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Best Blueberry Companion Plants for a Big Harvest

Jump to RecipeBlueberries on a bush.

Growing your own blueberries can be a tricky task. You need to have the right growing conditions, soil, and nutrients. To make it a little bit easier there are some tricks to getting the best blueberries out of your plants. One of these tips is to focus on your companion plants.

Companion planting is the strategic placement of plants to enhance each other's growth and ward off pests. Doing this correctly can play a crucial role in the overall health and productivity of blueberry bushes.

Blueberries are perennial plants that grow in full sun areas. They are acid-loving plants that produce delicious fruits in the summertime. Whether you are growing them at a large scale, your home garden, or in a vegetable garden, these plants are great ones to grow.

5 Best Companion Plants for Blueberries

Since blueberries have some specific requirements, it is nice to know what beneficial plants works well with them. You want other plants that want consistent, well-drained soil, thrive in acidic soil, or are a low-growing plant so they don't compete with the blueberries. Here are a few of the best blueberry companion plants.

1. Azaleas and Rhododendrons

These acid-loving flowering shrubs make a great companion plant for blueberries as they like similar conditions. Azaleas and rhododendrons not only create beautiful flowers that are great in the garden but also contribute to the overall health of the soil by maintaining acidity.

2. Strawberries

Pairing blueberries with strawberry plants is not only a treat for the taste buds but also a smart gardening choice. Strawberries provide ground cover, suppressing weeds and conserving soil moisture. The low-growing habit of strawberries ensures they won't compete for sunlight with the taller blueberry bushes which makes them excellent companion plants.

3. Ferns

Shade-tolerant ferns can provide a beautiful understory in your blueberry patch, enhancing the aesthetics while contributing to a healthy ecosystem. Ferns help retain soil moisture, reduce erosion, and provide shelter for beneficial insects.

4. Bee Balm and Borage

Blueberries benefit from the presence of pollinators, and bee balm and borage are excellent choices to attract bees and other beneficial insects. The increased pollination activity can lead to higher blueberry yields.

5. Clover

Planting clover as a cover crop between blueberry bushes enhances nitrogen fixation, promoting soil fertility. Clover also acts as a living mulch, suppressing weeds and creating a favorable microclimate.

4 Worst Companion Plants for Blueberries

1. Potatoes

Blueberries and potatoes both belong to the Solanaceae family, and planting them together can increase the risk of common pests and diseases affecting both crops. It's advisable to keep blueberries and potatoes separated to prevent potential issues.

2. Tomatoes

Similar to potatoes, tomatoes share a familial connection with blueberries. Planting them in close proximity can expose blueberries to similar pests and diseases. Maintain a safe distance between these crops to avoid cross-contamination.

3. Members of the Brassica Family (Cabbage, Broccoli, etc.)

Brassicas have different soil pH requirements, preferring alkaline soil compared to the acidic conditions preferred by blueberries. Planting them together can create conflicting soil conditions, negatively impacting the growth and health of both sets of plants.

4. Black Walnut Trees

Black walnut trees release a substance called juglone, which can inhibit the growth of many plants, including blueberries. Planting blueberries near black walnut trees may result in stunted growth and reduced yields.

Companion planting is a nuanced aspect of gardening that, when done right, can elevate the health and productivity of your blueberry patch. Paying attention to these companion planting principles ensures a thriving ecosystem where your blueberries can flourish alongside other plants.

Blueberry bushes.

How to grow the best blueberries?

There are many things you will learn in your blueberry growing journey. Here are a few high level tips you should know to get a bountiful harvest this year.

  • Soil pH Level: A unique growing condition for blueberries is that they prefer to grow in acidic soil with a pH between 4.0-5.5. If you don’t have this in your area you can consider soil amendments or growing blueberries in containers such as large pots or raised beds. The soil quality is very important for blueberry plants.
  • When to Plant: The best time to plant blueberries is late fall or early spring. This is when the plants are dormant so you won’t shock the plant when moving. Spacing will depend on the variety you get so make sure to check your tag for growing information. For the most part blueberry bushes like to be about 4-5 feet apart.
  • Light: Blueberry shrubs love to be in full sun. They will tolerate some partial shade, but too much shade and they will produce less fruit.
  • Watering: Blueberries like consistent moisture with good drainage. The best way to do this is with drip irrigation. If you don’t have that set up just try to stay consistent and water your plants at the base so you have moist soil. Not getting the leaves wet an help prevent against diseases.
  • Fertilization: The best time to fertilize your blueberries is in the spring time before they start putting on their growth. When choosing a fertilizer make sure it is something that is suitable for blueberries. A great choice is the Espoma Berry Tone. Other times of the year, make sure to add some organic matter back into the soil so your plants have nutrients to keep producing fruit.
  • Bird Protection: This is something I have personally dealt with in my garden, and that is birds getting to the berries before I can. If this is a continuous problem for you, you can look into getting netting for your berry bushes to protect the ripe fruits.

For a more in depth look at growing your own blueberries check out this post on how to grow the best blueberries at home.

Blueberries Pests to Avoid

Blueberry plants, like any other crops, can be susceptible to certain pests. These are a few that you want to pest control in your blueberry patches.

  • Blueberry Maggot: The larvae of this fly species feed on blueberries, causing damage to the fruit. Infested berries often show signs of puncture wounds.
  • Spotted Wing Drosophila: This invasive fruit fly lays its eggs in ripening fruit, including blueberries. The larvae can cause significant damage by feeding on the fruit pulp.
  • Aphids: Aphids are small, sap-sucking insects that can affect blueberry plants. They can distort new growth, cause leaf curling, and excrete honeydew, leading to the growth of sooty mold.
  • Blueberry Gall Midge: The larvae of this midge feed on blueberry buds, causing the formation of galls. This can result in reduced fruit production.
  • Scale Insects: Scale insects can infest blueberry bushes, feeding on plant sap and weakening the plant. They often appear as small, immobile bumps on stems and leaves.
  • Spider Mites: These tiny arachnids feed on plant sap and can cause stippling on leaves, reducing the plant's overall health and productivity.

If you are dealing with any of these look for all natural, organic ways to ward off the pests. You want something that will help deter them without damaging the blueberry harvest. I like using Captain Jack's or Arber Plant Care products.

Beneficial Insects for Blueberry Plants

Even though there are many insects to avoid there are some that are actually very beneficially for your plants that can keep the pests in check and keep your harvest looking great.

  • Ladybugs: Ladybugs are voracious predators of aphids and other soft-bodied insects. They play a crucial role in keeping aphid populations in check.
  • Parasitoid Wasps: Certain wasp species are parasitoids of aphids. They lay their eggs on or inside aphids, and their larvae feed on the aphids, ultimately killing them.
  • Hoverflies: Hoverfly larvae are beneficial predators of aphids. They consume large numbers of aphids during their larval stage.
  • Predatory Mites: Various predatory mite species feed on harmful mites, including spider mites. They help control mite infestations and maintain a balance in the ecosystem.
  • Ground Beetles: Ground beetles are generalist predators that feed on a variety of insects, including caterpillars, beetle larvae, and other pests.
  • Predatory Bugs: Predatory bugs, such as minute pirate bugs, are beneficial insects that feed on small insects, including thrips and mites.
  • Lacewings: Lacewing larvae are voracious predators of aphids, caterpillars, and other small insects. They are beneficial in controlling a range of pests.

Start Growing

Whether this is your first year growing blueberries or you are a seasoned pro, I hope these tips help you get an abundance of blueberries in your garden this year. Blueberries are such a fun addition to your garden space and one you can enjoy in the kitchen.

Products Showcased

Arber plant food bottles.

Arber Plant Care

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