Growing Strawberries in a Pot
Delicious strawberries can easily be grown in pots and kept indoors or on your back porch. This scrumptious, nutritious easy-to-grow plant is rich in vitamins and tastes even better when homegrown. Consider these guidelines for growing strawberries in containers.
What to Plant
There are three main types of strawberry plants, categorized by how often they produce fruit: June-bearing, ever-bearing or day-neutral.
- June bearing strawberries produce fruit only once a year for about 3 weeks in June.
- Ever-bearing strawberries produce fruit in the spring and fall every year and day-neutral strawberries produce strawberries continuously throughout June to September. Within each category are several different varieties that vary their requirements for sun, shade and other conditions.
- In general, most day-neutral varieties prefer a cooler climate, and they may not produce much fruit if they spend too much time under the blazing sun. A good variety of ever-bearer to plant indoors is the red alpine strawberry that can withstand long periods of shade.
When to Plant
If growing indoors, plant anytime. For USDA zones 1 to 5 (a cold climate), plant strawberries in early spring. For warmer climates, plant strawberries in the fall or spring.
Where to Plant
Choose a container that has plenty of holes for good drainage. Strawberry pots that are made specifically for strawberries are useful but not necessary. A strawberry pot has large holes on the sides of the containers to allow runners to spread. When using strawberry pots, fill the soil up to the bottom of the lowest hole. If planting in a regular container, fill to about 1 inch from the top with planting soil. Placing a couple inches of gravel on the bottom of your container will keep the soil from being washed away when watering. A high-phosphorous liquid fertilizer can be applied every 2 weeks for best results.
How to Plant
Plant in a compost-rich loam that has been pre-treated with a slow-release fertilizer. Strawberries grow best in soil with a pH level of 5.3 to 6.5, but they can tolerate a wider range. Soak the roots of your strawberry plants in water for an hour before planting. Cut off any wilted or damaged leaves and trim roots to about 4 or 5 inches. When you plant them, fan out the roots; plant one plant per pot unless you are planting in barrels or similarly large containers.
How to Feed and Water
Water whenever the top inch of soil has dried out. Water enough to dampen the soil, but don't allow your strawberries to sit in any standing water. Feed with a high-phosphorus liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks to encourage the flowering process. Pinch off the blooms of ever-bearing and day-neutral strawberries throughout the first half of the first growing season, allowing them to bloom naturally after that.
Why to Plant
Planting strawberries in containers can provide you with strawberries all year long. The pretty flowering plants will add color to your back porch or house.