Mad About Berries

Guide To Avocado Tree Companion Plants

Companion planting is an age-old gardening method where different plants are grown together for mutual benefit.

When it comes to avocados, companion plants can help improve growth, deter pests, or attract beneficial insects.

Updated: April 26, 2024.

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Here are some companion plants for avocados and their potential benefits:

Marigolds

Marigolds, specifically the French Marigold (Tagetes patula), have long been celebrated as an exceptional companion plant for various crops, and their compatibility with avocado trees stands out for several reasons.

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  • Nematode Control: One of the most prominent reasons for marigolds' reputation as beneficial companions for avocado trees is their ability to deter nematodes. These tiny, soil-borne worms can cause significant damage to avocado roots, leading to root rot, decreased water and nutrient uptake, and overall stress on the tree. Marigolds, especially the French variety, produce a substance known as alpha-terthienyl, which is toxic to nematodes. When planted near avocado trees, they can significantly reduce the nematode population, offering a natural defense against these pests.
  • Pest Repellent: Apart from nematodes, marigolds can also repel other pests. Their strong scent is not favored by many insects, acting as a natural repellent. This can reduce the need for chemical pesticides, making the environment more conducive for beneficial insects and organisms that might assist avocado trees in growth and fruit production.
  • Attraction of Beneficial Insects: Marigolds aren't just about repelling unwanted pests; they also play a vital role in attracting beneficial insects. For instance, they can lure predatory insects like ladybugs and lacewings that feed on aphids and other pests. These beneficial insects can provide a natural form of pest control, ensuring that the avocado tree remains healthy and less stressed by harmful invaders.
  • Soil Improvement: Marigolds have the ability to improve the general health of the soil. Their roots can break up compacted soil, allowing for better aeration. This is particularly beneficial for avocado trees which require well-draining soil to thrive and avoid diseases like root rot.

As one can see, marigolds serve as multi-functional allies in the garden, especially when grown near avocado trees.

From pest control to soil enrichment, their inclusion can foster a healthier, more balanced ecosystem, promoting robust avocado tree growth and bountiful fruit production.

Chives and Garlic

Chives and garlic are both members of the Allium family and offer a range of advantages when planted in proximity to various crops, including avocado trees.

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Their benefits as companion plants for avocados are rooted in their unique properties and interactions with pests and soil health.

  • Natural Pesticides: Both chives and garlic emit strong scents that can deter a variety of pests. Aphids, a common threat to many plants including avocado trees, are particularly repelled by the pungent aroma exuded by these Alliums. By planting chives and garlic near avocado trees, gardeners can establish a natural protective barrier that keeps these pests at bay, reducing the need for chemical interventions.
  • Fungal Prevention: Garlic has been observed to have antifungal properties. By incorporating garlic into the garden near avocado trees, the risk of certain soil-borne fungal diseases may be reduced. This is especially beneficial for avocados, which can be susceptible to fungal infections like root rot.
  • Enhancement of Soil Health: Chives, being perennial plants, can help improve soil structure over time. Their roots penetrate the soil, aiding in aeration, which benefits avocado trees that thrive in well-draining conditions. Moreover, as chives decay, they contribute organic matter, enriching the soil and benefiting neighboring plants.
  • Attraction of Beneficial Insects: Chive flowers are not only visually appealing but also attract a variety of beneficial insects like bees and predatory wasps. These insects play a pivotal role in pollination and pest control, indirectly benefiting the avocado tree by fostering a balanced garden ecosystem.
  • Easy Maintenance: Both chives and garlic are relatively low-maintenance, hardy plants. They require minimal care, which makes them suitable companions for avocado trees, especially for gardeners seeking to establish a more self-sustaining garden system.

In essence, chives and garlic are not just culinary delights but also formidable allies in the garden.

When placed near avocado trees, they can offer protection against pests, enhance soil health, and foster an environment where beneficial insects thrive, leading to healthier and more productive avocado trees.

Strawberries

Strawberries and avocado trees may seem like an unusual combination at first glance, but they can effectively coexist in a garden ecosystem, offering mutual benefits.

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Planting strawberries around avocado trees can be beneficial for several reasons.

  • Ground Cover: Strawberries are low-growing plants that spread horizontally, making them an effective ground cover. By covering the soil beneath the avocado tree, strawberries can help to maintain soil moisture, reduce the proliferation of weeds, and prevent soil erosion. This can be especially useful in regions prone to dry spells, as maintaining consistent soil moisture is crucial for avocado trees.
  • Efficient Space Utilization: Avocado trees have deep roots and grow vertically, while strawberries have shallow roots and grow horizontally. This means that they typically don’t compete for nutrients and space, making it an efficient use of garden real estate. Planting strawberries under avocado trees can maximize productivity in limited spaces.
  • Pest Diversification: While strawberries can attract certain pests, they might also serve to distract or divert pests away from the avocado tree. Furthermore, some of the pests that are attracted to strawberries might become prey for beneficial insects, which can then help in controlling pests that might otherwise harm the avocado tree.
  • Pollinator Attraction: Strawberries bloom with delicate white flowers that attract various pollinators, such as bees. Having an increased number of pollinators in the vicinity due to the strawberries can be beneficial for the avocado tree when it flowers, ensuring better pollination and potentially higher fruit yields.
  • Aesthetic and Culinary Appeal: Beyond the practical benefits, having strawberries growing under the canopy of avocado trees can be visually appealing, offering a contrast of height and color. Furthermore, both strawberries and avocados are popular culinary delights. Growing them together provides gardeners the satisfaction of harvesting two delicious crops from the same space.

Strawberries, when grown in tandem with avocado trees, offer a combination of functional and aesthetic benefits.

The relationship between the two plants can lead to a harmonious garden system where both plants support and benefit from each other, leading to a more efficient and productive garden space.

Lavender

Lavender, with its fragrant blossoms and silvery-green foliage, offers more to the garden than just aesthetic beauty.

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As a companion plant for avocado trees, lavender brings a myriad of benefits that promote a healthy and harmonious ecosystem.

  • Pest Deterrence: Lavender is well-known for its strong aromatic properties. The fragrance, while pleasing to humans, is not favored by many pests. It can act as a natural repellent against moths, flies, and even deer. By planting lavender near avocado trees, you can provide a protective shield against certain pests that might be attracted to the avocado tree, reducing the potential damage they can cause.
  • Attraction of Beneficial Insects: Lavender flowers are magnets for various beneficial insects, particularly bees and butterflies. These pollinators can play a vital role when avocado trees are in bloom, ensuring effective pollination and potentially enhancing fruit yield. Additionally, some predatory insects that feed on pests detrimental to avocado trees are attracted to lavender.
  • Soil Health: Lavender is a Mediterranean plant, which means it's accustomed to well-draining soils and can help in preventing soil compaction. Avocado trees similarly prefer well-draining soils to prevent root rot. Thus, planting lavender can be an indicator of suitable soil conditions for avocado trees.
  • Disease Prevention: The antifungal properties of lavender can benefit avocado trees, which are susceptible to certain fungal diseases. By having lavender as a companion, you introduce a natural measure against the spread of fungal pathogens.
  • Microclimate Regulation: Lavender, with its dense growth, can create a microclimate by providing shade to the soil, helping to maintain consistent soil moisture levels. This can be beneficial for avocado trees, especially in areas prone to sudden temperature fluctuations or intense midday heat.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: Beyond the tangible benefits, the visual contrast between the tall, sturdy avocado tree and the low, sprawling lavender can be quite captivating. The purple hue of lavender blossoms juxtaposed against the green of avocado leaves creates a visually appealing garden landscape.

Lavender serves as a multifaceted companion for avocado trees, offering both functional and ornamental advantages.

The synergistic relationship between these two plants can foster a garden environment where both thrive, resulting in a space that's not only productive but also delightful to the senses.

Borage

Borage (Borago officinalis), with its brilliant blue flowers and hairy leaves, has been a cherished herb in gardens for centuries.

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As a companion plant for avocado trees, borage offers various benefits that contribute to a thriving garden ecosystem.

  • Attraction of Beneficial Insects: Borage is a veritable magnet for beneficial insects. Its star-shaped flowers are particularly favored by bees, which play a critical role in pollination. When avocado trees are in bloom, having an increased number of pollinators in the vicinity due to the borage can ensure effective pollination and potentially result in a better fruit yield. Moreover, the flowers attract other beneficial insects like hoverflies and predatory wasps, which prey on harmful garden pests.
  • Deterrence of Harmful Pests: Besides attracting helpful insects, borage has the ability to deter or distract certain pests. Tomato hornworms, for instance, are known to be repelled by borage. Although these caterpillars are more of a threat to tomatoes, having plants like borage that deter such pests can help in maintaining a general pest-free environment, indirectly benefiting the avocado tree.
  • Enhancement of Soil Health: Borage has deep roots that can help in breaking up the soil, improving its structure and aeration. This is beneficial for avocado trees, which thrive in well-draining soils. Additionally, when borage leaves decompose, they enrich the soil with minerals, particularly calcium and potassium, which can be beneficial to avocado trees.
  • Edible and Medicinal Qualities: Beyond its companion planting benefits, borage leaves and flowers are edible, with a taste reminiscent of cucumbers. Historically, borage has been consumed for its medicinal properties, especially as a mood enhancer and anti-inflammatory agent. This adds an additional layer of utility to the plant when grown in the garden.
  • Aesthetic Value: The vibrant blue flowers of borage provide a splash of color to the garden, creating a visually appealing contrast to the rich green of avocado leaves. This can transform the space under and around avocado trees into a tapestry of colors, enhancing the overall aesthetic of the garden.

Borage offers a multifaceted approach to companion planting. Its ability to enhance soil health, attract beneficial insects, and deter pests makes it a valuable ally for avocado trees.

Coupled with its edible and medicinal benefits, borage emerges as a plant that not only supports the health and productivity of avocado trees but also adds richness and depth to the garden's ecosystem.

Obviously, there are other avocado tree companion plants that can be rather beneficial when growing nearby. These plants also include:

  • Basil
  • Yarrow
  • Tansy
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Nasturtium
  • Lettuce and Spinach
  • Comfrey
  • Coriander
  • Lemon Balm
  • Cilantro
  • Oregano, etc.

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What Not to Plant With Avocado - Avocado Antagonist Plants

When planning an avocado orchard or integrating avocados into a diverse garden, it is important to consider plant compatibility. Certain plants can negatively affect avocado trees due to factors such as competition for nutrients, water, light, or issues related to allelopathy (where plants release chemicals that inhibit the growth of surrounding plants).

Here's a list of plants that should not be planted next to avocados:

  • Eucalyptus Trees: Eucalyptus trees excrete substances into the soil that can be toxic to other plants, a phenomenon known as allelopathy. Their roots also aggressively compete for water and nutrients, which can be detrimental to avocado trees.
  • Black Walnut Trees: Black walnut trees release juglone, an allelopathic chemical that inhibits the growth of many plant species, including avocados. Even the decayed leaves and nuts can release juglone, continuing to affect the soil's composition and potentially harming avocado trees.
  • Fennel: Fennel is known for its strong allelopathic properties, which can inhibit the growth of many plants nearby. Its extensive root system can also compete intensely with avocado trees for nutrients and water.
  • Hackberries: Similar to eucalyptus, hackberry trees have competitive root systems that can deprive avocado trees of essential nutrients and moisture in the soil.
  • Tall Shade Trees (like Oak or Pine): While not necessarily allelopathic, tall trees can overshadow avocado trees, significantly reducing the sunlight available to them which is crucial for their growth and fruit production.
  • Alfalfa and other vigorous ground covers: These plants can be overly competitive for water, which is critical to the health of avocado trees, particularly in regions where water is scarce.
  • Cabbage and related Brassicas (like broccoli, cauliflower, kale): These plants might not directly harm avocados but require different soil pH and nutrient levels. Their diverse requirements can lead to suboptimal conditions for both if not carefully managed.
  • Sunflowers: Sunflowers have a deep root system that can compete with avocado roots for nutrients and water. They also tend to attract certain pests that could subsequently affect avocado trees.

Each of these plants has its unique characteristics that can interfere with the growth and productivity of avocado trees. It's essential to plan your garden layout with these considerations in mind to ensure healthy growth and optimal yield from your avocado trees.


Few Final Words

Remember, the effectiveness of companion planting can vary based on local conditions, pests, and other factors.

It's essential to observe how these companions interact with avocados in your specific region and make adjustments as needed. Also, consider the spacing requirements for mature avocado trees to ensure that companion plants don't compete too much for resources.



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