The plants we all know as garden strawberries are nearly all cultivars of a hybrid plant referred to as Fragaria x ananassa, which wasfirst bred during the mid-1700s in France by crossing a North American strawberry, F. virginiana, and a beach strawberry , F. chiloensis. Technically speaking, the strawberry isn’t a real berry with internal seeds, but rather an “aggregate accessory fruit” with seeds on the surface of the fleshy portion of the fruit.
Garden strawberry is an easy-to-grow perennial fruiting plant which will reward the house gardener with ample harvests for several years. it’s a low-growing and spreading habit, with plentiful deep-green, ridged leaves and diminutive white flowers. The fruits grow from the ends of delicate leafless shoots. Individual plants aren’t particularly fast-growing, but they quickly spread outward with runners.
With favorable conditions, each strawberry plant can produce up to at least one quart of strawberries per season. Garden strawberries produce their fruit from late spring to early summer months, and even into fall, counting on the variability , though they’ll begin producing fruit in early spring within the warm, southern states. In cooler climates, new plants should be started in spring; in warmer areas, plants are often started in spring or fall.
|Botanical Name||Fragaria x ananassa|
|Common Name||Strawberry, garden strawberry|
|Plant Type||Fruiting perennial|
|Mature Size||4 to 12 inches tall, 6 to 24 inches wide|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun|
|Soil Type||Loamy, rich, well-drained soil|
|Soil pH||Acidic (5.8 to 6.2)|
|Bloom Time||Late spring, early summer|
|Hardiness Zones||4 to 9 (USDA)|
How to Plant Garden Strawberries
Strawberry plants are generally planted in rich, moist soil, spaced 12 to 18 inches apart, as they’re going to shoot out runners quickly. In zone 6 and further north, plant them outside during the spring months to make sure the plants are well-rooted by the subsequent year. It’s generally recommended to pinch off all blooms the primary year (especially the June-bearing varieties), which inspires the plants to place their energy into root growth. Garden strawberries planted in zone 7 and farther south are often planted within the fall and can produce by the subsequent spring.
Mulch between plants after planting to stay the soil temperature cool, retain moisture, deter weeds, and keep the fruit above the soil. Straw is that the traditional strawberry mulch. don’t use black plastic, since it’ll raise the soil temperature, and optimal fruit production requires cool soil.
Don’t plant strawberries where tomatoes, peppers, or eggplants have grown, as these plants are vulnerable to verticillium wilt, which may affect strawberries.
Garden Strawberry Care
Garden strawberry plants ideally need eight hours of full sun per day but are often planted anywhere that gets between 6 to 10 hours of sunlight daily. If planted in less light, the harvest is going to be smaller.
Garden strawberry plants prefer soil that’s rich and loamy with a pH between 5.8 to 6.2 for max production. Plant the strawberries in order that the roots are covered in soil but the crown is exposed to fresh air and lightweight. If buried deep, the plant will rot.
For juicy strawberries, provide 1 to 2 inches of water per week. Regular watering is particularly important while the fruit is forming, from early bloom to the top of the harvest.
Temperature and Humidity
The ideal temperature for garden strawberries is between 60 degrees and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the plants can tolerate temperatures as low as 22 degrees Fahrenheit, as long because the plant is shielded from frost.
High humidity can encourage the event and spread of mildew , so provide many air circulation for the plants.
Start with compost-rich, organic soil, and apply a balanced fertilizer (10-10-10) at planting time, at the speed of 1 pound per 100 square feet. Fertilize again after the renovation of June-bearers or after the second harvest of day-neutrals and everbearing types.
Do not over-fertilize, which results in excessive leaf growth and poor flowering. Additionally, don’t fertilize strawberries late within the season in colder climates, as you would like to stop new growth which will be damaged by frost.
Garden Strawberry Varieties
Strawberry plants are grouped by their fruiting habits. make certain you recognize what you’re planting because the sort of plant will determine when and the way much you harvest.
- June-bearing: This variety produces one large crop per annum during a two- to three-week period, usually around June, though they’ll begin bearing earlier in warmer climates. These plants particularly enjoy removing all their flowers the primary year, to extend future yields.
- Everbearing: These strawberries don’t continually bear fruit, as their name might imply. Everbearing strawberries produce buds when the times are long, which usually leads to two main harvests—one in June and another in early fall.
- Day-neutral: These strawberries produce fruit throughout the season but in smaller quantities than June-bearing plants. They don’t believe in day length for fruit production, Instead, they form fruit-supported temperature—even forming buds when temps are as low as 35 degrees Fahrenheit. However, when temperatures exceed 75 degrees, production stops. Everbearing and day-neutral strawberries have an extended season of harvest, but the fruits are usually somewhat smaller than June-bearers. Day-neutral varieties typically produce only a couple of runners.
Garden strawberries will begin to supply fruit over a period of about three weeks within the late spring, though the fruit will appear earlier in warmer climates. Strawberries are the sweetest when fully ripened on the plants. for many varieties, this suggests leaving the berries on the plant for each day or two after they’re fully colored, though the sole thanks to know needless to say is to taste them.
Strawberries bruise easily, so be gentle when pulling the fruit from the plants. Snap or cut the stem directly above the berry instead of pulling on the berry itself. Keep harvested berries during a cool, shady location.
June-bearing strawberries produce a variety of runners, which should be left in situ, but everbearing and day-neutral varieties produce only a few of runners that produce inferior fruit. On day-neutral and everbearing varieties, nip these runners.
During the primary year, pick blossoms off the plants. this may increase the yield significantly within the second year because the plant will devote energy to developing healthy roots rather than fruit within the first year.
Strawberries naturally spread by means of stem runners that opened up from the parent plant and root themselves in surrounding soil. As these runners settle, the connecting stems are often snipped, and therefore the resulting plantlet are often carefully dug up and transplanted during a new location. Pinning the runners down into the soil will hasten the rooting process. Early fall is usually the simplest time to obtain and move these plantlets.
In colder climates, mulching over the strawberry plants in winter will prevent injury to the crowns. Wait until the temperature drops to twenty degrees Fahrenheit, then cover the bed with several inches of straw (the best option), pine needles or shredded leaves. make certain to use a mulch which will be easily removed within the spring.
Common Pests and Diseases
Strawberries are fairly high-maintenance plants, so be prepared for a spread of problems, including leaf spot and other foliage diseases, root rots, fruit rot diseases (such as anthracnose), gray mold, viruses and sun scorch. Common pests include tarnished leaf bug , mites, aphids, leafrollers, slugs, nematodes, and strawberry weevils. Birds can devastate a crop, unless the patch is protected with netting.
As with any edible plant, it’s best to seem for the smallest amount toxic solutions possible when treating diseases and pests. Many gardeners resign themselves to the truth that they’re going to always lose some portion of the crop to such problems.
Many cultivars are bred to be immune to common diseases, so consult an area expert for recommendations on the simplest varieties for your region.
GROWING FROM SEED VS. BUYING STARTERS
While growing strawberries from seed is feasible , it’s far more common and effective to get plants or bare roots.
However, if you’re curious about growing a less popular variety, you’ll need to start plants from seed.
If this is often the route you’re taking , sow seeds directly within the garden in early spring. Be prepared to attend for up to month to ascertain any signs of germination.
Plants generally won’t produce any fruit until the subsequent year, so you’ll need to wait.
Honestly, though, if you’re dedicated to achieving the last word harvest, you’ll need to await a year anyway. Standard practice for growing strawberries is to get rid of all the flowers the primary year – yes, ALL of them. So sad, I know!
But you’ll be grateful you probably did the subsequent spring, when plants are larger and stronger, and ready to produce a way larger harvest.
Two small, immature strawberries are growing on long, thin stems beside a bigger pinkish-white berry, growing on a plant with many clusters of three green leaves with jagged edges.
Okay – I got before myself.
Let’s revisit to buying plants…
Strawberries are usually sold as individual potted plants, or in bags as bare roots.
Bare roots are just dormant plants. They almost look dead, but they aren’t – or a minimum of , they shouldn’t be!
Here are a few of things to seem for therefore you recognize you’re buying a healthy bare root, and not a dead one:
- First, check for signs of rotting or mold and reject the plant if you discover these.
Crowns should be intact.
- Roots should be vigorous.
- Once you’ve chosen your plants, it’s time to urge them within the ground!
How to Grow Garden Strawberries in Pots
If you don’t have outdoor space for a garden or if you reside in a neighborhood with soil that’s naturally alkaline, it’d be an honest idea to grow garden strawberries during a container that’s full with compost-enriched quality potting soil.
Garden strawberries grown in containers are often replanted within the late summer months. Move them to a cool, protected place, like an unheated basement or garage, during chillier months.