Strawberries are the quintessential summer fruit and they’re very easy to grow! From the largest allotment to the smallest balcony, strawberries can be grown almost anywhere. These versatile fruits are happy growing in raised beds, containers, hanging baskets or window boxes, providing a constant supply of mouth-watering fruits during the height of summer.
There are three main varieties of strawberry - summer-fruiting, perpetual-fruiting and alpine. Alpine strawberries produce lots of small berries between July and September. Summer-fruiting strawberries produce a heavy flush of fruits in early to mid summer whereas perpetual-fruiting strawberries or ever-bearing strawberries such as ‘Sweet Sensation’ will produce small flushes of fruit from summer to autumn. It’s nice to have a mixture of both for a steady supply of fruit all summer! All of our strawberry plants are sent out as runners and will quickly establish once planted.
Strawberries grow best in a sunny position and a fertile soil so it’s a good idea to add some organic matter such as well-rotted manure or compost to the soil before planting.
When growing strawberry plants give them plenty of space for good cropping and easy access. Plant them about 35cm (14") apart and in rows spaced about 75cm (30") apart. Dig a hole that is big enough to accommodate the roots of the plant and place it inside. If you’re planting strawberry runners spread the roots out and make sure the crown sits at soil level. Planting too deeply can cause the strawberry plants to rot and planting with the crown too high can cause plants to dry out. Backfill the hole with soil and gently firm down around the plant. Water your strawberry plants thoroughly and make sure you continue to water them well during hot, dry weather.
Growing strawberries in pots lessens the likelihood of an attack by slugs, snails and small animals, and is ideal if you have a small garden. Strawberries will happily grow in hanging baskets, strawberry planters or even strawberry grow pouches against a wall. You can usually plant around 6 plants per basket.
It’s a good idea to incorporate some water retaining granules and slow-release fertiliser into the compost before planting. Check your container daily in hot weather and water if the top inch of compost feels dry. You can even try growing strawberries in a greenhouse for fruits up to a month earlier than usual!
Protect the fruits
As your strawberry fruits develop there is a risk of them being blemished by soil splash so it’s a good idea to place straw or mulching fabric underneath the plants to prevent damage.
Unfortunately the birds love strawberries as much as we do so make sure you net your strawberry patch securely!
In early summer you may notice runners developing on your plants. These are trailing stems with young strawberry plants along the length. It’s best to remove these as close to the base of the plant as possible to help direct energy into flowering and fruiting, and reduce competition for light and nutrients.
To pick your strawberries, pinch or cut them off with a small amount of stalk attached. This will help preserve them for longer until you’re ready to eat them. Don’t stack them too high in your chosen container or they will be crushed under their own weight. Store unblemished berries in the fridge to prevent moulds spoiling the fruits.
Clear away dead leaves
After your strawberries have finished cropping, take away any straw and netting to allow better air flow around the plants. In late summer and autumn clear away any dead foliage which can harbour pests and diseases.
Mulch and feed
The following spring mulch around your strawberry plants with well rotted manure or compost. If your soil is poor you can also scatter a slow release fertiliser around the base of the plant.
After 3 years you’ll find your strawberry plants become less productive and are more susceptible to pests and diseases. They are best replaced with vigorous young plants. If you have the space then try and rotate your strawberry beds every three years to prevent specific pests and diseases building up.
Our strawberry plants are sent out as runners and will quickly establish once planted.
Strawberries are ideal for growing in hanging baskets or strawberry planters for the patio. You can even plant them in our strawberry grow pouches against a wall.
Place netting over your strawberries to protect them from hungry birds!
Harvest strawberries as they ripen. Choose a dry day if possible and gently pull or cut them away from the plant.