After centuries, companion planting is again becoming a more and more popular tool for gardeners everywhere. Strawberry gardeners are no exception!
Strawberries benefit from a wide range of plants that improve their ability to take up nutrients from the soil and enhance their flavor. Other plants repel pests and attract pollinators.
Just as there are good companions for your beloved strawberries, there are bad buddies. These plants are actually harmful, resulting in fewer berries, flavorless fruit, and, in extreme cases, dead strawberry plants. Don’t grow these 20 plants near your strawberries!
First of all, 1. fennel makes a good companion to no plant, strawberries included. Because of its strong smell, fennel is great for repelling pests. Sadly it inhibits growth and suppresses flavor in most other plants. It even prevents the germination of some seeds.
Nutrients found in the soil are necessary for strawberry root, leaf, and fruit development. Deficiencies can usually be fixed by a timely application of fertilizer and compost. But no amount of fertilizing can help if the nutrients your strawberries need are being stolen by bad neighbors.
Brassicas are infamous for competing with strawberries for nutrients. Strawberries impair the growth of brassicas in return. The brassica family includes
Aside from the Brassica family, roses and melons also compete with strawberries for both space and nutrients. Strawberries are a member of the rose family so they have similar soil needs and can share diseases.
Asparagus has been touted as an excellent permaculture companion plant to strawberries, but they prefer different levels of soil acidity so maintenance and yield can be an ongoing struggle.
Sunflowers. Sunlight is necessary for photosynthesis. Sunflowers block too much sun so your strawberry plants can’t photosynthesize which in turn lowers fruit production.
Avoid growing other tall plants near your strawberries that will cast too much shade. On the other hand, careful plans made after sun-mapping your garden can provide needed shade to your strawberries in cases where extreme heat is a threat.
Try growing your strawberries near plants that build the soil instead of nutrient thieves. Legumes like beans, peas, and lupins fix nitrogen in the soil so it’s available to your hungry strawberry plants.
One trick of the companion planting world is to grow plants to trap pests nearby. For this to be effective, the pests have to like the trap plant better than your strawberries. Unfortunately, like humans, most pests prefer the delicious fruit of the strawberry to any other plant.
Tomatoes and other members of the nightshade family attract aphids and other harmful insects that love strawberries. These bad companion plants can attract and host species of nematodes that will feed on your strawberries as well.
To combat these pests, try planting these beneficial companion plants instead.
The final concern when it comes to companion planting is shared diseases. One of the most common strawberry plant diseases is verticillium wilt. In addition to inviting pests, nightshades can introduce the fungi that cause verticillium wilt. Protect your strawberries from these other bad neighbors that can spread verticillium wilt:
Bush or bramble fruits like gooseberries and young raspberries
Stone fruits like apricots, peaches, and cherries
Companion planting is beneficial
Don’t be afraid to interplant your strawberries. Protect your berry patch from pests, diseases, and lack of nutrients by avoiding the plants above and providing strengthening plant “friends”.
Strawberry plants have many good friends, including borage, lupin, onions, and thyme. Interplanting these and other beneficial plants will encourage healthy growth and a bountiful harvest!