Growing a pick-your-own backyard is one of our family’s current focuses in the garden. I purchased two new blueberry bushes this summer, so I started looking for blueberry companion plants to make the most of my space.
Right now, I have one Blue Crop blueberry bush planted along the fence next to my original raised beds. I have the other in a raised bed with strawberries, although I didn’t truly plant it yet. (It’s still in the nursery pot!)
Understanding what blueberries need in terms of soil and care can help in choosing blueberry bush companion plants.
Blueberries truly prefer acidic soil, particularly as low as pH 4.5. For this reason, you’ll want to make sure any blueberry companion plants also thrive in acidic soil.
Let’s dig a little deeper into finding the best blueberry companion plants for your backyard garden!
What are some bad companion plants for blueberries?
Plants requiring alkaline soil or heavy nutrients would not be good companion plants for blueberries. Furthermore, you should take care not to allow any plant companions to shade your blueberry plants. Blueberries need full sun to thrive and would not do well with too much shade.
Here’s what not to plant with blueberries:
- Nightshades – Tomatoes, Peppers, Eggplants, Potatoes
- Brassicas – Brussels Sprouts, Kale, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower
- Melons – Cantaloupes, Honeydews, Watermelons
- Greens – Lettuce, Collard Greens,
- Some Herbs – Oregano, Sage, Tarragon, Marjoram
- And numerous others!
According to Redemption Permaculture, quite a few plants would be considered poor plant buddies for blueberries. If you have a specific pairing you were hoping to try, check out their full list to help ensure you have the best planting companion.
Is companion planting raspberries and blueberries okay?
Blueberries and raspberries planted together may create an unwieldy situation. The growth habits of raspberries and blueberries are very dissimilar, making it difficult to care for both types of berries in the same location.
Rambling raspberry canes with thorns are very different come harvest time than upright blueberry shrubs.
Likewise, blueberries prefer extremely acidic soil (between 4.3 through 5.5 pH while raspberries prefer a mildly acidic soil that is closer to 5.5 to 6.5 pH. Planting them together, while not impossible, is probably not the best blueberry companion planting.
However, if you have some raspberries to plant as well, check out my post on Raspberry Companion Plants. I hope you will find a great match for your needs!
Can you try planting strawberries and blueberries together?
Reviews are mixed on the Internet, but many gardeners report that strawberries and blueberries grow well together and they make fine planting partners. Growing low to the ground, the strawberry plants work as a groundcover for the blueberries. Strawberries prefer soil pH of between 5.4 and 6.5 generally, but generally do just fine in the same soil as blueberries.
The piece to watch out for is that strawberries may want to take over the garden space. Avoid letting them roam free to crowd the roots of your blueberry bushes.
Best Companion Plants for Blueberries
Finding the best companion plants for blueberries starts with looking at the needs of blueberry bushes and what other plants also thrive in those conditions.
Here’s what we know about blueberry bushes:
- Choose a sunny location – blueberries love full sun!
- Check the soil pH. Blueberry bushes thrive in acidic soil.
- Space them out at least 3 feet apart when planting.
- Water at least 1” per week and up to 4” once they are producing fruit.
An ideal companion plant for blueberries would also thrive in these conditions. Of course, you might have a little wiggle room with the soil.
Herb Companion Plants for Blueberries
Consider growing herbs alongside your blueberries for benefits on all sides.
Basil works well as a blueberry companion plant. This beloved herb grows fine in somewhat acidic soil and adds its own mix of benefits to the blueberry garden. Namely, basil helps with natural pest control.
Growing to about two feet tall, basil can grow peacefully near the blueberry bushes without casting too much shade.
As a perennial herb, thyme grows low to the ground and serves as a fine ground cover for blueberry bushes. With this plant pairing, thyme acts as live mulch, keeping weeds at bay and helping to regulate moisture.
Blueberries and thyme can both offer natural pest repellent properties, making this duo a great choice from the start.
Thyme and blueberries are also both perennials, so you won’t have to plan what to plant every year – set it and forget it!
Another popular herb to companion plant, parsley tolerates acidic soil very well. This common herb acts as a host plant for Black Swallowtail Butterflies and can help to repel unwanted garden pests.
Similar to parsley, dill serves as a host plant for black swallowtails. Dill enjoys soil pH between 5.0 and 6.5. This helpful garden companion attracts beneficial insects such as ladybugs and predator insects such as wasps and mantises.
Popular for its edible flowers that you may like to freeze in ice cubes, borage looks beautiful nearby blueberry bushes. Try borage as a blueberry companion plant; it does well in a wide range of soil types, from pH 4.5 to 8.5.
If left to its own devices, borage can be a bit invasive, so be sure to cut it back and maintain whatever you plant.
Fruit Blueberry Bush Companion Plants
Growing lots of fruit in the backyard is such an enticing plan! Consider these fruit blueberry companion plants.
Try growing strawberries as companion plants for blueberries. Make sure to leave a good amount of space around the roots so your plants don’t compete.
As they have a very similar growth habit, you may also consider growing pineberries nearby to your blueberry bushes.
Companion Flowers for Blueberries
Flowers with similar growing needs should work well as companion flowers for blueberries. Keep in mind where the shadows will fall so as not to shade your blueberries with larger shrubs and trees.
In a sprawling landscape or border, consider these flower pairings for blueberries.
- Rhododendron – A rhododendron also prefers acidic soil and a sunny spot in the yard.
- Azalea – Also happy in acidic soil, azaleas are another flower to consider planting near blueberries.
- Lilacs – If you have lots of space to fill and the soil is largely acidic, consider growing lilacs as blueberry planting partners.
Companion Plants for Blueberries in Containers
When growing blueberries in containers, you may wish to avoid crowding the plants too much with companions. Consider topping the pots with a few inches of mulch to help retain moisture and aid in weed control.
However, if the pot is large enough and the blueberry bush is happy, you may consider these companion plants for blueberries in containers:
- Strawberries or Pineberries
If you notice either of your companion plants aren’t doing well, consider transplanting the herbs or strawberry or pineberry plants to another location.
Final Thoughts: Blueberry Companion Plants
When searching for good blueberry companion plants, permaculture urges a sustainable, self-sufficient, and beneficial focus for your plantings. Keep this in mind as you work to build out your own backyard orchard, or whatever your dream happens to be. (That’s mine, anyway!)
Think about the cause and effect of different plant pairings and how you’ll need to maintain whatever blueberry companions you choose.
Choosing good companion plants for blueberries is only as valuable as being able to tolerate any future work you’ve created for yourself.
In other worse, NEVER plant mint near your blueberries!!! Haha!
I’ve offered my best insights from lots of research on this topic – I hope this post helps you with your garden planning.
If you have other suggestions for some great companions for blueberries, please shout them out in the comments below. Feel free to ask questions or share any good blueberry stories as well.