Strawberries

It’s no secret that strawberries are delicious, but the very best strawberries are homegrown. Strawberry plants are low-growing herbaceous perennials, with attractive foliage that can serve as a groundcover. Given the right conditions, they are easily grown in the garden or containers. Strawberries are basically either June-bearing or everbearing, which produce one crop in June and another late summer. June-bearing plants generally produce the largest yield per season.

Plants readily produce runners, which are small plants on a horizontal stem and stay attached to the mother plant. Plan to keep the number of runners down to about 2-3 per plant and space with enough room between plants for producing runners.

Strawberry plants can easily be grown in containers, hanging baskets, or strawberry jars. Many people like to get creative and plant strawberries in old wagons, wheelbarrows, or crates. You can use just about any container – just make sure it isn’t too deep and has plenty of holes for drainage!

Light

Require at least 8-10 hours of full sun.

Planting

Plant in early spring. Till soil 8-12″ deep, incorporating compost throughout. Dig a hole large enough for the root ball and plant at a depth so the crown (where the leaves meet the stem) is just above ground level. Planting too deep can lead to stem rot. Planting in rows offers better yield and mounding the soil is helpful for runners.

Soil

Prefer fertile, well-drained, light soil that is slightly acidic.

Always use quality potting soil in containers, such as our custom soil mix. Our custom soil mix is the same soil we use to grow all of our plants, which we’ve designed to contain a blend of ingredients for optimal nutrient content, moisture retention, aeration, and beneficial microbes. Amend garden beds with compost, if necessary.

Water

Water well at planting and then they need 1″ of water per week. Water containers when the top inch of soil is dry and be careful not to overwater, which can cause the stem to rot.

Fertilizer

Fertilize with a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer, such as Espoma Garden Food, according to directions.

Grooming

Remove blossoms and runners in the first growing season until mid-August, then allow one or two runners to develop. Regularly weed around plants to allow plants to produce highest possible yield.

Mulch

Provide 2-4 inches of mulch to cool the soil, conserve moisture, and prevent weeds. Mulching over plants with straw will help them survive the winter. Apply mulch late fall after the ground has frozen and remove mulch in early spring.

Problems

Slugs can be a common problem, causing damage to fruits. Organic mulches such as straw can encourage slugs, so it can be helpful to switch to black plastic instead. Another option for slug control is Espoma Earth-tone Slug and Snail.

Diseases can occur during wet periods or when plants become crowded. If plants are crowded, some of the runners can be thinned, or older plants can be removed to make room for new plants produced from runners.