If you’ve ever grown a blueberry before, you know what a huge crop just one plant can provide. Want an even bigger harvest? Blueberries respond well to companion planting, and let’s face it, the more sweet blueberries we can get, the better.
Pairing blueberries with companion plants is straightforward and it’s exciting to watch how the plants help each other by repelling pests and encouraging stronger growth.
If you want lots of berries and healthy plants around them, let’s to talk about intercropping your blueberry plants.
Perfect Conditions For Blueberries
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Finding the right companions for blueberries means finding plants that thrive in similar conditions.
Blueberries need acidic soil so aim for a soil pH of 4.5. They love free-draining soil and well-rotted organic matter.
Plant them in full sun and shelter them from the wind. A little shade is okay, but not too much in the day.
Best Companion Plants For Blueberries
Let’s look at the plants to go with the blueberries.
This is my favorite companion plant for blueberries. They both enjoy acidic soil and are not fussy berries. In warm environments, you can leave the strawberries to grow next season so you don’t disturb the blueberry roots by digging more holes.
Strawberries like a pH of around 5.4, so you can achieve a happy medium with the blueberry requirement.
Maintain plenty of space around the base of the blueberry plant so that they don’t compete for nutrients and water.
Pollinators adore borage and planting it to attract them into the garden assists blueberries greatly. Borage can improve the taste of blueberries and it adds trace minerals into the soil that blueberries can benefit from.
Borage is an annual that self-seeds so you don’t need to replant it each season. It’s also said to improve a plant’s resistance to pests and diseases when planted next to it.
Just be aware that borage can also self-seed in areas where you never planted it. Simply remove any small plants if you don’t want them there.
Basil grows well as a companion with many plants and blueberry is no different. Basil can provide shade to the soil around the base of blueberry.
Basil repels thrips and is disliked by flies and mosquitoes.
Because thyme is like a ground cover, it keeps the soil moist and controls the growth of weeds. The scent of thyme can assist in repelling pests that love to eat your juicy berries.
Make sure you use the ground-cover type rather than the upright varieties.
Although sage will thrive in alkaline soil, it will also grow well in acidic soil, especially if planted with blueberries. Sage loves a position next to blueberry and responds with healthy, large foliage.
When sage flowers, it attracts many beneficial insects. The scent of sage also repels pests like black flea beetles.
Dill is one of those super-companion plants in my opinion, especially for blueberries. It is drought tolerant so doesn’t steal all the water from blueberries, and it repels pests like spider mites.
Dill also attracts beneficial insects like ladybugs. They will feed on aphids who also love blueberries. If you suffer from aphids, plant dill.
Comfrey is a beneficial plant, but it comes with a warning. Once you plant it, comfrey has the potential to take over the area, and it spreads easily.
You need to keep on top of its spread by digging out any small plants you see.
Comfrey makes a great mulch and fertilizer.
Either wait for the plant to fall over and mulch the soil naturally, or cut the plant and lay it on the soil around the blueberry plant. Not only does this help to retain moisture, but it also provides valuable nutrients to the soil as it breaks down.
Comfrey also fixes nitrogen issues in the soil by attracting beneficial bacteria to its roots.
Parsley can grow well in acidic soils so makes for a good companion. Combining this with the fact parsley attracts beneficial insects and repels pests, makes it a good plant to have near blueberries.
Rhododendron is a wonderful flower to plant with blueberries. They like acidic soil, but need shade rather than full sun. If you have highbush blueberries, rhododendrons appreciate the shade, and in return, keep the soil shaded themselves making for moist soil in the heat of the day.
Lilac is another flower that handles acidic soil well and blooms at the same time as the blueberries ripen. Lilacs attract pollinators and provide shade for the soil around the blueberry plants.
This may sound a little strange given that oak trees are huge, take years to grow, and don’t normally sit in an edible garden.
If you have a style of planting where you insert edibles all over like a food forest, blueberries make a wonderful understory plant. After all, blueberries grow wild and they are a wonderful treat when you find them hiking or camping.
Oak trees provide shade, but more importantly, the roots hold a lot of water. The fallen leaves provide nutrients.
Both oak trees and blueberries like temperate climates. If you have a forest, field, or large area, try planting oak with understories of blueberries. The birds may spread seed and you find you have wild blueberries on your land.
Native flowers that are not genetically modified are wildflowers. They make a perfect companion to blueberries.
Wildflowers attract pollinators galore, and predators that are beneficial like ladybugs, and predatory wasps.
Plant close or up to 20 feet away to be beneficial. Wildflowers vary depending on your area, but some I use include:
- Bee Balm
- Queen Anne’s Lace
- Purple Coneflower
You could always buy a cottage garden mix of wildflowers for even more variety.
13. Sweet Fern
This is an acid-loving plant (Comptonia peregrina) that is low-growing so it won’t shade out the blueberries. It also loves the sun so makes a very good companion plant.
Sweet fern is a plant that produces nitrogen, so it benefits blueberries. Butterflies love sweet ferns too, so they will attract them to your garden.
14. Pine Trees
Like oak trees, don’t discount pine trees if you have a stand of them around the place. It’s a good opportunity to plant blueberries as an understory to take advantage of the acidic soils around pine trees.
The falling pine needles create a natural mulch that repels many pests, but you have to make sure the blueberry plants aren’t smothered. They also have to get plenty of sunlight and water.
Planting Blueberries With Companions in Containers
Many gardeners prefer planting their blueberries in containers. Placing them on a sunny balcony can result in a lovely harvest. You can plant companions in the same container as long as it’s big enough and you don’t disturb the blueberry plant roots. Try:
- Curly parsley
Make sure you factor in the extra water and nutrients the plants will need.
Plants to Avoid Putting With Blueberries
Unfortunately, some of the tastiest vegetables don’t like blueberries and it’s usually because of the acidic soil that blueberries crave.
Tomato plants are heavy feeders and having them close to blueberries can stunt the growth and affect the number of berries. Keep them well away from each other. Many tomato plants don’t like the same soil pH as blueberries because they prefer alkaline soil. In fact, avoid any nightshade related plants including:
Eggplants and blueberries are not a match made in heaven. Even though eggplants are in the nightshade family, they deserve a special mention. Eggplant stunts the growth of blueberries to the point you should not plant blueberries where you had eggplant the season before.
Both beets and blueberries will stunt each other’s growth. Even when you harvest quick-growing beets before the blueberries are ready, you will see the issue with the blueberry harvest. Keep beets out of the blueberry patch.
Brassicas prefer a much higher pH than blueberries. They can also grow large and shade the blueberries too much. This will affect the health of the blueberry plant as well as the harvest. Brassicas not to plant near blueberries include:
- Brussel Sprouts
Legumes prefer a soil pH up to 6.8 so do not make a good companion to blueberries. Although some legumes can grow in soil closer to acidic, they will take over from the blueberries causing a small berry harvest.
As you can see, the biggest problem with companion planting with blueberries is the soil pH, and secondly, plants that cause stunted growth in one or both of the pairing.
Research the pH of any companion plant and give them a go if they are acidic soil lovers.
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