Friday, December 7, 2012

Trap Plant Species

The French Marigold (Tagetes patula) is one of the more well known Trap Plant Species

I recently wrote about Trap Plants and Trap Crops. I had said that I would publish a listing of trap plant species, so here it is, but before I begin, I need to say a few things.

First, the chart below lists the Main Crop species in bold first, and then the Trap Plant Species is listed underneath as a bullet. Finally, the pest that is drawn away from the Main Crop is listed after the Trap Plant Species.

Second, this list represents only plant pairings for which I could find solid research. There may be other legitimate trap plant species out there, but I did not find anything that proved it. If you come across a pairing, AND you have some research to back it up, please send it my way, and I will add it to my list.

Third, as I come across more research, I will be adding it to this list.

Fourth, and finally, a word about names.  I call these plants (as do many scientists) Trap Plants. Many people may call this Companion Planting, and they would be correct. To me, Companion Planting is any plant pairing that aids the growth of the main crop. It may also aid the growth of the companion plant as well, but that is getting into a whole new subject. Now a Companion Plant may provide nutrients, provide minerals, add fertilizer, attract beneficial insects, provide shade or structural support, or it may repel pests.  Trap Plant planting is a specific type of Companion Planting that draws a pest to themselves and away from the main crop. I hope that makes sense.  I plan to write about this in more detail in the near future as well.

(Listed under their respective Crop Species)


  • Eggplant – Whitefly
  • Squash – Whitefly


  • Chinese Cabbage – Cabbage Webworm, Fleahopper
  • Collards – Diamondback Moth
  • Indian Mustard – Cabbage Head Caterpillar
  • Marigold - Nematodes
  • Mustard – Cabbage Webworm, Mustard Aphid
  • Nasturtium – Aphids, Flea Beetle, Cucumber Beetle, Squash Vine Borer
  • Radish – Cabbage Webworm, Fleahopper, Flea Bettle, Root Maggot
  • Sesamum spp. – Diamondback Moth
  • Tomato – Diamondback Moth
  • Yellow Rocket – Diamondback Moth


  • Onion – Carrot Root Fly, Thrips
  • Garlic – Carrot Root Fly, Thrips

Cauliflower and Broccoli

  • Chinese Cabbage – Cabbage Fly
  • Marigold – Pollen Beetle
  • Sesamum spp. – Diamondback Moth
  • Sunflower – Pollen Beetle
  • Turnip – Cabbage Fly
  • Wild Mustard – Flea Beetle, Potato Leafhopper
  • Yellow Rocket – Flea Beetle


  • Beans and other Legumes – Fall Armyworm, Leafhopper, Leaf Beetles, Stalk Borer
  • Desmodium spp – Stemborer, Striga
  • Medic – Carrot Root Fly
  • Mustard – Stink Bug
  • Napier Grass – Stemborer
  • Sorghum – Corn Stalk Borer
  • Soybeans – Heliotis spp.
  • Sudan Grass – Stemborer
  • Vertiver Grass – Corn Stalk Borer


  • Alfalfa – Lygus Bug, Green Stink Bug
  • Castor Beans – Heliotis spp.
  • Chick Pea – Heliotis spp.
  • Corn – Heliotis spp.
  • Cowpea – Heliotis spp.
  • Fleabane – Tarnished Plant Bug
  • Okra – Flower Cotton Weevil (Bollworm)
  • Sharpleaf Groundcherry – Whitefly
  • Sunflower – Heliotis spp.
  • Tobacco – Heliotis spp.


  • Desmodium spp – Stemborer, Striga


  • Foxtail – Cranberry Girdler
  • Red Top – Cranberry Girdler

Cucurbits (Squashes, Melons, Gourds)

  • Blue Hubbard Squash (planted around Yellow Summer Squash) – Cucumber Beetle and Squash Vine Borer
  • Corn – Fruit Fly
  • Squash (planted around Cucumber) – Striped Cucumber Beetle
  • Marigold – Nematodes


  • Basil - Thrips
  • Marigold - Thrips


  • Castor Bean – leaf eating caterpillars
  • Sunflower – leaf eating caterpillars


  • Chives – Leek Moth


  • Marigold – Nematodes


  • Alfalfa – Lygus Bug
  • Clover – Lygus Bug
  • Crownbeard and other Wildflowers – Thrips
  • Melilot – Lygus Bug
  • Mugwort – Lygus Bug
  • Vetch – Lygus Bug


  • Desmodium spp – Stemborer, Striga


  • Canola – Lygus Bug


  • Squash – Corn Rootworm, Cucumber Beetle


  • Hot Cherry Pepper – Pepper Maggot
  • Lupin – Heliotis spp.


  • Horseradish – Colorado Potato Beetle
  • Marigold – Nematodes
  • Sorghum – Aphid
  • Soybean - Aphid
  • Tansy – Colorado Potato Beetle
  • Wheat – Aphid


  • Marigold – Snails


  • Pelargonium geranium – Japanese Beetles


  • Desmodium spp – Stemborer, Striga


  • Green beans – Mexican Bean Beetle
  • Rye – Corn Seedling Maggot
  • Sesbania – Stink Bug
  • Sickle Pod – Velvet Bean Caterpillar, Green Stink Bug


  • Alfalfa – Lygus Bug, Tarnished Plant Bug
  • Daisy – Lygus Bug
  • Mustard – Lygus Bug
  • Scented May Weed – Tarnished Plant Bug
  • Wheat and other grains – Dusky Wireworm
  • Yarrow – Lygus Bug

Sweet Potato

  • Corn – Wireworm
  • Wheat – Wireworm


  • Corn – Fruit Fly
  • Cucumber – Tomato Fruit Borer
  • Dill – Tomato Hornworm
  • Lovage – Tomato hornworm
  • Marigold - Nematodes

Vegetables (General)

  • Chervil – Slugs


  • Squash – Cucumber Beetle, Squash Bugs


  1. Excellent research!
    Thank you very much for sharing.


  2. I think and know this is very very useful to all! Thanks and now I will use this as my foot print going forward with my continues planning journey, much Thanks. *£*

  3. Thank you for another fantastic posting. Where else could anyone get that kind of information in such a perfect way of writing? I have a speech next week, and I was looking for more info. ,

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  5. Great depth and the details are appreciated. It would be nice to see the sources for this information and citations. One of my favorite trap crop sites is OISAT - We use Ground Cherries to trap Colorado Potato Beetles.

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