Strawberries are easy and fun to grow in your garden at home and make an excellent addition to some of our favorite recipes. To help your crop of homegrown strawberries grow as strong and healthy as possible, try companion planting strawberries with other plants with mutually profitable qualities.
Companion planting is a valuable garden design strategy used for centuries to take advantage of the favorable interactions between certain plants to foster a healthy garden environment. While some plants attract pollinators and various predatory insects, others repel numerous types of garden pests. Specific plant pairings positively affect one another’s growth and produce better tasting fruit when grown together.
Not only are strawberries a sweetly delicious summertime treat, but they’re also incredibly nutritious. Strawberries contain many essential nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin K, antioxidants, fiber, folic acid, potassium, and manganese. They support healthy digestion and heart function, regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and lower blood pressure.
- What to Plant with Strawberries
- Companion Planting Strawberries to Attract Beneficial Insects
- Companion Planting for Strawberries to Repel Pests
- Strawberry Companion Planting for Compatibility
- What Not to Plant with Strawberries
What to Plant with Strawberries
When planning your garden layout and choosing what to plant with strawberries, there are several crucial factors to keep in mind. It’s critical to pair plants together that have similar needs concerning water, light, and nutrients.
If you have limited or no garden space, you may wonder can you grow strawberries inside? Yes, you can, as long as you meet their growing requirements.
Outdoors, spacing between mature plants is an essential consideration so that the plants’ growth doesn’t get stunted by overcrowding.
Strawberry plants need full sun to produce fruit, meaning they should receive around six to eight hours of direct sunlight daily. This includes the best way to grow strawberries from seeds, as well as planting seedlings.
However, there are certain varieties of alpine strawberries that grow in partial shade. There are over 600 varieties of strawberries, which range from USDA hardiness zones 5-10.
Consistent watering is paramount for growing a healthy crop of strawberries. They need about one to two inches of water per week, and more during hot summer periods.
Mulching around your strawberry plants helps retain moisture, suppress weed growth, and protect the surrounding soil from wind erosion.
Spacing between strawberries and their companion plants should be approximately 18 inches to avoid overcrowding as the plants mature.
Strawberry plants prefer to grow in locations with a neutral to slightly acidic soil pH. Fertilize them monthly with an organic all-purpose fertilizer.
Strawberries make outstanding companions for many other plants, both in your vegetable garden and around ornamental landscape beds.
They’re ideal for interplanting with taller crops like asparagus. Plant rhubarb next to strawberries to act as a living mulch since they have shallow roots. They also grow nicely as ground cover or along retaining walls where they trail over the sides.
Companion Planting Strawberries to Attract Beneficial Insects
Numerous types of insects play a critical role in maintaining a healthy garden. From pollinating flowers to preying on garden pests, biodiversity helps to minimize the effort it takes to keep your plants thriving.
Various aromatic herbs and flowers attract pollinators like bees and butterflies. Other plants act as hosts for predatory insects like hoverflies, ladybugs, and lacewings to lay their eggs.
Borage is one of the absolute best companion plants for the home vegetable garden. The tender young leaves and flowers are edible and have a sweet, cucumber-like flavor.
Pollinators love the star-shaped borage flowers, which are pink when they bloom and fade to blue within a few hours.
Borage leaves also serve as a habitat for predatory insects like lacewings and parasitic wasps to lay their eggs. In addition, borage repels cabbage worms and tomato hornworms.
Borage also reportedly improves the flavor of strawberries and helps nearby plants be more resilient and recover more quickly from environmental stress.
Large borage leaves are useful as mulch around the vegetable garden. As they break down, they add valuable nitrogen and other nutrients to the soil.
Borage is a large, fast-growing herb that reaches between one and three feet tall and up to 18 inches wide when mature.
It readily self-seeds, so make sure you keep its mature size in mind when companion planting for strawberries. Remove spent flowers to avoid having volunteer seedlings next season.
If you’re looking for something productive to make with the leaves and branches you trim off your borage plants, try making DIY fertilizer tea. Borage flowers, leaves, and stems are packed full of essential vitamins and nutrients that help your plants thrive.
Strip the leaves and flowers off of the borage stems, and chop the stems into medium-sized pieces. If desired, add other herbs like chamomile, dandelion, and yarrow for added benefits.
Fill a bucket with your herb mixture and water at a rate of one part plant matter to ten parts water.
Secure the lid on the bucket and allow the mixture to steep for two or three weeks in a cool, dry location. Keep your fertilizer tea refrigerated for up to six weeks.
To use the solution as a root drench, mix one-third cup of fertilizer tea with two gallons of water. For a foliar application, add two tablespoons of fertilizer tea to one gallon of water and spray the plants’ leaves.
Caraway is an herb in the Apiaceae plant family with carrots, celery, dill, fennel, and parsley. Although it’s mainly grown for the seeds, the leaves also have a delicious flavor similar to anise in its earthiness with a mild peppery spice.
Caraway attracts predatory insects like hoverflies, lacewings, and parasitic wasps, which help control populations of other insect pests like aphids, thrips, and whiteflies.
Its deep taproot also helps to loosen compacted soil and refresh the topsoil by bringing essential nutrients from the deeper soil layers up to the surface.
Nasturtiums are very attractive to aphids, and gardeners sometimes use them as a trap crop to keep these pests off of more valuable crops. Once the plant is full of aphids, pull out the entire plant and dispose of it in a sealed plastic bag.
Nasturtiums also serve as host plants for several different types of butterflies and predatory insects like hoverflies to lay their eggs. When planting nasturtiums near your strawberries, give both plants plenty of space for their sprawling growth habits.
Nasturtium flowers and leaves are edible and quite tasty. Their flavor is bright and peppery, and they make a fun and unusual addition to summer salads.
Companion Planting for Strawberries to Repel Pests
Although strawberries are generally easy to grow, there are a few insect pests that love them as much as we do. Some of the most commonplace garden pests that attack strawberry plants include aphids, spider mites, slugs, thrips, and whiteflies.
Interplanting aromatic herbs and flowers in your strawberry patch works wonders to keep these pests away.
Each of the members of the allium family, including chives, garlic, onions, and shallots, efficiently repel numerous different garden pests like aphids, carrot flies, flea beetles, mosquitoes, and spider mites in addition to larger pests like deer and rabbits.
However, alliums must be planted apart from legumes, as they may stunt each other’s growth.
Basil is an incredibly useful herb for deterring pests in the garden. Its strong aromatic scent effectively repels armyworms, asparagus beetles, flies, mosquitoes, thrips, tomato hornworms, and whiteflies. Its flowers also attract pollinators.
Catnip is part of the mint family. Its potent scent repels a wide variety of garden pests, including aphids, ants, beetles, cabbage loopers, cockroaches, slugs, and weevils. It also deters larger pests like rodents and deer from raiding your veggie garden.
Catnip spreads vigorously by reseeding itself and may become invasive in some growing climates. To keep it from spreading, remove the spent flowers before they produce seeds.
This aromatic herb goes by a different name depending on where in the world you are. In the US, the leaves are cilantro, and its seeds are coriander. In most other countries, both the leaves and seeds are called coriander.
Coriander is an outstanding companion plant for numerous reasons. It acts as a host plant for predatory insects like lacewings, ladybugs, and parasitic wasps to lay their eggs. The dainty white flowers also attract pollinators.
Coriander’s strong scent also repels garden pests like aphids, potato beetles, slugs, and spider mites.
The feathery leaves don’t block much light, so it’s an ideal choice for planting throughout your garden. Cilantro is slower to bolt when it receives partial shade from taller plants during the hottest parts of the strawberry growing season.
Marigolds are one of the most well-known flowers for companion planting and one of our tips for planting strawberries while deterring unwanted pests. They repel pests like aphids, bean beetles, cucumber beetles, cabbage worms, squash bugs, thrips, tomato hornworms, and whiteflies.
Their roots also produce a natural chemical that kills harmful root-knot nematodes when they try to feed. As such, marigolds act as a trap crop to reduce the population of nematodes present in the soil over time.
Strawberry Companion Planting for Compatibility
Some plants make good neighbors because they have compatible growth habits. It’s critical for plants growing next to one another not to compete for space, light, water, or nutrients.
Having similar needs regarding water and nutrient levels is also essential when choosing what to plant with strawberries.
Leafy greens like spinach and lettuce are ideal strawberry companion plants. This interplanting combination of fruits and vegetables to plant next to each other improves the flavor of all three crops.
The large leaves act as a living mulch, helping to retain soil moisture and protect against erosion. They may also help to hide the ripening berries from hungry birds.
Legumes belong to a plant family that includes edible crops like bush and pole beans, corn, lentils, peas, and rice. Grow peanuts with strawberries to take advantage of their mutually beneficial properties.
Several other flowering perennials and shrubs are in the legume family, such as clover, lupin, mesquite, and vetch. Legumes are useful around the garden because they’re powerful nitrogen fixers.
These plants have a symbiotic relationship with soil microbes that allows them to convert atmospheric nitrogen, which most other plants cannot directly consume, into ammonium nitrate that’s released into the soil and gets absorbed by other plants’ roots.
What Not to Plant with Strawberries
While numerous plants help your strawberries grow stronger and healthier, there are a few that aren’t friendly neighbors and should grow in separate areas of the garden. Here are several plant varieties to keep away from your strawberry patch.
The cabbage family includes an extensive group of plants known as brassicas. Avoid planting strawberries near brassicas like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, horseradish, kale, and kohlrabi. These plants stunt each other’s growth.
Plants Susceptible to Verticillium Wilt
Strawberries are highly susceptible to verticillium wilt. Unfortunately, there is no effective treatment for this fungal plant disease.
Keep similarly vulnerable plants like chrysanthemums, eggplant, okra, peppers, potatoes, roses, tomatoes, melons, and pumpkin separate from your strawberries. Doing so helps to keep your garden disease-free.
Companion planting for strawberries is an easy and simple way to grow a healthy crop of strawberries without relying heavily on chemical pesticides and fertilizers.
By mimicking Mother Nature, it’s possible to create a naturally self-sufficient garden ecosystem. That means healthier plants and less work for the gardener.
Companion planting attracts beneficial insects that assist with pollination and prey on garden pests. Certain aromatic plants are effective at repelling pests from the garden.
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