Growing strawberries in containers is the best way to enjoy this pretty, easy-to-grow berry. Learn how to do it the best way and get the biggest yield.
When most people think of container gardening, flowers are often the first things that come to mind. Container gardening is becoming increasingly popular as an easy and inexpensive way to brighten up your space. In addition to flowers, this year try something different: strawberries in containers.
Strawberries are one of the easiest plants to grow in containers. With strawberries, you get a plant with pretty foliage and flowers. Of course, you also get the added benefit of yummy fruit to snack on too!
Different Types of Strawberries
There are three main categories of strawberries: June-bearing, Everbearing, and Day-neutral. Each type is better suited for a specific container.
Something to keep in mind is that when shopping for strawberries, the varieties will not always specify which category the strawberries will fall under. Ask the garden center associate to aid you in the category identification.
June-bearing strawberries produce a large, concentrated crop once a year during late spring or early summer (usually in June). They send out a lot of runners that can quickly become a tangle of vines.
Because of this, June-bearing strawberries are better suited for a garden bed instead of a container.
Everbearing strawberries’ fruiting season stretches from early spring until fall. They send out fewer runners and will not produce as much fruit as the June-bearing types.
Although it will produce fewer berries, it’s enough for snacking and tastes better than any store-bought berries. This category does well in containers.
Day-neutral is a newer variety of everbearing strawberries. They produce more consistently throughout the growing season. Day-neutral strawberries prefer cooler temperatures and will not bear fruit in hot weather. If you live in an area with hot summers, skip this category.
Tools Needed for Growing Strawberries
When you grow strawberries in containers, you’ll have relatively few tools that you need. Plus, you already may have many of these at home! You’ll need to have:
- Strawberry seedlings
- Fertilizer made for strawberries
- Potting Mix
- Planting Container (see below for more information)
- Watering Can
Type of Pots That Are Best For Growing Strawberries
When selecting a container for strawberries, pick a pot that will be large enough: at least 8-12 inches wide.
You may have noticed that strawberry pots look different from your standard plant pots. This is because strawberries have a spreading growth habit and shallow roots.
For this reason, a specific strawberry pot is often the best place to grow your berry vines. A wide, shallow container is another good choice. Most importantly, the container must have good drainage.
Lastly, select a pot that is light-colored; this will help keep the plant’s roots cool in the summer.
Growing Strawberries in Containers
Do strawberries do well in pots? Yes, and it may even be possible to grow strawberries indoors. However, you should be very careful and follow these tips to help them thrive.
#1 Use the Correct Soil
Strawberries prefer a loose, loamy soil with a pH between 5.3 and 6.5 (acidic). If you are unsure of what your potting soil’s pH is, it’s pretty easy to do a soil pH test at home. All you need is water, vinegar, and baking soda.
#2 Give the Plants Plenty of Sunshine
Next, you need to pick a spot that gives the plant lots of sunlight. Select an area that receives 6-8 hours of sun per day.
#3 When to Plant Strawberries
You can plant strawberries in the early spring or in the fall (if you live in a warm area). Strawberries are sensitive to the cold weather, so avoid frost if you can.
Remember, day-neutral strawberries prefer the cold (just not too cold), and will not produce in a hot climate.
#4 Spread Them Apart
Your strawberry plants need to be spaced at least 2 ft apart, so only plant 1 or 2 plants per container. Remember, these plants like to spread out as they grow, so give them plenty of room.
#5 Plant the Seeds in the Container
Fill the container with a potting mix and make a small mound in the middle. Spread the roots out over the mound. Cover the roots and up to the crown with additional mix and water well.
How to Care for Strawberries in Containers
Caring for strawberries in containers is different than caring for them when they are planted outside.
#1 Water the Strawberries Frequently
First of all, containers require frequent waterings, but only water when the soil is dry to the touch. You may have to water daily during hot weather. This is because containers dry out faster than soil in the ground.
The challenge with a strawberry jar is that the shape of it can make getting the water properly saturated to the center of the pot a bit difficult. Without proper watering, your berries will have shallow roots that do not lend themselves to thriving plants.
One fun trick I use is to employ a DIY watering tube that will help get direct the water to the middle of the pot where it’s needed to grow those juicy berries. I put together a post on Angie’s List showing how to make an easy DIY watering tube perfect for strawberries in containers.
Additionally, make sure to feed your strawberries every 3-4 weeks with a liquid fertilizer.
#2 Overwinter the Strawberries
You can overwinter strawberries. They will produce better the following year if they are allowed to go dormant during the winter.
If you live in an area that gets extremely cold, move your strawberry containers into an unheated garage or basement in the winter. Water the container only when the soil becomes dry. In milder winter climates, mulch up around the container and leave it until spring.
You can read a bit about how to overwinter succulents in this post. It’s a similar concept.
Do you have to replace strawberry plants?
Strawberries are short-lived perennials. Even with the most dedicated care, you will have to replace the plants about every 3 years.
No worries, though. Enjoy them for a season, then reevaluate. If you are able to get them to grow again for an additional summer, it will be well worth the effort.
I’m a big fan of strawberries, as you may be able to tell from the list below! Here are posts for everything you need to know about these sweet berries from how to grow them to how to eat them!
- How to Create an Irrigation Tube for a Strawberry Planter
- How to Grow 30 Strawberry Plants in Just 2′ of Space!
- Growing Strawberries in Grow Bags
- Multi-Level Strawberry Tower
- Strawberry Root Weevil Grubs
- How To Save Alpine Strawberry Seeds
- Organic Strawberry Jam
- Low Sugar Strawberry Freezer Jam
- Strawberry Balsamic & Black Pepper Preserves