We’re growing strawberry plants this spring and we were wondering which companion plants are best to plant with them. So, we leaned on what was working well in our garden and did more research. Here’s what we found.

  1. Borage
  2. Asparagus
  3. Marigolds
  4. Fruit Trees
  5. Rosemary, Sage, & Lavender
  6. Cover Crops
  7. Wildflowers
  8. Comfrey
  9. Yarrow
  10. Chamomile

Keep reading to see why these are the best companions for strawberry plants and some tips to make the best of their pairings.

our wooden raised bed with strawberry and companion plants
Our raised bed with strawberry plants, chamomile, marigolds, yarrow, and thyme.

Companion Planting Pro Tips (Before You Start)

Layers of companion plants in a food forest graphic by couch to homestead

Companion planting is selecting specific plants to place together for benefits such as increasing pollination or controlling pests. Sometimes these benefits are one-sided, while others are mutual.

A famous example is The Three Sisters—planting corn, beans, and squash together. The corn provides a trellis for the beans to climb, the squash provides a ground cover, and the beans fix nitrogen in the soil. Plus, all of them provide food!

Here’s how to get the most from companion planting:

  1. Find your USDA hardiness zone
  2. Select plants that do well in your zone
  3. Choose the plants that fit each niche or layer in the graphic above (canopy, understory, herb layer, etc.)
  4. Plant support species first to establish a microclimate and build the soil. For example, before planting fruit trees, grow nitrogen-fixing trees, shrubs, and flowers. Plant one nitrogen fixer for each productive plant (such as fruit trees or berry bushes).

Now, let’s take a look at the best companion plants, their benefits, and other tips to place them in your garden.

1. Borage

borage flowers

Borage is incredibly useful for strawberry plants as it attracts pollinators (especially bees), makes a great mulch, and prevents many pests and diseases (source).

For example, a recent study showed that borage interplanted with strawberries saw an increase in strawberry production, with 35% more fruits and 32% more yield by weight.

Also known as starflower, borage is an annual herb native to the Mediterranean. As a result, this plant is fairly drought tolerant, especially once mature. After planting, borage is easy to grow as it self-seeds.

Their flowers are also edible!

2. Asparagus

asparagus plant with shoots growing

Asparagus has long been one of the most popular companion plants for strawberries as they’re both perennials (in cold climates) and allow each other to grow well.

For example, strawberry plants establish themselves as a lush ground cover, providing shade and moisture retention for the asparagus while allowing the asparagus shoots to grow.

Start by planting your rows of asparagus in holes 6-12 inches deep and 12 inches wide. Space 12-18 inches apart. Then plant your strawberry plants in the gaps. As strawberries are a ground cover, they’ll fill in the spaces and won’t impede the asparagus’ growth.

Other companions that work well with strawberries and asparagus are rhubarb and horseradish, which help with pest control. As a bonus, all of these plants are perennials in cold climates.

3. Marigolds

hugelkultur and companion planting our raised bed with strawberries
We used sticks and leaves to fill half of our raised bed (hugelkultur) for our strawberries and marigolds. Then, we used soil to fill the rest. This promotes better nutrients and moisture retention (we’ve noticed a big difference!)

Marigolds are a well-known companion plant (especially for potatoes) as they help manage the soil-borne populations of nematodes. This is also true for strawberry plants!

These nematodes often afflict home gardens and have no available chemical pesticide. Luckily, marigolds, are natural repellents against nematodes because they produce a substance called alpha-terthienyl, which is deadly for the nematodes.

For this reason, marigolds have been used as a cover crop in India for many hundreds of years in areas where nematode populations are high.

Of course, since marigolds are flowering plants, their appearance and nectar also attract pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, which all benefit strawberry plants.

Just make sure that you plant a true marigold from the genus Tagetes, not Calendula, which sometimes goes by the same common name. The LSU College of Agriculture recommends the ‘Tangerine’ variety.

4. Fruit Trees

an apple tree with lots of fruit
An apple tree

Fruit trees and nut trees make a great over or midstory for strawberry plants, meaning they provide partial shade in times of hot weather, as well as leaf mulch for temperature regulation, reduced evaporation, and fertilizer.

The fruit tree’s roots also break up compact soils and hold groundwater, and their flowers attract pollinators who visit strawberry plants too.

In return, strawberries provide fruit trees with a groundcover layer, reducing even more evaporation and promoting healthy soil.

Since fruit trees, nut trees, and strawberry plants are all perennials, you can just plant them once and let them grow and fruit. As long as you have rich, moist soil (and the proper climate) these plants will thrive.

There are many overlapping companions between strawberries and fruit trees. For some more examples, check out my other post on fruit tree companion plants.

5. Rosemary, Sage, & Lavender

lavender flowers

Rosemary, sage, and lavender are aromatic plants that are amazing companions for almost any plant, but especially strawberry plants.

Here are some benefits:

  1. All of these plants have fragrant purple flowers that are highly appealing to beneficial pollinators and insects like bees, helping pollinate the strawberry’s flowers and keep pests at bay.
  2. Rosemary usually blooms early, around the same time as strawberry plants. This blooming timing can greatly benefit the strawberry plant’s pollination.
  3. Lavender is also known for repelling ticks, fleasand many other pests due to its strong oils, and may even drive away mice too.

These three plants tolerate hot, dry conditions, which makes them great choices for gardens that experience intense summer heat or Mediterranean climates such as California and Spain.

For more pest-repelling companion plants, visit my other post: 7 Companion Plants That Repel Pests

6. Cover Crops (Beans)

growing beans to fix the nitrogen in the soil

Many legumes (along with some grasses such as annual ryegrass) are also called cover crops as they are great pioneer plants for depleted soils—helping strawberry plants grow.

Legumes are part of the bean family and typically include:

  • Peanuts
  • Peas
  • Chickpeas
  • Soybeans
  • Lentils
  • Alfalfa
  • Clover
  • Other beans

Cover crops are used to improve soil health by slowing erosion, retaining water, preventing weeds, and controlling pests and diseases. They’ve even been shown to increase crop yields.

In the drought of 2012, corn and soybean farmers reported a 9.6-11.6% yield increase when they used cover crops, likely due in part to the cover crop’s ability to add 50-150 pounds of nitrogen per acre.


Cover crops fix nitrogen in the soil by promoting beneficial bacteria which take nitrogen from the air and store it into the soil as nitrates for other plants to use (source).

Like comfrey, you can “chop and drop” (mulch) cover crops for even more nitrogen and other nutrients, as well as reducing evaporation. Many cover crops also provide a good source of biomass and food.

7. Wildflowers

lupine flowers
Lupine flowers (a nitrogen fixer)

So, what exactly are wildflowers?

Wildflowers are defined as any flower that has not been genetically manipulated (source).

They include:

  • Daisies
  • Poppies
  • Bee Balm
  • Queen Anne’s Lace
  • Purple Coneflower
  • Meadow Cranesbill
  • Lupine
  • Black-Eyed Susan

Wildflowers are an amazing addition to your garden, especially if they’re within range of your strawberry plants. Ideally, this is around 25 feet or closer, but no more than 50 feet away as it maximizes the chances pollinators will visit both the wildflowers as well as your strawberry’s flowers.

These varieties of wildflowers are especially appealing to pollinators and provide a good mix of nectar and pollen they can use as sugar and protein.

Wildflowers also attract beneficial insect predators such as birds, ladybugs, and beneficial wasps, which naturally keep pest populations down.

Any of the above wildflowers will work great as a companion plant for just about any fruit, vegetable, or herb plant. However, this isn’t an exhaustive list, so feel free to explore other wildflower varieties!

To see more companion flowers, check out my other post: The Top 10 Companion Flowers for Gardens, Vegetables, & More.

8. Comfrey

comfrey plant flowering in the garden

Comfrey is one of the most popular companion flowers at the moment because not only can it be used to attract pollinators but it grows incredibly fast and tall—eventually falling over.

This biomass can then be chopped and dropped and applied as mulch for other plants such as strawberries. This reduces evaporation, regulates soil temperature, prevents erosion, and adds nutrients to the soil.

Comfrey also promotes more nutrients in the soil, as its roots bring valuable nutrients closer to the top of the soil, ready for other plants like strawberries to use.

Ideally, grow comfrey in USDA hardiness zones 3-9. However, it will grow pretty much anywhere. It also prefers a soil pH of 6.0-7.0, which is a great overlap with strawberry plants (suggested pH of 5.3 to 6.5, source)

For best results, plant comfrey near strawberry plants, as well as vegetables like asparagus. Although, comfrey grows well with just about every plant.

Keep in mind that while comfrey doesn’t have any foes, it can grow and spread aggressively. Because of this, many gardeners prefer to grow Russian comfrey due to its sterile seeds.

So, if you need more pollination, mulch, or nutrients in your garden, grow comfrey!

9. Yarrow

yarrow plant with flowers

Yarrow is a temperate flowering perennial, so it grows in similar climates to strawberry plants. This plant grows up to three feet tall, has plenty of home remedies, attracts pollinators, and repels pests.

Many gardeners who grow yarrow say that this plant is relatively easy to grow and is generally carefree. While yarrow flowers can grow in partial shade, they can get a bit twiggy. For best results, grow them in full sun and well-draining soil.

Interplant yarrow with strawberry plants, and other prairie plants such as butterfly milkweed, purple coneflower, and native grasses.

10. Chamomile

chamomile flowers

Chamomile is a great companion plant for strawberry plants because it’s easy to grow, fixes nitrogen in the soil, attracts beneficial insects, and grows well in partial shade.

There are two main types of chamomile: German (Maricaria recutita) and Roman (Anthemis nobilis). Both are beneficial to have as companion plants.

First, chamomile helps fix the nitrogen in the soil by promoting beneficial bacteria to store nitrates in the soil (similar to comfrey). Their flowers also attract beneficial insects such as hoverflies, ladybugs, beneficial wasps, and honey bees.

If you’re not already aware, many of these bugs are helpful since they are predatory to common pests. For example, ladybugs are a natural predator of aphids and will help keep their populations down. Since aphids are a common pest for strawberries, this is a big win.

Chamomile also grows well with mint and basil. However, make sure the mint is planted in a container as it’s invasive and can take over your chamomile and strawberry plants.

Chamomile flowers also make a great herbal tea, but the more common variety to use for this is Matricaria chamomilla.

Bonus: 40 More Companions For Strawberry Plants

If you’d like even more companion plants for strawberry plants, here are 40 more that work amazing. Keep in mind some of these plants are beneficial at a distance and should be separated from your strawberry plants. See more below.

  1. Basil – Repels insects and enhances flavor.
  2. Beans – Fixes nitrogen in the soil, benefiting strawberries.
  3. Beets – Shares space well, no competition.
  4. Caraway – Attracts beneficial insects.
  5. Carrots – Loosens the soil, allowing better strawberry root penetration.
  6. Chives – Repels aphids and improves flavor.
  7. Coriander – Attracts beneficial insects and repels aphids.
  8. Corn – Acts as a windbreak and provides shade.
  9. Cucumbers – Uses vertical space, reducing competition.
  10. Dill – Attracts beneficial insects.
  11. Fennel – Attracts beneficial insects, but plant at a distance to avoid competition.
  12. Garlic – Repels pests like spider mites.
  13. Horseradish – Deters pests when planted at the perimeter.
  14. Leeks – Repel carrot flies, which can also affect strawberries.
  15. Lettuce – Shares space well, light feeder.
  16. Mint – Deters ants and aphids, but should be grown in containers to avoid spreading.
  17. Mustard – Can deter certain pests when planted as a cover crop nearby.
  18. Nasturtiums – Attracts aphids away from strawberries.
  19. Onions – Repel many pests, good for interplanting.
  20. Oregano – Enhances flavor and attracts beneficial insects.
  21. Parsley – Attracts beneficial insects.
  22. Peas – Fixes nitrogen, beneficial for strawberries.
  23. Radishes – Can deter some pests and are quick to harvest.
  24. Rosemary – Repels pests and attracts beneficial insects.
  25. Rue – Deters Japanese beetles, but don’t plant too close.
  26. Spinach – Shares space well, light feeder.
  27. Squash – Uses vertical space, reducing competition.
  28. Swiss Chard – Shares space well, no competition.
  29. Tansy – Repels some pests and can improve soil health.
  30. Thyme – Enhances flavor and attracts beneficial insects.
  31. Tomatoes – Some believe tomatoes can provide general pest protection, watch out for blight.
  32. Broccoli – Can share space and has complementary needs.
  33. Brussels Sprouts – Potential to deter pests.
  34. Cabbage – Can share space and may provide mutual benefits.
  35. Cauliflower – Similar benefits to cabbage, sharing space well.
  36. Kale – Shares space and may deter certain pests.
  37. Potatoes – Some believe they offer mutual benefits, but watch for blight.
  38. Rhubarb – Repels some pests and can be planted on the perimeter.
  39. Sunflowers – Attract pollinators and can act as a windbreak.
  40. Zinnias – Attract pollinators and enhance biodiversity.

Plants To Avoid With Strawberry Plants

While most plants grow well with strawberry plants, some inhibit the strawberry plant’s growth, or introduce pests and diseases. Here’s a list I found in my research:

  • Walnut Trees – Walnut trees produce juglone, a growth-inhibiting chemical. You can prevent this by planting a neutral plant between the walnut and strawberry (such as a peach, cherry, or mulberry).
  • Aggressive Ground Covers – Since strawberries are a ground cover, it’s best to avoid introducing other ground covers, especially those that are aggressive such as mint. In this case, grow mint in a container to limit its growth.
  • Nightshade – While strawberry plants can tolerate nightshade plants (peppers, eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes), it’s best to watch out for blight. Like walnuts, use a neutral plant as a barrier.
  • Squash & Melons – Even though these two ground covers aren’t as aggressive as mint, they can out-shade strawberry plants. To avoid competition, grow squash and melons vertically on trellises.

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