Companion planting is the idea of growing plants together that benefit each other. This can range from providing support and repelling pests to encouraging pollinators.
In this article, we’ll look at the best companion plants for strawberries, and we’ll also look at what NOT to plant with strawberries. We picked these based on the constraints of small gardening spaces like balconies and patios, but they’ll work everywhere.
So, what sort of things are we looking for in companion plants for strawberries? Ideally, we’ll want things that’ll repel pests, as there’s nothing worse than finding your crop has been munched by slugs!
On that note, here are some pest-repellent plants to use near strawberries:
Starting an herb garden on a balcony is easy. To get the most from these, you’ll either want strawberries planted right next to the herbs, or even in the same pots.
Marigolds are one of the most popular companion plants for strawberries for the same reason. Although they don’t provide the same returns as herbs, they look pretty and the smell keeps away pests.
The other aim of companion planting is to attract beneficial insects such as pollinators. This isn’t as important with strawberries, as they’re already very attractive to bees and butterflies.
What we can aim to do instead with companion plants for strawberries is attract predator bugs. These can reduce the risk of worms, caterpillars and other insects that’ll feast on your berries.
Some good picks for keeping on a balcony include:
- Thyme – attracts syrphid flies
- Borage – brings in pollinators and improves the strawberries’ disease-resistance
- Caraway – attracts flies and wasps (the good kinds)
Finally, there are companion plants to strawberries that provide shade and fix the soil. Soil imbalances won’t be a massive issue with balcony planting, as you’ll likely use fresh soil every season. However, companion planting works both ways, and strawberries can provide ground cover for plenty of taller plants.
A good combination is strawberries and beans. The bean plants grow tall up supports, and the strawberries cover the soil. Beans bring in good bacteria to the soil, and the strawberries essentially act as mulch.
Other good companion plants for strawberries are spinach and lettuce. In theory, the leaves will help hide the berries, which should deter birds. However, all 3 are vulnerable to the same pests, so this is a bit risky.
Make sure to keep the following away from strawberries because they can either spread disease or compete for nutrients:
You can still grow them in your small balcony garden, just make sure they don’t share pots. One way around it would be to grow potatoes on the floor and then strawberries in hanging or railing planters.
There are plenty of companion plants for strawberries that work well on balconies. Of course, you won’t need many. Plant one or two pest deterrents and some insect attractors, and you’ll have a happy garden in no time!