The best time to grow strawberries
If you’ve been wanting to start a garden of your own and are wondering when is the best time for growing strawberries, then you’ve come to the right place.
The best time to plant strawberries depends on the climate and location. In general, they are best planted in early spring after the last frost of the season. This allows the new strawberry plants to establish roots before the hot summer months. However, growing them in a heated greenhouse lets you have them year-round.
You can grow strawberries in many different containers, including pots, window boxes, hanging baskets and specific strawberry planters. There are two main types of strawberry plants you can buy, potted or bare root. Find out more about each type below.
When should I plant my strawberries?
When to plant depends on what strawberry plants and varieties you have.
Bare-root strawberries can be planted earlier in the year, they are delivered with their roots out of the soil and in a dormant state. Once the ground is thawed, usually from mid-February onwards, soak the roots for a few hours in water then plant in well-draining soil.
With potted ones, plant from mid-March outside for best results. You can plant them in strawberry beds, pots or hanging baskets, just make sure any plant pots have drainage holes. Once planted, water the soil thoroughly and feed it weekly, and ensure they are in sunlight for at least 7 hours for best results.
Growing seasons for strawberries
If this is your first time growing strawberry crops, it can be difficult to determine the best time to plant them. In the UK we can get a late cold snap that could wipe out your summer strawberries, so it is best to wait for warmer weather in March before planting. Another great option is to plant them in pots for easy moving, allowing an early crop.
Once you’ve decided when you want to plant your strawberries, make sure the pick the perfect spot in your garden. To produce strawberries that are sweet, find a sheltered spot from winter but that get’s the sun all day.
When is it too late to plant?
It’s never too late to plant strawberries if you have a heated greenhouse. Although many think the fruit is a summer delight, many people enjoy growing them in early autumn. Your plants should be kept at least 15 degrees warm and get as much sunlight as possible. In winter, with shorter days, keeping windows clean of dirt can get the plants to get more energy.
To encourage extra fruit, feed your plants once a week with suitable fertiliser. Make sure to water your plants in the morning or late in the evening when the sun has gone.
Which type of strawberry to plant and when?
When deciding which type of strawberry to grow, it is important to consider the different types available and their ideal planting times.
Early summer strawberries
Early summer varieties fruit from mid-June to late July, and tend to be the most popular for gardeners. By picking a range of early summer fruiting strawberries you’ll be able to pick the fruit for longer!
Also known as perpetual strawberries or remontant, will flower and fruit in small bursts throughout summer. By mid-October, they will die off as the frost comes.
Mid and late-season strawberry plants
Many mid and late-season strawberries are great for gardeners with access to a greenhouse. This will let you grow strawberries right up until winter, enjoying the delicious berries for Christmas!
For best results no matter which variety of strawberry plants you decide to grow, the compost should be given regular feeding throughout the season and watered daily in the height of summer.
Growing strawberries year-round
Growing strawberries throughout the year may seem difficult, but greenhouses allow you to enjoy the fruit even in winter! To produce fruit in cold weather, never let your strawberry plants get too cold, their environment should stay between 10 and 15 degrees. Wrap your planters in wool to keep the warmth in, and add a heater on cold days.
If you are growing your strawberry plants in summer, picking the perfect spot is essential as they do not enjoy the full sun. If growing temperatures are too warm, strawberry flowers will quickly develop but berries won’t form. Move your strawberry planters if you notice them wilting or no fruit growing.
Watering your strawberry plants
To ensure that your strawberry plants stay healthy and grow plenty of fruit, it is important to water them regularly. Generally, strawberries need around 1-2 inches of water per week, however, it is important to adjust this based on the weather conditions.
Check the soil daily to make sure they are not drying out, and water early in the morning or late in the evening, once the sun has set. Watering in the mid-day sun can burn the leaves and ruin your strawberry plants.
Common problems with strawberries
There are several common problems that can occur when planting strawberries, including:
Pests & diseases
Common garden pests can wipe out your strawberry plants, including slugs, snails and mites. You can raise your planters higher up off the ground, add netting or use repellent to help with this.
Diseases that can affect strawberries include powdery mildew, verticillium wilt, and crown rot. Remove any infected leaves, and avoid overcrowding your plants. If they are in a greenhouse try to reduce humidity by opening windows more often.
Small fruit crop
If you find your strawberry varieties are not producing as much fruit as expected, it may be down to extreme jumps in weather. Cold weather can stop strawberry plants from growing as many flowers, and reduce the crop size. As well, many strawberry varieties grow smaller “dwarf” strawberries.
If you see strawberry runners coming from your plant, place this flower into a new pot with fertilized soil and let it root. Once you see strong roots on the runner, cut the stem joining it to the parent plant!
Frost damage can occur in areas with cold climates, causing damage to both the leaves and flowers. If you see a cold front coming in, move your strawberry plant to a warmer location in a greenhouse or utility room. Wrapping the plants or placing them in a cold frame will also help.
How to plant strawberries
Strawberries don’t take up a lot of room, and you can grow them on balconies, patios and in small gardens. Using grow bags is a great cost-effective way to grow many strawberries in a small space, and afterwards, you can store them away easily!
The first step to growing strawberries is to pick your variety to suit your growing season. Then it’s on to deciding what to grow them in. If you have a lot of space, raised beds are a great way to get sweet fruit, however, keep the weeds at bay! The nutrient-rich soil in raised beds should be at least 6 inches deep and space your strawberry plants about 8 to 10 inches apart.
Once you have your strawberry plant, picking the right container to grow strawberries is next. Hanging baskets are a great option to decorate a fence or if you are short on space, while potted plants is ideal for those who want to move their containers easily. A strawberry bed can be another option that allows you to plant and grow a larger crop and takes less watering.
Now you are ready to start planting strawberries. First, dig a hole that is large enough to accommodate all the roots of your plant and place it gently in. Spread the roots out evenly and leave the crown of the plant out. Make sure not to plant them too shallowly as this can dry their roots out.
Tips & tricks for growing strawberries
Can I grow wild strawberries?
Wild strawberries, or alpine strawberries, grow strawberries that are much smaller than other varieties, yet they continually produce fruit from early spring to late summer. Alpine strawberries don’t produce any runners, so they won’t take over your garden too quickly, just divide the plants every 4 to 5 years for best results.
Can I grow strawberry seeds?
You can grow strawberries from seed easily. Plant in starter trays and spread the seeds thinly and evenly. If you don’t notice growth straight away don’t worry, it can take up to 6 weeks for them to germinate.
Growing strawberries in beds
To grow strawberries in soil instead of pots, you have to make sure to suppress weeds and ensure the soil stays moist through hot weather. Water daily in the early mornings or late evenings to avoid any fresh leaves burning.
How to replant strawberry runners?
Replanting a strawberry runner will give you a brand new plant for the next season. When you see runners coming from the mother plant, fill a small pot with soil and place the new strawberry plant into it, lightly pressing down. Once roots are strong, cut the runner from the parent plant and water the new plant thoroughly.
Strawberry plants from Gardeners Dream
At Gardeners Dream we stock many different varieties, including bare-root strawberry plants that are great to plant in early spring, and our popular June-bearing strawberries that are best for late spring.
We have many tips on growing bare-root strawberries and growing strawberries in pots. For more help, email us or message us on social media for up-to-date information.