If you lack space or time to plant a garden, container gardening may be for you. Growing strawberries in containers is perfect for anyone who wants fresh fruit without all the hassle. When you keep a few simple tips in mind, you can grow fresh strawberries in containers all season long.
One huge benefit of container gardening is that you can start the growing season a little bit earlier by starting your plants inside.
If you are ready to have fresh strawberries this summer, take a look below for my seven tips for growing strawberries in containers. It’s everything you need to know to get started!
How to Grow Strawberries in Containers
First, you want to decide which sort of container is ideal for you. Before you run to Home Depot or Lowes to purchase planters check your garage and back yard for extra pots that might be laying around. I often see old planters at yard sales for a fraction of the cost.
Strawberries, in particular, do quite well in hanging baskets and look quite lovely trailing down as they bloom and produce! If you already have a pot, you can purchase an inexpensive plant hanger and turn it into a hanging basket.
You can also use large planters and pots (a minimum of 12 inches is suggested) as well as window boxes or specially made raised beds.
Choose what works for your space and the amount of strawberries you wish to grow.
1. Choose the right variety of strawberry
When growing strawberries in containers you want to choose a smaller variety of berry. You want to be sure you choose a smaller variety of strawberries, such as Alpine.
The Alpine strawberry is a tad smaller (but super sweet) and likes to trail down, so it is perfect for containers, hanging baskets, and other smaller containers. Just look at the tag for Alpine strawberries or a similar, smaller variety.
2. Use nutrient-rich soil
Remember, strawberries in containers won’t be able to reach deep into the earth to find nutrients. Therefore, you will want to provide it with the best soil you can. Use a nutrient-rich soil that is fresh from the bag. Otherwise, your plant can become easily diseased or infected. Look for specially marked potting mixes perfect for container gardening.
3. Don’t let the soil become soggy
While your container strawberries will love a cool sip of water, you can’t allow the soil to become soggy. Make sure the container you use has plenty of drainage.
This may mean adding extra drainage holes at the bottom of the pot for extra water to run out. If you are worried about potting soil running out, place a small piece of screen over the hole to act as a strainer.
4. Know how deep and how much to plant
Most people think you place the entire base/root of the seedlings under the soil and call it a day. This isn’t the case with strawberries. Remember to leave the crown of the seedling above the soil for proper growth.
Strawberries need plenty of space to grow, so space your seedlings at least 6 – 8 inches apart. Depending on the size of your containers, this could mean only one to two plants per container.
5. Use a liquid fertilizer every two weeks
Pack those container gardens with nutrients when you feed the strawberries a liquid fertilizer every two weeks. Use a specially marked food or potash, which also works well with strawberries.
In addition, water the strawberries in containers weekly.
6. Protect the strawberries from pests
Container gardens aren’t exempt from the prying eyes of pests. If birds are a problem, you can cover your containers with a lightweight mesh.
If squirrels and ground dwelling critters are an issue, opt for a container such as a hanging basket where the fruit can’t be reached.
7. Be vigilant about dead fruit and foliage
Decaying fruit and dead foliage can quickly weaken the strawberries and cause it to produce less fruit. Remove fresh berries as soon as they can be picked. Prune decaying fruit or brown foliage as soon as you see it. This way, the plant isn’t wasting energy on these portions and can invest efforts elsewhere.
Growing strawberries in containers is a great way to start gardening, even if you don’t have a green thumb. We’ve successfully grown zucchini, cucumber, and tomatoes in containers in our flower beds and back decks. Even if your yard is small (or you don’t have a yard) you can still enjoy fresh produce you grew yourself.