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Date:
Thursday July 4, 2024

Categories:
Blog

Avocado and Companion Planting: Best Companion Plants for Avocado

Introduction

Companion planting is an ancient gardening technique that involves growing different plants together to enhance growth, deter pests, and maximise space. When it comes to avocados, selecting the right companion plants can improve their health, yield, and overall garden ecosystem. This guide delves into the benefits of companion planting and identifies the best companion plants for avocados.

Avocado Companion Planting

Benefits of Companion Planting

  1. Pest Control: Certain plants can repel pests that might otherwise harm avocado trees.
  2. Soil Improvement: Companion plants can enhance soil fertility and structure, benefiting avocado growth.
  3. Biodiversity: Growing a variety of plants together creates a more resilient and balanced garden ecosystem.
  4. Pollination: Companion plants that attract pollinators can help improve avocado fruit set and yield.
  5. Microclimate Regulation: Companion plants can help regulate the microclimate around avocado trees, providing shade and reducing temperature extremes.
  6. Water Conservation: Certain companion plants can help retain soil moisture, reducing the need for frequent watering.
  7. Weed Suppression: Ground cover plants can suppress weeds, reducing competition for nutrients and water.

Top Companion Plants for Avocados

  • Citrus Trees

  • Benefits: Citrus trees, such as lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit, share similar soil and climate preferences with avocados, making them excellent companions. They can provide mutual shade and wind protection, creating a microclimate that benefits both tree species.
  • Example Varieties: Lemon (Citrus limon), Lime (Citrus aurantiifolia), Orange (Citrus sinensis), Grapefruit (Citrus × paradisi).

2. Legumes

  • Benefits: Legumes, including peas, beans, clover, and alfalfa, are nitrogen-fixing plants. They harbour bacteria in their root nodules that convert atmospheric nitrogen into forms usable by plants, enriching the soil and benefiting avocados. Additionally, legumes can improve soil structure and fertility.
  • Example Varieties: Peas (Pisum sativum), Beans (Phaseolus spp.), Clover (Trifolium spp.), Alfalfa (Medicago sativa).

3. Herbs

  • Benefits: Herbs can repel pests, attract beneficial insects, and provide ground cover, reducing soil erosion and moisture loss. They can also enhance the flavour of avocados by promoting a healthy growing environment.
  • Example Varieties: Basil (Ocimum basilicum), Dill (Anethum graveolens), Oregano (Origanum vulgare), Thyme (Thymus vulgaris).

4. Marigolds

  • Benefits: Marigolds are well-known for their pest-repellent properties, especially against nematodes, aphids, and other harmful insects. They also attract beneficial insects like pollinators and predatory bugs that help control pest populations.
  • Additional Perks: Marigolds add vibrant color to the garden and improve its aesthetic appeal, while also providing nectar for pollinators.

5. Comfrey

  • Benefits: Comfrey is a dynamic accumulator, meaning it draws up nutrients from deep in the soil and deposits them near the surface through its decomposing leaves. This process enriches the soil with essential nutrients and improves soil health.
  • Soil Health: Comfrey can be used as a green mulch or compost, providing excellent nutrients for avocado trees and other plants.

6. Alliums

  • Benefits: Alliums, such as garlic, onions, leeks, and chives, deter pests like aphids, beetles, and certain types of borers. They also possess antibacterial and antifungal properties, which can help protect avocados from diseases.
  • Example Varieties: Garlic (Allium sativum), Onions (Allium cepa), Leeks (Allium ampeloprasum), Chives (Allium schoenoprasum).

7. Nasturtiums

  • Benefits: Nasturtiums act as a trap crop by attracting aphids away from avocado trees. They also attract pollinators and beneficial insects such as bees and predatory wasps.
  • Additional Perks: Nasturtiums are edible and add beauty to the garden with their bright, colourful flowers.

8. Borage

  • Benefits: Borage attracts pollinators and beneficial insects, such as bees and predatory wasps, which can enhance avocado pollination and reduce pest populations. It also improves soil quality with its deep roots and adds organic matter when its leaves decompose.
  • Soil Health: Borage’s deep roots help break up compacted soil and improve soil structure.

9. Sunflowers

  • Benefits: Sunflowers provide shade to young avocado trees, helping to regulate soil temperature and moisture levels. They also attract pollinators, which can improve avocado fruit set.
  • Soil Improvement: The deep roots of sunflowers help to break up compacted soil and improve drainage.

10. Tansy

  • Benefits: Tansy repels a variety of pests, including ants, beetles, and aphids, with its strong aroma. It also attracts beneficial insects such as ladybugs and lacewings, which prey on common garden pests.
  • Additional Perks: Tansy’s bright yellow flowers add visual interest and can be used in flower arrangements.

11. Lavender

  • Benefits: Lavender deters pests like moths, flies, and mosquitoes, while attracting pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Its aromatic qualities add a pleasant fragrance to the garden and can have a calming effect.
  • Aromatic Perks: The fragrance of lavender enhances the sensory experience of the garden, making it a more enjoyable space to spend time.

Planting and Care Tips

  1. Spacing: Ensure adequate spacing between avocado trees and companion plants to avoid competition for resources.
  2. Watering: Adjust watering schedules to meet the needs of both avocados and their companions.
  3. Pruning: Regularly prune companion plants and avocado trees to maintain airflow and reduce disease risk.
  4. Mulching: Use organic mulch to retain moisture, suppress weeds, and enrich the soil.
  5. Integrated Pest Management (IPM): Implement IPM strategies by combining different companion plants that work together to deter a variety of pests.

Creating a Balanced Ecosystem

  1. Diversity: Incorporate a variety of plants to create a balanced and resilient garden ecosystem.
  2. Layering: Use vertical space efficiently by planting ground covers, understory plants, and taller trees together.
  3. Beneficial Insects: Encourage beneficial insects by planting flowers and herbs that attract them, promoting natural pest control.
  4. Seasonal Planting: Choose a mix of annuals and perennials to ensure that the garden remains productive and attractive throughout the year.
  5. Functional Guilds: Create plant guilds where each plant plays a role in supporting the health and productivity of the avocado tree.

Conclusion

Companion planting with avocados offers numerous benefits, from enhanced pest control and improved soil fertility to a more biodiverse and resilient garden. By carefully selecting and managing companion plants, gardeners can create a supportive environment that helps avocado trees thrive. Encourage readers to experiment with companion planting in their gardens and enjoy the synergistic effects of this sustainable gardening practice.