If you’re a strawberry lover, few things make you smile more than fresh strawberries. Sure grocery store strawberries are good but when they are grown in a garden or container you control the ripeness at picking and there is the personal satisfaction of knowing you grew them yourself.
But you’ve heard strawberries are difficult to grow. Is that true? Can they be grown in a container? What are the tips and tricks?
1. The Pot. Strawberries absolutely can be grown in a container. Strawberry pots (a specific kind of container for growing strawberries) are available at most gardening and nursery stores. But if you want to use your own container be sure to buy a pot with drainage holes in the bottom or drill them yourself.
2. Watering. Strawberry plants don’t like soggy/wet soil. I know, I know. I see dry soil and I am rushing for a watering can myself. But, simply stick your finger into the soil and if it’s moist an inch under the surface, no watering is needed. Beware though, if you’re planting in containers, you will need to water more often. So, check often until you understand the requirements. Also, water early in the day, before full sun hits your plants especially if you water from above. Strawberry leaves don’t like to be wet in the heat of the sun. So, water early enough so that if the leaves get wet they have time to dry off.
3. Space. Space is always an issue when growing anything in containers. When your strawberries begin to grow in the container, they will spread out and can take about 2 feet of space. Planting them in a hanging pot is a good way to solve this issue.
4. Plant Security. No you don’t have to call ADT, but birds, squirrels and other rodents want your strawberries. How do you protect your strawberries? Add netting around your plant. I’ve heard a plastic owl can scare away squirrels and other animals that want your strawberries. If you’re using netting don’t forget to cover from the top as well to keep the birds at bay.
5. Crowns: You can start strawberries from bare root crowns. Be sure you know where the crown of the strawberry ends and the roots begin. You don’t want to bury the crown. The crown is where your new plant leaves grow from and eventually your strawberries. The illustration provided helped me immensely. Identifying the crown and not burying it will spell either success or complete failure. Don’t bury the crown.
6. Color of Pot: Grow your strawberries in light colored containers. Why? Darker colored pots conduct heat which will heat up your soil and affect the root system of your plant. So use lighter colored pots. Besides who doesn’t love terra cotta?
7. Fertilize: You should fertilize every 3-4 weeks with a liquid fertilizer. The fertilizer should have a high Phosphorus content. Why? Growth. You want your strawberry plant to grow. Don’t forget, you’re growing in a container, so everything your plant needs for growth and fruit production comes from you.
Growing your own strawberries doesn’t have to be scary. While they do require some attention and love from you, never forget, you will reap the benefits when it’s time to pick.
Happy strawberry growing!