the companion plants that increase productivity, do those need to be planted with the cannabis in containers? Or is the benefit only due to the plant material left to decompose on the soil?

    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hi there,

      For optimal results, both plant the companion plants in the same soil as the cannabis plants and also leave them to decompose on top of / in the soil. Happy gardening!

      With best wishes,


  3. karen kelly

    quick question….i have a ton of comfrey around my house-on purpose-We love how the bees Love it. I have found that every year if I don’t get right on it after the flowers begin to fall that the leaves and plants begin to get full of powdery mildew. How do you prevent that from getting on your cannabis?


  4. I have a question about planting nettle near the cannabis, if my cannabis is in a raised container, does the nettle need to be in the container, or could it be planted near it?

    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hi Shane,

      Thank you for your comment. For camouflage purposes, planting nettles nearby (in other containers or in soil) so that they form a screen or cluster should be sufficient, and if they are quite close then this should improve resin production also. For improving soil, nettles planted in the same container will have the opportunity to drop leaves and other plant material which can add beneficial nutrients to the soil. If you are prepared to scoop up fallen leaves and dump them into the container, this will accomplish the same ends. If you haven’t already, please do have a look at the Sensi Seeds Forum where you can ask questions and share your experiences with a thriving community of cannabis and gardening enthusiasts, so please don’t hesitate to join the community!

      With best wishes,


  5. Duvsy Danks

    Thanks for this informative post I have selected a phew candidates to try in a terrarium project I am going to trial with some cross polonated triple cheese

    1. Great article! Plant an herbal garden and leave room for the queen cannabis plants. They will definitely be taken care of by all the beneficial plants. And your garden will smell AMAZING!!! 😀

    2. I think the butterfly would lay its eggs on the mint because that is what the caterpillar likes to eat. I am going to plant all this stuff next year!

    3. There will always be butterflies but if mint is planted they go for the mint instead of the cannabis …

  6. Great article!
    Corn is my favorite camouflage, king grass as well and some shrub berries.
    Companion with perennial nitrogen fixers, bioaccumulators and microbes inoculation will build your soil… (best investment)

  7. Thanks for the awesome article– maybe now all the old men who laugh at my garden will reconsider! I’ve been informing people of the extra cost associated with monoculture, but mostly they see an extra labor and water cost with more non cannabis plants.

    1. Gregory C Smith

      Haters gonna hate. I’ve always preferred quality and if adding plants of another type increases resin production, that’s high end, end game thinking. Can’t wait till next spring.

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    The Sensi Seeds Editorial team has been built throughout our more than 30 years of existence. Our writers and editors include botanists, medical and legal experts as well as renown activists the world over including Lester Grinspoon, Micha Knodt, Robert Connell Clarke, Maurice Veldman, Sebastian Maríncolo, James Burton and Seshata.
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