Blackberry Companion Plants: What To Plant With Blackberry Bushes

Blackberry Bushes In A Garden
blackberry companions
(Image credit: goosey270)

Not every gardener gets around to planting near blackberries. Some leave the rows to grow in neatly on their own for maximum sun and easy harvesting. However, companion plants for blackberry bushes can help those brambles thrive, if you choose the right ones. Read on for information about what to plant with blackberry bushes. Each of the best blackberry companion plants makes your berry patch prettier, healthier, or more productive.

Companions for Blackberries

Blackberries are not picky plants. They grow well in a fairly wide range of climates and tolerate different soil conditions as long as their planting site drains well, and the soil contains sufficient nitrogen. This tolerance gives gardeners flexibility in picking companion plants for blackberry bushes. Some gardeners use blackberries as understory plants. 

Although blackberries produce best in full sun, they also grow in shade. If you are thinking of tree planting near blackberries, consider white oak (Quercus alba) or Pacific madrone (Arbutus menziesii). Both of these species work well as blackberry companion plants, thanks to the moisture they store in their leaves. Fallen leaves from these trees also produce nutrient-rich mulch that helps keep the blackberries strong.

Food Crop Planting Near Blackberries

Turn your blackberry patch into a mixed-produce garden by adding other edible-producing plants. Blueberry shrubs work well for planting near blackberries. They won’t find themselves shaded out since they are about the same height as blackberries. 

Like blackberries, they prefer a sunny location. You could also plant lower shrubs that will tolerate the shade of higher brambles. Hazelnut bushes, serviceberry bushes, and thimbleberry shrubs are great companions for blackberries. Although, roses that bear hips, which are rich in vitamin C, can offer more color.

What to Plant with Blackberry Bushes for Pest Protection

If you pick the right blackberry companion plants, they will help you fight insect pests that can damage blackberry bushes. Hyssop (Hysoppus officinalis) prevents attacks by cabbage moths and flea beetles. Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) and rue (Ruta spp.) keep fruit and foliage predators, like Japanese beetles and mice, away from your plants. Tansy also repels striped cucumber beetles, ants, and flies.

Blackberry Companions for Pollinators

Other companions for blackberries attract pollinators that increase your blackberry crop. Plants like bee balm (Monarda spp.) and borage (Borago officinalis) are honeybee magnets. Low, groundcover crops can repel insect pests, attract bees, and look pretty at the same time. Consider mint (Mentha spp.), lemon balm (Melissa Officinalis), or chives (Allium schoenoprasum) as companion plants for blackberry bushes.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.