How To Grow Strawberries

Strawberries are one of the sweetest and tastiest fruits that can grow in a small garden. They require moderate care, but in return, they provide us with one of nature's best gifts - fresh homegrown strawberries.

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There are strawberries in supermarkets and shops that claim to be "organically" grown, but commercially grown strawberries can't beat homegrown strawberries in taste and fragrance. And today, there are also strawberry varieties that are very close to wild strawberries in taste and smell and can bear fruits the entire season.

Soil for Strawberries

Strawberries prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5, preferably around 6.0 - 6.2. Fertile loamy soil is the best - it should be rich in organic matter and must be drained well.

When preparing the soil patch for strawberries, it is a good practice to make a soil test to find out the exact pH of the soil and the amounts of various nutrients.

To improve the drainage and the soil in general, be sure to add good potting soil in abundance, mixed with organic fertilizers like compost, aged manure, worm casting, and similar.

Strawberries like the sun, so plant them in the full sun and keep the soil constantly moist - strawberries have a relatively shallow root system, so be sure to add nutrients regularly.

The best fertilizers are those with a gradual release of nutrients, organic or not. Balanced NPK fertilizers, like 15-15-15 with the gradual release of nutrients, are also an excellent choice when fertilizing strawberries, especially ever-bearing and day-neutral strawberries.

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Thanks to their size and growing requirements, strawberries can be easily grown in containers, grow bags, raised beds, etc. Also, in cold areas, strawberries can be grown indoors, just be sure not to forget to pollinate them manually.

How To Prune The Strawberries

During the growing season, remove any dead, damaged, or ill leaves and stems. Strawberries need plenty of air and sun to stay healthy, so growing them too thick is not recommended.

To improve the harvest, remove the runners as soon as they appear - leave runners only from the best plants and only replace the old ones.

In the late winter or early spring, prune strawberry plants more thoroughly to promote new growth.

How To Water The Strawberries

Strawberries have shallow roots and, as such, must be watered regularly.

During warm weather, strawberries must be watered every 2-3 days, and when grown in pots and containers, one should water them daily.

Note: when watering the strawberries, don't get plants (leaves, stems, flowers, fruits) wet.

The best option for watering the strawberries is a dripping water system (under the layer of mulch) - it keeps the moisture in the soil constant and avoids getting plants wet.

Growing Stages of Strawberry Plants

During their growth, strawberries grow through several growing stages:

  • Germination and Seedling Stage: The journey of a strawberry plant begins with the germination of seeds, which requires a cold stratification period to simulate winter conditions. Once the seeds sprout, they develop into seedlings with a set of true leaves. This stage is crucial for establishing a healthy root system.
  • Vegetative Growth: As the plant matures, it enters a vegetative phase where it focuses on leaf growth. The plant develops a robust root system and multiple leaves, preparing it for the flowering stage. Proper sunlight, water, and nutrient management are critical during this phase to ensure healthy development.
  • Flowering: Triggered by increasing daylight and warming temperatures, strawberry plants begin to flower in late spring. The flowers attract pollinators and are essential for fruit sets. Each flower has the potential to develop into a strawberry, contingent on successful pollination.
  • Fruit Development: Following pollination, the flowers' ovaries swell and transform into strawberries. The fruit initially appears small and green, gradually enlarging and changing color to the iconic red. This stage requires adequate watering to support the fruit's growth.
  • Harvesting: Strawberries are ready to harvest approximately four to six weeks after flowering once they have achieved full color and size. The exact timing can vary based on the strawberry variety and local climatic conditions.
  • Senescence and Dormancy: After fruiting, strawberry plants enter a period of dormancy, especially in regions with cold winters. The leaves may die back, and the plant conserves energy in its crown and roots. Proper mulching can protect the plants during this phase, preparing them for the next growing season.

For backyard growers, it is essential to replace old strawberry plants with new ones - strawberries multiply quickly via runners, so keeping a few of them every year and removing some old plants allows the gardener to keep the number of strawberry plants constant and the plants in the perfect growing condition.

Strawberry Plants Growing Issues

Strawberry plants bear fruits for several years, after which they have to be replaced with new plants. Since the strawberries propagate via runners (one of the most popular methods), it is often more difficult to keep their number in check than to replace old plants with new ones.

Preventing contact between strawberries and soil is important for avoiding fruit rot - good mulch (straw, for example - hence the name) will help prevent fruits from touching the soil.

Also, strawberries are often grown using thin, non-transparent foil, or in containers, or using vertical planters - such systems prevent contact between fruits and soil and keep the fruits dry as much as possible.

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Strawberry plants are generally very healthy plants, especially when fruits are kept away from the soil (must be dry), when the plants are kept dry during watering, when there is plenty of air around the fruits and leaves, etc.

The most dangerous pests are birds, rabbits, deer, and similar animals that like the sweet taste of strawberries. To protect the strawberries from birds and other animals, cover the strawberry plants with a protective net that allows bees and other insects to pollinate the flowers.

Bugs that threaten the strawberry plants are often kept under control by ladybugs and similar "predatory" insects.

However, should You find it necessary to use some chemicals in your garden, not just for strawberries, always read the instructions before applying the chemical - better safe than sorry. Personally, it is better to remove a few ill or damaged plants than to use chemicals, but ...


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For more information about strawberries, feel free to check the following:

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How to Grow Strawberries in Pots and Containers

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Updated: August 18, 2023.

How To Protect Strawberries From Rotting On The Ground?

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How To Store Strawberries To Keep Them Fresh

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Pineberries - What Are They and How to Grow Them?

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Updated: April 18, 2023.

How to Grow Strawberries Indoors

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If you really like this aromatic and healthy fruit and have some indoor area to spare, give them a chance, they might surprise you.

Updated: March 23, 2023.

Growing Strawberries in Raised Beds

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Raised beds allow the gardeners to tune the growing conditions to the plant or plants they intended to grow, in this case, strawberries, including position, soil mix, pH, fertilizers, position, etc.

Updated: December 19, 2022.

Guide to Strawberry Companion Plants

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Published: November 8, 2022.

Is Strawberry a Fruit or Vegetable?

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Why Are Strawberries Called Strawberries?

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Strawberries are easy to grow, feature many health benefits, and are consumed both fresh and processed in juices, jellos, jam, cakes, etc.

However, from time to time, people also wonder why are strawberries called strawberries?

Published: May 9, 2022.

Sowing Strawberries

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Growing from seeds take more time, but one can easily plant several types of strawberries and/or grow a much larger number of plants.

Published: April 16, 2022.

Growing Strawberries in Grow Bags

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In fact, grow bags are an excellent option to grow various vegetables and fruits including strawberries because they save garden space by growing strawberries vertically and in a healthy way.

Updated: November 10, 2021.

How To Make Chocolate Covered Strawberries

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Published: August 10, 2021.

Simple Fresh Strawberry Pie Recipe

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Published: May 10, 2021.

Obtaining Strawberry Plants

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In many cases, the simplest solution is to go to the nearest garden center and buy potted strawberry plants or to order them from online shops. But why keep it simple ...?

Published: October 19, 2020.

Health Benefits of Strawberries

strawberriesRecently scientists have enlisted the top 50 foods as antioxidant sources from among commonly consumed foods in the United States and strawberries have got an exceptional ranking in the list. When the total antioxidant power was measured of all foods in uniform quantity (3.5 ounces or 100 g) strawberries grabbed the 27th rank among all the foods commonly eaten in the US.

Moreover, when only fruits were taken into consideration, strawberries were the 4th best, after blackberries, cranberries, and raspberries.

Published: August 10, 2020.

Strawberries Types

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Updated: March 14, 2020.