Growing juicy cannabis buds requires vigilant pest management. Aphids in particular love feasting on the tender leaves and stems of cannabis plants. But before reaching for harsh pesticide sprays, try harnessing helpful companion plants. Basil makes the ideal natural aphid deterrent to protect your cannabis garden gently and effectively. As a bonus, it repels other cannabis pests like spider mites. Let’s explore why pairing basil with your pot helps prevent aphid infestations.
Understanding Aphids and Their Threat to Cannabis
Before detailing how basil helps, let’s quickly cover aphids and the risks they pose to cannabis:
- Aphids are tiny sap-sucking insects that feed on the sugary fluids in the soft plant tissue of cannabis leaves and stems through piercing mouthparts.
- They multiply rapidly, with females reproducing asexually and giving birth to live young many times over. A heavy infestation can develop virtually overnight.
- The damage they inflict inhibits photosynthesis, weakens the plant, causes discoloration, and distorts growth. Heavily infested plants become sickly.
- Aphids secrete sticky honeydew while feeding that promotes mold and other infestations.
- Winged adult aphids can spread rapidly to other plants through simple contact or wind gusts. Infestations easily get out of control.
So aphid invasions require quick response to avoid losing your precious cannabis crop. Companion planting with pest-repelling basil provides an organic preventative solution.
How Basil Repels Aphids
Planting basil liberally throughout your cannabis garden or indoor grow space serves multiple protective functions against aphids:
- Basil contains high levels of linalool, citronellol, and other terpenes that naturally repel aphids through aroma and taste. Aphids avoid settling near these deterrent scents.
- Densely planted basil acts as a physical barrier that disorients aphids and blocks routes to reaching your cannabis plants nearby.
- The strong fragrance from basil’s essential oils help mask and confuse the scent of your cannabis plants, making them less easy for aphids to locate.
- Basil attracts predatory insects like ladybugs, lacewings, and hoverflies that feed on aphids. These beneficial bugs help control pest populations.
- Growing both basil and cannabis together increases biodiversity. Monocultures are more susceptible to pest invasions.
Including plenty of bushy basil plants creates a protective buffer zone around your precious cannabis crop. The aromatherapeutic compounds and physical presence team up to curb aphid appetites.
Companion Planting Best Practices
Follow these tips for successful companion planting with basil:
- Select basil varieties like cinnamon, lemon or Thai basil that contain extra-high levels of pest-repelling essential oils.
- Plant basil densely around the perimeter of cannabis plots to surround your crop with an aromatic first defense.
- Mix in some basil plants among cannabis rather than just around the edges to maximize the repellent effects.
- For indoor grows, have pots of basil interspersed around the room and ventilation intakes to prevent aphids from entering.
- Cut some sprigs of basil to rub directly onto your cannabis leaves. This applies concentrated oils right where needed most.
- Prune basil regularly to spur new growth. The young leaves release the strongest aphid-deterring scents.
- Start growing the basil 1-2 weeks before beginning cannabis seeds or transplants. Give the basil time to settle in.
Using basil as a natural pest protection ally minimizes risks to your cannabis while enhancing the wholesome terpene profile.
Harvesting Basil Alongside Your Cannabis
Companion planting also provides ongoing harvests of pesto-ready basil to enjoy:
- Regularly prune and harvest basil sprigs through the cannabis growing season to use fresh in summer recipes.
- Time pruning of mature basil plants to coincide with the flowering stage of your cannabis when trichomes start forming.
- On cannabis harvest days, also perform a final cutting of remaining basil plants. Process leaves immediately into pesto or preserve by freezing into ice cube trays for later use in cooked dishes once cannabis harvest cures.
- Turn harvested basil into infused olive oil, compound butter, or tinctures to enjoy soothing cannabis-basil edibles in tandem.
Maximize the yields of your cannabis-basil garden by harvesting fresh basil continually as you monitor your maturing cannabis buds until final trim.
Companion planting with pest-deterring plants like basil provides a win-win solution to protect your cannabis crop from aphid invasions organically. Combining your grows allows you to reap ongoing harvests of appetizing basil while keeping your marijuana plants safe from sap-sucking pests. Leverage helpful botanical synergies through smart companion planting in your cannabis garden. Let aromatic herbs like basil guard your girls naturally!
For insights into industry trends and best practices regarding Cannabis, our posts on Mississauga Announces the Authorization of Cannabis Stores within its Jurisdiction, BC Witnessed Continued Growth in Cannabis Sales Throughout the First Quarter of 2023, and Italian Army’s Mission: Produce More Cannabis offer valuable information.
We’ve covered the benefits of Cannabis in our previous post 20 Health Benefits Of Cannabis That Everyone Should Know.