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, and start companion planting strawberries today!

262 thoughts on “Companion Planting Strawberries”

  1. The strawberry bed that I planted last year has millions of what I think are wild garlic coming up. What should I do? I have tried to dig up some of them that are not too close to the berry plants but I don’t want them to overtake the whole area.

    • Michelle,
      Strawberries definitely do better without competing with adjacent plants or weeds. So, the best thing to do for strawberry production is to pull them up. Good luck!

  2. Can you advise proximity of blackcurrent and red current, are the beneficial, neutral or a problem, Thanks,

    Advice and thread have been really helpful, THnakyou.

    • Dave McG,
      Currants are significantly taller than strawberry plants, so they need to be positioned far enough away to not throw shade upon them. Otherwise, as long as they have adequate space, they can co-exist happily. Good luck!

  3. I have planted spring onions next to strawberries with great success. The spring onions actually lean towards the strawberries and grow at twice the rate they normally do

  4. In have been growing fuchsias in pots by my back door and need to replace the planters .my wife would like to grow some stewberrys .can I buy a pair of strawberry planters with the small pots on the side.put the strawberries in their. And my fuchsias on the top

  5. Morning! Thank you for an interesting article. I was wondering about your views of underplanting organic rose bushes with wild strawberries. I have some herbs and alliums interplanted with them to attract beneficial insects but would like something more substantial to prevent soil/manure erosion/leeching in winter when the roses are cut back. Thank you for any advice.

    • Jan,
      The root systems of rose bushes are typically much deeper than the root systems of strawberries. The rose root systems can go down to 3 feet, depending on the type you have planted, while most of the root system that nourishes the strawberries will be in the top 3 inches of soil. If your sun is at an angle that will allow the strawberries to receive full sun, they should do well in close proximity to roses as long as the soil also has adequate drainage. Good luck!

  6. Great article thanks. I have heard that you can’t plant certain things where you have previously planted potatoes,but I can’t remember if strawberries are one of those plants. And can strawberries be planted near asparagus or rhubarb?

  7. Hi.
    Thank you very much for your previous prompt answer.
    I know this is not the right page for this question but I will give it a shot.
    I planted the afforementioned 10 bare root runners I received last Saturday and after only two days, for two consecutive nights the temperature touched -4 C overnight.
    I know that strawberries are quite cold hardy, however I am worried because after only two days in the ground, the ground froze to stone! At least the top layer.
    What are realistically the chances of the strawberries staying alive?
    I have already cloches on the way, but I hope it is not too late…

    • Apostolos,
      If only the very top layer of the soil froze, the plants should still do fine. You do want to protect them as soon as possible, however! Good luck!

  8. Good afternoon from UK.
    You have persuaded me big time to use borage amongst my strawberries.
    I have 2 rows of 5 plants each (very small bed, however I need to plant a whole world of other vegetables as well!!).
    Row to row 70cm
    Plant to plant within a row 40cm.
    I want to put some borage plants between the 2 rows.
    1. How many borage plants?
    2. Will the borage plant create shade to impair strawberries development?
    3. What could I use supplementary between the straberry plants? WOuld onions or french mariglds offer any practical help for example?

    • Apostolos,
      You could plant the borage between rows, equidistant from each of the rows (35 cm from each row). One plant every 30 to 40 cm should be adequate. The borage shouldn’t grow so tall as to significantly impair the strawberry plants’ production. I wouldn’t plant anything between the plants within the rows. They should produce runners which you can allow to root for more strawberries! Good luck!

    • Just a FYI – borage will self seed throughout your garden. Not a bad thing as it is so beneficial and attractive to bees, but you may need to be aggressive with control. It is not a small plant.

  9. Has anyone had any luck companion planting red flowering annuals with strawberries to confuse the birds? I am trying this with red verbena this year because as soon as my strawbs start to colour up the blackbirds are having a nibble. I thought maybe the bright red verbena flowers dotted through the bed might help to camouflage the fruit so they can’t easily see it. Or is this wishful thinking?? Haha : )

  10. Hello… I am in FL, and have started a fall/winter garden that includes 6 tomatoes and 6 peppers all in separate containers. Prior to reading about non-companions, I recently started a separate 5 tiered planter with strawberries. The strawberries are located a couple feet from the tomato containers, and 6-8 feet from the peppers. Due to space and sun limitations, I really don’t have alternative locations, (I can maybe get an extra foot from tomatoes). With the exception of potential splashing do you think that being in separate containers will protect verticillium transfer? Thank you!

    • Matt,
      Yes, having them in separate containers should help prevent verticillium transmission. As a soil-borne pathogen, contiguous soil is the primary concern (although splashing can also transmit). Good luck!

  11. Hi, I am growing hazelnuts trees and strawberries but I am running out of space. My trees are still small only two years old. Space between trees is 12ft. And I have around 2000 trees. So my idea is to plant strawberis between on beds. Like two lines in a midle of each row. I was wondering if those two can grow together. Also I grow strawberries and tagetes (flower) together. On that way you can grow them for many many years on the same spot. Thanks a lot.

  12. I want to plant strawberries and citronella together in a big pot on my balcony. I wonder can this b done? Ive little room as i live in a unit. But would love to have a lil strawberry garden!! ? Plz help…

    • A-J,
      To my knowledge, there are no negative interactions between strawberry plants and citronella, as long as both have enough soil to thrive. Let us know how it goes, and good luck!

  13. I have strawberries and bush beans in a 3×3 raised bed. The bush beans have been rather prolific, and my strawberries are not getting a lot of direct sun all day. They do however seem to be fruiting; I wonder if I should just keep them there, or try to transfer mature, already-fruiting strawberries to an adjacent raised bed of their own?

    • tammy,
      I would recommend leaving them where they are. Transplanting during the middle of the fruit production is not a good idea as it puts extreme stress on the plants. Good luck!

  14. Can I grow a Gerbera flower plant with my strawberry plants?

    Just want to let you know your site is awesome. I know the Gerbera flowers aren’t listed as compatible, but alot of other plants aren’t either listed throughout your page. Thank you for all your Q&A expertise. I have researched my previous question sent in every wording that I can think of without bothering you. You have taught me a ton about growing strawberries. Thank you so very much.

    • Jen,
      Yes, you shouldn’t have any direct compatibility issues with those two. Good luck, and thank you for the kind words!

    • lynne boudreau,
      Four feet of distance should be sufficient if there is a barrier between the two. If the soil is contiguous, it poses a remote threat. Good luck!

      • Hi, i would love to use strawberry plants as a cover crop to suppress weeds in my veggie garden. The garden is big enough that there will be plenty of plants, so if they are only 50% productive, I should still get plenty of strawberries. The problem is that I’d like to plant tomatoes and peppers. I was also hoping to grow it under blueberry bushes. If those plants will hurt the strawberries in a small area around themselves, that should be okay. Will diseases transfer through Runners to otherstrawberry or other even non strawberry plants nearby?

        • Wsl,
          If you have verticillium in your soil, it will kill the strawberries, eventually. The shade from blueberry bushes will also impair strawberry production if they are planted beneath them. Also, unfortunately, strawberry plants are a relatively ineffective weed suppressor, which is why you have to mulch them to keep the weeds out of your strawberry bed. I’m sorry!

  15. One of my Cub Scouts told me his grandfather taught him not to plant strawberry plants next to tomato plants. The reason was tomato plants have a natural insecticide, and if you slightly bend a fruitless branch just until it snaps, it produces a natural insecticide that kills the tomato worm. But it will also kill the strawberry plants if they are close by.

    • Diane,
      I’ve never heard of that; it is interesting! The main reason they should be kept separate, however, is to prevent cross-contamination with a pathogen they commonly share. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Thanks! So even though a tomato plant is vertical growing it shouldn’t be planted in an already established strawberry bed?

    • Jill Taylor,
      It isn’t so much the plant itself that can harm the strawberry plants, it is the pathogens that can be lurking with them. To be absolutely safe, you should keep tomatoes and strawberries away from one another. Good luck!

  17. I bought 25 bare roots strawberry plants without knowing that they shouldn’t be planted where I’ve had tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. My garden plots have all have those plants in them and are the only areas I can plant. Is there anything I can do to the soil to minimize the risk? I plan on tilling, but do you have any other suggestions? Thanks!

    • Amelia,
      It is very difficult to rid the soil of the causative organisms, if they are in fact present. You may just want to risk losing the plants and plant them there anyway. If the soil isn’t contaminated, they’ll do just fine. Good luck!

  18. I built a 3 story tower with 3 25 lb container and filled it with strawberries. On the top I added bib lettuce, chives, stevia, gynura and everything is going awesome so far.

    • Ray,
      Yes, earth worms can live (for a while) in total peat. However, if you leave earthworms in 100% peat for more than a couple of weeks, they will start to succumb to protein poisoning and will die. So, if you want to use pure peat, you have to completely change out the bedding every 2 weeks without fail to keep the little fellows alive. Good luck!

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