Ripe blueberries

Blueberries are a beloved berry that can be grown in home gardens. However, certain plants should be avoided when planting blueberries as they can inhibit growth and reduce yields. Knowing what not to plant next to blueberries is key to ensuring a thriving blueberry patch.

Why Companion Planting Matters for Blueberries

Companion planting refers to strategic planting combinations that benefit or protect one another. The right companion plants near blueberries can:

Improve pollination

Protect from pests

Enhance flavor

Increase yields

Help conserve water

On the other hand, unsuitable companion plants can stunt growth, reduce berry production, or even kill blueberry bushes. By avoiding these incompatible plants, your blueberries will do better.

Blueberries

Plants to Avoid Next to Blueberries

Here are some types of plants that should NOT be planted next to blueberries:

Tomatoes

Never plant tomatoes near blueberries. Tomatoes excrete chemicals through their roots that prevent proper growth and flowering of blueberry plants. Tomatoes and blueberries are completely incompatible.

Peppers & Eggplants

Like tomatoes, peppers and eggplants also do not make good companion plants for blueberries. They are close relatives of tomatoes and can inhibit blueberry growth.

Potatoes

Potatoes should also be kept far away from blueberry bushes. They may harbor pests like rootworms that can damage blueberry root systems. Potatoes and blueberries should be on opposite sides of the garden.

Cabbage Family Plants

Plants in the brassica family like cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. should not neighbor blueberries. They can encourage clubroot fungal disease.

Beans & Peas

Beans and peas are commonly thought to inhibit blueberry growth due to decomposing nitrogen in their roots. It’s best to keep them separate.

Grass

Letting grass grow around blueberry bushes will rob them of nutrients, water, and space. Grass competes aggressively with blueberry root systems.

Grass

Invasive Weeds

Invasive weeds like bindweed, thistle, and knotweed can quickly overwhelm young blueberry plants. Don’t let them get established close to your blueberries.

Walnuts & Pines

Walnut trees and evergreens like pine trees release chemicals harmful to blueberries from their roots or leaves. Avoid planting them together.

Fast-Growing Shrubs

Fast-growing shrubs will shade out blueberries and steal resources. Rose bushes, currants, honeysuckle and others are bad choices.

Tall Crops

Tall vegetable crops like corn, pole beans, trellised cucumbers, etc. will cast too much shade on blueberries.

Best Companion Plants for Blueberries

While certain plants are detrimental, other companion plants are very beneficial for blueberries. Some great choices include:

  • Flowering shrubs like rhododendron & azalea
  • Other berry bushes like raspberry & blackberry
  • Herbs like thyme, rosemary & lavender
  • Marigolds and nasturtiums
  • Mulch plants like strawberries & bush clover

These plants help attract pollinators, improve soil health, or repel pests. Interplanting them with blueberries boosts the health and productivity of your blueberry patch.

Planting Tips for Healthy Blueberries

Follow these tips for planting blueberries successfully:

  1. Amend soil with compost to lower pH
  2. Space bushes 3-5 feet apart
  3. Weed regularly and mulch well
  4. Water 1-2 inches per week
  5. Fertilize in early spring and mid-fall
  6. Prune annually for better growth

Group together at least two different blueberry varieties for cross-pollination.

Conclusion

Avoiding incompatible plants is just as important as choosing the right companion plants for blueberries. Keep tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, beans, grass, invasive weeds and more far away from your blueberries. Use flowering shrubs, beneficial berries, herbs and pollinator-friendly plants as productive companions. With smart companion planting, your blueberry harvest will be bountiful.

By p ly

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