Love strawberries? (Who doesn’t??) Improve your strawberry harvest by growing some of the strawberry companion plants listed below. You’ll save space and also increase the quantity and quality of your strawberries.
Growing strawberries is always a deliciously rewarding garden pursuit, but it’s even better when you get a bountiful harvest of this antioxidant-rich sweet fruit, a perfect addition to the permaculture garden. You can improve your harvest of strawberries by planting strawberry companion plants. Companion plants not only benefit your yield, they also allow you to harvest the companion plants as an added bonus.
Ready for oodles of juicy, flavorful strawberries plus yummy herbs and veggies? Below are 13 plants to consider growing as companions to strawberries.
This is a guest post written in conjunction with Elly Rey of BalconyGardenWeb.
What is Companion Planting?
Companion planting is a technique that places two or more plants next to each other for mutual benefits. It’s a savvy gardening strategy that improves fertility, protects your crops from pests, and fosters pollination for optimum growth.
Why Consider Strawberry Companion Plants?
Companion planting offers many benefits:
- Improves yield
- Protects companion plants from growth-inhibiting pests and insects
- Controls the growth of weeds near the plants
- Nurtures the health and quality of your strawberry crops
- Saves garden space by growing additional plants in vacant spaces
- Promotes pollination
- Diversifies your garden
Interested in getting more out of your garden and enjoying huge crops of strawberries? Here are some companion plants to consider growing with your strawberries:
1. Bush Beans
Growing beans with strawberries benefits your strawberry plants as they attract nitrogen-fixing bacteria to the soil. Also, some beetles that like to munch on the strawberries are repelled by bush beans. Plus beans of all sorts are delicious and nutritious, and they’re a great source of vegan protein. Go with your favorite green bean, or try some unusual fresh-eating varieties like dragon’s tongue or beans for drying like calypso or speckled cranberry. (Then enjoy them in one of these amazing bean recipes!)
Borage is considered one of the best companion plants for strawberries. It attracts pollinators and repels pests that can harm strawberries, improving yields while protecting strawberries from damage. Some gardeners believe borage also enhances the flavor of strawberries. Borage is also a delicious and useful culinary herb. Read more about how to use and grow borage here.
Caraway is another herb that benefits your strawberries by attracting insects that can defend them from harmful pests. Wasps and flies that caraway attracts cannibalize insects that commonly munch on strawberries.
Beautiful lupin flowers do more than beautify the garden. Like beans, lupin is a legume, helping to add nitrogen to the soil. Lupin’s flowers also attract pollinators, great for improving yields.
Spinach is a leafy green that produces saponins, which can benefit strawberries. The antifungal and antibacterial nature of spinach will help reduce the occurrence of disease. As spinach and strawberries root on different levels, they won’t compete for nutrients. Here’s what to know about growing spinach.
Strawberries and asparagus make the most of a perennial garden bed. They don’t root at the same depth and therefore don’t compete for nutrients. Here’s a great tutorial on planting asparagus and strawberries together from Joybilee Farm.
Onions’ pungent smell will discourage pests and you’ll get to harvest delicious onions. Other members of the allium family — chives, garlic, and scallions — also work as companions for strawberries.
Thyme is a beautiful addition to the garden and can be used as both a culinary and medicinal herb. As a companion plant to strawberries, it deters worms while attracting hoverflies, which snack on harmful pests such as scale, aphids, caterpillars, and thrips.
Thyme is one of the many herbs that can tolerate shade. Here are 35 more herbs that grow in shade to consider if you have a shadier garden.
Getting to see beautiful marigold blooms while watching strawberries ripen is a treat in itself. If that wasn’t enough, their fragrance repels pests that harm strawberries. They’re also among the more than 150 flowers you can eat.
While it’s not clear that rhubarb directly benefits strawberry crops, they are often grown together to make the most of growing space and because they taste wonderful together in jam, sauce, and crisp, as well as an incredibly yummy homemade fruit leather. Rhubarb is a fantastic perennial vegetable that can be used in many delicious desserts and savory dishes. Here’s how to grow rhubarb and uses for a bumper crop of rhubarb.
Gardeners love to grow lettuce with strawberries as the leafy salad staple improves the productivity of delicious fruit. The large, wide and lush leaves of lettuce also protect the flavorful strawberries by hiding it from the sight of birds.
In addition to their pest-deterring odor, chives can be used to fertilize strawberries as they are rich in potassium, calcium, and nitrogen. Just chop the leaves and drop them on the strawberry bed as a free strawberry fertilizer. Chives are easily grown from seed (see link above), but you can also often find a neighbor with plenty of chives to divide so you can get your starter chive plant for free. Here’s more on sources of free plants.
What NOT to Plant Near Strawberries
Interestingly, some plants don’t get along well with strawberries. Some may harm strawberries, and others may do poorly if planted too close to strawberries. Here are some plants to avoid planting near your strawberries:
- Nightshades such as tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant
- Cole crops like cabbage, bok choy, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, collards, kale
What do you like to grow with your strawberries?
Pin to save these strawberry companion plants for later!
Elly Rey is a content writer on BalconyGardenWeb. Their website serves millions of visitors with fresh and informative content every month.
Photo credits: skeeze, Pat Scrap