The Complete Gardener's Guide ,

Every garden has room for strawberry plants, which give sweet, succulent fruit when planted in pots, baskets, and growing bags, as well as in traditional beds. Choose the right varieties, and enjoy them from spring to fall.

How to Grow

Strawberries need full sun to ripen completely, and prefer free-draining, fertile, acid (pH 6.0–6.5) soil. They also grow well in raised beds and especially in containers and baskets, which suit their trailing style. Plant in the spring or summer, depending on type, 18 inches (45 cm) apart in rows spaced at 30 inches (75 cm). To avoid soil-borne diseases, don’t plant in beds recently used for tomatoes, potatoes, or chrysanthemums. After cropping, cut back old leaves to expose the crown to sunlight. This will encourage better fruiting the following year. Replace plants grown in the soil every two years and those in containers annually.

Types of Strawberries

Traditional strawberries are either “summer-fruiting,” which are the tastiest, or “everbearing,” which crop over a longer period. Alpine strawberries crop for only one season. Although their fruits are small, they are deliciously sweet and flavorful.

Varieties to Try

Summer-fruiting strawberries crop from early to midsummer. Everbearing types fruit in early then late summer and into mid-autumn. Replace plants annually. Alpine varieties fruit freely throughout summer.

  • Summer-fruiting: Varieties include 'Alice’ (early), ‘Cambridge Favourite’ (mid), ‘Elsanta’ (mid), ‘Honeoye’ (early), ‘Pegasus’ (mid) and ‘Symphony’ (late).
  • Everbearing types: Varieties include ’Albion’, ‘Aromel’, ‘Flamenco’, ‘Mara des Bois’ and ‘Muricata’.
  • Alpine strawberries: Varieties include ’Alexandria’, ‘Baron Solemacher’, ‘Mignonette‘ and ‘Rugen’.

Strawberry Varieties to Grow 8 photos

Containers

Strawberries can be grown in almost any type of container with adequate drainage holes, including hanging baskets, stackable towers, traditional strawberry planters, and growing bags. All will need watering at least once a day during the growing season and should be fed weekly with a high-potash tomato fertilizer. Turn containers often to avoid leaving some fruit in the shade.

Keep the Fruit Clean

Strawberries grow on the ground, and to keep them clean, they are best lifted off the soil. Straw mulch is commonly used; barley straw is considered the best since it is softer. Fiber mats wrapped around each plant are also popular and easy to use. You can also plant through black plastic stretched over a slightly raised bed. As well as keeping fruit clean, this warms the soil, retains moisture, and suppresses weeds.

Forcing Strawberries

Strawberries can be encouraged to crop at least one or two weeks early by placing a cloche over them in spring. Container-grown plants can also be moved into an unheated greenhouse in spring to fruit earlier. In fall, move everbearing varieties under cover to prolong their fruiting season. Make sure plants are placed in the sun to help ripen the fruit.

Watch Out for These Pests and Diseases

Botrytis, or gray mold, enters through the flowers and remains dormant until the fruit matures. Destroy all infected plant debris.

Vine weevil grubs can also be a problem, destroying the roots, particularly on container-grown plants. Adults chew notches from the leaf margins, but the white grubs cause more serious damage. Control with nematodes in late summer.

The Complete Gardener's Guide - Book Cover
The Complete Gardener's Guide ,

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2 Comments About this Article

  • Abigail Jannarone
    I love strawberries and this was a great help! I wanted to start a garden with edible items like strawberries but didn`t know where to start. Thanks again!

    Posted 2 years ago

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  • Sharon Hayes
    I have a question about "wild" strawberries. When I visited my G-Aunt as a child she always had a jar of the preserves .She lived in Va's Shanendoah Valley, and picked them from her backyard, though they were not in a garden shape,but rather all over. I live in Williamsburg, Va. close to the Coast. There has always been small wild growing strawberries everywhere, but I have a memory of being told they are not the same nor edible. Are these 2 different plants? If so where can I find the edible wild ones, will they grow in our very high humidity, and are they grown the same way as the larger Strawberries? I appreciate any advice anyone can give me. Thank-you

    Posted 4 months ago

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Alpine strawberries are a dainty but flavor-packed version of the fruits we all know and love. They are even better suited to pot culture than normal strawberries, as they are so dimunutive in size.