Companion planting strawberries is a great way to attract pollinators, control pests, enhance growing conditions, improve flavor, and use the available space. This is why choosing the right companion plant to help create a productive garden is important. So, what are the best plants to pair with strawberries in your garden?
Pair strawberries with spinach, lettuce, garlic, marigold, peas, beans, lupines, horseradish, thyme, or onions. Asparagus and borage are also great companion plants for strawberries. Plants like onions, for example, deter birds with their strong smell, thus preventing them from eating and destroying ready fruits.
Some companion plants will also provide shade for the strawberries in the afternoon light. In return, the strawberry plants will be used as mulch, keeping weeds at bay and the soil moist and cool.
11 Best Companion Plants for Strawberries
You can choose from vegetables, other fruits, and herbs to pair with your strawberries in a greenhouse, garden containers, or small vegetable garden.
Here are the best companion plants to pair with strawberries:
1. Onions (Allium cepa)
Onions are one of the most helpful plants in the garden, just as much as you need them in the kitchen. Their strong scent will inhibit birds and pests that will want to consume your strawberries before you get to harvest them.
Onions are herbaceous biennial in the family Liliaceae grown for their edible bulb. They produce white or pink flowers. An onion plant can reach a height of 20 inches and is grown annually, then harvested after one growing season. The plant requires sandy loam soil with a pH between 5.8 and 6.6.
2. Spinach (Spinacia oleracea)
The spinach plant leaves a substance called saponin, which improves the soil for the strawberries by reducing fungal and bacterial diseases that might affect the strawberry plants. Spinach plants are great companions if you plant them in strawberry patches between the strawberry plants.
Spinach is a leafy green plant best grown in either spring or fall. Spinach likes full sun but can tolerate partial shade. A matured spinach has a long taproot, which loosens the soil so the plant can be between 12 and 18 inches.
3. Lettuce (Lactuca sativa)
Lettuce is an excellent season plant that works well wing strawberries. The large leaves of lettuce can shield the bright red berries from unwanted pests or hungry birds.
Lettuce is believed to have originated from the Middle East and Asia Minor. It is a leafy biennial plant grown for its leaves used as salad. The leaves are either smooth or curly, red or green in color, and can grow up to 12 to 40 inches.
4. Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris)
Beans are natural nitrogen fixers that give the strawberry plant the essentials for healthier growth. Bean plants also improve the soil.
Beans are native to Minnesota and grow best in slightly acidic to neutral soil of pH 6 and 7. Using well-drained soil and compost manure at planting to increase soil matter is essential. Avoid fertilizers that contain weed killer.
5. Garlic (Allium sativum)
Garlic has a strong smell that scares away birds and other unwanted pests, making it a good neighbor for strawberries.
Garlic is a hardy perennial that grows best in well-drained soil with pH between 6.0 and 7.0 and moisture-retentive soil. It grows well with a medium to a high amount of fertilizer of 10-10-10 per sq ft. If the garlic plant is planted in spring, the growing period is short for excellent yields.
6. Peas (Pisum sativum)
Peas are a good companion plant for your strawberry plants because they help enhance the soil surrounding the plant with their nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
They require full sun and well-drained and fertile soil for satisfactory yield. Hot temperatures and water stress will reduce the quality and production.
Apply more than 1 inch of well-composted fertilizer per 100 sq ft. Plant the seeds 1.5 to 3 inches apart in the rows, 1 to 2 inches deep, and allow 18 to 30 inches between the rows.
7. Marigold (Tagetes)
Marigolds make excellent companion plants for the strawberry plant. Planting marigolds help keep pests and unwanted insects away from your lovely strawberries. They also help deter harmful soil nematodes.
Marigolds are best for borders, mass planting, edging, and container planting. They require full sun and grow well in slightly acidic at a pH of 5.5, well-draining loamy soil. Use a slow-release fertilizer formulated for annuals can be incorporated when planting.
8. Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
Thyme is an excellent addition to your strawberry plants as it deters unwanted worms, prevents the growth of weeds, and helps the soil retain moisture. When the soil is overly dry, your strawberries will not grow to their full potential and produce juicy berries.
Thyme is native to the Mediterranean, a small perennial shrub with tiny green leaves. Thymes do best in full sun but can tolerate drought and good drainage. It can reach up to a height of 20 inches. They prefer a soil pH between 4.5 and 8.0 with the hardiness of zones 4-7 to 9
9. Borage (Borago officinalis)
Borage is one of the best companions for your beautiful strawberry plants. This herb attracts pollinators and pest predators that prey on harmful pests that can cause significant damage to your strawberries. Borage is the best natural pest control you can find for your strawberry plants.
Borage is an annual plant with very hairy leaves and stems and sky blue flowers that are star-shaped. The borage plant can grow up to about 2 to 3 feet tall.
The plant grows best in dry, sunny areas and can be harvested by sowing three times at after four weeks, spacing 18 inches between rows and 12 inches between the plants.
10. Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)
Chives also have a strong scent that will cover the smell of your sweet berries, tricking the pests which only want to feed on the strawberry plants.
Chives are perennial herbs grown for their leaves, grow in clumps and produce large pale purple flowers. The plant can grow up to 18 inches in height and are most flavorful when fresh. Chives thrive well in full sun and well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. A pH of 6.0 to 7.0 is ideal, and over-fertilizing can be harmful.
Space the plants 6 to 12 inches apart.
11. Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis)
Asparagus is known to be a tremendous companion plant to grow near your strawberry plants. Both the roots of strawberry plants and asparagus grow differently and don’t hinder the other, allowing them to thrive well for an optimal growing season.
Asparagus is a perennial vegetable that originated from Northern Africa, Europe, and Western Asia. The asparagus plant can reach up to a height of 9 inches. These plants should be grown on non-compacted soil with good drainage and a firm hold of moisture. Soil pH should be between 6.2 and 7.0.
Plants NOT to Pair with Strawberries
Avoid planting plants like tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, melons, peppers, roses, and okra with your strawberries because these nightshades are prone to diseases and pests. Growing them near strawberry plants may increase the chances of spreading fungal infections.
Planting brassicas like broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, kohlrabi, bok choy, kale, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower near your strawberries should also be avoided in your strawberry garden. These plants are awful combinations because they will compete for nutrients and not get to thrive to their full potential. They also attract aphids and other dangerous insects that love to feed on strawberries.
Sunflowers block sunlight, making it impossible for your strawberry plants to photosynthesize, lowering their fruit production.
Fennel is an excellent pest repellant, but it can also stunt growth, making it hard for strawberries to grow with sufficient nutrients, vitamins, and juicy flavor. You would want to plant fennel separately and far away from your strawberries or food crops.
Companion planting blueberries and strawberries
You can plant blueberries and strawberries together in a raised garden for fruits. Ensure you leave enough space between the plants to reduce competition for nutrients. The strawberries are great ground cover plants and will deter weeds in your fruit garden while blueberries offer pest and disease resistance.
Both plants like acidic soil, so they are great to plant together in fruit gardens or even as landscaping plants.
- University of Minnesota Extention: Growing Strawberries
West Virginia Extention: Companion Planting