In a small garden it’s often difficult to find room for everything you’d like to grow.
Container grown strawberries can solve the problem. A single container in a sunny spot in the garden or patio can give a scrumptious harvest of delicious red fruit and an eye-catching garden feature – and they’re very easy to grow.
Suitable Strawberry Containers
- You can grow strawberries in almost any container – terracotta pots, glazed pots, plastic pots, troughs and window boxes, wooden barrels or hanging baskets. If you haven’t got a garden you could even grow a strawberry plant or two in windowsill pots.
- If a good crop rather than ornamental appearance is your priority, grow bag cultivation gives excellent results.
- Among the best and most attractive containers are the specially designed terracotta strawberry planters you’ll find in garden centres and from internet suppliers.
- Possibly even better is to use an open topped wooden barrel, and drill additional planting holes around the sides.
The Keys to Successful Strawberry Cultivation
- Use the largest container practicable in the space available.
- Don’t try to squeeze in too many plants – as a guide three is the maximum for a 15inch pot or hanging basket.
- Use a good quality compost.
- Make sure the container is well drained. Use pot feet or wedges to keep drainage holes clear.
- Plant strawberries in September or October for the best crop next year.
- Plant your strawberry plants so that the crowns are above the soil level to avoid rot.
- Never let the container dry out. You’ll need to water frequently in hot or windy weather, but don’t overwater.
- Feed with a high potash liquid feed like Tomorite once the flowers appear.
Choosing Strawberry Plants
- You can grow from seed but it’s rarely worth the time and effort.
- Growers and garden centres normally offer a choice of strawberry runners ( rooted offshoots), or ready potted strawberry plants.
- There’s little to choose between them, but runners are usually cheaper, while pot grown plants will often give better first season yields.
- Pot grown strawberries will also produce a crop in their first year from a spring planting.
- Look for sturdy plants with healthy foliage, and make sure that the roots of runners especially have been kept moist.
Choosing Strawberry Varieties
- Which variety of strawberry to grow is very much a matter of personal preference.
- Probably the most popular main crop variety is Elsanta, which produces good yields of tasty bright red, well shaped fruit. However, there are many other strawberries to choose from.
- If you wish to extend the picking time, include one or two plants of an early variety like Honeoye or a late variety like Symphony.
- For a summer-long crop, you can try one of the ever bearer strawberry varieties, but many gardeners find these produce smaller yields and less tasty fruit than regular varieties.
- Wild or alpine strawberries look particularly attractive in a container and are very tasty, but yields are small.
Replacing Your Plants
- A well maintained strawberry container should give good crops for three seasons.
- After this replant with fresh plants and compost.