Strawberries are a delicious fruit that can be grown in a variety of environments, including containers. Growing strawberries in containers is a great way to save space and make them accessible to people who do not have a traditional garden plot. In this article, we will outline the steps you need to take to successfully grow strawberries in containers.
(Featured Image: Strawberry Planter by Sally Butcher)
Choose The Right Container
The first step in growing strawberries in containers is to choose the right container. A container that is at least 12 inches deep and wide enough to hold multiple plants is ideal. You can use any container that has good drainage, such as a plastic or ceramic pot, or a hanging basket. Make sure the container has drainage holes to allow excess water to escape.
If you’re working with a small space, such as a front porch or back deck, we recommend using a stackable planting container. We like this type of container because the stacking trays allow you to adjust the height to fit your needs, and each planting area is deep enough for a strawberry plant to thrive. The small footprint of stackable containers makes them ideal for tight spaces!
Choose The Right Strawberry Variety
There are two main types of strawberries: June-bearing and everbearing. June-bearing strawberries produce one large crop in the early summer, while everbearing strawberries produce two to three smaller crops throughout the summer. When growing strawberries in containers, everbearing varieties are often preferred because they produce fruit over a longer period of time.
The Best Soil For Strawberries
Choose The Right Soil
Strawberries prefer well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. You can use potting soil mixed with compost to create a suitable growing medium for your container-grown strawberries. Avoid using soil from your garden as it may contain pests or diseases.
You can also make your own soil blend for growing strawberries. We recommend the following recipe:
1 part peat moss
1 part compost (preferably made with organic materials)
1 part perlite or vermiculite
1/2 part coarse sand
1/2 part finely ground eggshells (optional, for added calcium)
Mix all of the ingredients together in a large container.
Stir the mixture well, making sure all the ingredients are evenly distributed.
Add water to the mixture until it is moist but not soaking wet. The soil should stick together when squeezed but not release any water.
Fill your planting container with the soil blend, leaving enough room at the top for your strawberry plants.
Plant your strawberry plants, making sure they are at the same depth as they were in their original container.
Water the soil well after planting, and continue to water as needed to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged.
Enjoy your delicious homegrown strawberries!
Note: This soil blend should be used for container gardening only. If you are planting strawberries in the ground, make sure to amend the soil with compost and other organic materials to provide the necessary nutrients for your plants.
Hand Trowel With Soil by Image Catalogue
Plant Your Strawberries
Once you have your container, soil, and strawberries, it’s time to plant them. Fill the container with soil to about an inch below the rim. Gently loosen the roots of the strawberry plants and place them in the soil, making sure the crown is level with the soil surface. Space the plants about 6 inches apart to allow room for growth.
Water And Fertilize Your Strawberries
Strawberries need to be consistently watered to thrive. Keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged, by watering regularly. Be sure to water the plants from the base to avoid getting the leaves wet, which can lead to disease. Fertilize your strawberries with a balanced fertilizer once a month during the growing season.
Provide Adequate Light
Strawberries require at least six hours of sunlight per day to produce fruit. Place your container in a sunny location, such as a south-facing window or on a balcony that receives direct sunlight. If you do not have a suitable location for your container, you can use a grow light to provide the necessary light.
Protect Your Strawberries
Strawberries are vulnerable to pests such as slugs, snails, and aphids. To protect your plants, consider using organic pest control methods such as companion planting, applying neem oil or insecticidal soap, or using physical barriers such as netting. In addition to pests, strawberries are also susceptible to diseases such as powdery mildew and verticillium wilt. Be sure to monitor your plants for signs of disease and take action immediately if you notice any problems.
Harvest Your Strawberries
When your strawberries begin to ripen, harvest them by gently pulling the fruit from the stem. Be sure to pick the fruit when it is fully ripe for the best flavor. Harvesting your strawberries regularly will encourage the plants to produce more fruit.
If you have a shorter growing season like we do in Michigan, consider preserving your strawberries after harvesting. There are several methods for preserving strawberries that will vary depending on how you want to use the strawberries. The most common preservation methods include:
Processing into a sauce or syrup
Start Your Container Strawberry Patch Today
Growing strawberries in containers is a great way to enjoy fresh fruit even if you do not have a traditional garden plot. By choosing the right container, variety, soil, and providing adequate light, water, and nutrients, you can successfully grow delicious strawberries in a small space. Be sure to protect your plants from pests and diseases, and harvest your strawberries regularly to encourage continued fruit production.
If you’re looking to buy strawberry plants in northern Michigan, Bright Lane Gardens has everything you’ll need to get started! Located just 20 minutes west of Traverse City, our nursery is proud to carry several varieties of strawberry plants (including everbearing and June-bearing varieties), as well as soil, amendments, containers and fertilizer. Start enjoying your own home-grown strawberries today!
Anna is one of the owners here at Bright Lane Gardens, and our resident plant and garden expert. Anna started gardening from a young age and has continued to grow her knowledge in the horticulture realm over the years. With a keen interest in sustainable gardening through organic gardening practices and the use of drought tolerant and native plants, Anna is committed to spreading this knowledge through blog posts and Bright Lane Garden's YouTube channel.