Best Strawberry Companion Plants That Go Perfectly Together

Best Strawberry Companion Plants

I love strawberries. Wanting the best berries that are organically grown and free from pesticides and unnecessary chemical fertilizers, I began to grow some Honeoye strawberries in my home garden. My first batch wasn’t all that impressive, and I began to research how I could boost production and taste while naturally reducing insect strikes. This was when I discovered companion planting for strawberries.

Companion planting is when you choose to plant certain plants among or near your strawberries that help your berries grow by improving the soil quality and attracting helpful pollinators to your garden while repelling harmful insects that love berries as much as you do. With companion planting, you can improve the taste of your strawberries too.

While I dove down the rabbit hole of companion plants, I also found some plants that don’t make good bedfellows for your lush berries, but more on that later. Firstly, let’s consider the top companion plants for healthy and plump strawberry production.

Soil-Improving Companion Plants for Strawberries

When you plant different plants together, you allow for nature’s chemical cycle to flourish. Companion plants release elements such as nitrates that other plants need, while the companion plants may benefit from the other plants holding the soil together. Nature is a wonderful example of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.”

Some plants make great bedfellows for your strawberry plants because they help improve the soil bed. These include:

Beans and Peas as Soil-Boosting Companion Plants

Planting beans and peas in the same garden bed as strawberries is a great way to fix the soil’s nitrogen content, which feeds the strawberry plants, making for a healthier soil type. When planning garden beds, plant a row of peas or grow creeping beans on support, alternating with rows of strawberries.

Not only will the taller plants help ensure great soil quality, but they will also help shield the lower-growing berries from insects, harsh sun, and thieving birds.

Bush beans are a popular option as they provide both height and density to your strawberry patch. The deep green beans are easy to pick, and since they are mostly a summer crop, they will not strip the soil of nutrients when late-bearing strawberries are in their growth season.

Growth Profile for Bush Beans

Botanical Name: Phaseolus vulgaris

Harvest Time: 50-55 days

Planting Time: Early to mid-June

Soil Preference: well-aerated soil (same as for strawberries)

Sunlight Preference: Full sun to semi-shade, making them an ideal canopy to protect your strawberries from harsh sunlight

The season for Planting: Late Spring to Summer

Plant Spacing: Plants placed 2-4 inches apart, with rows at 18-36 inch intervals. Increase the row intervals when companion planting with strawberries to ensure the berries have room to make runners

Growth Profile for Peas

Botanical Name: Pisum Sativum

Harvest Time: 60-70 days

Planting Time: 4-6 weeks before last frost date in Spring and again 4-6 weeks later for the second batch of peas

Soil Preference: Well-draining soil (just like strawberries)

Sunlight Preference: Full sun for best production, covering the bushes during times of extreme heat, and the bushes can help protect the lower growing strawberries

Season of Planting: Early Spring and also in late Fall (for colder varieties)

Plant Spacing: Bushes are planted 2-4 inches apart and rows at 7 inches apart, leaving more space for the strawberry rows to allow the berries to make runners

Borage as Soil-Enhancing Companion Plant for Strawberries

This colorful herb is a great companion to strawberries as the flowers help attract helpful pollinators, but the herb also adds trace minerals to the soil, boosting fertility. It’s even said that borage helps enhance the flavor of strawberries.

In horticultural circles, borage is known as “green manure,” and the plant can be broken up and tilled back into the soil to boost nitrogen content. However, be aware that borage is great at self-seeding, so you may need to keep an eye that it doesn’t overgrow your strawberry patch.

Growth Profile for Borage

Botanical Name: Borago officinalis

Flowering Season: Autumn blooming

Planting Time: Late Spring

Soil Preference: Well-draining soil

Sunlight Preference: Full sunlight to semi-shade

Plant Spacing: Since borage is great at self-seeding, I prefer to plant one to two plants in a six-foot-long row of strawberries, but placing occasional borage plants on the corners and long sides of the strawberry patch are also sufficient.

Marigolds as Soil-Clearing Companion Plants for Strawberries

While marigolds are also great flowering plant companions and attract beneficial insects like butterflies and bees, these bright yellow and orange flowering plants help to repel invading plants like weeds and creeping grasses.

As any fruit farmer knows, weeds are the bane of veggies and other fruit-bearing plants, so having a natural repellent to these is a blessing. This also improves the soil quality since there are fewer competing plant roots for the strawberries to contend with.

Growth Profile for Marigolds

Botanical Name: Tagetes Spp.

Flowering Season: Spring to Fall

Planting Time: Late Spring

Soil Preference: Sandy to loamy soil

Sunlight Preference: Full to semi-shade

Plant Spacing: 6 inches apart, rows 10-12 inches apart, leaving space for strawberry runners to form

Pollinator Attracting Companion Plants for Strawberries

The companion plants you select also serve the most vital function of all—attracting pollinators. Strawberries only produce berries if pollination takes place. This means you need the insects that pollinate the strawberry flowers to also come to your strawberry patch.

Flowering plants attract insects like bees, butterflies, beetles, and even moths at night.

Flowering Herbs Like Chives and Thyme as Pollinator Attractions

While borage and marigolds are also great at attracting beneficial insects, you can easily invite some bees, butterflies, and other insects to your strawberry patch with flowering herbs like thyme and chives.

Growth Profile for Thyme

Botanical Name: Thymus vulgaris

Flowering Season: Spring and Summer

Planting Time: Any time of the year

Soil Preference: Sandy well-draining soil

Sunlight Preference: Full sun to semi-shade

Plant Spacing: 10-15 inches spread in between plants, alternating with rows of strawberries while leaving a gap of 15-20 inches

Growth Profile for Chives

Botanical Name: Allium schoenoprasum

Flowering Season: Late spring and early summer

Planting Time: 6-8 weeks before the last spring frost (with indoor seed trays)

Soil Preference: Well-draining composted soil

Sunlight Preference: Full sun to semi-sun

Plant Spacing: Seeds should be sewn 2 inches apart, alternating rows with strawberries, leaving an additional 6 inches for strawberry runners to form

Flowering Plants Like Lupin and Nasturtium to Attract Pollinator Insects to Strawberry Plants

Lupin is a great addition to a strawberry patch, and the height and beautiful flowers make for a stunning and practical solution. These tall flowers will protect the strawberries while also encouraging bees and butterflies to your garden. Additionally, Lupin will also help fix nitrogen in the soil since it’s a member of the legume family.

While lupins are known to be toxic to humans, they are still popular garden plants. My advice is to use these stunning flowering plants as a border around the outside of the strawberry patch, as this will minimize your need to touch them while maximizing their ability to attract beneficial insects to your garden.

Nasturtium offers stunning flowers that help bring bees, ladybugs, and other friendly pollinators like butterflies to your garden. Best of all, there is little effort required to grow nasturtiums.

Growth Profile for Lupin

Botanical Name: Lupinus x hybrida

Flowering Season: Late spring into summer

Planting Time: Plant during early spring

Soil Preference: Richly fertilized, well-draining soil

Sunlight Preference: Full sunlight

Plant Spacing: Between plants aim for 1.5-2 feet gap; best planted along the border of the strawberry patch

Growth Profile for Nasturtium 

Botanical Name: Tropaeolum

Flowering Season: Summer and Fall

Planting Time: You can start the seeds indoors 2-4 weeks prior to the last frost or outdoors 1-2 weeks after the last frosting.

Soil Preference: Sandy well-draining soil

Sunlight Preference: Full sun

Plant Spacing: 10-12 inches apart, with rows at least 15-20 inches apart to allow the interspersed strawberries to grow.

Pest-Repelling Companion Plants for Strawberries

While you want to attract beneficial insects like bees, butterflies, and friendly beetles like ladybugs, you don’t want to attract harmful insects like mites, aphids, and ants to your strawberries. The best way to deal with these insects is to repel them, preventing them from reaching and feasting on your lush strawberry bushes.

Flowering companion plants, especially marigolds and basil, help attract wasps, which actively hunt aphids and other harmful insects like worms and spider mites.

Planting companion plants that repel insects is a great way to keep your berries safe. Specifically, beneficial companion plants include beans (which keep beetles away, except for ladybugs), borage (which repels insects), and Marigolds (which also repel flying insects while attracting butterflies and bees).

Some flowering herbs also help repel insects, and planting chives and thyme can help reduce the load of snails, aphids, and other unfavorable insects at bay.

Additional plants that can repel insects include basil, lavender, mint, and chrysanthemums. Plant these liberally around and sprinkled among your strawberry plants to keep pests away and help your strawberries yield a lush crop.

Herbaceous Companion Plants Like Basil, Lavender, and Mint

Growth Profile for Basil

Botanical Name: Ocimum Basilicum L.

Flowering Season: Summer

Planting Time: 2 weeks post last spring frost

Soil Preference: Well-draining composted soil

Sunlight Preference: Full sun to semi-shade

Planting Space: 12-18 inches between plants, spacing out more to allow strawberry runners between rows.

Growth Profile for Lavender

Botanical Name: L. angustifolia

Flowering Season: Late summer to fall

Planting Time: Early spring, seeding in trays indoors

Soil Preference: Well-draining soil with low acidity

Sunlight Preference: Full sun to semi-shade

Planting Space: Full-size varieties 3-4 feet apart, dwarf varieties 18 inches apart

Growth Profile for Mint

Botanical Name: Mentha piperita L

Flowering Season: Late summer to early fall

Planting Time: Post last spring frost

Soil Preference: Loose well-watered soil that also drains well

Sunlight Preference: Semi-shade is best, so plant these near your bush beans or lupin to help shade their soft leaves

Planting Space: 18-24 inches apart, harvesting often to prevent uncontrolled spread

Flowering Companion Plants Like Chrysanthemums

Growth Profile for Chrysanthemums 

Botanical Name: Chrysanthemum

Flowering Season: Summer to early winter

Planting Time: Spring

Soil Preference: Well-draining soil

Sunlight Preference: Full sun

Planting Space: 18-20 inches between plants, and increase this to 25 inches when alternating rows with strawberries

Companion Plants to Avoid Near Strawberries

There are a few plants that should never be planted near strawberries. Some of these plants shouldn’t even have been the previous occupants of the garden bed where you are now growing your strawberries, as they will have damaged the soil profile and may have left toxins behind that can stunt your strawberries’ growth.

Brassicas

This includes all vegetables like kale, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower, which will sap the nitrates that your strawberries need from the ground.

Tomatoes

Strawberries and tomatoes share one thing: fungal growths. If you have grown or are planning on growing strawberries and tomatoes in the same garden bed, think again. Strawberries are susceptible to verticillium causing fungus, which causes wilt. This fungus can stay in the soil for as much as five years, so be sure not to plant your strawberries in the same garden bed as where you had tomatoes.

Potatoes and Eggplant

Like tomatoes, these two veggies can also transmit verticillium spores to the strawberries, causing wilt. Avoid planting these near each other and keep your strawberries far away from areas where these vegetables were grown.

Roses

While you may think that roses and strawberries should be friends, since they are both traditionally romantic gifts, you should plant these far apart. Roses, like potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplant, are also susceptible to verticillium, and having your strawberries nearby will only lead to wilt and crop loss.

FAQs

Question: What are strawberry companion plants?

Answer: Strawberries love growing near plants that help them grow, like spinach, bush beans, borage, chives, lavender, and marigolds. These help to repel insects and enrich the soil while also attracting beneficial insects like butterflies to help pollinate the flowers.

Question: Are there plants I should avoid planting near strawberries?

Answer: Certain plants are not beneficial to strawberries. Plants like those of the Brassicaceae family like kale, cabbage, and cauliflower all leach nutrients from the soil, leaving strawberry plants starved. Other plants like potatoes, roses, and eggplant carry fungal spores that infect strawberries. This leads to wilting.

Question: Is there a way to pollinate strawberry plants without needing to attract more pollinators? 

Answer: You can self-pollinate your strawberry blooms by using a soft brush that you gently rub across the berry blossoms. This will improve the size of your berry crop as more berries will mature than if you rely on wind pollination.

Question: Are there easy companion plants for strawberries that aren’t labor intensive?

Answer: Yes, you can easily plant mint, borage, and thyme, which are all low-maintenance non-fussy growers. Bean bushes will need replanting each year, but the planting process is fairly uncomplicated.

Question: How do I know how far to plant companion plants from strawberries?

Answer: Each companion plant has its own planting distance preference, but you would add an additional 4-6 inches to this to help provide room for the strawberry plants to make runners too. Taller bushy plants like bean bushes have a deeper root system, which means they can be planted closer to the strawberry plants while still allowing the runner’s room to spread.

A Final Word

When deciding on what companion plants to add to your strawberry patch, you need to evaluate what you are trying to achieve. If you have already fertilized the soil, you may need to go with pest-repelling plants more than nitrogen-fixing options. Likewise, should you require a larger crop, you would opt for pollinator-attracting blooms like marigolds, cannas, and flowering herbs.

Be sure that whatever plant you plant near your strawberries these are beneficial and not harmful to your strawberries’ development. Avoid fungus-bearing plants like potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplant. Roses are another no-no.

Consider whether you can invest the time and effort to plant and replant companion plants that require replanting and reseeding next year. Opting for companion plants that offer longevity, like bush beans and chives, is a great alternative.

Planting strawberries at home is a wonderful adventure, and with friends like chives, mint, borage, and marigolds to help keep the berries fresh and plump, it’s a great experience too.

Scroll to Top