If you want your raspberry patch to thrive, choosing the right companion plants to place next to them can make a big difference.
You might already know that raspberries need plenty of sun and well-drained soil to produce their best harvest. However, the vegetables, herbs, fruit crops, or flowers you place alongside them also affect how well they grow.
Below are some of the best and worst companions for raspberry plants.
Good Companion Plants for Raspberries
Raspberry bushes are pretty self-sufficient, but they benefit from some helpful companions.
Certain plants naturally repel pests that feast on raspberry leaves and berries. Garlic, tansy, and yarrow may deter these pests when planted nearby.
Legumes like beans and clover make great companions too. They fix nitrogen from the air into the soil, which helps raspberry plants thrive.
Moreover, taller plants can provide shade for raspberry canes in hot climates. Try planting sunflowers or corn alongside the raspberry patch. They’ll shield the canes from the intense afternoon sun while the raspberries are ripening.
You can also interplant raspberries with lettuce and other edible crops that mature at different times. That way, you make the most of your garden space and have a steady harvest all season long.
Other ideal raspberry companions include chives, marigolds, chamomile, leeks, lavender, rhubarb, onions, chervil, cucumbers, roses, and thyme.
Raspberries also do well under fruit trees, as long as they receive adequate water and sunlight.
What Not to Plant with Raspberries
They have some particular bad companions that do not provide neighborly support.
Whatever you do, don’t plant raspberry plants next to fennel. Fennel may stunt their growth. Instead, give your raspberry patch its own separate space.
Also avoid planting raspberries near potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, or eggplants. These crops can spread diseases to your raspberry bushes.
Some gardeners also say it’s best to plant asparagus, blueberries, squash, gooseberries, boysenberries, and blackberries far apart from raspberries.
How to Grow Raspberries
To grow raspberries successfully, there are a few key steps to follow:
Choose a spot with plenty of sun and well-drained, acidic soil.
Raspberries also need at least 6 hours of direct sun per day to produce fruit. Besides, the soil should be sandy loam, rich in organic matter.
Now plant your one-year-old raspberry canes. You can get these from local nurseries.
Space the plants 3 to 6 feet apart. They need room to spread out.
Install a sturdy trellis or post and wire structure before planting. The long canes will need support to keep them upright. Secure the canes to the trellis as they grow to prevent drooping.
Water the raspberry bushes every 2 to 3 days. Also, mulch around the base of the plants to help retain moisture in the soil.
Prune the plants to remove dead or damaged canes each spring or fall.
Raspberry plants are heavy feeders, so providing the right fertilizer is important for keeping your plants and harvest healthy.
Fertilize the raspberries once growth starts. Use organic, all-purpose fertilizers. Follow the directions on the product packaging for how much and how often to fertilize.
Apply the fertilizer around the base of the plants, keeping it off the leaves. Follow the directions on the product packaging for how much and how often to feed your raspberries.
Composted manure is also a good way to start.
Several common garden pests can damage your raspberry crop if left unchecked. Be on the lookout for weevils, aphids, raspberry sawflies, raspberry crown borer, and spider mites.
Inspecting your raspberry patch regularly for signs of pests and taking quick action can help prevent major damage. An integrated approach using mechanical and biological controls when possible is the most environmentally friendly method.
Raspberries can also be prone to a few diseases that affect their health and fruit production. Two of the most common are anthracnose and spur blight. 
Other plant diseases to watch out for include gray mold, root rots, and cane blight.
When issues do arise, early detection and prompt action can stop the spread of disease to healthy plants.
How to Harvest Raspberries
Raspberries are ready for picking once the berries are fully colored and easily come off the receptacle (white cone) when gently tugged. The best time to pick raspberries is in the morning, before the heat of the day .
To harvest, grasp the raspberry gently to avoid crushing it, and pull it off the receptacle with a slight twisting motion. Do not pull too hard, or you may take the receptacle with the berry.
Next, place the picked berries in a shallow container. Do not pile raspberries deeply, or the weight can cause the berries on the bottom to spoil more quickly.
Raspberries picked at the fully ripe stage have the best flavor but a very short shelf life.
How to Store
To enjoy your fresh raspberries for as long as possible, proper storage is key. As soon as you pick them, get the berries out of the hot sun.
Next, wash properly, then refrigerate promptly. Raspberries are highly perishable, so refrigerate them as soon as possible after picking.
Spread the berries in a single layer on a plate or shallow container and place them in the fridge. This allows air flow, so they stay fresh longer. Cover loosely or place in a plastic bag with a few holes.
For longer-term storage, you can also freeze raspberries. Gently wash the berries and pat them dry. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until firm, then transfer to an airtight container or ziplock bag.
Properly stored, frozen raspberries will last up to 18 months.
Where to Buy Seeds
Local nurseries and garden centers are great places to find seeds for your different plant companions. They typically carry varieties that are well suited to the local climate and conditions.
For the widest selection of seeds, you can turn to seed catalogs and online retailers. Reputable companies like Seeds Now offer organic and heirloom seeds.
So there you have it—a few of the best companion plants to grow alongside your raspberry canes. With the right combinations, you’ll find your berry harvests more bountiful and flavorful.
The flowers can attract those essential pollinators. Besides, the herbs can enhance the taste of your homemade raspberry jam or sorbet and provide natural pest control.
Growing companion plants is really a win-win for any gardener looking to adopt organic and sustainable practices.