Raspberry (Rubus idaeus) is an edible fruit belonging to the Rose family. Raspberries are sun-loving, thorny, rambling plants that are easy to grow. Raspberries grow best in well-drained, slightly acidic soil that contains lots of organic material.
This edible fruit reaches 36 to 60 inches tall with a 24 to 36-inch spread. However, before planting raspberries, you must amend the soil to add organic material and valuable nutrients. One way to do this is to plant and grow a cover crop for one season before planting raspberries in that location.
20 Raspberry Companion Plants
To protect raspberries against pests and diseases and ensure a good harvest yearly, you must choose the right companion plants to grow with them. Therefore, when choosing a companion plant, go for plants that attract bees. The more bees that visit your raspberry bushes, the more raspberries your plants will yield.
Marigolds are attractive flowers that add beauty to any garden. The main benefit of marigolds is to attract pollinators with their bright colors.
Moreover, marigolds produce a particular chemical that repels and kill pests that would wreak havoc with raspberries, such as nematodes and eelworms. Marigolds grow well with raspberry fertilizer added to the ground around the canes.
Popular Varieties: Bonanza Marigold, Little Hero Marigold, Bounty Marigold, Hero Orange Marigold.
Nasturtiums are beautiful flower companions that do several helpful things in the garden. They are attractive plants with bright orange flowers and rounded leaves entirely edible.
Pests like squash bugs detest the smell of nasturtium flowers and barely enter the field. As a trap crop for aphids, weevils, and beetles, the nasturtium will lure these pests away from your raspberries.
Popular Varieties: Fiery Festival, Black Velvet, Apricot, Alaska
Thyme is an evergreen, woody, perennial herb with a sweet fragrance. Thyme is an all-around friendly plant in your fruit and vegetable patch. When paired with raspberries, thyme protects against attacks by aphids, weevils, and whiteflies. It also releases anthocyanin, a helpful chemical that improves raspberries’ growth, flavor, and scent.
Popular Varieties: Archer’s Gold, Variegata, Peter Davis, Caborn Wine and Roses, lemon thyme.
Lavender is an excellent companion plant with a strong scent that will distract harmful insects and pests from feasting on your raspberries. Besides diverting harmful insects and pests, lavender attracts helpful pollinators and helps provide shade to shield your raspberries so they don’t get too hot.
Popular Varieties: Ballerina, Kew Red, Anouk, Betty’s Blue
Yarrow is another excellent companion plant with beautiful blossoms attracting bees and butterflies. It grows up to three feet tall in similar climates as raspberry plants and has plenty of home remedies. Yarrow flowers grow in partial shade and can get a bit twiggy, so it is advisable to grow them in full sun and well-draining soil.
Popular Varieties: Apple Blossom, Cerise Queen, Common, Gold, and Gold Plate.
Mint is widely used in tea, juices, salads, and desserts. Their intense aroma helps make it a companion plant with different crops to protect it from insects—plant mint with your raspberries to protect them against these pests.
Popular Varieties: Banana Mint, grapefruit mint, chocolate mint, Moroccan mint, strawberry mint.
Tansy is a medicinal plant commonly grown in sunny, disturbed areas such as roadsides or pastures. Despite this, tansy is an attractive plant that adds potassium to the soil while repelling several annoying insect species. Tansy herb plants are easy to grow and have lovely flowers.
The flowers are attractive, with delicate, fern-like leaves and button-like blooms appearing in late summer into fall. Tansies are great for attracting pollinators which will increase the fruit yield of the raspberry plant and minimize fruit drop.
Note: Tansies can become invasive, so grow them in pots to discourage them from rapidly spreading in the garden.
Popular Varieties: Isla Good
Rue, also called common rue, is a small perennial shrub in the Rutaceae, commonly used as a culinary and medicinal herb. The plant grows up to 2-3 feet tall and is extremely attractive with bluish-green fern-like foliage.
Rue’s flowers go well with the pollinator community, and its strongly-scented leaves work well as a general insect repellant. Plant rue near your raspberries to ward off Japanese beetles, aphids, slugs, snails, and other pests of the rose family.
Popular Varieties: Black Beauty, Jackman’s Blue.
Garlic, onions, and chives are all part of the allium family, and they all share a particularly pungent aroma that distracts pests and gets them looking elsewhere for sustenance. Planting garlic, chives, and onions near your raspberries will help repel aphids, mites, maggots, rabbits, and deer. This is because their pungent smell and taste are not appealing to these pests’ strong senses.
However, garlic, chives, and onion plants have shallow roots that don’t exceed 12-18″. They thrive best in both full and partial sun. If you are in a warmer climate, consider planting them on a perimeter or underneath your raspberry bush so they can get relief from the hot sun.
Popular Varieties: German porcelain, Garlic, Northern white garlic, Almera leek, Atlantic leek, Siberian chives, and Red onion.
10. Cover Crops
Cover crops are grasses or legumes, ‘green’ crops planted in early fall to protect and improve water quality during the ‘brown’ winter months. Cover crops are also grown during grain production to preserve and enhance the soil.
Cover crops improve soil health by slowing erosion, retaining water, and controlling diseases. They fix nitrogen in the ground by promoting beneficial bacteria that take nitrogen from the air and store it in the soil, serving as nitrates for other plants.
Popular varieties: Peanuts, Peas, Chickpeas. Soybeans, Lentils, Alfalfa, and Clover.
Legumes are excellent raspberry companion plants because they are fantastic nitrogen fixes. They improve soil conditions by adding nutrients and, in turn, enhance raspberries’ growth.
Popular Varieties: Black beans, Kidney Beans, Black-eyed Peas.
Wildflowers varieties include; Daisies, Black-eyed Susan, Meadow cranesbill, Lupine, Poppies, Bee balm, Purple coneflower, and Queen Anne’s lace. All these flowers are a fantastic addition to your garden, especially if they are within the range of your raspberry plants. Wildflower varieties attract pollinators and provide a good mix of nectar and pollen they can use as energy and food.
Turnips are root vegetables that are part of the brassica family. Just like raspberry plants, turnips prefer growing in temperate climates and prefer rich, loose soil. The aroma of turnips repels pests such as aphids and harlequin bees.
Ensure you plant turnips in late summer to avoid spring pests. Avoid transplanting them, as they do better when grown directly in the garden.
Popular varieties: Top white globe, Scarlet queen, and Baby bunch.
Chamomile is a flowering plant with anti-fungal and antibacterial properties that are highly beneficial for raspberries to keep them healthy. The bright chamomile flowers attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, while the pungent smell deters harmful insects and attracts beneficial ones.
Chamomile also helps fix nitrogen in the soil by promoting healthy bacteria to store nitrates in the ground. You can plant chamomile underneath or near your raspberry plants. For optimal growth, plant chamomile on the east side of the raspberry plants to provide it with partial shade.
Popular varieties: German chamomile and Roman chamomile.
Chervil grows well in the raspberry plant’s shade under its bush. The pungent aroma of chervil repels slugs and aphids making it a good raspberry companion plant.
Popular varieties: Crispnum, Verissimo
Comfrey is one of the most popular raspberry floral companion plants. Not only does comfrey attract pollinators, but it can also be an excellent mulch for other plants. Comfrey also fixes nitrogen in the soil, meaning its root attracts beneficial bacteria that take nitrogen from the air and store it as nitrates in the soil.
Popular varieties: True comfrey, Rough comfey, Russian comfrey, and Axminister gold.
17. Pine Trees
A pine tree is any conifer shrub from the pinus genus of plants. Once pine trees fall, their needles break down and add essential nutrients to the soil for nearby plants, and evergreen trees add acidity to your soil. Therefore, pine trees near your raspberries will provide an easy boost in acidity to help your raspberries thrive.
Popular Varieties: Pine sylvestris, Pinus lambertiana, Pinus Radiata, Pinus Mugo, Pinus Patula.
18. Crimson Clover
Crimson clover plants are like other members of the legume family and are grown as an annual. Not only will crimson clover provide your raspberry garden with enriched soil, but it will also allow your raspberry bushes to flourish to their full potential.
Popular Varieties: Dixie, Autauga, Auburn, Chief, and Kentucky.
19. Spring Oats
Spring oats is a unique specie that grows very quickly after planting. They are a good companion plant for raspberries because they help keep weeds away and the plants cool. Spring oats can be planted ¼ inch deep into the soil with good drainage and at least 8 inches apart from one another.
Popular Varieties: Everleaf Spring Oats, Reeves Spring Oats, Canmore Spring Oats.
Artemisia contains about 300 species, including annuals, perennials, and even woody shrubs, but those cultivated for garden use are primarily herbaceous perennials. The species are grown as foliage and valued for their filigree-like leaves and their tolerance for dry, sunny locations.
They can be planted from nursery-grown plants in the spring as soon as the soil can be worked. As a raspberry companion plant, Artemisia helps keep the bigger animals away from your raspberries.
Popular Varieties: Southernwood, White Mugwort, Western Mugwort, Roman Wormwood
Worst Raspberry Companion Plants
Most plants have harmful effects when grown together with raspberries. Therefore, avoid planting the following plants near raspberries;
1. Potatoes, Eggplant, and Tomatoes
Potatoes, eggplant, and tomatoes belong to the family Solanaceae, and they are highly affected by fungal diseases like blight. Blight can affect the growth and development of your raspberry plants and might cause death.
2. Peppers and Chilies
Peppers and chilies also attract different fungal and viral diseases. Therefore, keep pepper and chilies as far as possible from the raspberry bush.
Fennel is not a good companion plant, and it produces an allelopathic chemical from its roots that stunts the growth and development of other plants around it.
Strawberry is highly susceptible to verticillium wilt that attacks raspberries equally.