Everything You Need To Know About Growing Strawberries In Containers
Nothing screams summer like sweet, juicy strawberries brimming from a patch, with barefoot children eating them fresh off the vine. Homegrown strawberries are succulent and sweet, producing a sweet aroma that fills the air. You don’t need a huge area to have a harvest; growing strawberries in containers is just as easy.
Each summer, I witness my children stealing strawberries from our patch. They believe it’s a secret, but the red stain on their lips and hands give it away. Before we had our acreage, containers off of my back porch brimmed with fresh strawberries. Containers are a great way to grow a lot of fruits and veggies.
Things You Will Need
- Containers or Pots
- Strawberry Plants
- Balanced Fertilizer (10-10-10)
- pH Soil Reader
- PVC Pipe or Paper Towel Holder
How to Grow Strawberries in a Container
1. Select The Type Of Strawberry You Want To Grow
There are three standard types that of strawberries that you ought to try.
- June Bearing Strawberries have a concentrated crop once a year for about three weeks. Typically, it happens in June, as the name suggests.
- Ever Bearing Strawberries produce two crops of strawberries – one in the late summer or early fall and one in the spring.
- Day Neutral Everbearers are a newer variety that can grow strawberries from June through September. They are better off in a cooler environment; they won’t fare well in hot weather.
2. Find The Right Strawberry Pot
Before you do any planting, you need a container for the plant! Strawberries pots come in clay pottery, plastic, wood and ceramic. Plastic containers are lightweight, but they can be blown over easily. Clay pots that don’t have a waterproof layer will degrade within a year or two. You will need to water them a lot. Ceramic pots are hefty, but they will last for a long time.
3. Plant At The Correct Time
If you are in zones 1 through 5, it is best to plant strawberries in the early spring. For those who live in a warmer climate, you can plant strawberries in the fall. If you want the container to be inside, the timing matters less.
4. Use The Right Soil
Strawberries do require good soil to produce a great harvest. The pH level should be between 5.3 and 6.5. They will survive in soils with a higher or lower pH level, but it shouldn’t be far off of those numbers. Some gardeners like to add a controlled-release fertilizer before planting.
5. Trim Before Planting
Before you plant the strawberries, you want to trim off any older leaves that may be browning. Take off the runners and flowers. If the roots are long, cut them to around 4 to 5 inches long. Check the plant for any damage that may hinder growth. Always shake off excess soil. An hour before you plant them, soak the strawberry roots. It helps them absorb enough water to stay hydrated during the process.
6. Find The Right Placement
It is important to have the right placement for strawberries. When you plant it, it should be in the soil to the midpoint of the crown. Make sure that you fan out the roots and even out the top with the soil. Each plant should be 10 to 12 inches apart. Always avoid planting them in containers and soil that might have grown tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, and peppers. It will lead your strawberries to wilt.
7. Don’t Forget To Water Them
Once your strawberries are in their container, you need to give it a heavy watering. Each day, check on the plant. It will take a week or longer for the roots to take place firmly. You should water each day. After that, check the top inch of the soil. If it is dry, you should water. Strawberries are juicy and need water for proper development.
One method gardeners often use putting a paper towel tube inside of the pot. Fill the container with gravel in the center of your pot. You could also place a PVC pipe with holes drilled randomly to help with water retention. The water can seep through the container, which avoids overwatering the top.
8. Take Proper Care After Planting
Everbearing and day neutral plants need frequent pruning. You should pinch or cut off the blossoms for the first six weeks after planting. All of the energy should be devoted to establishment before it starts to grow fruit. Even though you want the fruit, you want a plant that is hardy and ready to grow.
Each month, you need to use a well-balanced fertilizer. It is important not to overfeed them. One way to know that you are providing too much fertilizer is a plant that has a lot of leaves but not many fruits.
9. Winterize The Strawberries
Containers allow you to take the plant wherever you want. You can move them to the sunniest area or bring them inside during the cold winters. If the pot you selected is too large or too heavy to bring inside, you can still winterize the plant.
The first thing you should do is mulch the strawberries. I prefer pine needles, but you can also use newspapers or straw. Mulch protects the roots and soil from the snow and cold. Don’t do this too soon because you will stop its growth period. Instead, wait until the first frost. Your plant can survive a frost or two without much shock.
Growing strawberries in containers isn’t that hard at all. The hardest part is picking what variety of strawberries you would like. While there are three general types, each type has different brands. Your local nursery is sure to have some great choices.
Once you have prepped the soil, you are ready to plant them! They require daily watering and monthly fertilizing. However, in the right conditions, strawberries in containers will yield you a fantastic harvest of strawberries. This summer will be filled with ripe strawberries and homemade strawberry jam!