I was in my local farm/garden shop last week and a terracotta strawberry pot caught my eye. The shop also had beautiful strawberry plants meant for growing in containers so I bought a bunch, then came home and planted them right away.
Strawberries are perennials and while I've grown them in a raised bed in my garden before, I encountered some problems. The first year's harvest was great, but subsequent years were less so. (I am sure this is because I didn't manage the "runners" correctly). Also, my strawberry bed seems to always become filled with weeds that are difficult to deal with without pulling out the strawberries, too. So I thought I'd try something new this year.
Planting strawberries in containers is really easy. It's a great option if you don't want to deal with the work and potential problems that may occur when you plant a strawberry "patch"; it also makes a lot of sense if you want to grow some of your own food but you don't have a lot of space. Look for strawberry planters made from terracotta or plastic at garden shops or online and buy strawberries that are meant to be planted in containers (look for a variety that is drought-tolerant, disease-resistant, and which is a light runner producer). Then you can keep your strawberry pot in just about any sunny spot…mine is on a table on my deck.
Strawberries have shallow root systems and you don't want the potting soil to dry out too much, but you definitely don't want to overwater them either (this can lead to rotting). Keep an eye on your strawberry pot especially once it starts to get hot: the strawberries will need more water during the phases that they are producing fruit. Strawberries benefit from mulching to conserve moisture and I will be adding mulch to my strawberry planter for sure.
The variety of strawberries that I planted are called Tristar. These are what is known as "everbearing" strawberries: they produce fruit sporadically from spring through the fall. (By contrast, June bearing varieties only produce berries in June). I planted one plant per hole and 4 plants at the very top. I used Organic Choice potting soil.
As I mentioned above, strawberries are perennials. That said, I don't think strawberries in a container will make it through the winter where I live…I imagine I'll probably have to plant strawberries again next spring. But that's ok: I think I only spent about $12 on the plants in this container.
In the past, I've heard you must pinch off the runners in order to increase the productivity of the plants, but Tristar strawberries aren't supposed to produce many runners: a good thing for container strawberries. I've also always heard you should be removing the strawberry blossoms the first year you plant them to make the plants more vigorous but my research tells me this isn't really necessary for container strawberries, especially if I am probably going to be planting new ones next year.
I am very excited about my strawberries and will be sure to let you know how they taste and what I do with them!
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