How to Grow Container Grown Strawberries
Strawberries are so well-suited to container gardening that there are pots specifically designed for growing these vining wonders. Strawberry pots are usually tall, with an opening at the top and several pocket openings down the sides. Some gardeners prefer to just plant strawberries in the top and let the runners fill in the extra openings. It's more common, however, to put starts in each opening to ensure a full, luscious planting.
As vining plants, strawberries are also happy in hanging planter baskets. The key is to keep them evenly moist throughout their productive months. Hanging pots, because they're not protected from the elements, tend to dry out more quickly than planters on the ground. The advantages to hanging pots are that they don't take up space on the ground, and they're also more resistant to pests such as aphids and spider mites.
There are abundant varieties of strawberries to choose from, depending on your climate and growing conditions, and what you plan to do with the fruitwhether you want an extended season for fresh-picked berries to eat right from the vine, or if you plan to can, freeze, or preserve them another way. So, you'll first need to determine which type best suits your needs, among June-bearing, everbearing, or day neutral categories.
June-bearing varieties are just that: they bear most of their fruit in June. Some strawberry varieties will produce fruit earlier and some later, and everbearing varieties will provide a spring and a fall harvest.
Spring strawberry plants like the Cavendish or Earliglow varieties, are meant to be planted in the spring but should not be permitted to produce fruit the first year. They need to be pinched or cut back to force the roots and crowns to mature and provide a much heartier harvest the second year.
Fall Strawberry plants, are meant to be planted in the fall for harvesting the following spring/summeror their first season of produce. Fall plants include Chandler and Sweet Charlie. Almost all varieties of strawberries will be productive for three to five years, if properly nurtured.
Determine a spot for your container that will get at least 6 full hours of sun each day. Also, strawberries require a pH between 5.3 and 6.5. Use a good controlled release fertilizer once a month, and then a little more often during flowering and throughout the fruit-bearing season. Strawberries will produce profuse blooms if you use a high phosphorous fertilizer.
If you don't have a spot for a strawberry pot, or you prefer to plant in the ground, the Pyramid Space Saver Garden with Built-in Sprinkler provides a tiered bed that is contained, but can be planted anywhere there is space and ample sunlight.
Garden Harvest Supply offers a wide selection of strawberry plants for sale.