28 Best Strawberry Companion Plants And The 10 You Must Avoid

If you’re looking to grow strawberry plants in your garden, understanding how to work with this finicky plant and avoid susceptible plants is key.

Strawberries are a juicy favorite in most households, and with the right companion plants, it’s possible to increase your strawberry harvest dramatically.

I’m going to share with you the benefits of companion planting and how specific plant pairings can help combat pests naturally, enhance flavor profiles and even boost yields.

You’ll learn about the best strawberry companion plants to grow that will transform your home garden into a thriving haven!

Key Takeaways

  • Companion planting strawberries with spinach and lettuce can improve yield by providing ground cover, conserving moisture, suppressing weeds, and repelling pests.
  • Planting alliums like chives and onions alongside strawberries can suppress diseases, deter slugs and aphids, and enhance flavor profiles.
  • Incorporating dill, sage, borage, thyme, catnip, yarrow, marigolds, and chamomile into your strawberry bed can attract beneficial insects for natural pest control while maximizing harvest and flavor.

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The Benefits of Strawberry Companion Planting

companion planting with strawberries

There are many key benefits when it comes to companion planting for strawberries. It offers a range of benefits, including improved yield, enhanced flavor, and natural pest control.

Improved Yield

Planting strawberries with other favorable crops does more than just repel pests and diseases, it significantly improves the yield.

Spinach as an example not only deters unwanted critters but its rapid growth also forms a living mulch around your strawberry plants.

This helps conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and keep the berries clean – conditions that are ideal for boosting your strawberry harvest!

On another note, pairing strawberries with alliums like chives or onions can suppress diseases while discouraging slugs and aphids, nipping potential threats to yield in the bud.

Enhanced Flavor

Strawberries are infamous for their sweet, juicy flavor, a characteristic that can be enhanced with strategic companion planting. The companions you select play a significant role in the taste and aroma of your homegrown strawberries.

For example, lettuce and spinach plants can help provide ground cover and enhance the flavor of strawberries, while offering additional benefits such as natural pest control.

Incorporating plants from the Allium family, such as chives or garlic, into your strawberry patch is another worthwhile strategy to improve flavor profiles.

These onion-like plants suppress fusarium wilt—an infectious disease known to compromise taste—and repel harmful pests simultaneously.

Similarly, dill and sage can distract insects away from your precious berries while attracting beneficial critters like predatory wasps to help with pollination—leading to bigger fruit yields with superior taste!

Natural Pest Control

Natural pest control is a significant benefit of strawberry companion planting. By purposefully pairing strawberries with certain species, you can deter common garden pests while simultaneously attracting beneficial insects.

For example, the allium family’s strong scent repels many critters that feast on strawberries, providing an organic defense against these invasions.

Meanwhile, flowering plants like marigolds and yarrow attract pollinators and predatory wasps that help control insect populations in your strawberry patch.

This incredible symbiosis not only makes for a healthier crop but also contributes to a more sustainable permaculture farm by reducing dependence on chemical pesticides and promoting biodiversity within your plot.

Characteristics of Strawberries

Plant Family
Watering Conditions
Well-draining soil, keep consistently moist
Mature Size
Varies by variety; typically 6-12 inches tall
Soil Requirements
Well-draining, sandy loam soil; pH 5.5-6.5
Sunlight Needs
Full sun to partial shade
Temperature Tolerance
Hardy in USDA zones 3-10
Growth Habit
Perennial herb
Flowering Period
Spring to early summer
Flower Color
Foliage Characteristics
Green, compound leaves
Propagation Methods
Runners (stolons) or transplanting young plants
Pruning and Maintenance
Remove runners and dead leaves; thin overcrowded plants
Common Pests and Diseases
Slugs, snails, birds; gray mold, powdery mildew
Companion Planting
Borage, thyme, spinach, and lettuce
Edible Parts
Edible, sweet, and juicy berries
Wildlife Attraction
Attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies; birds may eat ripe berries
Special Care Instructions
Provide straw mulch to keep fruits off the soil and prevent rot; protect from extreme cold in winter

11 Best Strawberry Companion Plants

strawberry plants

Now that you can see how powerful strawberry companion planting can be, let’s take a look at some of the best companion plants to grow near strawberries. 

1. Lettuce

Lettuce is a fantastic companion plant for strawberries, providing numerous benefits in the garden. Not only does lettuce help suppress weeds and reduce pest pressure on strawberry plants, but it also maximizes space and provides an additional harvest.

Lettuce’s compact growth acts as a natural camouflage, safeguarding ripe strawberries from birds and other pests. Plus, its leafy greens create a beautiful visual contrast when planted alongside strawberries.

By interplanting lettuce with strawberries, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest while enhancing the overall health and productivity of your garden.

2. Spinach

Spinach is a fantastic companion plant for strawberries because it offers multiple benefits. First, spinach is a compact plant that can provide some shade and coverage for ripe strawberries, hiding them from birds and other pests.

Additionally, spinach has natural repellent properties that help deter garden pests like aphids and mites, which could otherwise harm the strawberry plants.

This means you can enjoy healthier strawberries without resorting to chemical pesticides.

Planting spinach alongside your strawberries allows you to maximize your harvest and create a more sustainable and eco-friendly garden environment.

3. Asparagus

Asparagus and strawberries pair very well together, thanks to their similar growth habits and compatible root systems. These two crops can coexist harmoniously in the garden, benefiting each other in various ways.

Asparagus plants have deep roots that help improve soil structure and drainage, which also benefits strawberry plants by preventing waterlogging and promoting healthy root development.

Because strawberry plants are prone to getting scorched during the summer, growing asparagus alongside strawberries can provide natural shade and protection.

Together, these plants create a mutually beneficial environment that maximizes your strawberry harvest while ensuring optimal growth and flavor.

4. Dill

Dill plants make good companion plants for strawberries, offering numerous benefits to maximize your harvest. Its strong licorice scent serves as a natural pest deterrent, distracting insects away from your strawberry plants.

This helps protect your strawberries from potential damage and ensures a healthier yield. Additionally, dill attracts beneficial insects like hoverflies, which feed on aphids – pests that can harm strawberry plants.

By planting dill alongside your strawberries, you create a mutually beneficial relationship that supports pollinators and repels pests.

The diverse ecosystem created by the combination of dill and strawberries increases the chances of successful fruit production while providing a natural pest control solution for your garden.

5. Sage

Sage is a remarkable companion plant for strawberries due to its ability to mask the smell of berry plants and attract bees and other pollinators.

This aromatic herb not only adds flavor to your culinary creations but also provides numerous benefits in the garden.

By planting sage near your strawberry patch, you can enhance fruit production while naturally controlling pests.

Sage acts as an attractive camouflage for ripe strawberries, reducing the risk of bird damage or opportunistic garden pests sneaking a bite.

Plus, the strong scent of sage also helps repel unwanted insects, making it an essential addition to any strawberry companion planting strategy.

6. Borage

Borage is often hailed as one of the best companion plants for strawberries, and it’s not hard to see why. This versatile herb attracts beneficial insects like parasitic wasps and damsel bugs, which help control pests that can harm strawberry plants.

But borage isn’t just a pest deterrent – its edible blue flowers and cucumber-scented leaves add a delightful touch to any garden. Not only that, but this incredible plant also adds trace minerals to the soil, potentially enhancing the flavor of your strawberries.

7. Thyme

Thyme is a highly recommended companion plant for strawberries due to its numerous benefits.

Not only does thyme attract pollinators and beneficial insects like Syrphid flies, but it also contributes to the overall health of strawberry plants by providing them with essential nutrients.

Thyme acts as a natural repellent for garden pests, particularly aphids that can damage strawberry plants.

Additionally, thyme enhances the flavor and yield of strawberries, making it an excellent choice for pairing with these delicious fruits.

8. Catnip

Catnip is a fantastic companion plant for strawberries due to its natural insect repellents, which can help deter strawberry aphids and spider mites.

This aromatic herb not only keeps pests away from your precious berries but also attracts beneficial insects like hoverflies and bees that aid in pollination.

Additionally, catnip’s strong scent can mask the smell of the berry plants, further deterring unwanted pests.

By incorporating catnip into your strawberry patch, you’re creating a garden environment that promotes healthy growth and bountiful harvests while reducing the need for chemical pesticides.

9. Yarrow

Yarrow is a must-have companion plant for strawberries, and it’s no wonder it made the list of excellent strawberry companions. This ornamental perennial not only adds beauty to your garden but also plays a crucial role in protecting your strawberries from pests and diseases.

Yarrow attracts beneficial insects like ladybugs and predatory wasps, which naturally keep harmful pests at bay. Its strong foliage scent acts as a repellent to critters that may damage your precious berry harvest.

10. Marigolds

Marigolds are a powerhouse when it comes to strawberry companion planting. These beautiful flowers not only add a pop of color to your garden but also play a vital role in natural pest control.

For example, French marigold varieties make great strawberry companion plants because they produce a substance that is toxic to root-knot nematodes, which can be harmful to strawberry plants.

By planting marigolds next to strawberries, you’ll deter pests like aphids and whiteflies while promoting healthy growth for your beloved berries.

Plus, they’re incredibly easy to grow and require minimal maintenance – making them the perfect addition to your strawberry patch. 

11. Alliums

Alliums, such as garlic, chives, and onions, make good companions for strawberries. Not only do they add a flavorful touch to your garden, but they also offer numerous benefits for strawberry plants.

The allium family are excellent strawberry companions because they help suppress a common disease known as fusarium wilt that often affects strawberry crops.

Additionally, they act as natural pest repellents against slugs and aphids that can cause damage to strawberry plants.

6 Strawberry Companion Herbs

companion planting for strawberries and herbs

Do you enjoy using garden herbs in the kitchen? Strawberry companion herbs, such as chamomile, coriander, mint, creeping thyme, basil, and perennial chives, can provide additional benefits to your strawberry plants and add some additional flavors to your favorite recipes.

1. Chamomile

Chamomile is a fantastic companion herb for many plants like strawberries because it acts as a natural repellent, deterring various common garden pests such as aphids and mosquitoes.

Additionally, chamomile attracts beneficial insects like hoverflies and predatory wasps that prey on harmful bugs.

The bright yellow flowers of chamomile also add beauty to your strawberry patch while the tea made from its leaves can be used in organic pest control sprays for your plants.

By planting chamomile alongside your strawberries, you not only enhance the health and productivity of your berry plants but also create an enchanting garden space bursting with both beauty and flavor.

2. Coriander

Coriander, also known as cilantro, is a fantastic companion plant for strawberries. It can add a burst of flavor to your recipes, and play a crucial role in protecting your strawberry plants from pests and diseases.

Coriander acts as a natural repellent against insects that can harm your strawberries, such as aphids and spider mites.

Additionally, coriander attracts beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings that feed on these pests, creating a balanced ecosystem in your garden.

By including coriander in your strawberry patch, you create a more favorable environment for the growth and health of both plants. The aromatic leaves of coriander release oils that repel harmful pests while releasing an enticing scent that attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies to help with strawberry flower pollination.

3. Mint

Mint, a popular herb known for its refreshing aroma and taste, can also be a valuable companion plant for strawberries.

Not only does mint repel pests like lygus bugs, aphids, and mites that can damage strawberry plants, but it can also enhance the flavor and fragrance of the berries when planted together.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that mint should not be grown directly next to strawberries to help avoid attracting tarnished plant bugs.

By harnessing the power of companion planting with mint, you can protect your strawberries from pesky insects while enjoying a more bountiful and aromatic harvest.

4. Creeping Thyme

Creeping thyme is a fantastic companion plant for strawberries. Not only does it act as a living mulch, suppressing weeds and helping to retain moisture in the soil, but it also helps repel pests that can damage strawberry plants, like slugs.

The creeping nature of this herb keeps the strawberries off the ground, preventing rot or slug damage.

Additionally, creeping thyme releases aromatic compounds that confuse pests and attract beneficial predators, reducing pest pressure on your strawberries.

This herb creates a symbiotic relationship with strawberries by providing them with various benefits such as weed suppression, moisture retention, and natural pest control.

5. Basil

Basil is not just a herb to add flavor to your favorite dishes, but it can also be the perfect companion for your strawberry plants. When planted alongside strawberries, basil works wonders in improving their growth and overall health.

This aromatic herb acts as a natural pest repellent, keeping unwanted critters away from your strawberry patch.

Additionally, basil attracts beneficial pollinators like bees and butterflies, which are essential for ensuring a bountiful harvest of juicy berries.

6. Perennial Chives

Perennial chives are a valuable companion herb when it comes to growing strawberries. Known for their pungent smell and beautiful blossoms, chives not only enhance the growth and health of strawberries but also protect against pests and diseases.

These plants repel unwanted insects while attracting beneficial pollinators, making them an essential addition to your strawberry garden.

With their strong aroma, chives help ward off potential threats like aphids and spider mites, ensuring that your strawberry plants stay healthy and productive throughout the growing season.

Chives make the list because they offer multiple benefits when planted alongside strawberries.

By incorporating perennial chives into your garden, you can create a thriving ecosystem that supports both the growth of your strawberries and the overall health of your garden as a whole.

7 Vegetable Strawberry Companions

strawberry companion plants

Vegetables are a key component of any backyard garden. I’ll share the perfect vegetable companions for your strawberries that will help boost both their growth and flavor!

From scallions to beets, these vegetables thrive alongside juicy strawberries.

1. Scallions

Scallions, also known as green onions, are highly recommended as companion plants for strawberries. These slender and flavorful vegetables offer numerous benefits when planted alongside strawberries.

Firstly, scallions act as natural repellents for garden pests such as aphids and slugs, helping to protect the delicate berries from damage.

Additionally, scallions help suppress fungal diseases like verticillium wilt that can affect strawberry plants.

Their compact size makes them a great choice for companion planting, as they won’t overshadow or compete with the strawberry plants’ growth.

By including scallions in your garden bed alongside strawberries, you’ll not only enhance the overall health of your berry patch but also maximize your strawberry harvest through these perfect plant pairings.

2. Rhubarb

Rhubarb is a valuable companion plant for strawberries, offering numerous benefits to boost your strawberry harvest. With its deep taproots and broad leaves, rhubarb contributes to improved soil aeration and moisture retention.

By growing rhubarb alongside strawberries, you can create symbiotic relationships that optimize space utilization in your garden.

Rhubarb also provides light shade for delicate strawberry plants during scorching summer days, protecting them from sunburn.

Furthermore, the broad leaves of rhubarb help suppress weeds by shading out unwanted vegetation, reducing the need for manual weeding.

Overall, incorporating rhubarb into your strawberry patch not only enhances yields but also promotes healthier and more resilient plants.

3. Broccoli

Broccoli is not only a delicious vegetable to add to your dinner plate, but it also makes for a great companion plant for strawberries.

When grown near strawberry plants, broccoli can help reduce fungal populations in the soil.

This can be particularly beneficial for strawberry plants as they are often susceptible to various fungal diseases. By rotating strawberries with broccoli, you can create an environment that is less favorable for disease development and promote healthier growth.

Despite being a heavy feeder, broccoli doesn’t compete with strawberries for nutrients due to their different root structures.

Additionally, both plants have different nutrient requirements which means one doesn’t deplete the soil of specific nutrients needed by the other.

4. Purslane

Purslane may be considered a weed by some, but when it comes to companion planting with strawberries, it can be quite beneficial. This low-growing plant acts as a natural ground cover and helps condition the soil by suppressing taller weeds.

But that’s not all – purslane has the ability to repel destructive nematodes, those microscopic pests that can wreak havoc on your strawberry patch.

Purslane is salt-loving and can help improve both yield and fruit quality in these conditions.

5. Radish

Radishes are a fantastic vegetable to plant nearby your strawberries because they offer a quick and abundant harvest. These light feeders won’t compete with the strawberries for nutrients or water, making them an ideal companion plant.

Additionally, radishes help in deterring pests like aphids and other harmful insects that could damage your strawberry plants.

With their short growing season of about 3-4 weeks, radishes can be planted between strawberry rows without causing any interference or overshadowing the berry plants.

This not only maximizes space but also ensures you get a continuous supply of fresh radishes while enjoying your bountiful strawberry harvest.

6. Carrots

Carrots, with their slender taproots and flowy foliage, are great plants to grow strawberries. When planted together, carrots help to loosen and aerate the soil, improving its quality and drainage for strawberry companions.

Additionally, they add diversity to the harvest by providing a contrasting color and texture alongside strawberries.

Beets can also complement strawberries in a similar way by aerating the soil, but it’s important to plant them at least 12-18 inches away from strawberry plants to prevent competition for nutrients.

With carrots as vegetable companions, strawberry growth is enhanced through improved soil quality, increased pollination opportunities, and reduced pest pressure thanks to symbiotic companion planting techniques.

7. Beets

Beets make excellent companion plants for strawberries because they provide multiple benefits to the strawberry patch. Not only do beets aerate the soil, improving its structure and drainage, but they also add diversity to your harvest.

Planting beets alongside strawberries can also help increase yield and create a more vibrant garden.

Just make sure to give them some space by planting them about 12-18 inches away from your strawberry plants for optimal growth and mutual benefit.

4 Strawberry Companion Flowers

strawberry companion plants

Strawberry companion flowers like Sweet Alyssum, French Marigold, Nasturtium, and Lupine provide not only beauty to your garden but also help repel pests and attract beneficial insects for a thriving strawberry harvest.

If you’re looking to add a little color to your garden, here are a few flowers you should consider.

1. Sweet Alyssum

Sweet Alyssum is an excellent floral companion for strawberries, providing numerous benefits to maximize their growth and harvest.

This beautiful and fragrant plant not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of your strawberry patch but also acts as a powerful ally against pests and diseases.

Sweet Alyssum attracts beneficial insects like green lacewings and honeybees, which help pollinate the strawberries and control harmful pests such as aphids and beetles. The presence of these beneficial predators contributes to the overall health and resilience of the strawberry plants.

Additionally, Sweet Alyssum is known for its ability to suppress weeds, improve soil quality, retain moisture, provide ground cover, and protect against erosion.

Its compatibility with strawberries makes it an ideal choice for gardeners looking to create a thriving and sustainable ecosystem in their backyard or home garden.

2. French Marigold

French Marigold is a popular companion plant for strawberries, providing mutual benefits in the garden. Known for their natural pest control abilities, French Marigolds aid in the protection of strawberries from common garden pests.

These vibrant flowers produce a substance toxic to root-knot nematodes, making them especially beneficial for strawberries’ root health.

By attracting beneficial insects like predatory wasps and repelling critters that can damage strawberries, French Marigolds help create a thriving ecosystem in your garden.

Additionally, they contribute to soil fertility by adding trace minerals and organic matter as they decompose. With all these advantages, it’s no wonder that French Marigolds are often recommended as a companion plant for strawberry patches!

3. Nasturtium

Nasturtium is a fantastic floral companion for strawberries in your garden. Not only does it add a pop of color to your strawberry patch, but it also serves as a natural pest repellent and attracts beneficial insects.

Nasturtium helps protect strawberries from pests like whiteflies, aphids, and beetles, while also luring in pollinators to ensure optimal fruit production.

This beautiful flower creates a symbiotic relationship with strawberries by enhancing their growth and overall health.

By incorporating nasturtium into your strawberry companion planting strategies, you can maximize your harvest while adding ecological resilience to your garden.

It’s an effective and natural way to keep pests at bay and promote healthy strawberry plants!

4. Lupine

Lupine is a fantastic companion flower for strawberries, providing numerous benefits to your strawberry patch. Not only does lupine attract beneficial insects and pollinators, but it also helps protect strawberries from pests and diseases.

Additionally, lupine improves soil fertility by fixing nitrogen, which directly benefits the growth of strawberries.

By incorporating lupine into your garden design, you can enhance the overall health and productivity of your strawberry plants while adding beautiful blooms to your space.

10 Plants to Avoid Planting Near Strawberries

Certain crops should be avoided as direct neighbors for strawberries to prevent issues such as verticillium wilt and stunting each other’s growth.

Here are several plants that should not be planted with strawberries:

  • Tomatoes: Planting tomatoes around strawberries can lead to an increase in fungal disease.
  • Eggplants: May compete for nutrients and spread fungal disease.
  • Potatoes: Can compete for nutrients and spread fungal disease.
  • Peppers: May attract pests and diseases when planted near strawberries.
  • Melons: Can compete for nutrients and space with strawberry plants.
  • Winter squash: May compete for nutrients and space with strawberry plants.
  • Cucumbers: Can compete for nutrients and space with strawberry plants.
  • Mint: Known to spread aggressively, which may negatively impact strawberry plants if they are planted too close.
  • Okra: May compete for nutrients and space with strawberry plants.
  • Cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage): May attract pests and diseases when grown in close proximity to strawberries.

Growing Strawberries is a Science

growing strawberries

Companion planting is not just a gardening trend; there is actual science behind it. When certain plants are placed near strawberries, they can provide numerous benefits.

For starters, lettuce and spinach act as natural repellents for pests that commonly attack strawberry plants.

Their presence can also help to camouflage the strawberry plants, making them less appealing to hungry critters.

Alliums, such as chives and garlic, have been found to suppress the growth of fusarium wilt in strawberries. These pungent plants not only repel slugs and aphids but also release sulfur compounds into the soil that inhibit the development of fungal diseases.

Another excellent companion plant for strawberries is dill. Its lacy foliage can distract insects from feasting on your berries while attracting beneficial creatures like hoverflies, which prey on harmful garden pests.

Sage is another herb that offers multiple benefits when planted alongside strawberries. It has been known to mask the smell of berries, deterring birds from indulging in your harvest.

Additionally, sage attracts bees and other pollinators, increasing fruit production through improved pollination.

Borage is a true superstar when it comes to companion planting with strawberries. This beautiful flowering herb acts as a magnet for beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings that keep pest populations under control.

Thyme’s small flowers attract valuable pollinators and beneficial insects when they bloom during the summer months—a win-win situation for both you and your strawberry plants!

Let’s not forget about catnip—yes, cats love it too! But did you know that this aromatic herb contains natural insect repellents?

By planting catnip near your strawberries, you can discourage aphids and spider mites from infesting your precious berry patch.

Finally, marigolds are fantastic companions for strawberries because they produce substances toxic to root-knot nematodes—an infamous pest known for causing extensive damage to crops by attacking their roots.

By harnessing the power of companion planting with these scientifically proven plants, you can maximize your strawberry harvest while maintaining a healthy and thriving garden ecosystem.

Final Thoughts

Once you learn which plants strategically pair well with your strawberries in the garden, you can maximize your harvest and create a thriving ecosystem.

The perfect plant pairings such as lettuce, sage, marigolds, and thyme not only enhance the flavor of your strawberries but also provide natural pest control and improved yield.

With this ultimate guide to strawberry companion plants in hand, you’ll be well-equipped to create a bountiful and beautiful garden that will have both humans and nature reaping the rewards.

If you’re looking for more information about plant pairings, check out our detailed guide to companion plants.

FAQs About Companion Plants For Strawberries

What Should Not Be Planted Near Strawberries?

Yes, some plant combinations may not be ideal for growing alongside strawberries. Avoid planting cabbage family crops (such as broccoli or cauliflower) near strawberries due to their shared susceptibility to certain diseases.

Additionally, avoid strong-rooted or invasive species that may compete with strawberry roots for nutrients and space.

What Is The Best Thing To Plant Next To Strawberries?

Some popular companion plants for strawberries include herbs like basil or thyme, flowers such as marigolds or nasturtiums, and vegetables like lettuce or spinach.

These plants provide beneficial interactions that support the growth of strawberries while deterring pests.

How Do I Choose The Right Companion Plant For My Strawberry Patch?

Consider factors such as sunlight requirements, soil compatibility, water needs, and pest resistance when selecting companion plants for your strawberry patch.

It’s essential to choose varieties that have similar growing conditions to ensure a successful partnership.

Can I plant zucchini with strawberries?

It is not recommended to plant strawberries near zucchini because they can attract similar pests that could potentially eat both plants.

Do strawberries attract pests?

Yes, the most common pests that strawberries attract are slugs, strawberry bud weevils, tarnished plant bugs, spittlebugs, and strawberry sap bugs.

Do strawberries attract pollinators?

Yes, strawberries can attract pollinators like bees. However, it is best to include a few flowers in your garden that specifically attract pollinators as strawberry plants are not the most attractive to pollinators.

Are there any plants that can help protect strawberries from pests?

Yes, there are some plants that can help protect strawberries from pests, such as borage and marigold.

Can I plant tomatoes and strawberries together?

No, strawberries and tomatoes should not be planted together. Planting tomatoes near strawberries can attract similar harmful pests and increase the spread of fungal disease.