Companion Planting Strawberries

companion planting strawberriesCompanion planting has a long, storied history.  Individuals have noted benefits (and drawbacks) when certain plant species are grown in close proximity to one another for hundreds of years, and many books have been written on the topic.  Interestingly, the scientific causes of many of these relationships are not fully understood.  But, the principles work and the beneficial symbiotic relationships can be measured among many types of plants.

The increased biodiversity is usually beneficial, but the planting of various plants in close proximity often yields multifaceted benefits.  Two of the primary benefits are pest control and increased yield.  There are many resources available to help develop a garden (or even a permaculture) that thrives based on mutual assistance and inter-connectivity of well-planned companion planting layouts.  The purpose of this post, however, is to deal specifically with companion plants for strawberry plants and what benefits can be achieved by companion planting strawberries in your garden.

Companion Planting Strawberries

To begin, it is important to remember the nature of strawberry plants.  They are prolific, can be somewhat invasive, and most varieties will quickly form a thick matted row made up of strawberry runners if left alone.  Because of this, it is best to think in terms of which plants can help strawberries grow, not the other way around.  While strawberry plants themselves hurt relatively few other plants (the exception will be discussed below) by being planted near them, their rapidly expanding range can end up depleting nutrients or competing with other plants if they aren’t actively monitored.

Strawberry Companion Plants

If there is a magic bullet of companion planting, it is likely the herb borage.  Borage helps a vast number of other plants.  To learn more about its interaction with strawberries, see this article on strawberry plants & borage.  Aside from borage, however, there are several other plants beneficial to strawberry plants.  They are:

Borage (Borago officinalis)

This herb is a virtual magic bullet when it comes to companion planting.  To learn about its relationship with the humble strawberry, click the link just above for detailed information.

Bush Beans (Phaseolus)

The common bean is known benefactor of strawberry plants.  It repels some beetles and hosts nitrogen-fixing bacteria which serve to fertilize the soil for better strawberry yields.

Caraway (Carum carvi)

Caraway is another herb that indirectly benefits strawberry plants by being nearby.  The primary benefit of caraway is that it attracts parasitic wasps and parasitic flies that are voracious predators of many common strawberry pests.

Lupin (Lupinus)

This flower is actually a legume.  Like the beans mentioned above, it also fixes nitrogen in the soil, thereby fertilizing for surrounding plants, including strawberries.  It also attracts honeybees.

Strawberry Companion Planting: Danger!

Not all plants will even tolerate the presence of strawberries, however.  The most notable garden plants that are harmed by the proximity of strawberry plants are those related to the cabbage.

Cabbage Family (Brassica oleracea)

Avoid planting strawberries near members of Brassica oleracea.  The cabbage family plants will have their growth impaired by strawberry plants close by.  The major members of the cabbage family include: broccoli, broccoflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, Chinese broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, and Romanesco broccoli.

Verticillium-Susceptible Species

The most common of these plants are tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, and peppers. If these plants (or melons, okra, mint, bush or bramble fruits, stone fruits, chrysanthemums, and roses) have been grown in the same spot recently (within 5 years), it is best to grow your strawberry plants elsewhere.  Otherwise, the strawberry plants may be infected and die themselves.

Companion Planting Strawberries: Conclusion

The strawberry companion plants listed here are the well-established ones that have consistently demonstrated the mentioned benefits or drawbacks.  However, there are surely more plant species out there that will interact either positively or negatively with strawberry plants.  If you are aware of other plants that interact with strawberries, share your knowledge!  You can tell us about your experiences by leaving a comment below or sending a message here.

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70 comments to Companion Planting Strawberries

  • Mr. Strawberry

    sheri noll,
    You might want to try a liberal application of diatomaceous earth. Good luck!

  • sheri noll

    I planted tomatoes and peppers in a raised bed this spring. They did very well however I have never seen flies so bad. Baby flies hatching and hatching all over and around the raised beds. I went through 4 fly bags that caught them. More hatching as I speak. What else can I do or plant that would negate them. Help!! Thank you.

  • Mr. Strawberry

    Wayward Farms,
    Thank you for the information! You’re welcome! And, good luck!

  • Wayward Farms

    Mr. Strawberry,

    I’m in my second year with 4 12×4 raised beds of strawberries. We put in 200 plants last year. We planted Mitsuba with our strawberries, their first year, we were told this will help with the Verticillium wilt. The strawberries did great and the Mitsuba taste good and attracts honey bees when it flowers too. When we first planted we noticed, what we came to the conclusion as being, verticillium wilt. After we planted the Mitsuba the plants seemed to clear up and we dont have a problem with the vericillium or the white powdery mildew. Maybe we got lucky, maybe it will work for others too.

    This year we are having problems with bugs. I know i need to thin my beds and this will help some. I also now plan to add some bush beans and maybe some borage to help as well.

    Thank you for all the information you have provided.

  • Mr. Strawberry

    Jeff Garden,
    You are most welcome! Hopefully the information here will help your class, and, of course, thanks for sharing the site with them. Here is a recipe for you! Good luck!

  • Jeff Garden

    Mr. Strawberry, this is a terrific site! Thank you for putting so much authoritative information in one place. I intend to share your site with my plant propagation class.

    I am in my third year of growing strawberries in a 4×8′ raised bed from 10 original plants. If I had seen your site earlier, it would have saved me a year getting to full productivity.

    Now, I’m going back to try to find a recipe for strawberry-rhubarb jam, which is my absolute favorite taste combination!

  • Mr. Strawberry

    Rocky,
    As far as the strawberries go, they should do fine with those neighbors, as long as they have adequate soil/nutrients and sunlight. Good luck!

  • Mr. Strawberry

    Doris,
    Yes, indeed! It is right here, with my response just above it. Thanks!

  • Rocky

    Hi,
    Can you tell me how this sounds: I just planted a new garden area this spring. I have lupine daylily and echinacae in the back with iris and columbine in middle and front. On the edge I have a hardy hibiscus in back and alpine non runner type strawberries on the border. I’m kind of a gardening newbie. Do you foresee problems with my plant choices?

  • Doris

    Hello,
    Just sent you a question regarding mint in my strawberry patch…and just now noticed that it is now longer there. Did you receive it?
    Thanks,
    Doris

  • Mr. Strawberry

    Doris,
    Mint, while pleasantly aromatic, can turn into a garden menace. It can be quite invasive. The best way to get rid of it is to carefully pull it all up by the roots. Good luck!

  • Doris

    Hello,
    Last year I planted some mint in a corner of my strawberry patch…and this year, argh, the mint seems to be taking over the patch. Obviously, I’m just a beginner learner, but a mistake I won’t be doing again. Is there any way I can get rid of the mint w/o ruining all my strawberries?
    Thanks.

  • Mr. Strawberry

    MaryW,
    Yes, they should happily cohabit. Good luck!

  • Mr. Strawberry

    Tracy,
    If you are using separate pots, you should be fine. Good luck!

  • MaryW

    I would like to plant some Asparagus Beans(an asian long bean) in my 4×10 bed that is half filled with strawberries. Would those two things get along ok? I’m having a hard time finding info on it.
    Thanks!

  • Tracy

    Hi, can strawberries be companion planted with melons on trellises? The melon vines won’t be allowed to shade the strawberries. It sounds like there might be a Verticillium issue but I’d be doing this in big pots and would rotate both the strawberries and melons out each year.

  • Mr. Strawberry

    Auntieclimactick,
    It is worth a shot. Be sure to put the trellis northward of the strawberry plants so that they aren’t shaded. Good luck!

  • Mr. Strawberry

    Holly Carter,
    It is not harmful. Good luck!

  • Auntieclimactick

    I have a OutSunny 15x 7 greenhouse. We are in a new location this year but previously at our old house I battled DEVIL squirrels and DEMON bunnies and never harvested a single strawberry! I have 2, 3.5 x 6 foot beds in my greenhouse and have seen one lone squirrel here, but was hoping to grow strawberries in one bed and tomatoes or squash (to protect them from the damp humid weather here and thus avoiding the dreaded fungus and powdery mildew that we frequently get in a season here in OHIO). I was going to trellis squash in the same beds with the strawberries, will it work?

  • Holly Carter

    Is it good or at least not harmful to plant strawberries next to cilantro plants?

  • Mr. Strawberry

    Desert21rose,
    Thanks! I’m glad your strawberries are doing well for you. You don’t need to plant anything to give the strawberries shade. They love full sun. This page should help you know what to do next: Growing Strawberries Guide. Good luck!

  • Desert21rose

    Great site, I planted onions and strawberries together in a raised bed amazing results. And leeks and strawberries in the other, again good results but not as good as onions. Now it’s too hot and they are stopping producing and I want to protect them for next year. What can I plant to give shade? I was thinking if summer squash is ok can I try watermelon?

  • Mr. Strawberry

    hydroponics,
    The contagious plant disease Verticillium Wilt is common with tomatoes and peppers. It is for that reason you don’t want to plant strawberries where those others have been planted. If you purchased disease-free tomato and pepper plants, however, and have maintained a clean system, you can plant them in the same hydroponics system. If the pathogens are present in the system, however, you will likely lose your strawberry plants to infection. Good luck!

  • hydroponics

    My hydroponics system has numerous plants of many varieties. Is there a risk to having tomatoes and peppers near and sharing fertilized water with strawberries? There is no direct contact. Any other specific tips to hydroponic strawberries you have to offer would be appreciated.
    Thank you

  • Mr. Strawberry

    Patricia,
    As both blueberries and strawberries are perennial, you can run into problems with the blueberry bushes growing and shading the strawberries (that prefer full sun and need it to produce well). But, apart from that, you can try it and see how it goes. Good luck!

  • Patricia

    I want to plant blueberries in my raised bed, with blueberries. I read something somewhere that they are a good match, but I haven’t seen overwhelming information to feel confident about it. What do you think?

  • Mr. Strawberry

    New to Vertical,
    If they are in their own contained pallet beds, you should be fine. You do want to space them far enough apart so that rain splash from one can’t land on or in the other, however. Good luck, and let us know how it goes for you!

  • New to Vertical

    Hi! I’m starting a vertical pallet bed of strawberries and a vertical pallet bed of kale, lettuce, spinach, baby carrots, and radishes. I’d intended for them both to stand next to each other. Will I need to put a significant amount of space between them, even though they aren’t sharing soil?

    Thanks!

  • Straw Berry

    TundraGardener,
    That could work! Here is another system you might want to consider: Transplanting Strawberry Plants. As for renovation, adding aged manure or compost to increase the organic matter in the soil helps. You can also add organic or conventional fertilizers depending on your preferences. See the Growing Strawberries reference page for more. And, good luck!

  • TundraGardener

    We currently have an 8×16 raised strawberry bed. This spring we plan to expand it to 24×16. Then, we’ll rotate each half back and forth to plant strawberries in at 3 year cycles, giving a side a year off before replanting. For that year off, I was thinking of planting borage or white clover as a cover crop to try to get the soil back in shape for planting the next year. Would you recommend one over the other, or is there something else I should do? I suppose replacing the soil altogether would be an option too, but I’d rather not do that.

  • Straw Berry

    Chris,
    It is best to avoid putting them in close proximity, if possible. If it must be done, try to space them by 3 feet, or more. Good luck!

  • Chris

    Hi, crop rotation means my brassicas should be next to the strawberry bed this year. How large a space should I leave between them please?

  • Straw Berry

    rdtuck,
    Yes, technically, you planted the strawberries in the “wrong” spot. Since tomato plants are susceptible to Verticillium infection, it may be that the soil in which you planted your strawberries harbors the organism. If so, it may affect your strawberries, depending on the resistance of the varieties you purchased. However, it may be fine if Verticillium isn’t present. At this point, it would probably be best to just see what happens. If they do fine this season, great! If not, you’ll need to replant in a different area next season. Bush beans can be planted near strawberries with benefit as discussed above. Sunflowers can shade strawberries, which prefer full sun, so be careful with their placement. Good luck!

  • Straw Berry

    Sandra,
    It should be fine as long as you plant them far enough apart so that each plant has enough soil from which to draw nutrients. Good luck, and let us know how it goes!

  • rdtuck

    Am I to understand that, I may have planted my strawberries (plants,late last fall)in the wrong place due to it being where I had previously been growing tomatoes? I also want to companion plant with bush beans and some tall type sunflowers?

  • Sandra

    I was considering planting some nasturtium in my strawberry bed. nasturtium seems to be listed as a good companion plant for just about anything. Thoughts?

  • Straw Berry

    worksalot,
    Thanks for the information. I’m sorry your strawberry plants died, but good luck this year!

  • worksalot

    I had some strawberrys that did well with lavender. But the lavender grew so big I thought that I should move the lavender. After this the strawberrys and the lavender both died. A mole might have helped the lavender die. I will plant strawberries in a raised bed this year and try some companion plants with them.

  • Straw Berry

    mid east gardener,
    As long as each plant has enough space to draw the nutrients it needs from the ground, they should do fine in close proximity. Good luck!

  • mid east gardener

    hey guys , i have a raised bed and am planning to plant in it strawberries ,carrots ,cos lettuce , and onions ! do these 4 plants go well together , i would really appreciate it if you answered me ASAP ! because am planning to sow the seeds in 3 days ! thanks .

    ;)

  • Straw Berry

    Brook,
    I am not aware of any negative interactions with either pineapples or onions. So, give it a shot! Come back and let us know how things turned out. Good luck!

  • Brook

    Zone 9: I have 20 plugs of Camarosa strawberries arriving on Thursday. Can I plant these in a 4×4 raised bed with a small pineapple (very small plant at this point in its life) located in the center of the bed. Also, I have some onions planted throughout….these will be harvested before the strawberries start sending out runners. In the meantime, will the onions and pineapple be good companions while the strawberries over winter?

    Thank you!

  • Mr. Strawberry

    Cindy,
    Thanks for the info!

  • Cindy

    This spring I stuck two leftover kale plants in ten corner of my strawberry patch. The kale did well but all the strawberry plants for 6 feet around disappeared! Glad to have found your site!

    Cindy

  • Mr. Strawberry

    Melinda,
    It should be ok to plant your strawberries alongside cucumbers as long as their is enough soil and space for both to flourish. Good luck!

  • Melinda

    Would planting strawberries with cucumbers be ok or not recommended?

  • Mr. Strawberry

    Sharon,
    You should plant them in a different location altogether. The other Verticillium-susceptible plants (eggplant, tomatoes, etc.) can easily spread the pathogen if planted too close. I’d recommend a minimum of 5 feet away. Good luck!

  • Mr. Strawberry

    Gerhard,
    You should not plant them with the bramble fruits. The others shouldn’t pose any problem. Good luck!

  • Gerhard

    Hi, what about planting strawberries close to blue/black/raspberries and tansy an rue?

    Thanks

  • Sharon

    I planted strawberries (one June bearing and one everbearing) for the first time this year in between eggplants and tomatoes but was later told not to plant them near either of those. How far away should I transplant them from where the tomatoes and eggplants and when can I transplant? Both have daughter plants that have come off the parent plant.

  • Mr. Strawberry

    Renee,
    You can do that, but strawberries do best in full sun. Placing them under your lemon tree might stunt their growth and diminish their productivity somewhat.

  • Renee

    I would like to transplant some strawberries and put them under my lemon tree, would you recommend this?

  • Mr. Strawberry

    francoise smith,
    Yes, they will grow together. Good luck!

  • francoise smith

    Will rhubarb and strawberries do well together? Maleny, Qld hinterlands

  • Mr. Strawberry

    Bradley J,
    Yes, you can plant both strawberries and asparagus in your garden.

  • Bradley J

    I want to plant both asparagas a d strawberries in my garden. Are they comparable if planted together?

  • Mr. Strawberry

    Colleen,
    They shouldn’t interact harmfully with one another. Good luck!

  • Colleen

    I’m thinking of planting strawberries with chocolate mint (contained in a pot) and stevia in a raised bed, and then with a summer squash and borage in another bed. Should either of these combinations be discouraged?

  • Mr. Strawberry

    Sharolyn Schuler,
    Echinacea should be neutral to strawberry plants. So, it should be ok to plant it alongside strawberries (as long as there is enough room for both), but there shouldn’t be any notable benefit or detriment from doing so. Good luck!

  • Sharolyn Schuler

    I’m wondering whether or not it would be beneficial or harmful to plant Echinacea in the same raised bed as my strawberry plants?

  • Mr. Strawberry

    Ron S,
    Either should be ok, but I’d go with the Rosemary/Sage bed personally. Good luck!

  • RonS

    I am going to transplant some strawberries to make room for a potato patch. I can either transplant them to a bed that currently has Rosemerry and Sage, or another bed that has Oregano and Chives. Which would be better?

  • Mr. Strawberry

    Kristen,
    Typically, companion plantings do better when the plants are both in contiguous soil. But, it can’t hurt to try your method and see how they do! As for violets and strawberries, I am not sure. Are you sure your wild strawberries are actually strawberry plants? If they have yellow flowers, they are a weed that often grows alongside violets. If they have white flowers, they probably are indeed strawberries. Either way, good luck!

  • Kristen

    I have a two part question

    1) This spring my husband and I are planning on making a raised bed out of cinder blocks for our strawberries. Some of the plans I have seen online have the holes in the cinder blocks used for smaller plants like herbs or flowers. Would the companion plants be okay if planted in the cinder block holes? I know ideally the lupines would be better if they were actually in the bed so they can share the wealth of nitrogen fixation.

    2) I’ve noticed a mixture of violets and wild strawberries growing together in different areas of our lawn. Would violets also be a good companion plant for our raised strawberry beds?

  • Mr. Strawberry

    vicky,
    There are a host of factors that affect strawberry yields. In your case, the size of the container might have played a part, or the variety of strawberry might have been to blame for the poor production. This might be helpful: Strawberry Plants Producing Runners But No Strawberries. Good luck!

  • vicky

    I planted bush beans and strawberries in the same container. I wound up with lovely plants but not much produce, some beans and a strawberry every now and then. Advice?

  • Mr. Strawberry

    River,
    “Close” varies. Generally, plants that have a negative impact on one another need to be spaced far enough apart so that the ecosystem effect of each plant remains virtually completely separate from each other. And, to get the benefit of complimentary plants, they need to be close enough to ecologically influence the neighbor plant. So, for something with a wide reach like cabbage, several feet would be needed at minimum. For plants like carrots that have a much smaller ecological footprint, less space would be required. In other words, the spacing varies for each plant in question.

  • River

    When we talk about companion planting and people say ” Don’t plant these plants ‘close’ to these ones.” What does “close” mean? A foot? Six feet? How far away should strawberrys be from the cabbage family? What about other “bad Companions”? How far away is far enough when they shouldn’t be together?

  • Holly

    I have found spinach to be a great companion for strawberries. They take nutrients from different levels of the soil, so they don’t compete with one-another, plus, the spinach grows taller quickly and provides extra shade for the strawberries. I have found my strawberry harvest continues later into the heat with the addition of spinach right in the same bed of my strawberries.

  • Nemo -- N'rn WI

    I have a fifteen-foot wide space betwixt the road and my fence. Six-or-so years ago, I planted a few lupine plants in it. They have done very well. I was just out clipping the green seeds off today, and noticed all the wild strawberries underneath the lupine. The berries were generally half-an-inch, the biggest I’ve seen wild strawbs. As I clipped and munched, I decided I should move a couple lupine into my strawb patch in the garden.

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