18 Best Blackberry Companion Plants (And 3 to Avoid)

Growing blackberries can be rewarding, but have you ever wondered how to increase their growth and flavor? I’ve found myself asking these questions too.

As a gardener, I discovered that companion planting is not just for vegetables—it also enhances blackberry production.

My comprehensive research points towards certain blackberry companion plants that can boost your blackberries’ yield and taste tremendously.

Stick around—we’re delving into the world of Blackberry-boosting companions!

Key Takeaways

  • Companion planting can greatly enhance the growth of blackberry bushes and the flavor of the fruit.
  • Plants like blueberries, hyssop, mint, thyme, clover, alliums, purple coneflower, hazelnut bush, tansy, borage herb, and Meadow crane’s bill make excellent companion plants for blackberry bushes.
  • These companion plants attract pollinators like bees and butterflies while repelling pests to increase fruit yield and protect blackberry bushes.
  • Some fruits and vegetables, like peas and beans, also make good companions for blackberries as they fix nitrogen in the soil.

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Understanding Blackberry Plants

blackberry companion plants - closeup of rich dark red and light red blackberries growing on a vine

Blackberry bushes demand their space. Properly trained or given enough room, blackberries can grow, spread, and reach impressive heights.

Their growing conditions need careful consideration, as blackberries love rich soil full of organic material.

Providing them with well-drained soil will help your blackberries grow bountifully and healthily.

Blackberry bushes are deciduous, a feature that sets them apart from other berry plants.

This quality makes them a great companion to various plant species due to their climbable structure and generous shade offerings during warmer months.

During the cool season, when they turn bare, sunlight can easily pass through their vines, providing light for any companion plant underneath.

Their substantial growth habit also acts as an efficient windbreak to protect fragile plants around your blackberry bush.

Notably, blackberry plants are self-fertile, primarily receiving pollination by bees and wasps. Thus, having more of these insects around improves fruit yield significantly.

The Importance of Companion Planting for Blackberries

blackberry companion planting - blackberries growing in the garden amidst lots of leaves

Companion planting plays a vital role in healthy blackberry growth. The right companion plants can offer multiple benefits, such as enhancing soil health by fixing nitrogen and preventing erosion, conserving water by providing ground cover, keeping pests at bay naturally, and attracting pollinators to boost fruit yield.

Take herbs like borage or mint, for example—these not only deter harmful bugs but also attract beneficial insects that enhance pollination.

In contrast, some crops may stunt the growth and productivity of blackberries if planted too close.

For instance, asparagus competes with blackberries for root space, while nightshades like tomatoes and eggplants trigger similar pest problems that could potentially harm your berry bushes.

Choosing compatible neighbors can make all the difference between a thriving patch bursting with berries and struggling vines delivering sparse harvests.

Consider grapevines: they need ample room to grow, which means they should be planted far from blackberry beds in order to allow both plants enough space to prosper without hindering each other’s growth.

Understanding companion planting basics is clearly essential when planning your garden layout; it paves the way towards creating an abundant mini orchard right in your backyard!

Characteristics Of Blackberries

Plant Family
Watering Conditions
Well-draining soil, keep soil consistently moist
Mature Size
Typically 3-6 feet tall (upright varieties) or 6-9 feet tall (trailing varieties)
Soil Requirements
Rich, loamy soil with good drainage; pH 6.0-7.0
Sunlight Needs
Full sun
Temperature Tolerance
Hardy in USDA zones 5-9
Growth Habit
Perennial shrub
Flowering Period
Flower Color
White or pale pink
Foliage Characteristics
Green, serrated leaves
Propagation Methods
Tip layering, root cuttings, or division
Pruning and Maintenance
Prune in late winter or early spring to remove dead canes and promote new growth
Common Pests and Diseases
Aphids, spider mites, cane borers; anthracnose, powdery mildew
Companion Planting
Plant away from other plants susceptible to the same diseases
Edible Parts
Edible berries
Wildlife Attraction
Blackberry plants provide food and shelter for various wildlife
Special Care Instructions
Provide trellis or support for trailing varieties; protect from birds with netting during fruiting season

Best Blackberry Companion Plants

Companion planting with blackberries enhances their growth and flavor while protecting them from harmful pests.

Companion plants to grow with blackberries include blueberries, hyssop, mint, thyme, clover, allium, purple coneflower, hazelnut bush, tansy, borage herb, and meadow crane’s bill.

1. Blueberries

Blueberries make excellent companion plants for blackberries. They thrive in similar conditions, which makes caring for your garden a breeze.

Plus, they attract pollinators like bees and butterflies that also love visiting blackberry bushes.

Planting these two together creates a mini fruit orchard right in your backyard! Just ensure you maintain at least 5 feet of space between them for optimal growth and flavor.

Keep this smart gardening tip in mind to boost your fruit yield while enjoying the dual antioxidant punch of blueberries and blackberries.

2. Hyssop

Hyssop, a lovely evergreen herb of the mint family, teams up beautifully with blackberries because it attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies, which can help increase fruit yield.

Hyssop also deters pests from blackberry bushes, protecting it from harm and damage to the fruit.

In addition, hyssop can act as a “trap crop” for cabbage moths, luring them away from your blackberries.

This herb has similar growth requirements as blackberries, so they make great neighbors in the garden.

Whether you’re growing blackberries for their delicious berries or simply enjoying having them in your garden, consider planting some hyssop nearby to enhance their growth and ward off unwanted pests.

3. Mint

mint growing abundantly with vibrant green leaves

In addition to releasing its wonderful scent into the air and its fresh and flavorsome culinary uses, mint is also a great companion plant for blackberries.

Mint acts as a natural repellent to pests, keeping them away from your precious berries.

Additionally, mint attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies, which are essential for the growth and yield of blackberry plants.

Another advantage of planting mint near blackberries is that it can help support the bushes by acting as ground cover and reducing weed growth.

Moreover, when mint decomposes, it releases nutrients into the soil, making it more accessible to blackberry plants.

So don’t forget to include some mint in your garden along with those juicy blackberries!

4. Thyme

Thyme is one of the best companion plants for blackberries. This fragrant herb enhances their growth and adds a burst of flavor to the berries.

By planting thyme near your blackberry bushes, you can attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, which will help increase fruit yield.

Thyme also serves as an effective ground cover beneath blackberries, preventing weeds from taking over and acting as a natural deterrent to pests such as pesky Japanese beetles.

Its strong scent confuses them and keeps them away from your precious harvest.

So, if you want to increase your blackberry yield, make sure to include thyme in your garden bed alongside them!

5. Clover

Clover is a fantastic companion plant for blackberries because it fixes nitrogen in the soil, which promotes the growth and health of the blackberry bushes.

Planting clover in the spring near blackberry bushes is beneficial because they have similar growing requirements and won’t compete for resources.

Not only does clover attract pollinators to your blackberry patch, increasing fruit production, but it also acts as a natural ground cover that helps prevent soil erosion and retain moisture.

6. Allium

Allium plants, such as onions, chives, and scallions, are excellent for planting along with your blackberry bushes.

Their pungent smell repels pests like aphids and mites, keeping your blackberry bushes free from harm.

Plant alliums in mid-to-late fall, ensuring they receive full or partial sunlight. Their thin roots won’t compete with the blackberry plant’s root system, reaching only about 12 to 18 inches in length.

On top of their pest-repelling properties, allium plants also act as natural fungicides and antibacterial agents for your companion plants.

So, consider adding some alliums to your garden bed alongside your blackberries for a mutually beneficial relationship!

7. Purple Coneflower

Purple coneflower, also known as Echinacea purpurea, is a fantastic companion plant for blackberries.

This helpful herb adds beauty to your garden with its vibrant purple petals and striking cone-shaped center and helps maximize the growth and flavor of your blackberry plants.

Purple coneflowers attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, which are crucial for the successful pollination of blackberry flowers.

Additionally, this beautiful flower can help deter pests that can damage blackberries, such as Japanese beetles and cabbage moths.

By planting purple coneflower near your blackberries, you’ll not only enjoy the visual appeal of these stunning flowers but also enhance the overall health and productivity of your beloved berry bushes.

8. Hazelnut Bush

closeup of hazelnuts growing on a bush

Hazelnut bushes are an excellent choice as companion plants for blackberries. Hazelnuts will help boost the growth and flavor of the fruit, as well as provide valuable support to the blackberry brambles.

Hazelnut bushes even help till the soil, which can greatly benefit the overall health of your blackberry plants.

By growing hazelnut bushes near your blackberries, you’ll be creating a harmonious environment where these two plants can thrive together.

Hazelnut bushes also improve soil health by increasing nutrient availability for your blackberry plants, helping your blackberries produce even more juicy fruit! 

9. Tansy

Tansy flowering bushes make great companions for blackberries, attracting pollinators and helping to repel harmful insects.

However, it’s important to note that tansy can be invasive in some areas, so it’s best to grow it in containers to prevent spreading.

Blackberry bushes thrive in nutrient-rich, well-draining soil and require plenty of sunlight, just like tansies! This makes the pretty perennial flowering plant a perfect companion for blackberries.

10. Borage Herb

With its natural properties that help repel pests, borage is an excellent plant to plant along with blackberries.

In addition to being a pest deterrent, borage also attracts bees and butterflies, which are essential pollinators for your blackberry plant.

This increased pollination can lead to a higher fruit yield for your blackberry plants.

Another benefit of growing borage alongside blackberries is that it can improve the health of the soil by adding nutrients and increasing fertility.

Lastly, borage provides valuable shade during hot afternoons, protecting your blackberry plants from sun scald and other issues caused by intense heat.

11. Meadow Crane’s Bill

close-up of pretty purple Meadow crane's bill flowers

Meadow crane’s bill is another excellent companion plant for blackberries. This beautiful flowering herb attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies, helping to increase the fruit yield of your blackberry bushes.

Additionally, Meadow Crane’s Bill acts as a natural ground cover, suppressing weeds and creating a protective layer around the base of the blackberry plants.

Its low-maintenance nature makes it perfect for busy gardeners, while its vibrant blooms add visual interest to your garden.

Fruit and Vegetable Companions for Blackberries

Did you know that planting peas and beans near your blackberry bushes can help improve their growth and flavor? Discover more fruit and vegetable companion plants for blackberries!

1. Peas and Beans

Peas and beans are fantastic companion plants for blackberries. These legumes have the amazing ability to fix nitrogen in the soil, which is essential for the healthy growth of blackberry bushes.

If you plant peas and beans near your blackberries, you’ll improve the soil quality and provide support for the delicate branches of your blackberry plants.

This support helps prevent branches from breaking under the weight of juicy, ripe fruits.

Additionally, peas and beans attract beneficial insects and pollinators to your blackberry patch, ensuring a bountiful harvest.

It’s easy to see why you shouldn’t forget to include these nitrogen-rich companions in your garden!

2. Radishes

Radishes are a fantastic blackberry companion plant. They have deep roots that can improve the soil structure, which is beneficial for the growth of blackberry plants.

Additionally, radishes act as natural weed suppressants, helping to keep unwanted plants from invading your blackberry patch.

Radishes also attract important insects like pollinators, which play a crucial role in fruit production for blackberries.

Another advantage of growing radishes near blackberries is that their roots can break up compacted soil, creating a healthier environment for the roots of your blackberry bushes.

Furthermore, radishes accumulate phosphorus in the soil, an essential nutrient that contributes to the health of your blackberry plants.

It’s easy to see why you should include some radish companions in your garden!

4. Leafy Greens

Leafy greens like chives, bee balm, mint, and borage make excellent companion plants for blackberries.

These plants add beauty to your garden while providing numerous health and growth benefits to your blackberry bushes.

Chives, bee balm, and mint are particularly effective at repelling pests and protecting your blackberry plants from harmful insects.

Mint is known to deter common pests like aphids and ants, preventing any damage to your precious berries.

By planting these leafy greens near your blackberry bushes, you create a beneficial ecosystem that promotes growth and improves the flavor of your fruits.

Herbs That Complement Blackberries

Bee balm, chives, and garlic are three plants that make great companion herbs to plant alongside blackberries to enhance their growth and flavor.

1. Bee Balm

Bee balm is an excellent companion plant for blackberries. It not only helps decompose plant matter but also feeds microorganisms in the soil, which benefits the growth of your blackberry bushes.

Bee balm has the ability to convert available nutrients like nitrogen into a form that blackberry plants can easily absorb.

In addition, bee balm naturally repels pests and attracts predatory insects that are beneficial to blackberries.

By adding bee balm to your garden, you’ll attract more pollinators, resulting in a higher fruit harvest for your blackberry bushes.

2. Chives

Blackberries will grow well when planted near chives. Chives act as a protective groundcover, keeping pesky Japanese beetles away from your blackberry bushes.

Chives also attract pollinators like bees to the area, which can increase fruit production in your blackberry patch.

As an added benefit, chives have natural pest-repelling properties that deter insects from damaging your plants.

They require minimal maintenance and are easy to grow, making them a perfect companion for low-maintenance blackberries.

Plus, you can harvest chives and use them in various culinary dishes to add a fresh and savory element to your delicious blackberries.

3. Garlic

Garlic is a fantastic companion plant for blackberries. It’s not just great for adding flavor to your favorite recipes; it can also help protect your blackberry bushes from pests.

Garlic acts as a natural repellent, deterring insects that can harm your blackberries.

Plus, garlic attracts beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings that eat garden pests. But the benefits don’t stop there!

When garlic decomposes in the soil, it enriches it with nutrients and feeds microorganisms that promote healthy growth in your blackberry crop.

So, go ahead and plant some garlic near your blackberries for added protection and nourishment!

Plants NOT To Plant Near Blackberries

Avoid planting blackberries near asparagus, carrots, and nightshade vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplants, and potatoes, as well as raspberries.

1. Asparagus

Asparagus is not recommended as a companion plant for blackberries because it can compete with the blackberry plants for nutrients and water.

Asparagus has an extensive root system, which may interfere with the growth of the blackberry bushes.

To ensure optimal growth and flavor, it’s best to avoid planting asparagus near your blackberries.

Instead, focus on choosing other suitable companion plants that will enhance the health and productivity of your blackberry plants.

2. Nightshade Vegetables

Nightshade vegetables like tomatoes, eggplant, and potatoes should not be planted near blackberries.

These nightshade plants are prone to diseases that can harm blackberry patches.

By planting these vegetables near blackberries, you increase the risk and severity of soil-borne diseases.

Not only that, but nightshade vegetables have different growing conditions and nutrient needs compared to blackberries.

This can negatively impact the growth and flavor of your blackberries, so it’s best to keep these two types of plants separate in your garden for optimal results.

3. Raspberries

Raspberries should be kept away from blackberry plants. It’s important to maintain a distance of at least 50 feet between them.

Planting raspberries near blackberries can have negative effects on the growth and flavor of the blackberries.

Moreover, raspberries have the potential to spread diseases to blackberry patches. Rather, avoid planting raspberries as companion plants for blackberries altogether.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right companion plants for blackberries can greatly enhance their growth and flavor.

By planting herbs like borage, lemon balm, bee balm, mint, thyme, and chives alongside your blackberry bushes, you not only create a beautiful and fragrant garden but also provide natural pest control and promote pollination.

Additionally, fruits like blueberries and strawberries make excellent companions for blackberries as they share similar growing conditions.

With careful planning and consideration, you can create a thriving garden filled with delicious and abundant blackberries.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should you not plant near a blackberry?

Avoid planting other fruits or vegetables from the nightshade family (Solanaceae), such as tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers, near blackberries.

They can be susceptible to similar pests and diseases, leading to potential cross-contamination.

Do blackberry bushes need to be planted in pairs?

No, blackberry bushes do not need to be planted in pairs. Blackberries are self-fertile, meaning they can produce fruit without cross-pollination with another plant. A single blackberry bush can produce berries on its own.

Can marigolds be planted with blackberries?

Yes, marigolds can be planted with blackberries. Marigolds can act as natural pest repellents and help deter certain insects that may be harmful to blackberry plants.

Will blackberries take over my garden?

Blackberries can be vigorous growers, and if not pruned and managed properly, they can spread and take over a garden.

Regular pruning and containment measures are essential to prevent them from becoming invasive.

Do all blackberries need a trellis?

While not all blackberries necessarily need a trellis, providing support through trellising can help improve air circulation, make harvesting easier, and prevent the canes from sprawling on the ground, which can make them more disease-prone.

Why can’t you plant raspberries and blackberries together?

Raspberries and blackberries can both be hosts to similar pests and diseases, such as aphids and certain fungal infections.

Planting them together increases the risk of spreading and amplifying these issues.

Do blackberries like mulch?

Yes, blackberries benefit from mulching. Applying a layer of organic mulch around blackberry plants helps retain soil moisture, suppress weeds, and improve soil quality as the mulch breaks down.

What is the best natural fertilizer for blackberries?

Compost and well-rotted manure are excellent natural fertilizers for blackberries.

They provide essential nutrients and organic matter to the soil, promoting healthy growth and fruit production.

Can I plant other fruit trees near my blackberry bushes?

Yes, you can plant compatible fruit trees, such as apples or pears, near your blackberry bushes.

However, it is important to consider spacing requirements and ensure adequate sunlight for each plant.

How do companion plants improve the flavor of blackberries?

Companion plants like aromatic herbs or flowers can attract beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies. The increased pollination activity can lead to better fruit yield and improved flavor in blackberries.

Additionally, certain companion plants may also deter pests that could otherwise damage the quality of the berries.