Co-planting Alyssum with Lettuce To Control Aphids

David Trammel's picture

Ran across this article on the USDA's website which discusses co-planting Alyssum among food crops, specifically Lettuce as a way to control aphids.

Flower Power Protects Organic Lettuce Fields

The flowering Alyssum attracts hoverflies, whose larvae are voracious predators of aphids. I like watching hoverflies too.

I've grown a variety of lettuces indoors and outside and have had problems with aphid in both situations. For obvious reasons, and that we have discussed regularly here, I don't use pesticides. Having a nature way to control a pest, and also to attract pollinators like hoverflies is very attractive. The article focuses more on large scale operations. Since most of us grow in much smaller areas, we could easily hand pick around the Alyssum, allowing it to continue to grow all season.

I wonder if we could identify other plants who attract predators. My squash was hit heavily by squash beetles this past year. What eats them? How could I attract them? I also wonder if I could plant a separator row of a few Alyssum plants between crops or would it be better to just intermingle them?

Food for thought (no pun intended, lol).

ADDED: I think I actually had this plant in my raised bed borders this year. The pictures look alot like something I had though the flowers were light blue.

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ClareBroommaker's picture

I did not know alyssum could do that. Cool. You could just mix in the seed with your lettuce seed if you broadcast lettuce seed....You know it is another mustard family plant, right?