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:
Protect from pests
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.
Plants to Avoid Next to Blueberries
Here are some types of plants that should NOT be planted next to blueberries:
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 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.
Letting grass grow around blueberry bushes will rob them of nutrients, water, and space. Grass competes aggressively with blueberry root systems.
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 will shade out blueberries and steal resources. Rose bushes, currants, honeysuckle and others are bad choices.
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:
- Amend soil with compost to lower pH
- Space bushes 3-5 feet apart
- Weed regularly and mulch well
- Water 1-2 inches per week
- Fertilize in early spring and mid-fall
- Prune annually for better growth
Group together at least two different blueberry varieties for cross-pollination.
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.