It is so easy to grow strawberries even if you haven't got a lot of space. You can grow them in pots, cans or even a window box. Some people even plant them in hanging pots like you would hand a fern or a vine. They are very hardy and very easy. As long as they have full sun they are easy to grow in any container available. Regardless of what type of pot you grow them in, they are to be treated as annual plants. Here is what you need to know about growing strawberries in containers.
How to Grow Strawberries in Containers
Select the Correct Variety of Strawberry to Grow in Containers
Most people have no idea that there are varieties of strawberry plants. There are a few and choosing the ones that are suitable for pots is very important. There are two major varieties that are good to grow in pots. The ones that are marked “ever bearing” and “Alpine”. Summer is the main season for strawberries and ever bearing and Alpine strawberries will bare fruit in small batches all summer long. Other varieties will do this once in one shot and then disappear until next summer.
The best thing is they are convenient to get from the grocers, the nurseries and the cooperative extensions as well as home and garden shops and online.
Select a Container for Your Strawberries
Hanging baskets: Hanging baskets and tubs have advantages. As long as you have a porch, deck or front or back yard that faces south with full sun you can hang pots and place drums in small spaces. The hanging idea is very advantageous because this means you won't be taking away from the ground crop areas where you have other things to grow.
Window boxes: Window boxes are a great way to decorate with your strawberries and adds to the outdoor décor of the home. Just make sure there are drainage holes in the bottom so you don't saturate your strawberries.
Larger planter or tub: Plastic inexpensive ones are a great way to go as well. Another idea is to have a dolly hand truck or caster to place it on, which will allow you to move them around with ease when you need to.
Note that the container should be at least an 18” in diameter to allow proper growth.
Get the Planting Started
If you are growing strawberries in a large container, remember to space them 25cm (10 inches) apart. If you plant in small pots, plant about 2 seedlings together.
Wet your pot. If you are using terracotta or clay pots then soak the pot in a tub of water for an hour so the pot will not wick the water out of the soil.
Take something like a broken piece of pot or a window screen to cover drain holes for now so the soil does not escape.
Fill with the soil till the lowest level of pockets (plant the tallest strawberry seedlings first). Insert the plant and then cover with more soil. Do make sure the crown of the plant is above soil level.
Continue inserting plants into the soil pockets in the same way as the step above.
Stop the soil building until you get 1-2 inches below the top of the pot.
Place your pots in an area that gets 6-8 hours of sun a day.
Water the soil wet but not sloshy. You can take a cardboard tube or a PVC pipe and drill holes along the length of the tube. This will be your watering pipe which is the best way to ensure all the pockets of plants will be covered.
Fertilize with 10-10-10 fertilizer after planting.
Notes: Infection is a big deal for strawberries. So, use clean fresh new soil from the bag. Compost and other soil that has been used for tomatoes and potatoes and harbor bacteria that is lethal to your strawberries.
Growing Strawberries in Containers: Ongoing Care
These plants will need to be kept watered sufficiently. So, the way to tell when they need it is easy. Insert your finger in the soil up to the first knuckle. When you pull it out, if it is dry then it needs it.
Fertilize with diluted seaweed fertilizer every other week. You can use high potash liquid feed, they appreciate that.
Make sure you harvest the fruit when you see them and discard any rotten berries when they appear and that is normal by the way.
Also make sure any dead leaves from the foliage is also discarded.
Keep moisture off the leaves as much as possible even after rain because they can develop fungal issues.
Tuck straw beneath the leaves to keep the little tender developing strawberries from getting compost on them that can burn them.
Unless you want new plant propagation, after fruiting, cut back the runner leaves and leave only the center leaves intact.
For even more information and a visual tutorial of tips on growing strawberries in containers, go to this video:
- Use high quality bagged potting soil.
- Add garden compost or manure.
- Plant away from pepper or tomato plants as they catch diseases from them.
- Pick off the first flowers to encourage big strawberries.
- Pick strawberries the moment they are ripe and not a moment longer. The more you take the more they will produce.
- Protect with bird net if they are being eaten.
- Use diatamacous or a saucer of beer to drown and kill off slugs.