13 Companion Plants For Strawberries (And What Not To Plant Nearby)

Time to add some strawberries to your garden or plant around an existing strawberry patch? Strawberries are perfect for companion planting as they can be particularly fussy about what’s planted nearby.

Good companion plants for strawberries include spinach, lettuce, peas, beans, onions, clovers, thyme, garlic, and borage. Avoid planting brassicas like kale, cauliflower, and broccoli near your strawberries, as well as all types of fennel.

Read on to learn all about companion plants for strawberries!

Companion plants for strawberries
13 companion plants for strawberries (and what not to plant nearby)

Strawberry Companion Plants: The Basics

Strawberries are a widely grown hybrid species of the genus Fragaria (flowering plants in the rose family). They are a popular fruit because of their bright, red color and sweet, juicy taste. Give your strawberries the best chance to become sweeter and brighter by companion planting them with their most Strawberry-friendly plant friends.

1. White Clover

White clover can be an excellent mulch plant around a strawberry bed. This is because the white clover draws nitrogen in from the air and down into the soil. It also helps keep weeds at bay and attracts beneficial insects as it flowers (just don’t let it grow too many seeds). The plants are usually (or should be) mowed down before they get to the point of growing seeds. 

It’s best to plant around the strawberry patch rather than between the strawberry plants so that the strong roots of the white clover don’t create too much competition for the strawberry plants. 

2. Crimson Clover

Crimson Clover is a good host plant for minute pirate bugs which are beneficial insects that feed on thrips—ideally drawing unwanted bugs away from your strawberry garden bed. These pirate bugs love crimson clover because it gives them nectar and habitat. Crimson clover also attracts and supports other beneficial insects like lacewings and parasitic wasps.

Crimson clover not only attracts pollinators but also naturally fix nitrogen—allowing it to help itself and other plants around it that may need or benefit from it—like strawberries.

3. Spinach

Spinach is sometimes planted in strawberry patches between strawberry plants. The spinach plants leave a substance called saponin which can improve the soil for the strawberries by lessening fungal and bacterial plant disease from affecting the strawberry plants—making them ideal companions if you plant them strategically amongst your garden layout.

4. Lettuce

Lettuce is another cool-season crop that works well with strawberries. The beauty of growing spinach or lettuce with your strawberry plants is that their larger leaves can help shield the bright red berries from the hungry sight of birds or other unwanted pests. These leafy greens, both lettuce and spinach, are said to be especially beneficial when grown together so creating a garden space for these three friends is likely a good idea!

5. Peas

Peas are a great companion plant to grow near your strawberry plants because they will help improve the surrounding soil due to their nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Creating ideal soil conditions for your strawberry crop will enhance the flavor of strawberries.

6. Beans

Beans are also good companion plants to grow near your strawberries because they help improve the soil and are natural nitrogen fixers as well—allowing it to give the strawberry plants what it needs to healthily grow to their fullest potential.

7. Onions 

Onions are one of those extremely useful ingredients in the kitchen but an even more useful ingredient in the garden because their strong scent will deter birds and pests that will typically want to consume your juicy berries before you get a chance to pick them from your own garden.

8. Chives

Chives also have a strong scent that will cover the sweet scent of your desirable berries and therefore tricks pests who typically want to dine from the strawberry plant.

9. Garlic

Garlic’s strong smell makes it a good neighbor for strawberry plants. As mentioned prior, this is a great way to dissuade birds and other unwanted pests from devouring your beautiful berries. While the pungent smell of garlic is great for the kitchen, it’s even greater for your strawberry beds!

French thyme beside english thyme
13 companion plants for strawberries (and what not to plant nearby)

10. Thyme

Thyme is a great addition to include between your strawberry plants as they will help prevent weed growth, deter unwanted worms, and help your soil hold onto its moisture. Overly dry soil is a quick way to ensure your strawberries won’t grow into their prime and produce a nice harvest of juicy berries. A popular variety to consider, is Red Creeping thyme, which is known for its affinity for attracting pollinators. This will be great for your strawberry plants as it will encourage pollination and stronger growth.

11. Borage

Borage is said to be one of the best companion plants for strawberries because this herb attracts both pollinators and pest predators. These predatory insects will then prey on the harmful pests that can do major damage to your beautiful strawberry plants—making them the best, natural pest control you can find.

12. Marigold

Marigolds are beautiful—and they also make excellent companions for the strawberry plant. Planting marigolds are a great way to keep unwanted insects and pests away from your beloved strawberries. They may also help deter harmful soil nematodes.

13. Asparagus

Asparagus is said to be an excellent companion plant to pair with strawberry plants because their roots both grow differently and don’t interfere with one another—allowing each to thrive as needed for an optimal growing season (and the best strawberries).

Companion plants for strawberries - what to avoid
13 companion plants for strawberries (and what not to plant nearby)

Bad Companions To Avoid Planting Nearby Strawberries

Avoid planting brassicas like kale, cauliflower, broccoli, bok choi, and cabbage near your strawberries. When attempting to grow members of the Brassicas family with strawberries, you will find this is an awful combination because they will compete for nutrients and not allow either to thrive to their full potential.

Planting potatoes, tomatoes, or eggplants with your strawberries can also be a bad idea because these nightshades tend to be prone to pests and disease. Growing them nearby may lead to a higher chance of fungal disease spreading.

Fennel can be great for repelling pests, however, it can potentially inhibit growth—making it less than ideal for strawberries you want to grow with plenty of nutrients, vitamins, and sweet, juicy flavor. If you’re keen on fennel you’ll want to plant it entirely separate from your nearest and dearest (and from most food crops in general).

Resources

Mary Jane Duford
Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane Duford is a gardening expert and founder of Home for the Harvest. She's also an engineer and certified permaculture garden designer. Mary Jane has been featured by publications such as Real Simple, Mother Earth News, Homes & Gardens, Heirloom Gardener, and Family Handyman.