Ozark beauty strawberry plants

This page is a profile summary of the strawberry cultivar ‘Ozark Beauty’ (Fragaria x ananassa). At the end of the page is a directory of suppliers from which you can buy Ozark Beauty strawberry plants. Hopefully, you will find the details here that you need in order to make an informed decision regarding whether or not Ozark Beauty strawberry plants are right for you and your growing conditions and needs.

Where to Grow Ozark Beauty Strawberries

Ozark Beauty strawberry plants were developed in Arkansas and have proven to be one of the most popular and adaptable of the everbearing strawberry varieties. They generally grow extremely well in zones 4 through 8, and can even perform in zones 3 and 9. They are particularly well-suited for more northern climates and the higher elevations in the south. With appropriate care, Ozark Beauty strawberries can survive winter temperatures to -30 degrees.

Ozark Beauty strawberry plants have become one of the best-selling of all commercially sold everbearing strawberries in large part to its overall robustness and adaptability. For more specifics on the cultivation of Ozark Beauty strawberry plants, see the Growing Strawberries page.

Growing Ozark Beauty Strawberry Plants: Conditions

Like all strawberries, Ozark Beauty strawberry plants prefer full sun, about an inch of water per week, and slightly acidic soil. While a pH of 5.3 to 6.5 is ideal for this variety, they will still do well in soil with a pH anywhere from 5.0 to 7.0. At their full, mature height, they will be between 8 inches and 1 foot tall and spread to about a foot.

Since Ozark Beauty strawberry plants are everbearers, planting them can yield two crops of strawberries: one in the late spring/early summer and another in the fall. Most of the suppliers who offer strawberry plants for sale online will ship in the early spring for spring planting. For June-bearing strawberries, this generally means that flowers should be removed and fruit should be foregone in year one to maximize plant health and future yields. However, for everbearing strawberry plants like Ozark Beauty, the removal of the initial flush of flowers doesn’t preclude all harvests for the year. With appropriate care, they will produce a late harvest meaning the fruits of one’s labor can be enjoyed the same year as the Ozark Beauty strawberry plants were planted.

Since this variety of strawberry plants produces a fair amount of runners, they can be planted in either the hill system or matted row. (See the Growing Strawberries reference page for more details). However, during the first growing year, it is best to remove all but 2-3 runners from each Ozark Beauty strawberry plant to maximize the size and quality of the strawberries and to help the strawberry plants root more effectively.

Disease Resistance of Ozark Beauty Strawberry Plants

Ozark Beauty strawberries are not known to have strong resistance to any of the common strawberry plant pests such as root nematodes or spider mites. They are, however, resistant to both leaf spot and leaf scorch.

Disease Susceptibility of Ozark Beauty Strawberry Plants

Ozark Beauty strawberry plants are susceptible to infection with several common strawberry diseases. They are susceptible to red stele and Verticillium wilt. Additionally, Ozark Beauty strawberries also will succumb to anthracnose.

Ozark Beauty Strawberries

Ozark Beauty strawberry plants are vigorous, everbearing, and may be the overall best of all everbearing strawberry varieties (for more details, see the Strawberry Varieties page). While other cultivars may have superior quality ratings in a category or two, few (if any) are a match for Ozark Beauty’s overall profile. Ozark Beauty strawberry plants produce large, well-colored, tasty strawberries – and lots of them!

Of note, however, is that Ozark Beauty runner plants will typically not set fruit in their first year (or they will do so sparsely). So, be patient with the runners, and the second year should yield an even more abundant harvest.

The strawberry plants usually produce berries that are uniform in shape. Additionally, Ozark Beauty strawberries are only moderately firm making them less well-suited for shipping. Otherwise, the strawberries are a deep red color externally and red throughout when mature, very sweet (honeysweet but not sickly sweet) with excellent strawberry flavor, and an excellent choice for virtually every home use: fresh eating, canning, making strawberry jam or strawberry jelly, freezing, or use in other strawberry recipes.

Notable Features of Ozark Beauty Strawberry Plant & Strawberries

  1. Very Hardy and Adaptable
  2. Excellent (and Popular) Choice for Home Gardeners
  3. Considered by Many to Be the Best Ever-bearing Variety
  4. Good Choice for Canning, Freezing, Preserves, and Jams/Jellies

Additional Information about the Strawberry Ozark Beauty

The strawberry plant Ozark Beauty will produce runners, blooms, and fruit simultaneously at times. In fact, one large strawberry plant provider noted in a trial over 200 blossoms, buds, and strawberries on a single plant over the course of a season. That is production!

Due to their popularity, Ozark Beauty strawberry plants are sold by quite a few strawberry plant suppliers. Be sure to check the various suppliers to get the best deal, and always make sure they are a reputable nursery and guarantee disease-free plants. (Many additional varieties and suppliers can be found in our directory of Strawberry Plants for Sale, or you can shop by variety on the Buy Strawberry Plants page.)

Purchase Plants from These Ozark Beauty Strawberry Suppliers

If you are wondering where to buy Ozark Beauty strawberry plants, the following table contains reputable suppliers of Ozark Beauty strawberry plants.

Strawberry Island Bob Wells Nursery
De Groot, Inc Farmer Seed & Nursery
Henry Field’s Seed & Nursery Co. Holland Bulb Farms
A.D.R. Bulbs, Inc. Simmons Plant Farm
Greenwood Nursery Summerstone Nursery
Gurney’s Seed & Nursery Co. Harris Seeds
USA Seed Store Spring Hill Nursery
Jung Seeds & Plants Vermont Bean Seed Company
Ison’s Nursery & Vineyard Burgess Seed & Plant Co.
Stark Bro’s

The Best Time to Plant Strawberries in Arkansas

Strawberry in garden image by Olga Chernetskaya from Fotolia.com

Strawberries, unlike many other fruits, grow on plants close along the ground, and put out their own runners for propagation. In Arkansas, strawberry plantings are split into two seasons.

Fall Planting

Many commercial growers plant their strawberries in the fall, to allow the plants to take root and establish over the winter for early spring blooming. When planting in fall, it’s important to cover the strawberries with organic or plastic mulch to protect them through the winter.

Spring Planting

Most home gardeners choose to plant strawberries in the spring instead, for a more natural growing season. Spring plantings in Arkansas take place mid-April, when the ground has thawed to 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and is welcoming to young strawberry plants.

Location and Planting

Strawberries require plots that receive full sunshine all day, every day, to take advantage of the lush Arkansas warmth. The plants cannot tolerate crowding or wet feet, so in swampy areas of Arkansas, it’s important to raise the beds or mix natural soil with plenty of quick-draining soil and compost.

Strawberries and faith in Arkansas

This morning, Robinson is a bit antsy. It’s raining and every minute or so he peeks out the window to see if the late-April storm is slackening over his Bradford, Ark., farm. There’s work to be done and the berries won’t wait. Rain doesn’t bother him, he says, and he’d be out picking if lightening weren’t occasionally splitting the clouds.

Out back of the farmhouse, down a pretty wooded hillside, is Robinson’s acre of strawberries — or, to be more accurate, his nine-year-old granddaughter’s strawberries. He is, to put it simply, absolutely smitten with Kelsey. She is in school this morning but will be out to pick this weekend.

“When this is all said and done, Kelsey should have some money to take to the bank. She’s one of the most unique little girls in the world, and I get to be with her! She’s in the fourth grade, and she’s incredible. She sits around reading and drawing all the time.

“Last year I told her, ‘If you really want to work, learn and make some money, I’ll help you.’ Meanwhile, Sherry (Wesson, White County, Ark., Extension agent) was putting on these horticulture schools, and Kelsey fell into those. The education she’s gotten from this is very valuable. She now knows soil samples and growing procedures, and she reads all the related materials. I thought this would be good for her, and it is. A child needs to learn to work hard and go to church, and everything else will fall into place.”

White County

White County leads Arkansas in horticulture production, says Wesson. But with a broad agricultural base the county is a microcosm of the state. “We have row crops, 26 dairies, and vegetables and berries around here,” says Wesson, a seven-year Extension veteran who works out of Searcy, Ark.

Wesson says Robinson is a selfless man not trying to make a big profit. “It sounds odd, but he really is using this as a learning process for his granddaughter and to share the wealth. He’s not trying to make a killing out there, but his strawberry crop is superb. And when you consider that this is his first year growing, all you can say is ‘wow.’”

The crop

There’s a lot to growing strawberries. When Robinson started his project last year, he was nervous about spending the $5,000 he thought it would take to put the berries out.

“Well, I’d have been much more nervous if I’d known it would actually cost closer to $12,000. But we’ve done well. So far, I’d estimate we’ve picked around 2,000 quarts. We may get 12,000 to 15,000 quarts total.”

To grow strawberries, you must prepare a year ahead. The soil must be tilled all summer, soil samples pulled and pH determined. The pH must be manipulated around 6 and fertility must be good. In August you fumigate the soil. Beds are pulled, and irrigation lines laid.

“Two weeks later, you hope you have a lot of friends or a good church, like I do — it takes one hard day to set out an acre of plants,” says Robinson.

A strawberry planter is a strange machine. Four people sit around a large, spiked wheel. As the machine is driven across the field, the spiked wheel knocks a hole in a plastic bed-covering. One of the four people pulls a plant out of a tray and sticks it in the hole.

Then comes much watering and fertilizing. The most difficult part is during the winter when you must guard against frost, says Robinson. Knowing when to cover and uncover the plants is very important.

Three varieties are planted on Kelsey’s acre: 4,000 Camarosa plants; 4,000 Chandler plants; and 8,000 Gemstar plants. The Gemstars have a better shelf-life than the others, says Wesson.

So far, four applications of liquid nitrogen have been used on the crop.

“To determine when fertilizing is needed, we run a strawberry petiole test,” says Wesson. “A grower collects the tri-foliate leaves and the petiole, and I send the samples to a diagnostic lab in Fayetteville. The lab determines how much nitrogen is in the sample, and that lets the grower know what is needed,” says Wesson.

Robinson may fertilize once more. However, Wesson is worried about anthracnose — a disease seen in counties around White County. Anthracnose causes spots on leaves and berries. Of more concern, the disease can go to the crown of the plant and kill it. Fertilizing and rain increase the chances of the disease.

All this for one crop

Beatle’s tunes notwithstanding, Robinson hardly sees himself growing strawberry fields forever.

“All this trouble is for one strawberry crop per year. That’s the downside of this kind of farming. It’s like any other aspect of life: you do your best and hope something productive ensues. If it doesn’t, you back up and try to figure out what went wrong. This is my first year growing strawberries, and it may be my last. I’m not really sure we want to do this again — at least on this scale. We’ve got a great crop, but it’s a lot of work.”

Robinson’s church — Oliphant Church of Christ — plays a key role in this enterprise as well. Oliphant (a community between Bradford and Newport) was once a thriving community in the state. “Even now, it’s nothing for us to have 75 folks in our rural church.”

Many of the church members are, like Robinson, workaholics. The church takes on different projects to make money and is picking berries and selling them. “We hope to pay off a bill or two, and let members have some berries at the same time.

“If I did this for a living, I’d look at the labor end of it differently. If it weren’t for our church, we’d be in trouble. A huge strawberry operation is 10 acres and you have to have migrant labor to pick. Without pickers, you can’t keep up.”

Robinson isn’t greedy (he refuses to charge top-dollar for his berries), and his philosophy on money is a throwback. “Money is like fertilizer. If it’s in one big pile, it doesn’t do much good. But if you spread it around, it’ll make things grow. I raise peas and sweet corn, and people will remember how I treated them with the berries.”

Growers and gamblers

Unwilling to make the drive to a casino, Robinson does his gambling on the farm.

“To get into strawberries and make a living at it, you’ve got to have a lot of money and a gambling instinct. Last year, many growers didn’t get their expenses back. This year, the crop is bumper. Strawberries seem to be hit-or-miss. You have to know everything about it and keep your focus constantly.”

It takes around 17,550 strawberry plants to plant an acre, says Wesson. You should get a quart of berries off each plant.

“If you only charge $1 per quart (most growers charge $2-plus), you’ve made some money, assuming it cost $12,000 or $13,000 to grow them. So the potential profit is much higher than with corn, beans or some other row crop. That’s why there’s been a lot of interest lately from row-crop farmers in berries and other crops. Farmers are trying to shore up their row-crop operations, and they see berries as a potential way to do that,” says Wesson.

If you’re wondering “When is it too late to plant strawberries?” you’re in luck. It’s never too late to buy a hanging basket with mature strawberry plants already growing. Hang these all around your property and pretend you planted them. It’s never too late to plant strawberries in a greenhouse or in a container on your sun porch. If you want to plant your strawberries in the ground, now that is a different story.

Best Time to Plant Strawberries

The ideal time to plant strawberries is after the threat of frost is past in early spring, usually March or April.

Planting Zones

In order to answer the question, “When is it too late to plant strawberries,” you need to know a few important facts, such as:

  • What’s your planting zone?
  • Which type of strawberry do you want to plant?

Learn your planting zone and optimum planting times by consulting an online map of zones.

Types of Strawberries

There are three categories of strawberries, and a wide range of different strawberry varieties. Each has different growing and production patterns. The three categories are:

  • June-bearing
  • Everbearing
  • Day neutral

Of these, the June-bearing type of strawberry produces once a year, sometime around June. It stops production sometime around July. Everbearing strawberries will fruit twice, once in June and again in late summer. The new day neutral type of strawberry plant should bloom and bear fruit throughout the summer, as long as weather conditions are optimum, sometimes up to October.

When Is It Too Late to Plant Strawberries

Since they bloom and fruit right on up until October, you can successfully plant day neutral strawberries long after the others have stopped production. Actually, it is often recommended that the first year, you pinch off the blossoms anyway. This is done to save nutrients that would otherwise go to fruit production, so they’ll create a more vigorous root system instead. This action helps ensure that the next year’s harvest is more bountiful. So if you don’t intend to have a harvest the first year, it would be acceptable to plant any of the types of strawberries in March, April or perhaps May or June. Planting in the ground in summer becomes more problematic because the intense heat creates so much stress for plants. Nurseries stop carrying certain plants after their ideal planting dates, so you may have to purchase your plants by mail order.

Options for Late Planting

If it’s late in the season and you still want your very own succulent, organic strawberries, there is always a way around the proverbial wisdom of planting in March or April. To recap, here are just a few ways to have more success with planting later than March or April:

  • Plant in hanging baskets or containers, as they can be moved out of the intense summer heat when necessary and they’re easy to water and tend.
  • Pinch off any blossoms the first year so all of the nutrients go to root growth and not to fruit production. This way it doesn’t matter if your already past the bloom dates.
  • Plant everbearing or day neutral strawberries because harvest period is longer. Day neutral strawberries may produce until October.
  • Plant in a greenhouse, where you can artificially control all the environment or micro eco-system in a greenhouse, from water to nutrients, temperature, wind, pests and humidity. That means you can grow practically anything year-round if you choose.
  • Don’t plant at all. Buy plants that are already mature which are growing in hanging baskets or containers.

Ozark Beauty Strawberry fruit

Ozark Beauty Strawberry fruit

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Ozark Beauty Strawberry flowers

Ozark Beauty Strawberry flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height: 8 inches

Spread: 18 inches

Sunlight:

Hardiness Zone: 4a

Other Names: Garden Strawberry

Group/Class: Everbearing

Description:

Large, flavorful, high yielding fruit; watch for the runners that spread; can plant in hanging baskets and containers too; resistant to leaf spot and scorch; extremely vigorous plant with deep roots; very hardy

Edible Qualities

Ozark Beauty Strawberry is a perennial that is commonly grown for its edible qualities. It produces cherry red heart-shaped berries which are usually ready for picking from late spring to mid fall. This variety is considered an everbearing type of strawberry, which means that it will repeatedly produce fruit across most of the season. The berries have a sweet taste and a firm texture.

The berries are most often used in the following ways:

  • Fresh Eating
  • Baking
  • Preserves

Features & Attributes

Ozark Beauty Strawberry features dainty white daisy flowers with yellow eyes along the stems from mid spring to mid summer. Its tomentose round compound leaves remain green in color throughout the season. It features an abundance of magnificent cherry red berries from late spring to early fall.

This is an open herbaceous perennial with a spreading, ground-hugging habit of growth. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other garden plants with less refined foliage. This is a high maintenance plant that will require regular care and upkeep, and should not require much pruning, except when necessary, such as to remove dieback. It is a good choice for attracting birds and bees to your yard, but is not particularly attractive to deer who tend to leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Spreading

Aside from its primary use as an edible, Ozark Beauty Strawberry is sutiable for the following landscape applications;

  • Border Edging
  • General Garden Use
  • Groundcover
  • Orchard/Edible Landscaping
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Ozark Beauty Strawberry will grow to be about 8 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 18 inches. It grows at a fast rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 10 years. This is a self-pollinating variety, so it doesn’t require a second plant nearby to set fruit.

This plant is typically grown in a designated edibles garden. It does best in full sun to partial shade. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. It is particular about its soil conditions, with a strong preference for rich, alkaline soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in both summer and winter to conserve soil moisture and protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This particular variety is an interspecific hybrid. It can be propagated by division; however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation.

Ozark Beauty Strawberry is a good choice for the edible garden, but it is also well-suited for use in outdoor pots and containers. Because of its spreading habit of growth, it is ideally suited for use as a ‘spiller’ in the ‘spiller-thriller-filler’ container combination; plant it near the edges where it can spill gracefully over the pot. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

Ozark Beauty Strawberry

Light requirements: Full sun.

Planting: Space 6 to 18 inches apart, depending on type. (Read the stick tag that comes with the plant for specific spacing recommendations.) Be careful not to bury the crown of the plant, or it will rot.

Soil requirements: Strawberries need well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. Amend heavy clay or sandy soil with compost or other organic matter prior to planting. Create raised beds if soil is heavy or drains poorly. Soil pH should be between 5.5 and 6.8.

Water requirements: Keep soil consistently moist throughout the growing season. Moisture is the key to plump, fully-formed berries. Mulch soil to reduce water evaporation.

Frost-fighting plan: Strawberry plants are sensitive to frost. Temperatures of 28º F or less (a hard frost) damage flowers. Protect newly planted seedlings and established, budded plants by covering plants with straw or a frost blanket. By fall, strawberry plants have formed the flower buds that will open the following spring. To protect them through winter, apply a 2- to 3-inch mulch of straw, pine straw, or other loose organic material.

Common issues: Slugs can be a problem when using organic mulch, so use plastic mulch to discourage them). Keep birds from feasting on berries by covering plants with plastic bird netting. Small, misshapen berries are can be caused by drought or high temperatures.

Harvesting: Pick berries in the morning, when fruits are cool. Select fully formed and colored berries, as unripe berries won’t continue to ripen once picked. Carefully pull strawberries (with stems) from plants. Aim to leave about a half-inch stem on each berry.

Storage: Refrigerate unwashed berries (caps still on) in a plastic container with a loose-fitting lid. Place a paper towel in the bottom of the container before adding berries, then arrange berries in single layers separated by clean paper towels. For peak flavor, use within 2 to 3 days, although berries may last up to 7 days.

For more information, visit the Strawberries page in our How to Grow section.

In Medieval religious paintings the strawberry was symbolic of “noble thought and majesty,” but I’m more likely to think of gluttony than piety when I see this fruit. I could eat homegrown strawberries by the bushel basket.

To accommodate my appetite and all the sweet fruits I want to share, we’ve planted about 170 strawberries at the Moss Mountain Farm Garden Home.

I selected both June bearing and ever-bearing varieties in hopes of having a steady supply throughout the summer. June bearing plants produce fruit once in early summer for about 3 weeks. Ever-bearing strawberries produce two significant crops, once in early summer and then again in fall. In cool climates they will continue to fruit sporadically over the course of the growing season.

Strawberry Varieties Planted at Moss Mountain

‘Allstar’ – June bearing * exceptionally disease resistant * classic strawberry shape * frost resistant * firm consistency * vigorous grower * extra juicy and sweet * very hardy

‘Ozark Beauty’ – ever-bearing * heavy early summer and fall crops with sporadic fruits throughout summer * especially productive in cool climates * great for containers * large berries * sweet * heaviest bearer of the ever-bearing varieties

‘Cardinal’ – June Bearing * recommended for warm climate gardens * disease resistant * extra-large, very sweet berries

Strawberry Planting Tips:

Timing – Strawberries can be planted in spring as soon as the soil is workable or in the fall. If a spring frost is predicted protect the flowers with a layer of wheat straw, pine needles or a frost blanket.

Planting Depth – Plant strawberries high with the base of the bud union at soil level and the soil just covering the roots.

Sunlight – Provide at least 6 hours of sunshine.

Soil – The soil should be well-drained with plenty of organic humus with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5.

Verticillium Wilt – Unless the variety is noted as disease resistant, don’t plant strawberries where tomatoes, peppers, eggplant or potatoes have been grown in the past 3 years. These plants along with others in the Solanaceae family often carry the disease.

Fertilizer – Apply a 10-10-10 fertilizer when establishing new beds at a rate of 1 pound per 100 square feet. Work this into the soil before planting. Feed again in late summer or early fall being careful to keep the fertilizer off of the foliage. Do not over fertilize as this leads to excessive leaf production, reduced fruiting, and vulnerability to disease.

Water – Strawberries need about 1 inch of water per week during the growing season.

Mulch – Apply a layer of mulch between the strawberry plants to keep the soil cool and consistently moist, and keep the berries off the ground.

Winter Care – Strawberries need a layer of mulch in winter to protect them from freezing temperatures.

Life Span – A strawberry plant is good for about 3 years, after which it should be dug up. Wait another 4 years to plants strawberries in that location again.

Container Grown – You can grow strawberries even if you don’t have much space. Plant them in a rectangular container and place the container in full sun.

To learn more about growing strawberries, check out the video below!

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