By Sarah Giles
Interested in learning about the best companion plants for strawberries to ensure you get the best from your strawberry crop? We're here to help. After all, nothing beats the taste of a home-grown strawberry, eaten within minutes of picking and while it’s still warm from the sun. And in theory, strawberries are easy to grow – just pop young plants in the ground, water well and, hey presto, a bountiful crop appears in summer.
When you see photos of strawberries growing in pots or on a veg patch, the fruit always looks perfect and the plants themselves look lush and bursting with vigor. But the reality isn’t always quite like that as there are several diseases and pests that can strike down strawberries just when you think they’re about to reach their peak.
If your crops have been less than successful in the past, though, don’t despair. The solution is simple – you just need to rethink what you plant alongside them, because where strawberries are concerned, good companion planting is essential.
Why should you use companion plants for strawberries?
In the past, strawberries were usually grown as single crops in long, straight rows, but modern research shows that doing that when learning how to grow strawberries is just inviting attacks by pests and diseases. Instead, growing them alongside the best companion plants for strawberries means a complex, natural ecosystem can develop in your garden, with each plant receiving signals and benefits from those around it.
It’s true that traditional strawberry rows make life a little easier when it comes to harvesting the fruit, but that is outweighed by all the problems connected with creating this kind of a monoculture – depletion of nutrients in the soil by intensive planting of one crop, and the ease with which pests can single out their target when it’s planted en masse, for example. Disease spreads much more quickly when it can easily jump from one plant to the next too.
So instead of a strawberry-only monoculture, it’s best to aim for a polyculture. With strawberries that’s easy because there are a whole host of different companion plants for strawberries that work well when planted alongside.
If you've been disappointed when growing strawberries before, worry not – the best companion plants for strawberries will save the day and help ensure that you get a really good crop of delicious fruits next time.
Best herb companion plants for stawberries
Strawberries and herbs make ideal bedfellows, so why not learn how to create a herb garden and then weave some strawberry plants through it? Here are some of the best herb companion plants for strawberries.
Borage flowers attract pollinating insects that will help increase your strawberry yield too. Borage plants also add trace minerals to the soil – and there are even claims that they give the strawberries a more intense flavor.
If you've been desperately trying to find ways for how to get rid of aphids from your strawberry plants, then you might want to consider learning how to grow thyme so you can add it alongside your strawberries.
Thyme flowers work brilliantly to attract hoverflies, that will in turn eat aphids and thrips. Perfect as an option for companion planting for strawberries!
Not only does basil make a great addition to your kitchen garden ideas, it's also one of the top companion plants for strawberries.
Simply adding a basil plant or two to your strawberry rows can help to repel pests and keep your crops growing well.
Best flower companion plants for strawberries
Lots of flowering plants make great companion planting for strawberries. And because strawberry plants are so attractive, they can even be liberated from your raised garden bed ideas and planted into a mixed flower border in the main part of the garden.
1. White clover
Struggling with how to get rid of weeds from your strawberry patch? The solution is to use white clover as a ‘living mulch’ between strawberry rows – it will keep weeds down, and fix nitrogen in the soil, helping to keep strawberry plants strong, healthy and productive.
Learn how to grow marigolds and not only will you get to enjoy their pretty blooms, but you'll also help improve your strawberry crop. Many gardeners rave about the pest-repelling properties of marigolds, so it's certainly worth giving this planting combination a go.
Simply alternate rows of strawberries with rows of marigolds helps to keep pests – and weeds – at bay.
Perhaps surprisingly, lupins are a legume (the same family as peas and beans) and that means they fix nitrogen in the soil in the same way – so rows of lupins and strawberries together not only look good, they’re mutually beneficial too.
Best vegetable companion plants for strawberries
If you’d prefer to keep your strawberries in the veg patch or a potager garden, choose the veg that you put around them carefully so that both crops benefit from sharing the same space. Try these top choices.
1. Garlic and onions
Because they have a strong smell, garlic and onions help to repel pests from strawberry plants and can also help prevent the fruit being eaten before you get to it.
Spinach makes the list for the best companion plants for strawberries as it's a great option for helping to keep weeds down on your veg patch.
Once you've learned how to grow spinach, simply plant it in between strawberry rows for the most beneficial results.
Peas and strawberries might not seem like the most obvious combination, but they can work really well together. The best method is to grow peas on wigwams between strawberry rows – the peas will fix nitrogen on the soil that the strawberry plants can then use.
What not to plant with strawberries
Although strawberries are happy to team up with lots of other crops, there are some that they just don’t get along with for a variety of reasons. So when choosing companion planting for strawberries, avoid any of the following:
- Brassicas, such as cauliflower and cabbage, will outcompete strawberries for nutrients and water.
- Fungal diseases can easily spread from tomatoes to strawberries and vice versa, so avoid planting them together.
- Potatoes and aubergines (eggplant) should be kept well away from strawberries for the same reason.
- If you've recently learned how to grow roses, don’t plant strawberries where roses have been grown in the previous five years because both are susceptible to a disease called verticillium, which can linger in the soil over long periods.
Sarah is a freelance journalist and is lucky to be able to write about her two main passions: gardening and food. Ten years ago she moved from a house with a tiny town garden to a much bigger space in the country and since then she's slowly been putting into practice all the garden design ideas she's been mulling over for years. Trouble is, as soon as she's got the garden looking how she thinks she wants it, she decides to start on a new project so it's a constant 'work in progress'. She took on an allotment last year too, and is really loving growing all her own fruit and veg then bringing it home to try out in new recipes for her food and gardening blog, A Cook's Plot.
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