A guide to growing strawberries in pots (2024)

Nothing evokes a balmy summer’s day quite like pots laden with juicy, plump strawberries tumbling heavily from their edges. To help turn this vision into a reality in your own garden, Nicola Clements provides an easy guide to growing strawberries in pots below.

Oh, the English strawberry! Could anything else be more quintessentially British than a bowl brimming with these bright berries?Drizzled with cold cream, plonked into a glass of Pimm’s or simply savoured for their sweetness, strawberries are quite rightly one of the nation’s favourite fruits.Strawberry plants are an ideal choice for filling your planters and containers, so follow this guide to growing strawberries in pots.

Growing strawberries in pots: An easy guide

The good news is that growing strawberries at home is just easy as spending an hour or two traipsing around your local pick your own farm, and far more satisfying!

Another advantage of growing strawberries in pots is that you can plant a range of varieties to harvest from spring all the way through to autumn.

A guide to growing strawberries in pots (1)

Which strawberry varieties can I grow in pots?

The compactness of strawberry plants makes them perfect for growing in pots.Almost all varieties of strawberries will produce a good crop when grown in pots.Some varieties will produce a harvest just once a year, whilst others supply a continuous crop for several weeks.

Strawberry plants also grow well in hanging baskets, like Strawberry ‘Toscana’, which produces bounteous tumbling fruits throughout summer, along with a bouquet of hot pink and yellow flowers.

For the largest fruits, choose early summer-fruiting strawberry plants. ‘Christine’ is a popular variety for its hulking and flavoursome berries. It crops from early to mid-summer for just a few short weeks, but their fleeting harvest is well worth it.

‘Cambridge Favourite’ is one of our country’s best-loved varieties. It produces an abundance of heavy, medium-sized cropping fruits for several weeks in mid-season and is also one of the easiest varieties to grow.

‘Mara des Bois’ is an alpine and everbearing variety that fruits continuously from spring to autumn and produces an abundance of small fruits. Alpine strawberries are really easy to grow in pots, and what they lack in size, they make up for in taste.

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What type of pot to use for growing strawberries?

As strawberries have a small root ball, they can usually be grown in small planters of 10×8 inches. But do remember that small pots and planters need more frequent watering, and that strawberries do not do well in overly hot temperatures or dry soil.

With this in mind, it’s best to avoid porous materials like terra cotta. Opt instead for light-coloured containers in natural materials or recycled plastic.These will reflect the sun’s rays and retain more moisture.

Whichever pot you choose, make sure it has drainage holes to prevent waterlogging. A few good-sized drainage holes at the base or up the sides is ample.

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Planting strawberriesin pots

Bare root strawberry crowns are the most affordable option when it comes to growing strawberries. They can be planted out in late March or early April, but they are unlikely to crop the first year. Meanwhile, transplants will offer immediate foliage to your pots and bear fruits a few weeks after planting.

  • Though compact and easy-going, strawberry plants do not appreciate crowded conditions. Two to three plants will be sufficient for a pot of 12–14 inches in diameter.

  • Use a 50:50 mix of high-quality, well-drained potting mix and loamy, multi-purpose compost.

  • Place strawberry plants in pots so their roots are covered and their leafy crowns are above soil.

  • Keep well-watered, especially when your plants are fruiting, but make sure they don’t sit in soggy soil.

  • Position pots in full sun (unless growing Alpine strawberries, which like shade) and try to rotate the containers every few days to ensure your plants grow evenly.

  • Feed young plants a slow-release, organic fertiliser every three to four weeks.

  • Add a layer of straw between the crowns and compost to reduce weeds and keep your fruits perfectly clean. Alternatively, you could grow plants through small openings in weed-suppressing membrane.

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Strawberry pest prevention

Strawberries grown in pots are less prone to fungal diseases, however, the juicy berries are still very attractive to pests.For this reason, it’s a good idea to invest in some netting and a cage. These items are inexpensive to buy and their protective armour will prevent much disappointment. Alternatively, you could transform a few spare garden canes into a DIY protective structure.

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Pruningadvice

June-bearing strawberry plants like ‘Honeoye’ and most everbearing varieties such ‘Flamenco’ will produce lots of runners. These will certainly look pretty draped over the sides of your pots, but they will take energy away from the plants.

For maximum cropping, simply snip any runners with a pair of clean shears or scissors, or remove them and propagate for the following season. As strawberry plants tend to be relatively short-lived perennials, lasting around four years at a push, propagating is a good way to get the most out of your plants.

Foliage should be removed after fruiting, but take care to keep the young, central leaves.

Nicola Clements works at Haddonstone,purveyors of fine cast stone ornaments handcrafted in England. For more information, please visithaddonstone.com.

You may also like:

  • Plant out a strawberry bed

  • Strawberry plants: What to do after fruiting

  • Best fruit for small gardens

A guide to growing strawberries in pots (2024)

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