When it comes to growing strawberries, there are a few things you need to know to get the most out of your plants. This article will cover everything from how often to water your strawberries to what type of soil is best for them. So whether you are a first-time strawberry grower or you have some experience under your belt, read on for some helpful tips.
Strawberries: The Basics
What are strawberries?
Strawberries are a sweet, delicious fruit enjoyed by people of all ages. They are small, red berries that grow on plants from the genus “Fragaria” as part of the rose family.
Strawberry plants are herbaceous perennials, which will grow year after year for many years.
What do strawberries look like?
Strawberries appear as small, red berries that grow on bushes.
How long will last strawberry plants last?
Strawberries can grow for one season or several years. Some varieties will stay in the ground for three years before being replaced.
How fast do strawberries grow?
Depending on the variety of strawberries you are growing, they can take anywhere from 10 to 36 weeks to develop.
When do strawberries bloom?
Strawberries flower during their first year. For varieties that produce fruit after one year, flowers will appear in spring or summer; for varieties that require two years to produce fruit, flowers will appear in fall.
What are the types of strawberries?
There are five types of strawberries:
The most common strawberry-growing type, June bearers produce large amounts of fruit in late spring or early summer. Many berry growers choose to plant this variety so that ripe berries arrive just like the other fruits and vegetables planted earlier in the season come to harvest. These varieties typically need to be replaced every two years.
These strawberries produce a small crop over an extended period during the beginning or end of the strawberry season; some ever-bearing varieties can even flower and fruit at different times throughout the year.
Day-neutral -This is another type of popular strawberry that produces fruit all summer long. Unlike June bearing and ever-bearing plants, day-neutral plants stay in the ground for three years.
These strawberries produce fruit year after year, making them an excellent choice for gardeners looking to add berries to their landscape. Since perennial strawberry plants continue producing for several seasons, they do not need to be replaced every two years.
These very small-fruited strawberries are grown primarily as ornamental plants and often called “Woodland Strawberries.” They produce short, stubby plants that typically have red or white flowers. Alpine Strawberries have a slightly different growth habit than traditional varieties of strawberries and will die back over winter.
Watering and Growing your strawberries
How often to water strawberries?
You should water strawberries once a week. Be sure to give them a good soaking, as they do not like to remain saturated.
Watering in the morning is best as the soil will dry out during the day, reducing the risk of fungal diseases such as leaf mold and mildew. Watering at night can result in plants remaining wet longer than necessary, leading to infections and root rot.
How to water strawberries?
Water should be applied for 2-3 minutes, allowing the soil to dry slightly before watering again. Avoid getting the leaves wet, which can lead to diseases like powdery mildew. If possible, water in the morning instead of the late evening because excess moisture can cause problems with leaf spotting and fruit rot.
How much water to give strawberries?
Strawberries require one to two inches of H2O per week to survive and thrive. During periods of rain, they do not need additional watering. However, only apply water when necessary during dry spells.
Since plants will lose moisture through their leaves, you need to make sure your plants have enough water so they won’t dry out. Water at the base of the plant until it begins running out the bottom. Stop watering when this happens. You don’t want soggy soil or puddles forming around your plants. Finally, be careful not to over-water as this can lead to root rot.
What type of water is best for strawberries?
Distilled or purified water is best because it has been filtered and has no minerals in it that might harm your plants. If you do not have access to either option, tap (or hose), water is fine as long as you use non-fluoridated water.
What type of soil should I plant strawberries in?
Strawberries prefer loose, well-draining soil that has been amended with organic matter such as peat moss or composted manure. They also require a steady source of moisture, which is why adding extra organic matter can be beneficial.
How to plant strawberry seeds
Strawberry seeds are typically potted directly indoors in early spring. Once all risk of frost has passed, the seedlings can be transplanted. Mature plants should be spaced about 12-15 inches apart to give them room to grow and produce fruit.
How deep do I plant strawberry seeds?
Strawberry plants are planted shallowly, with the crown of the baby plant at soil level or just below it. Once they grow into their full size, you can start fertilizing and mulching to encourage a healthy root system.
How far apart should strawberries be planted?
Space strawberries 12-15 inches apart, with rows spaced 18-30 inches apart. This will give the plants room to grow and allow you to access each plant for harvest quickly. In general, smaller strawberries can be planted closer together than wider varieties.
When should I fertilize my strawberries?
Strawberries are heavy feeders, so be sure to fertilize them every 3-4 weeks until they begin fruiting. You will want to use an organic fertilizer high in nitrogen for the best results. If you notice the leaves on your strawberry plants turning yellow, this is a sign of low nitrogen levels. If this happens, fertilize the plants immediately to help them recover.
What kind of fertilizer do strawberries need?
Strawberries are hungry plants that require a steady supply of nutrients. To fertilize, apply a nitrogen-rich fertilizer in early spring when leaves begin to form. You can also add aged manure or compost into the soil before planting for additional nourishment.
What is the best temperature for growing strawberries?
Strawberries thrive at a temperature range of 45-75 degrees Fahrenheit. If temperatures drop below 30F, this can cause damage or kill the plants. You will need to water more frequently in hotter weather and consider using shade cloths to protect your plants from overheating.
How much sunlight do strawberries need?
Strawberry plants prefer full sun, though they will tolerate partial shade. It can be beneficial to rotate them in different areas of your garden to ensure that they receive adequate sunlight throughout the seasons.
How do you provide support for strawberries?
Traditionally strawberry plants are trained into traditional rows using trellises or other types of stakes and twine. This will typically be done after the first year of growth, as it is best to leave the root system undisturbed during establishment to produce a strong foundation.
What pests affect strawberries?
Strawberries are susceptible to various pests, including slugs and snails, aphids, mites, and birds.
How often should I weed my strawberries?
Make sure you are regularly weeding your strawberry patch. Weeds will take nutrients away from the plants and compete for their sunlight, which will slow growth down significantly if left unchecked.
How far apart should I plant my strawberry plants?
You must keep adequate space between your strawberry plants to reduce problems with disease transfer and competition for nutrients. After planting your strawberries, space each crown about 6 inches apart (with 36 inches between rows).
Topdressing your strawberries with compost or fertilizer can help keep them healthy. You should apply a top dressing of aged compost, composted manure, or blood meal around the base of your plants once a month.
When should I plant my strawberries?
You can plant your strawberries anytime from late fall until early spring. For the best chance of success, make sure the ground where you are growing has not yet frozen and that there is no snow above the soil. Planting during this time will give your plants enough time to become established and produce fruit before summer arrives. It may be too late in some climates to plant
Pruning and Propagating your strawberries
How to propagate strawberries?
While strawberry plants are generally perennial, runners can propagate them once established. This is an easy process that you can do yourself to create more plants for your garden. Runners should be severed at the soil level and placed in moist potting soil until new growth has developed.
How to repot strawberries?
You can rejuvenate overgrown strawberry plants by digging them out of the ground and repotting them. This is best done with younger, more pliable plants. Mix equal parts sand and loam with rich compost to create a new planting bed for your strawberries.
Pruning Strawberry Plants
Strawberry plants need regular pruning to maintain the shape of your garden and ensure healthy fruit production.
How do you prune strawberries?
It is best to trim back strawberry plants after harvesting fruits to keep them at their most productive as with other plants. Some gardeners like to “tip” their strawberry plants by removing the main leaves in late spring or early summer, encouraging new growth and better fruit production.
When should you prune strawberries?
It is best to trim back strawberry plants after harvesting fruits to keep them productive. Some gardeners like to “tip” their strawberry plants by removing the main leaves in late spring or early summer, encouraging new growth and better fruit.
How often should I prune my strawberries?
Strawberries should be pruned when necessary. This will be dependent on your climate—in hotter weather, you may need to prune more frequently (or remove flowers in some environments) to ensure that they don’t become exhausted or suffer from diseases like powdery mildew or leaf spot.
What are the benefits of strawberry pruning?
The most obvious benefit is larger strawberries. Tipping your plants encourages lateral branching of new stolons and can increase yields by 100%. Generally, it is recommended you tip your plants once every three years, but this varies depending on your climate, soil conditions, etc. Strawberry Pruning should always be done after fruiting has finished for the year so that new fruits are not lost.
The best pot for strawberries?
Strawberry plants need well-draining soil to thrive and should NOT be planted in pots that contain terra cotta or porous materials. These types of containers will allow water to evaporate from the soil much more quickly than normal, which will severely stunt the growth of your strawberries.
How to grow strawberries in pots?
Plastic pots are preferred for strawberry planters because they can retain water and prevent it from evaporating as quickly as clay containers.
What size pot is best for strawberries?
For greatest success, use a pot that has no more than six to eight individual plants to avoid problems with disease transfer and competition for nutrients. Make sure to leave plenty of space between containers, and take care to rotate your strawberry pots regularly.
Where to cut strawberries?
Cut 2-3 inches below the plant crown when harvesting strawberries.
When to harvest strawberries?
Strawberries are typically ready for harvest when the green hulls on the outside of the strawberry have fallen off. You can tell that they are ripe when they look bright red and come off easily, with a white core inside.
Strawberry fruits are generally ready for harvest about three months after planting, depending on the type of strawberry you have planted. However, some types of garden strawberries need a second period of growth to produce a large fruit crop. If you are growing these strawberries, harvest your fruits over the first period and allow a second crop to fruit for a few weeks later.
Problems with your strawberries
Why are my strawberries dying?
There are several reasons why strawberry plants may be dying, including problems with water absorption, lack of nutrients and fungal diseases.
If your strawberries are wilting during the day, likely, you are not watering them enough. If the leaves curl in on themselves when they wilt, you may have root rot or other fungal infections. If the leaves turn yellow and drop off before curling, then your strawberries may be experiencing a more general nutrient deficiency that can be solved by adding compost to the soil.
What causes green strawberries?
If you see small green fruit on your strawberry plant, this is likely a sign of early ripening. If your strawberry blooms and sets fruit during warm weather, its fruits can come out green or white because the sugars haven’t developed yet; these fruits are safe to eat and can even be left on the plant until they ripen completely. However, if green strawberries appear in late fall or winter when the weather turns cold, this may be a sign of frost damage.
Why are my strawberries turning brown?
Strawberries that turn brown and mushy may be experiencing a fungal infection such as gray mold. This disease shows as dark greenish gray spots on the leaves before spreading to the fruit. If you are growing strawberries in an area with humid weather, ensure that your plants have enough air circulation to dry after a rainfall. If you grow strawberries in a greenhouse, avoid crowding plants together because this can increase humidity levels and worsen the problem. You can also apply a fungicide containing chlorothalonil to the soil around your strawberry plants to prevent further fungal infections.
Why are my strawberries turning yellow?
Strawberries that turn yellow and drop their leaves before they wilt may be experiencing a more general nutrient deficiency, so it is essential to check the nitrogen, magnesium, and potassium levels in the soil. The best way to supplement these nutrients is by adding compost or manure to your strawberry bed.
Why are my strawberries wilting?
If your strawberries are wilting during the day but perk back up at night, this is likely because of fluctuating humidity levels. Wet soil should have adequate drainage to keep the roots from being in constant contact with excess water. The best way to remedy this problem is by ensuring that your strawberry bed has good air circulation and drainage and mulching the soil surface to help retain moisture.
How to revive strawberries
To bring a strawberry plant back to life, remove all leaves, leaving only the crown. New roots will develop from this crown over the next few weeks.
Hopefully, this article has given you a good idea of how often to water your strawberries. You should know that keeping your strawberries hydrated and not over-watering them is vital; this balance can be tricky, especially in humid climates or high altitudes. Good luck with your growth.