Regardless of whether you're a gardening expert or have no gardening experience at all, you can easily grow delicious, juicy strawberries this summer. Planting and growing the quintessential summer fruit is easy, as they survive well in most regions and don't require special growing conditions. In fact, they don't require a garden at all.
In addition to your traditional garden rows, strawberries can be grown in pots, planters, or hanging baskets. They're a great choice for home gardeners looking to save space in their beds and those whose "gardens" are a backyard patio, balcony, or a sunny window sill in the kitchen.
In this guide to growing strawberries, we'll teach you everything you need to know about how to help your plants thrive in a strawberry pot or planter. By the time you've finished reading, you'll be well prepared to grow delicious berries for pies, jams, fruit salads and enjoying right off the vine.
How to Grow Strawberries In Your Backyard:
When Is The Best Time To Plant Strawberries?
While you can grow strawberries from seed, it can be quite a labor of love. Most people plant seedlings that can be purchased at most garden centers and home improvement stores. These starters make planting quick and easy.
Regardless of whether you're planting in the ground or in strawberry pots, the best time to plant strawberries is in March or April after the last spring frost. Ideal planting times vary slightly depending on which USDA Growing Zone you live in. While warmer climates may be able to start earlier in the season, colder areas will need to wait until mid-spring.
There's no need to fret if the spring season has already passed. Most everbearing and day-neutral strawberry varieties will do just fine if they're planted in summer or early fall. With proper care, lots of sunlight, and the occasional dose of fertilizer, they'll produce strawberry after strawberry all the way to October.
How Deep Should A Strawberry Pot Be?
Compared to other plants in your garden, strawberries grow relatively small, shallow roots. Full-grown plants' roots won't penetrate deeper than 6-12 inches, depending on the density of the soil.
Because of their shallow roots, strawberries can be grown in containers as small as 8-10 inches deep and 10 to 12 inches in diameter. It's important to note that the smaller the pot, the more often you'll need to water your plants. The smaller the size of the container, the faster the soil will dry out.
Growing Strawberry Plants in Pots vs. the Ground
Strawberries can be grown successfully in a variety of places. As long as you provide nutrient-rich soil, adequate water, and plenty of sunshine, your plants can thrive in pots, raised garden beds, or in the ground.
Here are a few tips on how to make help your plants thrive in strawberry pots:
- Increase Watering Frequency, but Not the Amount— Growing strawberries in a planter increases their exposure to the elements and causes the soil to dry out more quickly. This means you'll need to water your pots at least once a day during hot summer weather. The soil should be just damp and never dry or soggy, so you may need to decrease the amount of water you use each time to keep the right moisture level.
- Avoid Overcrowded Plants— When growing strawberries in planters, you'll need to provide them with adequate room to grow. As a general rule of thumb, you should place a maximum of 3 plants per square foot.
- Trim Runner Plants— As your strawberries mature, they may start to sprout runners. To prevent overcrowding and encourage the plant to focus its energy on producing strawberries, trim any runners that pop up in the pot.
- Protect Your Plants— If wildlife, pets, or kids frequently visit your garden, you may want to cover your berries with mesh netting during the summer season. This added layer of protection helps prevent things like birds, rodents, dogs, and other curious critters from stealing your hard-earned harvest and damaging your plants.
What Is The Best Planter For Strawberries?
Here are a few key things to look for in a strawberry planter:
- Drainage Hole— First and foremost, your planter needs to have at least one hole at the bottom to drain extra water and prevent overwatering. While strawberry plants prefer moist soil, too much water can quickly lead to root rot and decreased berry production.
- Adequate Room to Grow— If you plan to plant multiple strawberry plants in the same planter, you'll need to ensure it offers adequate space for your berry plants to establish their root system and sprawl out as they produce berries. Plants that are placed too close to each other will have to fight for space, water, and nutrients.
- Quality Soil Mix and Fertilizer— Your pot is only as good as the soil mix you put in it. The best way to ensure your plants grow is to use high-quality products and fertilize the pot regularly throughout the season. Before planting your strawberry, you can test your soil with the home testing kit, and you may need to add water retaining materials like peat moss, coconut coir, or perlite.
Why have one regular strawberry pot when you can have twenty in one with this Terracotta 5-Tier Strawberry Pot from Mr. Stacky? Not only does the multi-tier planter save space, but it also provides optimal growing conditions for your strawberries to thrive. Mr. Stacky's towers can also be used for planting things like herbs and flowers.
The vertical strawberry pot is made from durable plastic that comes in four color choices: terracotta, white, hunter green, and black. Its tiers easily snap together and provide a sturdy base. The pot comes complete with a plastic saucer to catch excess water. Strawberry tier pot or tower does require a unique planting technique but very simple once you get the hang of it.
If you're looking for a strawberry pot that's stylish and functional, look no further than these stacking Cedar Planter Boxes from Architec Homegrown Gourmet. Thanks to its unique 3-tiered design, the product offers enough room to grow 28 individual strawberry plants.
Architec Homegrown Gourmet's Cedar Planter Box is the perfect strawberry pot for planting on a rooftop, balcony, or other small space. The tiers are made in the USA from 100% cedar wood that brings a rustic, farmhouse look to the pot. Each measures 12 inches square by 9 inches high. When stacked, the pot measures 24 inches from top to bottom.
Pri Gardens' Hanging Strawberry Planter is the ultimate way to maximize space gardening on your rooftop or balcony. The unique design can be hung just about anywhere there's enough sunshine and it gives you a different experience from other planters and towers. Each hanging pot comes with 11 holes, meaning you can grow 22 strawberry plants in total!
Planting is easy; just fill with potting mix, add your plants and water with a boost of liquid fertilizer. The single strap design and compact size make it easy to fill, hang, water, and care for your plants. Plus, the felt fabric provides adequate airflow to the plants' roots while helping to naturally air prune runners.
Easy DIY Strawberry Planters
If you're feeling crafty, try making one of these DIY strawberry planters. Using simple materials you may already have around your home, and you can easily build your own strawberry pots instead of needing to purchase them.
PVC Pipe Strawberry Planter
In this easy-to-follow tutorial, Homemade on Our Homestead founder Brie offers step-by-step instructions on how to make a DIY strawberry planter from a piece of PVC pipe. While the project does require power tools and a bit of elbow grease, the end result can be re-used for countless seasons to come. The final planter can be hung horizontally from a fence post or balcony railing.
To create the simple planter, you'll drill holes on opposite sides of the tube before filling it with soil and adding your plants. Start by marking your desired spacing with a sharpie to ensure you give your berries plenty of room to grow. Then, drill large holes along one side for the plants and small holes along with the other for drainage. Fill with potting mix, add your starter plants, and you're ready to hang the finished planter.
Laundry Basket Strawberry Planter
You don't need to be handy around the house to make this Laundry Basket Turned Strawberry Planter from Garden Answer. The only materials you'll need for the project are a plastic laundry hamper, a burlap sack, and a bag of potting soil. You can even plant another mid-sized plant on top to add more greenery to your outdoor space.
Start by poking a hole in the bottom to allow excess water to drain out of the container. Line the basket with the burlap sack and fill the lined container with potting soil. Trim any excess fabric off the top and snip holes along the side to create an opening where you can place your strawberry plants. Gently tuck the plants inside the holes, ensuring they're securely in the soil. Top with the plant of your choice and water thoroughly.