Gardening is an art for many people! From growing sweet potatoes, saffron, broccoli to garlic. We’ve yet to meet a gardener who wasn’t interested in growing strawberries at home. Not only are strawberries extremely easy to grow, but you can also choose to grow them in hanging baskets, planters, window boxes and even pots.
Suppose you’ve been on the lookout for a strawberry growing guide that’ll provide you with comprehensive information about how to do it in pots – congrats! You’ve come to the right place. Stay with us as we walk you through how you can go about growing your own strawberries and enjoy the yummy berries year-long!
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Best types of strawberries to grow in pots
Before we get into the thick of things, let’s talk about one of the most crucial steps of growing strawberries. With over 100 strawberry varieties in the world – how on earth do you choose? That’s easy!
Thankfully, there are only three main strawberry categories. These are day-neutral, June-bearing, and overbearing strawberries. Even better, all three types are suitable for growing in pots and containers. But, there are few differences between these fruiting varieties that you need to be aware of.
Die-hard strawberry fans who’d love a steady supply of the fruit throughout the growing season – will definitely prefer to start off with day-neutral strawberries. However, beware that this strawberry type prefers cool temperatures and will not do well in areas with soaring summertime heat.
As the name suggests, June-bearing strawberries tend to produce a large yield (or crop) once every 12 months in early summer or late spring. This type of strawberry is day-length sensitive. It’s also capable of shooting multiple strawberry runners (that can grow into a jumble of creepers), which means it’s better suited to garden beds.
Everbearing strawberries produce fruit from spring all the way to late summer. This variety tends to do well in containers and pots because it doesn’t produce too many runners and, best of all, it has a lifespan of at least three years.
Reasons to grow strawberries in pots
There’s a misconception that growing strawberries in pots can be frustrating and challenging. But, the truth is, raising high-quality plants isn’t more difficult – it just requires a different technique. Additionally, there are quite a few advantages to growing your berry vines in containers. Here’s a few of them.
Protection from pests and good crop
Cultivating strawberry plants in pots can help you achieve a good yield because, unlike raised beds, containers or pots can be instrumental in safeguarding your berries from pests like slugs. Slugs can feed on the leaves of strawberries and sometimes can leave holes in the fruit, making it possible for bugs like earwigs and beetles to invade.
However, when you opt to plant your strawberry containers, raising them high can keep your plants safe from such critters, ensuring healthy and delicious berries.
Fewer chances of fungal diseases
Even the most robust and best strawberries can fall prey to fungal illnesses like grey mould. Experts estimate that the chances of a plant surviving a fungal illness are less than 25%.
Fungal diseases generally strike strawberries near harvest time or during long periods of cool, wet weather. But, when you invest in a strawberry planter, you can keep your plants safe from fungi-promoting dampness – because growing strawberries in pots keeps the roots warmer. This helps the mix and compost dry up quicker. What’s more, planting in pots can help you keep healthy plants away from infected ones, thereby reducing the chances of the fungal illness spreading.
Easier insulation for winters
If the area you live in is prone to harsh winters – ensuring the survival of your plants until the next year can get a little tricky. Strawberries can freeze straight through at around -6 degrees Celsius. That’s where insulating your plants can help big time. However, insulation isn’t easy when your strawberries are planted on garden beds.
But if you’ve utilised planters like a plastic pot, it’s much easier to protect your sleeping plants with insulating material. Or, you can simply move them indoors, where they can be safe from winter’s freeze and plummeting temperatures.
Type of pots that are best for growing strawberries
Now that we’ve covered the advantages of growing strawberries in pots – let’s turn to the options you have in terms of planters. Another important part of DIY container gardening is pairing the right container with bare-root crowns or transplants to make sure your crops are top-notch.
Believe it or not, you can make use of a traditional grow bag for planting strawberries by cutting in a few planting and drainage holes. Your average growing bag can house anywhere between 4 to 5 plants. Apart from that, this method is wallet-friendly and low on effort. On the other hand, if you’re short on space, it’s best not to opt for this alternative.
A strawberry pot (aka planter) works like a standard planter (with a top opening) along with little pockets placed on the pot’s sides. This alternative is perfect for gardeners who’re looking for attractive containers that work like a charm and don’t take up too much room.
What’s more, the side pockets make it easy to snip away any unwanted runners to keep the plant’s nutrients focused on crop production. The downside to planters is that the planting pockets can tend to dry out quickly.
These baskets are ideal for places that there’s not much space, like apartments. One of the biggest advantages of hanging baskets is that they keep the plants safe from slugs and help combat fungal illness if handled carefully. However, you should note that they need frequent feeding and watering due to the limited amount of fertiliser/mulch.
This pot can serve as a viable substitute for new plants instead of garden beds. These pots are available in a variety of sizes and are suited to growing plants on a patio. Terracotta pots can dry out quickly and need frequent watering. Besides that, if you’re looking to produce a large crop of strawberries – you may need three to four pots at least.
How to grow strawberries in pots
Here’s what you need to know to grow strawberries in pots – without any hassle or difficulty.
Make the plants ready for potting
Why grow strawberries from seed when there are bare-root plants around. Strawberry transplants do not like crowded conditions, so no matter the pot, make sure your place the crowns at least half a meter apart from each other. Additionally, it would help if you kept in mind that strawberry roots remain pretty shallow – which means you may have to measure the surface area to ensure you don’t plant your transplants too deep.
Add in the potting mix
Next, fill up the planter with an adequate mix and add water to make it nice and moist. Be sure to include a hole or two to make sure the excess moisture has a route of escape to avoid the dangers of overwatering.
Place the transplants in the pot
Once you’re done with filling the pot with the mix to an adequate level and watering it, make a small mound and spread out the transplant’s roots over it. Hold the plant steady as you add in the more mix until the roots are covered, and only the stem is visible. Water the soil and add in more mix if necessary.
Choose the right location
Strawberry plants must receive at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight to thrive. That means you’ll need to figure out where to place the pots quite carefully. If the location or spot you pick only provides sunlight from one way or direction – you may have to rotate the pots every three days to ensure the berry vines receive equal amounts of sunlight. Also, consider whether the spot is safe from pests and other critters. If not, you may want to go out and buy some netting materials.
Feed and water the new plants
A good rule of thumb to follow when it comes to watering strawberries is to only add moisture once the soil starts feeling dry, at least 2 cm under the surface. Strawberries do need plenty of water, but overwatering can lead to fungal illness and other concerns. You need to learn how to water them the right way. It’s also a good idea to boost your plants’ diet with a potassium fertiliser, like potash, once every two weeks to help your vines and fruits grow better.
Keep an eye out for temperature changes
Strawberries can freeze entirely if they’re not insulated and protected during winters. In addition, perennial plants that receive adequate care in winters can produce better once spring rolls around. For that reason (and few others), you have to be very careful about following weather forecasts to ensure you have enough time to prepare and protect your strawberry plants if the temperatures dip too low.
Caring for strawberries in pots
If you plan on harvesting some yummy berries next spring, it’s best to plant strawberries as soon as possible. All you need is the right strawberry transplants and pots, along with a mix, watering can, and liquid fertiliser.
Never, ever forget about drainage holes
Some pots (specifically plastic ones) come equipped with drainage pits. In case the pots you’ve purchased don’t, you’re going to have to deduce a way to make a few openings at the base to allow the excess moisture to drain from the soil. Overwatering strawberry plants can be just as harmful as underwatering them.
Light pots tend to work better
If you’re wondering why the colour of your pot matters at all – it’s simple. Bright colours reflect sunlight, whereas deep colours absorb it. Buying a white strawberry container means your pot will be able to bounce back the sunlight while keeping your plant’s roots from being exposed to extreme temperatures and heat.
Strawberries can produce even more fruit after the first year of cultivation – which is quite an incentive for berry-lovers. Besides that, a do-it-yourself strawberry project is a perfect way to brush up on your gardening skills. Growing strawberries in pots can be handled by beginners, doesn’t require you to spend too many pounds, and is low on human effort. So, how about trying this project out for your next gardening adventure?