Companion Planting for Grapes

I’m a big advocate of companion planting.  A couple driving principles of Permaculture are “Integrate Rather than Segregate” and “Use and Value Diversity”.  If we’re going to try and implement those anyway, it makes sense to put some thought into the different plants we put together in our systems. Some plants are friendly to each other. Others… not so much, and should be avoided.

Today we’re talking specifically about beneficial companion plants for your grapevines.


I recently shared the Shade Trellis I built for my Chicken Coop.


Well, a couple days after I took that picture, my bare root grapevines arrived and I was ready to plant the trellises’ raised beds.

There are other options, but I chose to go with these for reasons we’ll discuss.




This specific vine is Mars.  The other bed has Reliance.  Against one of my ten foot deer fence posts I planted Marquis.  All three are seedless and hardy in my region. It’s probably pretty obvious why I chose to plant grapes in front of my grape trellis.  So… Moving on…



Hyssop (Hyssopus Officinalis) is a perennial herb that is hardy, beautiful, and should already have a place in your garden anyway due to its many beneficial medicinal properties.  Bees and other pollinators love it and will always be buzzing around its purrrty purple flowers, which bloom for quite awhile.  Also, it is easily propagated from division, so starting with a small plant or two can yield you and your neighbors with enough Hyssop to last a lifetime.

In particular for a grape guild, Hyssop stimulates growth and deters certain pests, like flea beetles and aphids.  Interestingly enough, hyssop also deters cabbage moth larvae.

To maximize the medicinal and companion planting benefits, make sure you get true Hyssopus Officinalis.  There are other, more ornamental plants commonly called hyssop.  You’ll find them all over your big box stores, so be sure to check the latin.  I thought I struck out at our local nursery and would have to grow some from seed, but the wife found three of these hidden away amongst the more common ornamental “hyssop”.



Geraniums deter leafhoppers, which can be devastating to a grapevine.  There are other plants that perform this function, however I chose to sprinkle 3-4 of these in my grape beds because something I’ve long struggled with in my systems’ design is making sure to properly account for a certain beneficial yield: Beauty.  My engineering-tilted brain has been programmed for awhile now to value functionality and efficiency at all costs, sometimes to the detriment of other important things – like appearance.  I’m working on that.  Hence the geraniums.

Luckily my engineering-tilted brain doesn’t feel this way about some other (re)productive systems and I lucked out with a hot wife, who’s yielded me two great kids.  But I digress…

Mulberry and Blackberry

Let’s look back to the Shade Trellis post again and check out this picture.


Not the best pic for the job, I know.

Along the fence line in the background is a huge stand of overgrown blackberries.  Blackberries (especially crazy unmanaged ones like mine) are a great habitat for beneficial insects you want in your garden.  In particular, some predatory wasps prefer blackberry and devour the leafhoppers I’ve already mentioned.  See right there?  I do have a good reason for being a lazy gardener in a lot of places.

In the lower right hand corner of that picture, you see just a bit of a three foot tall mulberry sapling I moved to this spot in the spring.  My primary reasoning was because chickens will devour the fruit yield that drops each year, saving me a little in feed costs.  Also, I wanted a mulberry right in my main garden area because it will hopefully attract birds to fill up on the mulberries, and not so much on my other, less plentiful berry bushes I planted.  Supposedly grapevines do well planted under or near mulberry trees, although I’ve read various reasons why without seeing a clear consensus.  So maybe it’s just bunk… or maybe you know for sure and you can help educate me in a comment below.  One thing’s for sure, mulberries shouldn’t hurt the grapes in any way.

Other Considerations

Some of these are pretty typical across most companion planting recommendations, but are things you might want to add to your grape guilds.

  • Clover – excellent ground cover, green manure crop, and nitrogen fixer
  • Legumes – ditto most of what’s above.  Plus, once your grapevines are established and nice and thick, beans could trellis right up them and give you another vertical yield.
  • Chives, Onions – the smell deters many pests, especially some diggers like moles.  Chives are also known to repel aphids.

About the only thing you want to make sure not to plant near your grapes are radishes.

So there’s a quick look at one of our polycultured guilds.  It’s like having a diverse porno orgy, right there in your kitchen garden.

Yep, exactly like that.


Question of the Day: Do you grow grapes?  Have any companion plants you use I didn’t mention?

Posted in Garden, Permaculture, Pest Control Tagged with: , , , , , ,
18 comments on “Companion Planting for Grapes
  1. We planted grapes for the first time this spring. Thanks so much for the ideas!
    Angi @ SchneiderPeeps recently posted…What’s Up With the Bees?My Profile

  2. tessa says:

    Thanks for sharing this one on Green Thumb Thursday; come back this week – My favorite thing about grapes is that they produce fruit so quickly and they cover something like an arbor so beautifully. I remember seeing the ancient grapevine at Kew Gardens and thinking, I could totally grow that!

  3. kj says:

    we planted table grapes in Missouri about 3 years ago and used oregano below the main plant. It fills out and will act as a cover to discourage weeds next to the base. Make sure to plant the oregano on the side that will get the most sun as the grapes grow so that the oregano can keep up and not be stunted or die from lack of sun. Great post we had hyssop planted the first year and it did well also but had such a bad drought the first year that it did not reseed. bummer! Thanks again for posting

  4. cassie says:

    I just planted 2 grapevines today. Both seedless varieties. Im hoping they do well. Thanks for the tips 🙂
    cassie recently posted…Part #1 of ‘The Nourished Family’: Create a Kitchen GardenMy Profile

  5. Jamie says:

    Thanks for the info about the Latin name. My wonderful husband built me an arbor out of native cedar. I planted 6 vines this winter. I bought Hyssop and haven’t planted them yet. I just checked the tag and they are the wrong kind. I’ll stick them in my herb garden and then find the right kind and get them planted.

  6. hello. I planted 6 grape vines today. I am in the upper peninsula of Michigan Would it be wise for me to plant asparagus alongside my vines. to maximize space . And help keep weeds down.?

    • Mike says:

      Hi Laura, Asparagus should be fine growing alongside grapes. The one big enemy of grapes is anything in the cabbage family. Not too much else (that I know of) inhibits grapes.

      In my experience, asparagus doesn’t do a ton to help keep weeds down though. I think there are a lot better options for that. Depending on your wants and needs, which is difficult to get into deep in this space), you might want to think about something like a clover mix. It’s perennial, does a good job filling space and smothers weeds, and fixes nitrogen in the soil. If you want something more traditionally edible, my go-to edible weed smothering cover crop is strawberry. Also consider mint (if you don’t mind it going crazy or can control it) and definitely comfrey somewhere. Good luck.

  7. Diana says:

    Hi Mike, I had to put some large adopted tomato plants by the grapevines last year and they seemed not to mind each other too much. It’s a weird combination, I know. The grapes did better than in years before, maybe because of all the water I gave the tomatoes and the rich composted manure!

  8. Thank you for this good idea! I had no idea that geranium can be so helpful, besides it’s beauty. I’m definitely making such companion planting in my garden this year. Thank you for the nice and helpful information!

  9. vicki barratt says:

    Would it be okay to plant zucchini with grapes?

    • Sam says:

      I might be a bit cautious with squash, cucumbers, and beans with grapes. Unless you’re past the three-year training mark, anyway. They can climb and choke out the young grape vines if you aren’t careful.
      Beyond that the only thing I’ve ever heard to “avoid” with any vehemence is radish and cabbages.

  10. Hal kaufman says:

    How does tomatoes and grapes do together.

  11. Nice blog Mike, I’ve linked it from my blog’s reading list.

  12. Joe Berg says:

    My table grape snuck into my greenhouse several years back, and thinks it’s found Greece. Very good, early yields and wonderful sweet flavor.

    We also have some raised beds in there in which we plant almost 200 tomato plants, rotating that planting between 3 sets of beds over 3 seasons to thwart blight.

    This is the season for some very vibrant poop-fed tomatoes to shoot up toward that luscious grape realm… which has extended its horizontal presence a lot over these last two years.

    We just love the burgeoning that goes on in there, between volunteers and intentionals, but this year is looking like Godzilla vs King Kong. it’s June 2nd, and we are 1 foot away from contact.

    The roots of the grape are outside, so the heavy watering doesn’t affect them at all, but I’m thinking the grape leaves are going to shade my tomatoes quite a bit.
    if you want to see a picture, send me your email address. I’ll not spam you.

    I just found your blog, but really enjoyed the stimulating ides. It’s, well, like finding Greece in my head.

  13. sexting says:
    sexting recently posted…sextingMy Profile

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