Container Gardening- How to Grow Strawberries
Growing strawberries in containers or garden pots is relatively easy and provides interested gardeners with limited space the opportunity to grow this delicious fruit.
Containers – There are strawberry pots specifically made for growing strawberries and are sometimes called pocket containers. These pots are usually tall with several openings around the container where strawberry plants can be inserted into the potting soil. You can fit several plants in one pot, and is a particularly great way to grow strawberries if space is a consideration. Not only do these pots allow you to plant more strawberries, they are also attractive additions to a patio or walkway. You can also choose standard planters for your strawberries; just make sure that they have adequate drainage. There is one type that is collapsible so they can be emptied and stored over the winter. These are called “pop up” strawberry planters.
Pop up Strawberry Planter
Terra Cotta Planter
If you are feeling handy and want to save some money you can use an old plastic garbage can and cut out holes around the sides and plant your strawberries in the holes and top.
Strawberry Plants – There are four different types of strawberry plants, June bearing, everbearing, day neutral and alpine. It is usually better to grow the alpine, day neutral or everbearing strawberries which provide a longer harvest season. The alpines and day neutral also bear smaller, sweeter fruit which is more suitable for containers.
Planting – In early spring, fill your container with a good quality potting soil, adding a slow-release fertilizer, if the mix does not already contain fertilizer. Plant your strawberries just deep enough so that the soil level of the nursery pot is at the same level as your potting soil. Be careful not to put soil over the crown of the plant; the crown is where the plant meets the soil. Covering the crown will cause the plant to rot or promote disease.
Care– Most strawberry plants will produce beautiful fruit when placed in full sun, though some varieties of alpines and day neutral strawberries will tolerate part shade. All strawberries need consistent water to thrive. Keep the soil moist but not saturated. If possible, water in the morning or during the day. Avoid watering your container grown strawberries in the evening, to prevent disease. Always test your soil for moisture before watering by pushing your finger into the soil about 1 inch. If the soil feels dry, add water. Fertilize with a diluted liquid fertilizer every other week.
Overwintering– If you live in a cold weather zone, move your strawberry containers to a protected area such as a covered patio, porch, or alongside a wall or shed. Check plants weekly, giving them just enough water so they don’t dry out completely. You may want to wrap them in burlap to maintain an even temperature. Set them out in March when the temperatures start to rise above 45 degrees.
Growing tips – You will want to rotate your container every few days to make sure that all sides receive the same amount of sunlight. You may want to place a pencil mark on one side or have a label sticking out to keep track of your turns. If your container is near lawns or a planting bed, you may want to keep an eye on the container for any runners. Strawberries multiply by sending out runners from the main plant that can reach several feet in length. Trimming the runners will promote more fruit production and keep your garden cleaner. You may also want to place a pot with soil nearby to set the runner in to grow new plants to grow or give away.
Propagating Strawberry Runners