What to Plant and Avoid

Raspberries are gems in the garden, and to help them thrive, pay attention to what you plant nearby—by companion planting for raspberries, you might just get a bigger harvest.

Whether you are planning to grow wild raspberries or cultivated varieties, you want the plants to thrive and produce abundant fruit. One way to help the plants along is to pay attention to what crops and plants are located near the raspberry bushes.

Learn more about what plants are great companions to your rows of raspberry canes and which plants should never come near them.

11 Good Companion Plants for Raspberries

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Raspberries prefer full sunlight and well-drained, sandy loam soils rich in organic matter so it is important to select companion plants that have the same requirements. Since raspberries are usually trellised, there is plenty of room at the bottom of the canes for companion plants.

  • Garlic: The pungent odor repels Japanese beetles that can harm the raspberry fruit and leaves.
  • Leeks, Onions, and Chives: All are members of the Allium family with odors that repel harmful insects and deer.
  • Marigolds: Effecting in controlling certain nematodes, microscopic worms that feed on plants.
  • Lavender: Attracts bees and butterflies for pollination.
  • Nasturtiums: Attracts pollinators and repels whiteflies, squash bugs, and aphids.
  • Yarrow: Repels harlequin beetles that feed on raspberry plants.
  • Chamomile: Attracts pollinators.
  • Mint: Repels aphids.
  • Turnips: Attract the harlequin beetle to prevent it from targeting the raspberries.
  • Spring Cover Crops: In the early spring, sow a cover crop such as buckwheat, rye, millet, or oats to improve the organic matter in the soil and to kill out perennial weeds. The crop should be turned into the soil before it goes to seed. 
  • Late Summer Cover Crop: Sow a cover crop like spring oats just after the harvest of the raspberries is complete. The oats aid in hardening off the raspberry plants for winter by absorbing excess water and nutrients in the soil, reducing soil erosion, and smothering weed growth.

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What Not to Plant Near Raspberries

Just as some plants can be beneficial to the growth and fruit production of raspberries, others can transmit plant and soil diseases that can harm raspberries.

  • Tomatoes: A member of the nightshade family, tomatoes can carry verticillium root rot that can affect raspberries. If there have been no tomatoes in the soil near the plants for four years, the area is safe for planting.
  • Blueberries: Blueberries require acidic soil to thrive while raspberries only need mildly acidic soil. Planting both fruits together will allow only one to thrive.
  • Potatoes: Another nightshade, potatoes can spread the verticillium virus to raspberries.
  • Peppers: Avoid planting raspberries in an area that has grown peppers until four years have passed.
  • Strawberries: Strawberries are susceptible to the same root-rotting diseases as raspberries. Land that has been planted with strawberries for four years or more can build up a population of root-rotting diseases and should not be used when planting raspberries.
  • Eggplant: Another nightshade spreader of verticillium root rot, keep them away from raspberries.
  • Wild and Cultivated Raspberries: If planting cultivated raspberry varieties, destroy all wild raspberries within 600 feet of the site to reduce the possibility of spreading viruses.
  • Boysenberries, Blackberries, and Gooseberries: Avoid planting raspberries near similar bramble fruits to prevent the transfer of soil-borne fungal diseases.

Gardening Best Practices

As with most garden fruits and vegetables, regular rotation of crops is recommended to keep the soil healthy. Use fungicides wisely and enrich the soil with compost regularly for abundant yield.

What Is Companion Planting?

Companion planting has been done for centuries and is the practice of growing different plants together for mutual benefit. A classic example is planting “the three sisters” or corn, beans, and squash together.

The corn supplies a support system for the climbing bean vines, the beans provide nitrogen to fertilize the soil and stabilize the tall corn during heavy winds, and the large leaves of squash plants shade the ground to help retain soil moisture and prevent weeds.

Unlike other gardening areas, much information about companion gardening is not always based on hard scientific facts, but more on observations and garden lore found in farmers’ almanacs. However, some studies confirm the benefits of separating certain crops from others to prevent soil diseases and nutrient depletion.

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