Can I Plant Blueberries and Raspberries Together?

They’re both berries, so they should go together like peanut butter and jelly, right? Wrong.

August 12, 2019
Raspberry Shortcake

Raspberry Shortcake

A few of these Raspberry Shortcake berries are ready to be picked and enjoyed. Find out why they don't get along with blueberry plants below.

Photo by: Monrovia

Monrovia

A few of these Raspberry Shortcake berries are ready to be picked and enjoyed. Find out why they don't get along with blueberry plants below.

You’re dreaming of an edible landscape and you figure a row that alternates between blueberries and raspberries will be perfect. You’re thinking you’ll plant a sort of berry orchard. Think again. Both plants produce berries and both need full sun to thrive, but their similarities end there. They need different types of soil and different care. Here’s why blueberries and raspberries are bad roommates.

Soil Acidity

Blueberries need very acidic soil to thrive, doing best in beds with a pH of 4.8 to 5.5. Raspberries need soil that’s only mildly acidic, around 6.0. If you plant them side-by-side, only one of them will thrive in the soil.

Growing Habit

Blueberries are tidy, thornless bushes that grow upright, no artificial support needed. You can plant them as a hedge, or anywhere there’s sun. Raspberries are an unruly bramble of thorned canes that need to be trellised or trained on a fence. Canes grow to 9 feet tall, are heavy and need to be pruned annually.

Pollination

Raspberries are self-pollinating, which means you can get berries if you plant just one bush. Many blueberries are not self-pollinating, so you’ll need to plant at least two bushes to get fruit.

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Plant them at least 10 feet apart so that the acidic soil you create for the blueberries doesn’t get to the roots of the raspberry that needs milder soil. No alternating rows. No shared beds. These guys need boundaries.

Plant blueberry bushes in one group. They’ll be able to cross-pollinate, and you can amend the soil to give them the acidic dirt they crave. Use them as a hedge between you and a neighbor, a sort of fruiting privacy fence. Or use them as foundation plantings. They won’t need support from a trellis or fence, just periodic pruning.

Plant raspberries in a continuous row so they can share a support structure. Space them three to four feet apart and plant along a sturdy fence that can support the canes, or build a trellis for them. Left to their own, raspberries will spread and become Medusa-like knots of thorny twigs. You’ll need to prune and train them annually.

They have similar water and light needs so you can plant them in the same garden or yard, just not in the same bed. Both prefer full sun. Both need frequent watering and well-drained soil. Both do well in raised beds because it helps keep their shallow root systems well-drained and prevents root rot.

Better Companion Plants

Raspberries and blueberries aren’t good garden roomies. But here are some plants that go well with each because they have similar light, water and soil needs. They can also repel pests, prevent fungal diseases and will attract bees to pollinate the berry plants.

Plant raspberries with garlic, marigolds, chives, nasturtiums, leeks, onions, chamomile, chervil, yarrow, turnips and artemesia.

Plant blueberries with rhododendrons, azaleas, basil, thyme, yew, pine trees, rose campion and grape hyacinth.

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