13 Plants to Avoid Planting Near Blackberries This Season

Are you growing blackberries this season, but aren't sure what to plant along next to them? In this article, gardening expert Melissa Strauss shares what not to plant next to blackberries this season.

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Companion planting is a philosophy of planting crops together based on their needs and habits. Some benefits include improved flavor, increased yield, better pest resistance, and environmental benefits (like shelter from strong winds or sun).

However, not all plants work well together.

These 13 plants are less than ideal companions you should avoid planting near your blackberries. They are all wonderful plants in their own right but should be grown separately from your berry patch.

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There are many “good” companion plants for blackberries, including some that can be grown in containers!

If you are thinking about planting blackberry vines this year or are looking for ways to maximize garden space, it is important to know what companion plants you should avoid planting in your blackberry patch. These crops could potentially reduce your berry yields!

Artichokes

Close-up of a growing Artichokes plant in a sunny garden. Artichoke plants consist of strong, erect stems with large leaves with deep lobes. The leaves are thick and leathery, bluish-green in color. They are arranged in the form of a rosette, forming a dense and showy foliage. The leaves have sharp spines along the edges. Artichoke flower buds are the main edible part. The buds are large, round, covered with overlapping bracts. These bracts are thick and fleshy.
These massive plants outcompete berries due to their high nutrient needs, reducing fruit yield.

Artichokes are gorgeous plants that produce wonderful, elegant vegetables. They are also aggressive nutrient consumers, making them a bad companion for berries. Artichokes need a considerable amount of fertilizer to be productive. Blackberries, on the other hand, are relatively light feeders.

Blackberries will use excess fertilizer to promote wood and leaf growth, which leads to decreased fruit production.

Artichoke plants also grow quite large and can easily crowd your blackberry plants, leaving them partially in the shade where fewer berries will grow. Artichokes are just too aggressive in their needs and growing habits, and you should avoid planting them as a blackberry companion.

Asparagus

Close-up of growing asparagus stems in the garden. Asparagus is a perennial plant grown for its young shoots that are harvested and eaten as a vegetable. The stems are vertical, thick, and green.
Blackberries and asparagus compete for nutrients and space, harming yields and weakening plants.

Asparagus is another heavy feeder that makes a bad companion with blackberries. These berry vines prefer light, infrequent fertilizing. On the other hand, asparagus needs a lot of nitrogen. Meeting the needs of asparagus plants will encourage stem and leaf growth in blackberries, leading to a reduced yield.

In addition to different nutrient needs, both plants are vigorous multipliers. Aggressive asparagus plants and blackberry vines will compete for space in the garden. This is true for their roots as well as their foliage.

Perhaps most detrimental in this pairing is the competition of root space between these plants. A weak root system makes for a weak plant with a reduced nutrient intake, and both varieties have extensive, spreading roots.

Canna Lillies

Close-up of blooming Canna lilies in a sunny garden. Canna lilies are tropical and subtropical flowering plants known for their vibrant and showy blooms. These are herbaceous perennials with large erect shoots. The leaves are large and paddle-shaped, resembling banana leaves. They are variegated, dark green with yellow stripes. Canna lilies produce tall flower stalks that emerge from the center of the plant. Flowers bright orange. The flower has a characteristic shape reminiscent of irises and orchids. It consists of three petals and three sepals with a central cluster of stamens and pistils.
These gorgeous flowers crowd blackberry plants, depriving them of nutrients and making them unsuitable garden companions.

Canna lilies are stunning, stately plants that bloom around the same time as blackberries. Planting these pretty flowering plants near your berry garden might be tempting, but they are typically considered bad companions for fruit and vegetable crops.

Canna multiplies underground via a network of rhizomes. This is why they tend to have a clumping habit and will spread in size, creating a large mass of foliage above the ground and a large mass of rhizomes underground.

In short, canna lilies will crowd blackberry vines and deprive them of nutrients, so these two don’t make good companions in the garden.

Carrots

Top view of freshly picked carrots in the garden among growing carrots. Carrots are biennial root vegetables that are grown for their edible taproots. The plant consists of a rosette of basal leaves and a slender, elongated taproot. Carrot leaves are arranged in the form of a basal rosette. The leaves are pinnate, feathery, and fern-like in appearance. The leaves are green in color and have a delicate lacy texture. The edible part of the carrot plant is its taproot, which is elongated, cylindrical, and tapers to a point. The taproot is bright orange in color.
Due to their differing fertilizer needs, these roots are not suitable companions for blackberries.

You would think that these two plants could grow together harmoniously, with carrots taking up very little space and the ability to be planted here or there very easily. Unfortunately, carrots are a companion you should avoid planting near your blackberry patch.

The main reason they don’t mesh is that carrots need more fertilizer than blackberries do. In addition, the spreading roots of blackberry vines can quickly swallow carrot seedlings, making it difficult to yield these tasty roots. Reserve your carrots for raised vegetable beds with loose soil and no competition for root space.

Cowpea

Close-up of a Cowpea bush in the garden. The cowpea plant has a vining growth habit, with slender stems that can climb or sprawl along the ground. The leaves are pinnately compound, consisting of several leaflets arranged in pairs along the stem. The leaves are oval, smooth-surfaced and bright green in color. the plant produces long, thin, green colored pods.
Although productive and nitrogen-fixing, cowpeas can overcrowd and outcompete your berries.

The cowpea is a great plant that is a big producer of what is more commonly referred to as black-eyed peas. On the New Year’s Day table, these tasty legumes represent luck, and the vines are nitrogen fixers, so they don’t compete for nutrients like some others on this list tend to do.

The problem with cowpea is that it is a vigorous spreader. It always promises to be a bumper crop and is almost too easy to grow. What’s difficult is holding it back.

The incompatibility here revolves around cowpea’s ability to drown out blackberry plants entirely. In fact, it’s a great crop to plant if you’re looking to eliminate wild blackberries.

Eggplant

Close-up of a ripe eggplant fruit in the garden. The plant is characterized by bushy growth and large broad leaves. Eggplant leaves are dark green and have a slightly fluffy or velvety texture. They have an elongated shape and a wavy edge. The fruits have an elongated shape, covered with a shiny dark purple skin.
As heavy feeders, eggplants are a blackberry companion to avoid because they need extra fertilization, decreasing blackberry yields.

Eggplant is a nightshade vegetable with many possible companions. As collaborative as it can be, eggplant doesn’t mesh well with blackberries. Nightshades are notoriously heavy feeders, so any companion you give them needs to be able to go toe to toe in this regard.

Trying to make blackberries match up with eggplants will result in one of two things:

  • A lack of fertilizing of the eggplants will lead them to suck up all the surrounding nutrients, leaving your berries foundering for nutrients.
  • Conversely, in trying to keep up with feeding your eggplants what they need, blackberry vines will be overfed, leading to decreased fruit.

Fennel

Close-up of a growing Fennel in a sunny garden. The plant has tall, hollow stems with thinly dissected leaves that resemble thin leaves. The leaves are bright green and have a delicate lacy appearance. The bulb is large, white.
As an allelopathic plant, fennel may inhibit the growth of neighboring plants, reducing their yield.

Fennel makes a great potted plant and is both fragrant and delicious in the kitchen. In the vegetable garden, however, it makes for a toxic neighbor. Research shows that fennel is somewhat allelopathic to most other plants. This means that its roots emit a chemical that may act as a growth inhibitor to the plants around it.

This pairing will leave blackberry plants struggling to obtain new growth, resulting in a greatly reduced yield the following year. Fennel is best kept as a potted plant in its own space.

This way, you can move them close to outdoor living areas where their feathery plumes of foliage and spicy scent can be enjoyed without harming your other plants.

Grapes

Close-up of ripe grapes in the garden. Grapes are deciduous woody vines with long climbing stems. The leaves of the vine are large, lobed, dark green in color with serrated edges. The leaves are arranged alternately along the vines. The fruits of grapes are called grapes or grape berries. The berries are small, rounded, dark blue in color, grow in dense clusters. Each berry is covered with a thin smooth skin.
Grapevines outpace and overshadow blackberries, crowding them above and below the ground and limiting sunlight.

Simply put, grapevines will crowd blackberry vines into extinction. Both plants have similar growth habits and needs. However, grapes are more vigorous growers, and unless they are kept in check, they will quickly crowd your berries both above and below the ground.

Grape foliage is much larger and more lush than that of blackberry plants. Grapes will outpace blackberries rapidly throughout a growing season, depriving your berries of much-needed sunlight.

Oregano

Close-up of a lot of growing Oregano in a sunny garden. Oregano is a perennial herb with a small, bushy growth habit. The plant features woody stems covered in small, oval-shaped leaves. Oregano leaves are dark green and have a slightly fuzzy texture. They grow in pairs opposite each other along the stems.
Although beneficial in the garden, oregano can choke out blackberries and prefers different soil conditions.

Oregano has many benefits in the garden. It is often considered pest-repellent, making it a valuable companion plant. But it’s not the best companion for blackberries.

A single oregano plant isn’t likely to do much damage, but oregano has been known to choke out other plants in its spreading habit. It is sometimes used to eradicate wild blackberries where they are not wanted. It also prefers slightly alkaline soil, the opposite of a blackberry plant.

Peppers

Close-up of ripe hot pepper fruits in a sunny garden. They grow in the form of small and medium bushes. The leaves are dark green, smooth or slightly textured, and lanceolate or ovate in shape. The leaves are arranged alternately along the stems. The fruits are elongated, thin, slightly wrinkled, with a shiny bright red skin.
As heavy feeders, peppers require more fertility than blackberries, making them another blackberry companion to avoid.

Peppers are nightshades, so they are heavy feeders. On all other accounts, these shouldn’t cause many issues for blackberries. However, if you want a healthy crop of peppers, you will have to overfeed your blackberry plants, which is more of an issue than it might sound.

These two plants don’t have similar enough environmental needs to be anything special as companions. Peppers do make decent companions in most gardens, but this is a pairing to avoid.

Potatoes

Close-up of a garden bed with potato bushes growing in rows, in a sunny garden. Potatoes are a type of plant that grows underground, known for their starchy tubers that are harvested as the main edible part. The plant has an upright growth, with green stems and compound leaves. The leaves are large and consist of several oval-shaped leaflets. Leaflets are bright green in color with a rough texture.
Blackberries and potatoes compete for space and nutrients, resulting in reduced yield and root interference.

Another nightshade, potatoes aren’t good companions for blackberries. Aside from their greater nutritional needs, which will lead to an overgrowth of foliage and reduced yield of berries, they also have a large footprint in the garden.

Potatoes and blackberries will compete for real estate in the root department. Potatoes need room to spread out and form under the ground. Blackberries like to send out roots in all directions, and the two will not only interfere with each other’s growth, but harvesting potatoes will tear up your blackberry roots.

Raspberries

Close-up of ripe raspberries in a sunny garden. Raspberries are plants that grow as bushes or canes, with thorny stems. The leaves of a raspberry plant are generally green, compound leaves with toothed edges and a rough texture. The leaves are arranged alternately along the stems. Raspberry fruits are small, round, colorful red-pink. They are made up of tiny drupelets, which give them a unique textured appearance.
Blackberries and raspberries, while technically compatible, attract more pests and diseases when grown together.

Blackberries and raspberries technically should make good neighbors. In terms of growth habits and environmental needs, they are indeed compatible, and the worst thing that could happen is that they might compete for space. These would work fine together if you’re growing them indoors.

The issue between these two is that they share the same pests, such as the raspberry beetle. They will attract more pests together than they would if paired with something less desirable to those insects. They also share the same diseases, so if one crop is affected, it can quickly spread to the other. Best to maintain some distance between these two.

Tomatoes

Close-up of ripe tomato fruits in the garden, against a blurred background. The plant produces medium, oval-shaped fruits. They have a juicy fleshy texture, covered with a smooth shiny skin of red, orange, yellow and green, depending on the maturity of the fruit.
Despite being popular and nutrient-rich, tomatoes are incompatible with blackberries due to differing fertilizer needs.

The last on our list is another nightshade vegetable. Tomatoes are one of the most popular vegetables for home gardeners to grow. They are delicious, high in important nutrients, and very easy to grow. Sadly, they make poor companions for blackberries for the same reason that other nightshades fail, nutrient compatibility.

Tomatoes need a lot of fertilizer to live up to their potential. As we have discussed, blackberries do not. Striking the right balance between these two to share the same space is not worth the effort and trouble. Tomatoes are another blackberry companion to avoid.

Final Thoughts

While these plants listed don’t make great companions for blackberries, there are still plenty of ways to utilize companion planting correctly. Find plants with similar needs that won’t compete for space or sunlight. Try planting with blueberries or strawberries for a healthier crop of all berries.

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Blackberries after Planting in Garden

Fruits

When Should You Plant Blackberries This Season?

Are you unsure when you should plant your blackberries in the ground? These popular shrubs are a fruiting favorite for a reason, but planting too early or too late in the season can cause problems. In this article, gardening expert Melissa Strauss shares her advice for when to put blackberries in the ground this season.