Skip to main content

The 4 best strawberry companion plants (and the 4 worst)

Grow these plants next to your strawberries

Strawberries on the vine at varying levels of ripeness.
oli2020 / Pixabay

Strawberries are delicious and incredibly versatile. From topping baked goods to mixing into smoothies or just eating plain, there’s nothing quite like a fresh strawberry. It doesn’t get much fresher than straight from your garden, and luckily strawberries are easy to grow. They’re even easier to grow with proper companion planting. Choosing the right companion plants can give your strawberries a nice boost, so here are the best strawberry companion plants, and the ones that are better to avoid.

Cosmos

Three pink cosmos flowers
pasja1000 / Pixabay

Cosmos are beautiful wildflowers that are remarkably easy to grow. They won’t compete with your strawberries for space, nutrients, water, or even time! Once planted, cosmos flowers require little care. Aside from occasional deadheading, you can let your cosmos take care of themselves and focus on your strawberries. In addition to just being beautiful, cosmos flowers are highly attractive to pollinators. Bees, butterflies, and ladybugs will all be drawn to your garden, which is good news for your strawberries. Cosmos also pair well with other strawberry companion plants, so you don’t need to worry about choosing just one companion for your strawberries.

Alliums

Onions growing in a wide container
andbjo / Pixabay

Alliums, such as onions, garlic, chives, shallots, leeks, and ornamental alliums, make excellent strawberry companion plants. They are said to ward off certain pests, and, in the case of an ornamental allium or an edible one that has bolted, the flowers are attractive to pollinators. Alliums take up little space and won’t compete with your strawberries, but they also have plenty of uses on their own. Edible alliums are delicious and versatile, making them great to have in practically any garden. You can also grow alliums in containers, so indoor or potted strawberries can reap their benefits as well.

Rhubarb

A row of rhubarb stems growing
HVPMdev / Shutterstock

Rhubarb and strawberry go well together in many baked goods, but they grow well together in the garden, too! This makes rhubarb a convenient strawberry companion plant, as long as you’re a fan of strawberry and rhubarb. Additionally, both rhubarb and strawberry plants are perennials, so you can have a fresh harvest each year. While rhubarb requires a little more care than cosmos or alliums, it’s still an easy-to-grow vegetable. With full sun and well-draining soil, you can have a steady rhubarb harvest to go with your strawberries.

Marigolds

A close-up of a marigold bloom
milart / Shutterstock

Marigolds have many of the same benefits as cosmos flowers. They won’t compete with your strawberries for space or resources and they attract many pollinators, including ladybugs. Marigolds do bloom later in the year than cosmos, making them better strawberry companion plants for a late summer or early fall garden. Marigolds are also said to repel certain pests, much like alliums. Some of this can be accounted for by their ability to attract ladybugs, which eat small pests. While this type of pest repellent isn’t perfect, it can help you cut down on the use of pesticides around your tasty strawberries.

Strawberry companion plants to avoid

Hands showing a broccoli head growing in the garden
snchzgloria / Shutterstock

There are four primary types of plants to avoid growing near your strawberries: spreading plants, nightshades, brassicas, and fennel. Plants that spread quickly, such as blackberries, raspberries, melons, and mint, can overwhelm your strawberry plants. Plants in the nightshade family, including tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and potatoes, are host to some common strawberry pests.

Brassicas, such as broccoli, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, mustard, and Brussels sprouts, are heavy feeders and will compete with your strawberries for nutrients. Fennel has a tendency to stunt the growth of nearby plants, making it an unpopular companion for any plant, including strawberries.

Strawberries are delicious on their own, but the right companions can give your strawberry plants all kinds of benefits. From protection against pests and attracting pollinators to just tasting nice together, there are plenty of reasons to grow plants together. Just be sure not to plant your strawberries alongside plants that will cause more harm than good. Too much competition, similar pest problems, and fennel aren’t great for your strawberry plants.

Editors' Recommendations

Cayla Leonard
Cayla Leonard is a writer from North Carolina who is passionate about plants.  She enjoys reading and writing fiction and…
If you want a garden that blooms year-round, plant these flowers
Here's how to strategically map out your garden for blooms throughout the year
Blooming perennial flower garden along a walkway

If you love gardening and appreciate flowers in spring and summer, why not grow a four-season garden? It's possible to have a bright, colorful landscape throughout the year if you plan for it. Plant selection is the key. By choosing a diverse collection of shrubs, perennials, trees, and annuals that bloom in different seasons, you can map out a garden with year-round flowers. Let’s get started.
Finding flowers for a year-round garden

Observe your garden
Before buying anything, get to know your garden’s growing conditions, starting with your climate zone. Also, observe to understand its lighting. Where is it shady in the afternoon? Which parts get hot sunshine all day? Do you have spots that get little or no direct sunlight? Keep in mind, too, that the sunlight changes throughout the year with the rise and fall of the sun’s angle. Plus, you should take into account how leaves grow and fall from deciduous trees.
Mix it up
In order to cover all the seasons, you’ll need to choose a diverse selection of flora from different plant categories. Some of the best flowers for late winter and early spring come from trees, shrubs, and bulbs. In spring, summer, and fall, flowers abound among annuals and perennials. Winter flowers, not uncommon in mild climates, are rare for northern gardeners. Colorful fruits and foliage can help to fill the void.
Invest in native and perennial plants
Annuals can be attractive additions to your garden, but they usually won't last for more than one growing season. If you want to cut back on the time you spend planting, consider investing in native and perennial plants, which should come back every year in your garden. Because they naturally come from your area, native plants feature the added benefit of providing food and shelter to native wildlife creatures, such as birds. To find native plants, you can use tools like the Native Plant Finder or ask your local nursery if they carry any native plants. Many nurseries will also have an entire section dedicated to perennials for their local region.
Beyond flowers
A garden’s appeal goes beyond flowers. Plants offer a host of other interesting elements, like foliage color and texture, varying sizes and forms, interesting branch structure, motion in the wind, attraction to wildlife, and scents associated with flowers and foliage.
Get inspired
Look for inspiration in public gardens, parks, and garden centers. If you see an interesting plant around town, snap a pic and take it to your local garden center for help with identification. Be sure your photos are in focus and show details such as the overall plant size and shape. Your local nurseries may have it on hand, or they might be able to order it for you.
Suggestions for flowers throughout the year

Read more
The spring onion plant is the perfect option for gardeners with too little space
Your go-to guide for growing delicious and space-efficient spring onions
A row of clean spring onions

Growing your own vegetables is a fun idea, in theory. However, many vegetables take up a lot of room. If you need to conserve space, but you want to fill your garden out as much as possible, then the spring onion plant is a great option to consider. It's small enough that you can even grow it in a pot. If you’d like to add spring onions to your garden but aren’t sure how, then you’re in the right place! We’ll walk you through every step of growing spring onions.
When to plant spring onions

Despite the name, spring onions are a vegetable you can plant during any season except winter. You typically plant spring onions in early spring or the middle of fall. Dry summers can be an issue for spring onions, so many gardeners avoid planting in late spring or early summer. However, with extra water and attention, even spring onions planted in the summer can flourish.

Read more
Coleus plant care: How to grow it indoors and outdoors
Growing and caring for coleus plants
A coleus plant with orange and red leaves

When you think of plants to add color to your home or garden, your first thought might be flowers. Did you know that there are plenty of colorful foliage plants as well? Coleus is one such plant, with leaves that come in a variety of striking colors and patterns. From bright red or pink to dark purple, and even some multicolored varieties. If coleus sounds like an ideal plant to you, then this guide to coleus plant care will help you start growing your own.
Planting coleus

Whether your coleus is an indoor or an outdoor plant, make sure to plant it in rich, well-draining soil. For potted coleus plants, choose a container that has adequate drainage holes to avoid waterlogged soil. You can start indoor coleus plants any time, but for the outdoors, wait until the weather is warm. Coleus are tropical plants, and they are sensitive to cold weather and frost.

Read more