Who doesn’t love the taste of fresh, homegrown, ripe strawberries?
Rich with vitamins and delicious to eat, strawberries are one of America’s favorite berries and are available in many varieties.
While strawberries grow best in areas with a mild climate, there are some varieties that do fine almost anywhere in the United States.
But, you say, I don’t have room for a garden! Not to worry; this guide will show you how to grow strawberries in containers on your deck or any sunny outdoor area.
In fact, pots, cans and other containers are a great way to grow strawberries. Potting them is quite easy to do yourself in minutes!
Just feed and water your container-growing strawberry plants regularly and enjoy strawberries throughout the summer.
Clay pots designed for growing strawberries work best with special pockets on the sides for multiple strawberry plants.
What you’ll need to Grow Strawberries in Containers or Pots:
- Strawberry crowns (preferably plants certified as disease free)
- Strawberry pots or cans
- Potting soil mix
- Window screen (if using cans)
- Slow release fertilizer
Instructions for Growing Strawberries in Containers:
- Choosing Containers – Proper drainage is very important for strawberry plants to grow and produce plenty of fruit. You can either plant them in hanging containers or raise the containers to allow drainage. Any type of clay planter pots that have drainage holes in the bottom and “saucers” to keep the soil from washing away, will work just fine; pick a size that fits the area you intend to grow your strawberries and how many containers you have. You can also use large cans by hammer by punching or drilling several large holes in the bottom with some screen over the holes to prevent soil from washing out through them. Most nurseries and garden centers also sell special strawberry pots which have pockets up and down both sides. If you use the strawberry pots, be sure to fill each one to the lowest pocket with soil. If you use cans, fill them so you have about one-and-a-half inches of the rim still showing. Sunlight is very critical, so be sure you pick a spot that gets between six and eight hours of sunlight per day for best results.
- Selecting Strawberry Plants – The two main types of strawberry plants are ever-bearing and seasonal. Either type will work fine for container growing, but if you live in a colder climate then the ever-bearing type may not survive the winter months, so seasonal producing strawberry plants may be your best bet. Ask your local nursery or garden center which variety is recommended for your local climate conditions.
- Preparing Soil for Strawberry Plants – Strawberries like soil that is “loamy”, with lots organic material they can consume. Add either 5-10-5 fertilizer or 21-0-0 ammonium sulfate to your soil before planting strawberries. Again, ask your local nursery what type of fertilizer they recommend for your local soil conditions or what type of potting soil they suggest for growing strawberries.
- Planting Your Strawberries – After filling each container with the amended soil, plant your strawberry plants so the roots are covered. Unless you have very large containers, place only one plant in each container; strawberry plants should be about two feet apart from each other so that they get plenty of sunlight.
- Watering Container-grown Strawberries – Don’t over water your container strawberries; they should be watered enough to keep the soil damp but not so much that you have any standing water. You should water the plants whenever the top of the soil begins to look dry on the top half inch or so. Again; it’s important to be sure your containers are able to drain adequately without the soil being washed away!
- Fertilizing Container-grown Strawberries – Throughout the summer months, fertilize your plants every other week with a high phosphorus liquid fertilizer to encourage them to flower.
Growing your own strawberries is easy to do with pots, cans or other containers. Pick your fresh strawberries as they ripen through the summer months!
Container Strawberry Growing Tips:
- In the spring, strawberries are typically the first fruit to ripen.
- Place your strawberry containers in a sunny area and turn them 180 degrees twice a week to keep the plants exposed evenly to sunlight.
- While ever-bearing strawberry plants grow throughout the year, they will produce two crops a year; in June and late summer. These berries will be smaller than classic strawberry varieties.
- If you plant a “day-neutral” variety of strawberry, you will get a modest crop of fruit throughout most of the summer months except when the weather is very hot.
- Alpine strawberries, also called “fraises des bois”, will produce small, but tasty fruit all summer, but you need a lot of strawberry plants to produce any real quantity of berries, so they are not the best for container-growing.
- If you plant ever-bearing strawberries, you should pinch off the blossoms until midsummer of the first season and then let them flower naturally after that; you should get an early fall crop the first year and then two crops a year afterward.
- Let the fruit ripen on the plant, picking your strawberries when they are red and juicy; enjoy!
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