Blueberries have been a welcomed addition to our permaculture homestead since the very beginning but it took time to get the soil conditions right for their optimal growth.
As most blueberry growers know, this finicky bush plant likes its soil a little different than most plants do. Blueberries like to grow in acidic soil conditions with a pH level between 4.5 and 5.0 and it may take a little work and time to get your soil in an optimal blueberry growing condition sometimes.
Because the perfect blueberry growing soil is acidic there are many plants you will want to avoid planting near blueberries. The fact is most plants love slightly alkaline soil for best growth. Although many can tolerate acidic soil, there are some that simply cannot grow well or possibly not at all in your blueberries soil.
Should You Grow Anything Around Blueberries?
Students of permaculture and organic gardening quickly learn the value of companion planting. By interplanting a variety of plants that are specially chosen, a gardener can accomplish many desired effects.
Companion plants can serve as a pest repellent to protect higher-value crops. Some plants function well as groundcover which helps with soil condition and water retention. Still, other plants can provide necessary nutrients and other types of support for fellow plants.
Another great reason to companion plant is for an increased yield in crops. By utilizing all the space you have by choosing plants that will help each other and can grow well alongside one another your garden becomes much more productive.
You certainly don’t have to plant anything with your blueberries but in true permaculture fashion, it will become a more useful space if you do.
Plants You Should Avoid Growing Around Blueberries
There are mainly 3 problems you are trying to avoid when choosing what to plant near your blueberries.
First, you need to be careful not to shade out your blueberry bushes. Blueberries love many hours of direct sunlight and many plants can grow taller than blueberry bushes.
This becomes less about not planting near blueberries but instead where to plant around your blueberries. Be sure to not plant anything that will grow taller than your blueberries between the bushes and the sunlight.
Second, you don’t want to plant anything that has different nutrient requirements than your blueberry bushes. Blueberries are sensitive to fertilizer and generally prefer to be fed with organic material added to the soil and a moderate amount of compost.
This being said, plants that are heavy feeders and require more nutrients from heavy applications of compost or even organic fertilizers are not good companion plants for blueberries as you could harm your bushes by catering to the needs of the companion plants.
Third and most importantly, plants that have different soil pH requirements than blueberries are not good companion plants as they will not thrive or possibly not survive the acidic conditions.
List of Plants That Should Be Avoided As Companion Plants For Blueberries
|Poor Blueberry Companion Plant||Reasons Why|
|Artichoke||Requires a soil pH of 6.5 to 7.5|
|Arugula||Requires a soil pH of 6.5 to 7.5|
|Asparagus||Heavy Nutrient Requirements, Requires a pH of 6.0 to 8.0|
|Beans, Various Varieties||Requires a soil pH ranging from 6.0 to 7.5|
|Beets||Requires a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.5|
|Broccoli||Heavy Nutrient Requirements, Requires a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.0|
|Brussel Sprouts||Heavy Nutrient Requirements, Requires a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.0|
|Cabbage||Heavy Nutrient Requirements, Requires a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.0|
|Cantaloupe/Honeydew||Heavy Nutrient Requirements, Requires a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.5|
|Cauliflower||Heavy Nutrient Requirements, Requires a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.5|
|Celery/Celeriac||Heavy Nutrient Requirements, Requires a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.0|
|Chives||Requires a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.0|
|Cilantro||Requires a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.0|
|Collard Greens||Requires a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.5|
|Fennel||Requires a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.0|
|Horseradish||Requires a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.5|
|Jerusalem Artichoke||Requires a soil pH of 6.5 to 7.0, Possible shading issues|
|Kale||Requires a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.5|
|Kohlrabi||Heavy Nutrient Requirements, Requires a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.5|
|Leeks||Heavy Nutrient Requirements, Requires a soil pH of 6.0 to 8.0|
|Lettuce||Requires a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.0|
|Marjoram||Requires a soil pH of 6.0 to 8.0|
|Mizuna||Requires a soil pH of 6.5 to 7.0|
|Mustard||Requires a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.5|
|Okra||Requires a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.5, Possible shading issues|
|Onion||Heavy Nutrient Requirements, Requires a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.0|
|Oregano||Requires a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.0|
|Pak Choi||Requires a soil pH of 6.5 to 7.0|
|Peas||Requires a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.5|
|Peppers||Heavy Nutrient Requirements|
|Radish||Requires a soil pH of 6.5 to 7.0|
|Rhubarb||Heavy Nutrient Requirements, Requires a soil pH of 6.5 to 7.0|
|Sage||Requires a soil pH of 6.0 to 6.5|
|Salsify||Requires a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.5|
|Spinach||Heavy Nutrient Requirements, Requires a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.5|
|Summer Squash||Requires a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.0|
|Sunflower||Requires a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.0, Possible shading issues|
|Swiss Chard||Requires a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.5|
|Tarragon||Requires a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.5|
|Turnips||Heavy Nutrient Requirements|
|Watermelon||Requires a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.0|
Plants That Can Tolerate Low pH But Won’t Thrive
This list of plants could be grown with blueberries even though they may not perform at their best.
|Possible Tolerant Blueberry Companions||pH Requirements|
|Carrots||Requires a soil pH of 5.5 to 7.0|
|Eggplant||Requires a soil pH of 5.5 to 6.5|
|Garlic||Requires a soil pH of 5.5 to 7.0|
|Parsley||Requires a soil pH of 5.0 to 7.0|
|Sorrel||Requires a soil pH of 5.5 to 6.0|
|Winter Squash||Requires a soil pH of 5.5 to 7.0|
|Sweet Potato||Requires a soil pH of 5.5 to 6.0|
|Tomato||Requires a soil pH of 5.5 to 7.5|
Plants That Thrive In Acidic Soil
These are a few plants that thrive in acidic soil and have other benefits that make them a fantastic companion to blueberries.
|Best Blueberry Companions||pH Requirements and Other Possible Benefits|
|Basil||Requires a soil pH of 5.0 to 6.5, Provides Excellent Groundcover, Pest Repellent Qualities|
|Borage||Requires a soil pH of 4.5 to 8.5. Thick foliage serves as soil shade, Excellent pollinator attractor. Pest Repellent Qualities|
|Dill||Requires a soil pH of 5.0 to 6.5, Pest Repellent Qualities|
|Parsley||Requires a soil pH of 5.0 to 7.0, Pest Repellent Qualities|
|Rhododendron||Requires a soil pH of 4.5 to 6.0, Thick foliage serves as soil shade, Excellent pollinator attractor.|
How To Test Your Soils pH
When it comes to growing blueberries and knowing what to plant alongside them it’s important to know the pH level of your soil and your soil condition.
The easiest and quickest way to check your soil pH is with an electronic tester. The one I have is the Sonkir Soil pH Meter which has served me well and seems reliable.
- Kindly NOTE: This soil tester can not be applied to test pH value of any other liquid. If the soil...
- 3-IN-1 FUNCTION: Test soil moisture, pH value and sunlight level of plant with our soil meter, helps...
- ACCURATE & RELIABLE: Double-needle Detection Technology strongly enhances the speed and accuracy of...
- EASY TO USE: No batteries needed, just insert the sensor probe into the soil about 2-4 inches,...
- INDOOR & OUTDOOR USE: Design to be lightweight and portable, easy to carry around for outdoor use,...
Last update on 2021-08-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Companion planting can be a great way to increase the health and productivity of your garden but remember that knowing what NOT to companion plant is just as important as knowing what to plant.