Growing raspberries can be challenging, but choosing the right raspberry companion plants can alleviate some of the struggles. Raspberry companion planting not only ensures a bountiful harvest but also gives plants plenty of nutrients and improves the taste of their fruits.
In this article, I’ll explore the five best neighbors for your raspberry plants, including the ones that should be avoided at all costs!
Summary of How to Grow Raspberries
Raspberries are vigorous growers and can quickly take over a garden bed if you’re not careful. Therefore, it’s important to choose a large area to allow them the space to spread and grow.
Choose a spot with full sun (at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight) and rich, well-drained soil; you can throw in some well-rotted compost to give them a jump-start.
TIP: New canes will come up year after year, so choose a spot on the outer edge of the garden to avoid raspberry plants popping up throughout your main vegetable garden bed!
The best method for growing raspberries is starting with one-year-old dormant plants called canes.
Plant the canes about 20 inches apart and wait for them to produce fruit. This usually takes two years; the leaves grow in the first year, and the fruit comes in the second.
To grow taller plants that yield more berries, tie the canes to stakes. Staking keeps the canes upright and protects the fruit from soil-dwelling insects.
Once the second season arrives, it’s harvest time! Pick fruit from the canes, then once they’ve finished fruiting, prune down to ground level.
Be sure to leave all the new canes untouched to ensure a steady supply of berries year after year.
Best Conditions for Growing Raspberries
|Best Climate||Raspberries are best grown in cooler climates with temperatures around 70-75°F. They also require at least 6 hours of daily sunlight.|
|Plant Spacing||18-24 inches (46-61 cm)Raspberry plants need to be staked to keep them upright and easy to harvest|
|Time till Harvest||2 years|
|Annual or Perennial||Raspberries are perennial plants with biennial canes (this includes all varieties)|
Best Raspberry Companion Plants
Here’s a list of some of my favorite companion plant combinations to get the most out of your raspberry crop.
Members of the allium family – including onions, chives, leeks, and garlic – share a certain pungent aroma that makes them great companion plants.
If you’ve ever been brought to tears by an onion, you’ll know what we’re talking about!
This odor disorients pests, especially Japanese beetles, and gets them looking elsewhere for sustenance.
Alliums also have antibacterial and antifungal properties to protect the soil and your raspberry patch from common diseases.
Nasturtiums are an indispensable companion that performs many helpful tasks in the garden.
Their rounded leaves and large orange blooms, when paired with the bright pink raspberries, look beautiful in the garden.
The insect-repellent nature of nasturtiums lures predatory insects away from nearby plants and prevents the occurrence of any unwanted infestations.
Additionally, the nectar in nasturtium flowers brings in more bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, resulting in your raspberry plants yielding more fruit.
Not only are they cheerful and bright, but marigolds also make for wonderful raspberry companion plants.
As flowers, they attract pollinators that help the fruit develop. They also keep out invasive pests that otherwise would wreak havoc with raspberries, such as eelworms and nematodes.
Keep squash bugs, Japanese beetles, and ants away from your raspberry canes by planting them next to chervil.
This herbal friend is reliable because of its strong fragrance that keeps those oh-so-harmful pests at bay.
On top of this, chervil also lures in pollinators, which in turn, results in a better fruit set
In return, raspberry plants provide chervil with partial shade during the hot summer months. This give-and-take relationship makes them a powerful duo in the vegetable garden.
Raspberries will be the happiest and most productive when planted alongside peas.
Peas and other similar legumes are great companion plants because of their nitrogen-fixing superpower – they enrich the soil as they grow. The best part? They do this without competing with raspberries for space and light.
Bad Raspberry Companion Plants
These are the three bad raspberry companion plants that you should avoid planting too close to your raspberry plants.
Tomatoes may be beautiful, lush red garden perennials, but they don’t make good partners when it comes to raspberries.
This is because they have the tendency to spread fungal diseases such as verticillium wilt and blight to surrounding plants. Additionally, tomatoes provide a lot of cover and can deprive the raspberries of beloved sunlight needed for healthy growth.
Like tomatoes, eggplants are another nightshade vegetable that doesn’t grow well with raspberries.
These plants also can transfer blight and verticillium wilt to the more vulnerable raspberry plant, thereby damaging its production.
Eggplants also attract insects like whiteflies and melon thrips, which gladly attack the raspberry plant when given a chance.
All in all, planting raspberries and eggplant together is a big no-no.
No matter how easy and quick it is to grow beets in your garden, remember to never do so in the presence of raspberries.
Since both plants have a shallow root system, this can lead to competition between the two for nutrition.
To top it off, beets attract aphids, flea beetles, and terrible diseases to the garden, which further downgrades their position as a raspberry companion plant.
Final Thoughts on Raspberry Companion Planting
Like many plants, raspberries can also benefit from their fellow neighbors. Bringing raspberry companion plants into the equation can improve fruit yield, repel unwanted insects, and prevent disease while enriching the soil and attracting pollinators.
Step into the world of raspberry companion planting and you’ll be harvesting an abundance of juicy raspberries in no time!
Can raspberries and strawberries be planted near each other?
While it is possible to plant strawberries and raspberries near each other, I strongly advise against doing so, given their similar growing requirements.
Moreover, strawberries are susceptible to verticillium wilt and can transfer it to raspberry plants; therefore, keeping them a good distance apart is best.
Can cucumbers grow with raspberries?
Yes! Cucumbers offer a good ground cover against scorching sunlight and attract pollinators to your garden, increasing the yield of your prized raspberry bushes.
Can you plant different types of raspberries together?
Different types of raspberries are susceptible to different kinds of diseases and can even spread that to their surroundings.
For example, black raspberries are at a greater risk of catching a viral disease, while red raspberries are more susceptible to latent infections. Therefore, it’s best to separate different varieties from each other.
What should you not plant next to raspberries?
Members of the nightshade families like potatoes and eggplants are not a good choice of companion plant for raspberries. Other plants to avoid include fennel, strawberries, and similar bramble fruits.
About the Author
Elle Reed is a passionate gardener and advocate for teaching beginner gardeners how to grow their own food. Elle’s mission is to inspire and empower people to get back to basics, grow their own produce, and embrace a sustainable lifestyle. “Whether it’s a few herb pots in an apartment, a potager or a full garden plot, we can all ‘start somewhere’ to grow our own food, and in doing so, provide healthier food for ourselves and those we love”.