Companion plants are plants that interact well when planted in close proximity. Biologists aren’t entirely sure how companion planting works, but the technique has been used for centuries to enhance growing conditions, attract beneficial pollinators, control pests, and take advantage of available space.
Strawberries are prone to attack by a number of pests, so it makes perfect sense to plant them alongside neighbors that help keep invaders at bay. Other strawberry companions provide shade that keep strawberries cool when afternoon sunlight is a little too strong. Strawberries repay the favor by serving as a beneficial living mulch, keeping weeds in check and the soil cool and moist. Wondering what to plant with strawberries? Read on for helpful suggestions.
Plants to Grow Near Strawberries
The following all make good strawberry plant companions:
Borage – This herb is an all-around good guy, with attractive blooms that attract pollinators and beneficial insects, while strengthening strawberry plants’ resistant to disease. Many gardeners claim that borage makes strawberries taste even sweeter.
Garlic and onions – The pungent smell of garlic, onions, and other members of the allium family are excellent strawberry companions that discourage marauders from feasting on juicy berries.
Thyme – Plant thyme around the border of a strawberry patch to deter worms. Thyme also attracts syrphid flies (also known as hover flies), beneficial insects that dine on soft-bodied pests such as aphids, thrips, scale, and caterpillars.
Lettuce and spinach – Many gardeners believe that interplanting lettuce and spinach with strawberries enhances the productivity of all three plants. The leafy plants may also hide ripe berries from hungry birds.
Beans – Legumes (beans) are natural fertilizer producers, hosting bacteria that fix nitrogen in the soil.
Caraway – Plant caraway to attract parasitic flies and wasps – tiny, beneficial insects that are harmless to humans but voracious eaters of grubs, cutworms, beetles, scale, caterpillars, and other pests.
Herbs – Dill, fennel, coriander, mint, sage and many others are excellent companions for strawberries, helping to repel slugs and other pests. Keep in mind that some herbs, especially mint, should be planted in containers as the plants are aggressive and can easily take over a strawberry patch.
Marigolds – Strawberries and marigolds make a beautiful team, and the distinctive aroma of the sunny blooms discourages pests. French marigolds are believed to repel root knot nematodes, which can do considerable damage to strawberry plant roots.