Strawberries perennial or annual

We all know what it’s like to come home from the grocery store and dig into the strawberries only to find them too bland, too tart, or too far gone.

And when we get a nice, sweet, juicy batch we inhale them within a day.

Well, if the best tasting strawberries are what you’re after, growing your own is the way to go. You will never taste a sweeter strawberry than one picked fresh from your own garden.

There are multiple varieties to choose from, and as perennials that are hardy in zones 3 through 10, they’ll come back year after year. And many varieties can be harvested from spring until frost.

Still, they aren’t necessarily easy to grow.

Photo by Amber Shidler.

Plants will survive almost effortlessly, but getting a bountiful harvest takes a bit of work.

With a little knowhow, patience, and persistence, you’ll be on your way to enjoying fresh picked, delicious strawberries right out of your own yard.

There are three different types of strawberries, and to get the best harvest you need to know about them.

But first, some general information. Here’s what’s to come in this article:

Keep reading to learn everything you need to grow this beloved fruit.

Growing From Seed vs. Buying Starters

While growing strawberries from seed is possible, it’s much more common and effective to purchase plants or bare roots.

However, if you’re interested in growing a less popular variety, you may have to start plants from seed.

If this is the route you take, sow seeds directly in the garden in early spring. Be prepared to wait for up to month to see any signs of germination.

Plants generally won’t produce any fruit until the following year, so you’ll have to wait.

Honestly, though, if you’re dedicated to achieving the ultimate harvest, you’ll have to wait for a year anyway. Standard practice for growing strawberries is to remove all the flowers the first year – yes, ALL of them. So sad, I know!

But you’ll be grateful you did the following spring, when plants are larger and stronger, and able to produce a much larger harvest.

Okay – I got ahead of myself.

Let’s get back to purchasing plants…

Strawberries are usually sold as individual potted plants, or in bags as bare roots.

Bare roots are just dormant plants. They almost look dead, but they aren’t – or at least, they shouldn’t be!

Here are a couple of things to look for so you know you’re buying a healthy bare root, and not a dead one:

  • First, check for signs of rotting or mold and reject the plant if you find these.
  • Crowns should be intact.
  • Roots should be vigorous.

Once you’ve chosen your plants, it’s time to get them in the ground!

Planting Strawberries and Keeping them Happy

Strawberries can be placed in the ground in early spring as soon as the soil is workable.

Choose a site with loamy, well draining soil. A pH between 6 and 7 is ideal. And full sun, at least 6 hours, is necessary for high yields.

Strawberries will tolerate less than ideal conditions, however, and even do okay in partial shade – you just won’t enjoy as large of a harvest.

Heavy clay soils with poor drainage will be particularly detrimental to overall growth.

Because soil drainage is so important, raised beds are often used for growing strawberries.

Working two to three inches of compost into the soil before planting will improve soil health and water retention, as well as drainage.

A soil test is really the only way to know if your site needs any special attention.

Photo by Amber Shidler.

Before putting bare roots in the ground, remove any old leaves from the crowns and soak the roots in water for a good hour.

When placing roots in the ground, it’s especially important to pay attention to depth. The crown of the plant, where the leaves originate, should sit just on top of the soil.

Too deep and it will rot. Too high and it will dry out. It has to be just right, so think Goldilocks here and plant accordingly.

Also, make sure there is plenty of space for the roots and that they are spread out before covering them with soil.

Keep plants watered well until established.

Soak bare roots for at least an hour before planting.

Once roots are established, runners will start to form – but we will get into how to deal with those when we talk about the different types a little later.

It’s also important to thoroughly weed the area ahead of time, and keep it weed free throughout the growing season. Weeds can easily outcompete the shallow roots of strawberries for water and nutrients.

Once in the ground, it’s best to cultivate the soil around strawberries regularly with a hoe. Work along the soil surface, uprooting any weed seedlings.

Be careful not to disturb the soil more than an inch below the surface – you might damage the roots. Not to mention, new weed seeds will find their way to the soil surface where they’ll be able to germinate.

Protecting and Replacing Plants

If your area experiences particularly cold winters, choose a fitting variety. Also consider adding a layer of mulch, like straw, over your crop in the winter to protect the crowns.

Flowers that show up the earliest tend to produce the largest fruit. But flowers are susceptible to frost early in the season.

So, it’s in your best interest to cover your strawberry patch if temperatures dip below freezing in the spring.

Even though strawberries will keep coming back year after year, they’re most productive within their first 2 to 5 years of life. It’s common practice to replace them every few years, as you notice a drop in productivity.

Photo by Amber Shidler.

Purchase new starters – don’t dig up runners from the old patch. This way you can guarantee healthy, disease-free plants.

Also, pick a new site for your replacements, which will help to avoid any pests and diseases that may have built up in the soil over the years.

Be careful to avoid areas of the garden that eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, or potatoes have recently inhabited. They are all prone to verticillium wilt, which can also infect strawberries.

The Three Types

Strawberries fall under one of three types: June-bearing, everbearing, or day neutral.

Pay attention to the type you buy, and hold on to the tag so you won’t forget.

If the tag doesn’t make clear which type it is, do some research online. Knowing the type will make all the difference in your efforts to produce a delicious harvest that meets your needs.

June-Bearing

This is the most commonly grown type. Buds form in the fall and then bloom the following spring, producing one large harvest, typically in June.

This is great if you want to make jam or freeze large batches of fruit.

Runners, which are above-ground stems that form from the crown, take root and produce new plants.

Runners on June-bearers can be left to root, forming a thick mat of green growth, referred to as the “matted row method.”

Just don’t let your row get too wide. Ideally, it should be less than 18 inches across. Within the row, plants should be spaced 18 to 24 inches apart.

Photo by Amber Shidler.

June-bearers especially benefit from removing all of the flowers in the first year. This way, they can focus all their energy on producing more runners.

After harvesting each year, they need to be “renovated” – which refers to the process of mowing or cutting leaves back to just an inch or so above the crown.

You’ll also want to narrow the rows to about a foot wide, and remove any old plants that aren’t producing as well.

Rake out all leaves and compost them if they’re healthy, and weed the area.

The idea is to encourage new growth, especially new runners, since young plants produce the most fruit.

Since runners are allowed to regenerate the crop, June bearers typically produce a good harvest for a number of years.

Everbearing

Everbearing varieties form buds when days are long, which usually results in two main harvests – one in June and another in early fall.

Plants should be spaced 12 to 15 inches apart, about three to four rows wide.

For the largest harvest, runners of everbearers should be pinched off. Runners on this type of plant aren’t very vigorous, and if left to grow, you’ll just end up with smaller, less productive plants overall.

Instead, you’ll want to encourage the growth of one large, healthy plant.

To further encourage well-established roots, remove the flowers.

Photo by Amber Shidler.

Feel like your patience is being tested? There’s a bright side with this one: You can start letting flowers bloom in July and beyond.

Come August, you should be able to enjoy your first harvest, which will continue on until frost.

So, that’s the bright side. There’s also a not-so-bright side…

Because you’re preventing runners, which are the mechanism by which these plants naturally regenerate themselves, you will likely notice a dip in fruit production within just a couple of seasons.

Because of this, it’s standard to replace everbearers every two to three years.

Day-Neutral

Day-neutral strawberries are different because they don’t rely on the length of day to begin flowering.

Instead, they are sensitive to temperature. They will produce fruit in temperatures as low as 35°F, but anything above 75°F and flower production will stop.

In cooler areas, this is great! You’ll be harvesting fruit from early spring until frost.

In areas with warmer summers, harvest periods will be similar to that of everbearers – one in spring, and one in late fall.

General requirements for day-neutral varieties follow the same recommendations as everbearers, including removing runners and flowers.

Let flowers go to fruit once you reach July though, for a late summer/early fall harvest!

Not Without Their Issues: Pests and Diseases

There are a number of diseases that can infect strawberries, including leaf blight, leaf scorch, leaf spot, verticillium wilt, and powdery mildew.

Many of these, however, can be greatly reduced by picking the right location for plants.

Full sun and well-draining soil go a long way to reduce the occurrence of diseases. Keep rows narrow and weed free to improve air circulation.

Also, avoid watering at night. Wet leaves in the cool of night are an invitation to many diseases and fungi.

Look for disease resistant varieties if possible.

Aside from diseases, you’ll want to keep an eye out for a number of critters.

While you’re at the store picking up your strawberries or shopping online, grab some bird netting. Trust me. This one is a great product from NaiteNet, and it’s available on Amazon.

Gardener House Berry Netting, 7′ x 20′

Birds are great at getting to your delicious fruit the day before you plan to harvest. Netting can help to avoid that pang of disappointment.

Deer might take a bite or two out of plants as well, like in my case where there are plenty of them living in the area.

Intruders that are smaller but often just as damaging include slugs, spider mites, bud weevils, and spittlebugs.

Sadly, the deer got to this bunch. Photo by Amber Shidler.

Healthy plants can handle some damage. But slugs and weevils in particular have the biggest impact on harvest.

Slugs bite chunks directly out of the fruit, and weevils bore into buds with their curved snouts and suck the pollen out.

If the problem is severe, look into using diatomaceous earth for slugs and horticultural oils for weevils. Also, pick off any buds if you notice they’re damaged or aren’t producing a berry.

Harvest and Delicious Uses

You’ll know that your berries are ready to harvest when they’re red all over and fully ripened.

Pay attention to the days to maturity on the plant tags that they came with, so you’ll have a rough idea of what to expect.

Be careful not to damage the plants or pull them out of the ground when you’re harvesting. Rather than pulling on the berries, keep those green tops intact and snip the stems with clean scissors or pruners.

Wait a few days between harvests if you can, to avoid stressing the plants. And pick in the cool of the morning since your fruit will bruise less easily than it will when the sun is beating down in the afternoon.

Keep freshly picked berries cool and wait to wash until you’re ready to use them.

If you have enough plants to get a big yield, there are so many wonderful things that you can do with strawberries beyond eating them out of hand. Here are a few tantalizing suggestions:

First, try a strawberry blueberry crumble for dessert, or a slice of classic strawberry rhubarb pie. Both of these recipes can be found on our sister site, Foodal. And to grow your own rhubarb alongside the berries, read our article for expert tips.

Not quite ready to pick, but almost there!

Not in the mood for pie? Try this strawberry rhubarb butter from Erika’s Gluten Free Kitchen. Or, if it’s too hot to bake, you can’t go wrong with a simple strawberry fool, like this one from The Magic Saucepan.

A bright and tasty strawberry balsamic vinaigrette makes a tasty addition to garden fresh salads. Try this version from our friends at The Fitchen.

Summer strawberry popsicles are a tasty combo made with lime and watermelon. The Domestic Dietitian shares the recipe for this one.

No Going Back

This classic, beloved fruit is in high demand. And, ranked as number one on the EWG’s ‘Dirty Dozen’ list, buying organic can be pricey.

But let’s be honest – picking strawberries out at the grocery store is a gamble.

In my experience, they are almost never as sweet and juicy as I imagine they will be, especially when they are out of season.

Once you get a taste of fresh picked, homegrown strawberries, you’ll want more. And more. And more.

You know what they’re like?

Delicious. Every. Time.

It may take some trial and error, but as perennials, strawberries are a little more forgiving than annual edibles.

And even if you don’t get a great harvest with your first go, you’ll still likely get a little something sweet to snack on.

Have you ever tried growing strawberries? What’s holding you back? Leave a comment below!

For more berry growing inspiration, you’ll need these guides:

  • How to Grow Elderberries
  • The Ultimate Fall Berry Planting Guide
  • How to Plant and Grow Ground Cherry, A Tasty, Tropical Berry

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Photos by Amber Shidler © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Product photo via NaiteNet. Uncredited photos: . With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.

About Amber Shidler

Amber Shidler lives in Cincinnati, Ohio and holds a dual bachelor’s degree in botany and geography. For four years she worked as a horticulturist, but is now a stay-at-home mom. With experience in landscape design, installation, and maintenance she has set her sights on turning her tenth-of-an-acre lot into a productive oasis. Amber is passionate about all things gardening, especially growing and enjoying organic food.

AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE: buy or get emailed when available
STRAWBERRY GROWING INFORMATION © Frances Michaels
BOTANICAL NAME: Fragaria x ananassa
FAMILY: Rosaceae, the rose family
For the home gardener, being able to harvest bowlfuls of fresh, juicy, organic strawberries early in the morning for breakfast is a great motivator but keep in mind if there are kids involved, very few may actually make it back to the kitchen. Growing your own strawberries is easy to achieve with the right approach.
We tend to think of strawberries as perennials but in fact they only produce for 2 to 3 years.
Commercially the entire plant is replaced every year because the plants are most productive in the 1st year and the runners are time consuming to deal with.
WHEN
In subtropical areas March – April is the best planting time. In cooler areas the recommended planting time is late winter or early spring. Make sure the strawberry crowns (tops of the roots) are at soil level or they will rot. Water well regularly after planting. Do not allow the plants to dry out before new roots are established.
SPACING
Plant the runners 35 cm apart in a staggered fashion with 35 cm between rows.
WHERE
Choose an open, sunny position for the strawberry bed as good airflow will reduce fungal problems such as grey mould. Raised beds are best: the drainage is improved; the raised sides act as a barrier to crawling invaders such as slugs and snails; also it is a little bit easier to pick the fruit, weed and remove runners.
Consider the size and shape of the beds before planting, as birds are just as keen on strawberries as we are and you may need to net the strawberry bed. It is easier to do this if you have matched the size of your bed to available netting. Using a series of hoops or a frame to hold the net well above the plants keeps the air flow open. Just covering the plants without a support often leads to more fungal problems in humid weather.
SOIL
Strawberries prefer a well-drained soil, rich in humus. About a month before planting dig in lots of organic matter, compost, animal manure or blood and bone.
Keep the beds well mulched, to control weeds and keep the fruit clean. Pine needles have often been used as this mulch is acid and strawberries prefer a slightly acidic soil with a pH of 5.0 – 6.0. Avoid soil that has previously grown other berries or members of the tomato family (Solanaceae) to reduce the danger of viral diseases.
WATERING
Strawberries require plenty of water but hate wet leaves so laying drip irrigation or ‘leaky pipe’ is well worth the time and effort. Try not to use overhead watering. A fortnightly spray with seaweed fertiliser improves the vigour of the plants.
MAINTENANCE
Runner removal is an important part of strawberry bed maintenance. The runners, if left, tend to overcrowd the bed so that in the 2nd year the original strawberry bed is too crowded to be very productive at all. It takes time to do this annual clean-up and replenishment of the strawberry beds but it will reward you with a large crop. It is common to see strawberry beds left to become overcrowded in the garden with 2 or 3 years worth of runners fighting for space, but these beds produce very few strawberries. The original planting should have been certified virus-free stock and it is worth starting again with fresh virus-free stock 4 to 7 years down the track. If you have the space, then plan for 3 beds over time with crop rotation being practiced to reduce disease problems.
Bed 1:
Prepare the bed and plant certified virus-free runners. These will be highly productive but will also produce runners; pinch off the early runners to improve fruit production. After fruiting has finished these runners should all be removed along with any old or diseased leaves. Make sure the crown of the plant has not become buried by the mulch. The plants should be fed with compost and fresh mulch applied. They will then crop again the following year but not as heavily.

Bed 2:
If there is room in the garden, Bed 2 should be planted with the largest and healthiest runners from Bed 1. This will be more productive than Bed 1 when they crop the following season.
Bed 3:
Repeat the process again in following years. It is time after cropping twice to remove Bed 1 altogether as it will be exhausted; a 3rd crop is not usually worthwhile in terms of return. It is best to remove the plants and compost them. For disease control, practice crop rotation and do not plant strawberries again in this bed for a few years. Bed 3 can be created with the runners from Bed 1 or 2 in this season.
This method of growing strawberries will give you abundant crops of strawberries from your initial purchase.
PEST AND DISEASE PROBLEMS
Insect pests include thrips, two-spotted mite, caterpillars, curl grubs and Rutherglen bugs. Slugs and snails can also seriously affect the crop so place snail traps in the bed. The sides of raised beds can be sprayed with a snail and slug repellent such as Escar-Go to prevent access or protected with Copper Tape. For birds the main choices are Bird Netting or Bird Scare Flash Tape. Fungal problems such as grey mould and black spot are common in humid weather; regular use of a Natrakelp seaweed spray will help.

Growing Strawberries

Types

June bearing or spring bearing, everbearing and day neutral are the three types of strawberries grown in Illinois. Fruits of day neutral plants and everbearers are usually smaller than June-bearers fruit.

June bearing strawberries produce a crop during a two-to-three week period in the spring. June-bearers produce flowers, fruits and runners. They are classified into early, mid-season and late varieties.

Everbearing strawberries produce three periods of flowers and fruit during the spring, summer and fall. Everbearers do not produce many runners.

Day neutral strawberries will produce fruit throughout the growing season. These strawberries produce just a few runners.

Everbearing and day neutral strawberries are great for gardeners who have limited space. They can be grown in terraced beds, barrels or pyramids. They can also be used as an edging plant or a groundcover.

Strawberry Varieties

Strawberry varieties should be selected on the basis of dessert quality; preserving quality; disease resistance and season of maturation.

Strawberry cultivars for Illinois, listed by season from earliest to latest within groups and disease resistance

Strawberry type

Fruit size

Red stele

Verticillium wilt

Region of adaptation*

June bearing Earligrow medium R3 R N,C,S

Annapolis

large

R

S

N

Honeoye

large

S

S

N,C,S

Delmarvel

large

R

R

N,C,S

Seneca

medium

S

S

N,C

Jewel

large

S

S

N,C,S

Kent

large

S

S

N,C

Allstar

very large

R

R

N,C,S

Day neutrals

Tristar

medium

R

R

N,C,S

Tribute

medium

R

R

N,C,S

R = resistant to this disease; S=susceptible to this disease.

*N = adapted to region north of Interstate 80; C = adapted to region between Interstate 80 and Interstate 70; S = adapted to region south of Interstate 70.

When to Plant

Plant strawberries as soon as the ground can be worked in the spring. This is usually in March or April allowing the plants to become well established before the hot weather arrives. Do not work the soil if it is wet. Wait a few days until it dries.

Planting Depth

Try to plant strawberries on a cloudy day or during the late afternoon. Set the strawberry plant in the soil so that the soil is just covering the tops of the roots. Do not cover the crown. After four or five weeks, the plants will produce runners and new daughter plants.

The center plant is set correctly, with the soil just covering the tops of the roots. The plant on the left is set too shallow; the plant on the right too deep.

Planting Systems

Matted Row Systems

This system is the best for growing June-bearing cultivars. In this system, the strawberry plants should be set eighteen to thirty inches apart in rows three to four feet apart. Daughter plants are allowed to root freely to become a matted row no wider than two feet.

Spaced-Row Systems

This system limits the number of daughter plants that grow from a mother plant. The mother plants are set eighteen to thirty inches apart in rows three to four feet apart. The daughter plants are spaced to root no closer than four inches apart. All other runners are pulled or cut from the mother plants. Even though more care is needed under this system, advantages include higher yields, larger berries and fewer disease problems.

Hill System

This is the best system for growing day-neutral and everbearing strawberries. In this system all the runners are removed so only the original mother plant remains. Removing the runners causes the mother plant to develop more crowns and flower stalks. Multiple rows are arranged in groups of two, three or four plants with a two foot walkway between each group of rows. Plants are set about one foot apart in multiple rows. During the first two or three weeks of growth, the planting should be weeded; then the bed should be mulched.

Blossom Removal

During the first growing season, remove flowers of June-bearing strawberries as soon as they appear. Removing the flowers promotes root and runner development thereby insuring a large crop the following year.

For everbearing and day-neutral strawberries, remove the flowers until the end of June and then after that date allow the flowers to remain to set fruit for a summer/fall harvest.

General Care

Strawberries are among the most widely grown fruit in the home garden. Strawberries prefer a well drained soil, high in organic matter. They need full sun for the highest yields, at least 6 hours per day. Do not plant strawberries where peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and potatoes have been grown. These plants could harbor verticillium wilt, a serious strawberry disease. Strawberries need about one inch of water per week during the growing season.

Fertilization

Before planting apply one pound per 100 square feet of a 10-10-10 fertilizer and dig into soil at least six to eight inches deep. After the first harvest in the second season strawberries should be fertilized after renovation in July. Water the fertilizer in to get it down to the root zone. This application is made to keep the plants in a vigorous condition and to promote new growth causing the development of more fruit buds. Do not over fertilize. Overfertilization will cause excessive vegetative growth, reduce yields; increase losses from frost and foliar disease and result in winter injury.

Mulching

Strawberries are very susceptible to frosts in the spring. Mulches that have covered the plants during the winter months should be removed in the early spring but should be left in the aisles to cover the blossoms in the spring when frost is predicted. Old blankets or sheets can be used for protection against frost. Spun bond material such as Reemay or row covers will protect strawberry plantings down to temperatures of about 23°-25°F. In the fall between mid-November and mid-December in Illinois but before temperatures drop below 20 degrees; apply a straw mulch three to four inches deep over the rows. This mulch will protect the plants from cold temperatures that can kill the buds and injure roots and crowns. Remove the mulch in the spring when the strawberry leaves show yellow. Leave some of the mulch around the plants to keep the fruit from soil contact and to conserve soil moisture.

Renovation

Renovation is an important part of strawberry care. In order to insure good fruit production, June-bearing strawberries grown in the matted row system should be renovated every year right after harvest. A strawberry patch will continue to be productive for three to four years as long as the planting is maintained. The first step in the renovation process is to mow the old foliage with a mower, cutting off the leaves about one inch above the crowns. Rake the leaves and if disease-free, compost or incorporate into the soil. Fertilize with one pound of a 10-10-10 fertilizer per 100 square feet. Narrow the rows to six to twelve inches wide by spading, hoeing or rototilling. Remove all weeds. Thin the plants in the narrowed row to 4 to 6 inches between plants. Water with one inch of water per week to promote growth and to make new runners for next year’s crop.

If you are looking for guidance on which strawberry varieties will grow well where you live, you have come to the right place. Strawberry Plants .org has numerous resources that will help you find whatever it is that you need, as long as it is related to strawberries or strawberry plants. One of the most common problems a gardener encounters is finding an appropriate strawberry cultivar.

There are numerous strawberry varieties in existence. Finding the right one for your conditions can be difficult. The best place to start is likely to find which varieties are recommended for your state (see the recommended strawberry varieties page). But, if you want to just go with the flow, the varieties listed below are the most popular varieties offered by nurseries selling strawberry plants directly to the public.

Most Popular Strawberry Varieties

These strawberry varieties are the most popular strawberries sold nationwide in the United States. In order for a cultivar to be sold nationwide, it must be a tremendously hardy and adaptable plant. These varieties may not out-perform specific cultivars developed for and especially well-suited for your exact location. However, the chances of one of these top popular strawberry varieties doing well where you live is very high. The strawberries on this list should be safe bets for most locations. Without further ado, these are the top 10 broadly-adapted strawberry cultivars presently sold nationwide in the United States:

1. Honeoye

Honeoye strawberries are day-neutral June-bearing strawberries. They are early season producers and set large, firm, bright orange-red to red fruit. Strawberrieis from Honeoye plants tend to be of consistent size throughout the season. It is also one of the heaviest producers, which is why it ranks atop this list. Few, if any, strawberries can out-produce this variety for the average gardener. Honeoye is widely adapted, but its strawberries obtain their best flavor when grown in raised beds or lighter soils. Click here to buy Honeoye strawberry plants.

2. Earliglow

Earliglow is an aptly named June-bearing strawberry. It sets and ripens its fruit sooner than virtually every other strawberry variety available. It is the standard. The ripening times of other varieties typically are compared to Earliglow as reference (i.e. fruit from variety X ripens “five days after Earliglow”). Berry size is medium to large, although size tends to decrease toward the end of the season. The deep red berries themselves are very symmetrical, conical, and tough. They have excellent, sweet flavor and are a great choice for canning. They are also resistant to many common strawberry diseases. Click here to buy Earliglow strawberry plants.

3. Allstar

Allstar is a June-bearing strawberry that looks like the prototypical strawberry. Having an almost perfect strawberry shape, glossy red appearance, and good firmness makes it well-liked by gardeners far and wide. It also produces very large strawberries that only slightly diminish in size toward the end of its season. It is a late mid-season producer. It only takes 10-11 Allstar strawberries to fill a one-quart basket. Its mild but sweet flavor profile makes it ideal for fresh eating or freezing. Plants are vigorous and have good disease resistance. Click here to buy Allstar strawberry plants.

4. Ozark Beauty

Ozark Beauty is the most popular everbearing strawberry. Its popularity stems from its large yields of unusually large strawberries (for an everbearer). The red strawberries are sweet, but the most significant benefit of Ozark Beauty is its production profile. While June-bearers produce one early crop and then are finished, this everbearer produces a large early crop and a second crop later in the season with a few berries produced in between also. Click here to buy Ozark Beauty strawberry plants.

5. Chandler

For a detailed discussion of this June-bearing strawberry, see this profile page on Chandler strawberry plants. Click here to buy Chandler strawberry plants.

6. Jewel

Jewel strawberries are well-known as a good variety for both pick-your-own operations and fresh shipping due to its firmness and abrasion-resistant skin. Jewel strawberries are wide and large wedge-shaped berries. It is well known for its excellent flavor and high-quality. It is also a favorite for fresh markets due to its consumer appeal. It also has longer season yields. Click here to buy Jewel strawberry plants.

7. Seascape

Seascape is an everbearing strawberry variety that was initially developed for the California strawberry industry as a variety resistant to viral diseases common there. However, it has proven to be tolerant to early heat, requires less chilling, and even grows well on the East Coast. It is a dependable choice. Its fruit is large and conical to round with an attractive glossy red color. The strawberries are not just red on the outside, however. They are also bright red on the inside as well. It is one of the most reliable producers in the fall, and it even performs well in hot, dry climates. It produces fewer runners than the June-bearers. A drawback of Seascape plants is that it is patented. This means that it is technically illegal to propagate this variety. Click here to buy Seascape strawberry plants.

8. Tristar

Tristar is a day-neutral strawberry variety that is excellent for both fresh eating and freezing. The berries are firm, red, very sweet, and solid with no hollow cores. They are conical in shape but only medium-sized. A big advantage is their production pattern. They begin producing with a bang early, will produce all summer long as long as conditions are tolerable, and will increase production again in the late summer to fall as they produce maximally at that time. Runners from Tristar plants will flower and fruit even before rooting. They are an excellent choice for hanging baskets. Click here to buy Tristar strawberry plants.

9. Sparkle

Sparkle strawberries are a classic favorite and have been a popular strawberry variety for over 60 years. It is widely considered the best strawberry variety for making jam. It is an extremely vigorous variety that produces a high number of runners, so the strawberry bed must be monitored to ensure it doesn’t get too thick. Sparkle strawberries are medium-sized and ripen late. Planting Sparkle with other earlier varieties extends the fresh fruit season. Strawberries from Sparkle plants are deep red and have excellent flavor. Click here to buy Sparkle strawberry plants.

T10. Surecrop

Surecrop strawberries are aptly named. They are the surest bet for producing a good yield compared to all other June-bearers. The fruit is medium to large with good firmness that holds up to shipping. It is deeply red throughout, has yellow seeds, and produces irregularly-shaped berries initially which are followed by more uniform, short and round, conical strawberries. They are ideal for canning and are sweet with a bit of tartness. As the name indicates, this variety will do well virtually anywhere, even poor or dry soils. Click here to buy Surecrop strawberry plants.

T10. Fort Laramie

Fort Laramie strawberry plants are everbearers. They produce large to very fruits that are scarlet on the outside and dark pink to scarlet on the inside. This variety will produce blooms, berries, and runners simultaneously and is very cold hardy. Its strawberries have an exceptional aroma and a firm, honey-sweet flesh that makes them a great choice for fresh eating or processing. Fort Laramie is also a very good choice for growing hydroponic strawberries. Click here to buy Fort Laramie strawberry plants.

Most Popular Strawberry Plants: Conclusion

All of the varieties listed here are tried and true producers and hardy little plants to boot. They have an excellent track record of satisfied customers. Otherwise, they would not continue to be sold by nurseries across the U.S.A. Happy gardeners are happy customers. Happy customers make happy businesses. These strawberries make everyone happy. If you want to purchase other cultivars from a nursery you trust, you can do so on the Strawberry Plants for Sale page. Or, if you want to browse or compare prices on specific strawberry varieties, see the Buy Strawberry Plants page. Happy hunting!

What should I do to make my strawberry a perennial?

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How To Grow Strawberries

Our guide to growing strawberries, full of top tips from the experts here at Thompson & Morgan
Image: Thompson & Morgan

The flavour of warm, sun-ripened strawberries picked fresh from your own garden is something to savour. These delicious and aromatic fruits are the quintessential summer treat. But why settle for expensive supermarket strawberries when they’re so easy to grow at home?

Here we’ll show you how to grow strawberry plants in your veg plot, hanging baskets, and containers.

Which strawberry should I grow?

These ‘Mignonette’ alpine strawberries bear dainty, sweet berries through the summer months.
Image: Thompson & Morgan

Choose from alpine (wild strawberries), summer-fruiting, or perpetual-fruiting strawberry varieties:

  • • Alpine strawberries like Migonette produce lots of very small and sweet berries from July through to September.
  • • Summer-fruiting strawberries like Sweetheart produce a heavy flush of larger fruits in early and mid-summer.
  • • Perpetual-fruiting strawberries (or ever-bearing varieties) like Mara Des Bois, Flamenco, and Anais are a great choice if you don’t have much space because they produce fruit in flushes from early summer right through to early autumn.

If you have plenty of growing space, planting rows of early, mid, and late season strawberries maximises your harvest, keeping your fridge stocked all summer long. Take a look at our Full Season Collection for inspiration.

Where to plant strawberries

Strawberries generally prefer plenty of sunlight, but if you’ve got a shaded garden, try other varieties.
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Plant your strawberries during the spring or autumn. They favour a sunny and sheltered position in fertile, free-draining soil. Improve your soil with lots of organic matter like compost or well-rotted manure prior to growing strawberry plants.

Does your garden suffer from a lack of sunlight? Don’t rule out planting strawberries because though summer and perpetual fruiting varieties won’t produce such a big crop, they will grow in semi shade. If in doubt, sow alpine varieties which actually prefer a slightly shadier location.

How to plant strawberries

When planting, give your strawberries plenty of space to grow.
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For better cropping and easy access, it’s best to give your strawberries plenty of space. Use a trowel to dig a hole big enough to accommodate the roots of the plant, and if you’re growing strawberries in the ground, plant them 45cm (18″) apart, leaving 75cm (30″) between rows.

If you’re planting strawberry runners, spread the roots out in the hole and make sure the crown of the plant is resting at soil level. The same goes for planting strawberry plants in pots – the crown should be level with the soil surface.

If you plant strawberries too deep, they might rot, but if you leave the crown protruding from the soil, the plant will dry out and die. Firm your plants in well and water thoroughly.

How to grow strawberries in hanging baskets and containers

Consider trying Thompson & Morgan’s ‘Strawberry Patio Planter’ if you’ve got the space.
Image: Thompson & Morgan

Strawberries are well-suited to hanging baskets, patio containers, and strawberry planters, and are ideal for those with limited space. Growing your strawberries like this also keeps them safely away from slugs, snails, and small animals which enjoy the fruits as much as we do.

For a 12″ hanging basket it’s best to limit yourself to three or four strawberry plants so they’ll each have enough light, water and nutrients to thrive. Do incorporate water-retaining granules and slow-release fertiliser into the compost before planting.

Always remember to check the compost daily in hot weather – water if the top half-inch of compost feels dry. And if you’re still a little unsure, check out our article on how to plant up hanging baskets.

Feed, water and harvest!

Keeping the soil well-manured and fertilised is key in getting the best out of your strawberries.
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For really bumper crops of juicy strawberries, you need well-manured soil. If your soil is particularly poor then work a slow-release fertiliser into the soil surface in the spring. Then it’s all about watering, tending your plants and keeping hungry pests at bay:

  • • Water frequently while new plants establish and during dry periods.
  • • If growing strawberries in pots or hanging baskets, feed them every two weeks during the growing season with a balanced fertiliser. When flowering begins, switch to a high-potash liquid fertiliser to encourage good fruiting.
  • • As the fruits develop, place dry straw or mulching fabric underneath to stop soil splash blemishing the fruit.
  • • It’s also worth netting your strawberries before they turn red to protect them from hungry birds. If you’re growing strawberries in rows, a net tunnel is easy to install. It might also be worth investing in a fruit cage, especially if you’re also growing currants.
  • • Some varieties of strawberry produce runners – stems with young strawberry plants along the length. Remove these as they appear so that the plant’s energy goes towards flowering and fruiting.

Strawberry aftercare

Keeping your strawberry plants weed free will help the plant to flourish as summer progresses.
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After cropping, remove any straw and netting to allow better air flow around the crown of the plant. As the summer progresses, keep on top of weeding and continue to remove any runners. Clear away dead foliage as this can harbour pests and diseases over winter. Each spring spread a general purpose fertiliser around your plants along with a mulch of well-rotted manure or compost.

Strawberry crop rotation

Every few seasons, replace and rotate where your strawberry plants live to get the best growth.
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It’s best to replace strawberry plants after the third season because otherwise they lose vigour making harvests smaller, and the plants more susceptible to pests and diseases. If space allows, also move your strawberry beds to a different part of the garden to stop pests and diseases accumulating in the soil.

Growing strawberries from seed

If you want to grow strawberries from seed, consider the ‘Florian’ variety.
Image: Thompson & Morgan

Growing strawberries from seed takes a little bit of patience because they take up to a month to germinate and will usually crop the following year. Nevertheless, this is a good way to grow more unusual varieties that aren’t available as plants. A particular favourite, ‘Florian’, has pink flowers and produces fruit both on the parent plant and the runners, making it ideal for a hanging basket.

Growing strawberries indoors

By growing your strawberries in greenhouse, fruit will be ripe for harvesting a month earlier.
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Growing strawberries in a greenhouse or conservatory means they’ll fruit up to a month earlier than outdoor plants.

  • • If you don’t have a greenhouse or polytunnel, try placing a cloche over your outdoor strawberry plants in February – it can advance ripening by up to three weeks.
  • • If you’re growing strawberries indoors, it’s best to plant each strawberry plant into a 15cm (6″) pot of general multipurpose compost.
  • • Leave your strawberry plants outside during the autumn and winter because they require a chill period to initiate flowering the next summer.
  • • From February you can bring the plants back indoors to a bright position, and water as needed. At this stage, take care not to let the temperature rise above 16C because this inhibits flowering.

Do remember to pollinate indoor strawberries. To do this, lightly brush a soft paint brush around the central yellow part of each of the flowers. Also remember to feed your plants with a balanced fertiliser every two weeks until flowering begins, at which point you should switch to a high-potash liquid fertiliser for the best fruiting.

That’s how to grow a scrumptious harvest of summer strawberries. All you need to do now is add a dollop of cream and reach for a glass of Pimms. Enjoy.

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