Keep the strawberry plants watered and weeded, fertilize them every three weeks with a balanced fertilizer or tomato fertilizer, keep an eye out for pests, and pinch the flowers off when they appear in April/May so that the plants have enough energy to produce fruit.
Strawberry plants are fairly easy when it comes to care – just water, fertilize, weed around it, and don’t let any large trees grow above or near it because these trees can steal all of the nutrients in the soil.
Container gardening is particularly useful in areas where there isn’t much space for planting in rows. It can also be done by apartment dwellers who do not have access to a yard or garden.
Container gardening for strawberries is exactly the same as planting them in the ground, except that they need to be fertilized more often because water can easily drain out of containers. With space at a premium, container gardening is becoming more and more popular. Fortunately, strawberries grown in containers are just as good as those grown in the ground. This article will give you some tips for locating and growing strawberries in containers.
Pick a location with plenty of sunlight that is near a water source, such as an outside faucet or hose bibb. If possible, place your strawberry pot next to a wall or fence to help protect them from strong winds. Southern exposure offers the best lighting conditions, but any area with the full sun will be sufficient for healthy growth. In fact, because heat waves can darken fruit color and damage flowers quickly, it may actually be better to put strawberries in a slightly shaded location if it’s hot.
Strawberry Pot Size
When it comes to strawberry pot size, bigger is better. You can easily pick up a small pot at your local nursery or discount department store, but they are not recommended for strawberries because their root systems are bound to the container. For best results, choose a pot that is at least 12 inches across and has good depth (6-7 inches)to give the roots plenty of room to grow. Also, make sure it has enough holes in the bottom for proper drainage.
Planting Depth: The first reason you need space in your strawberry pot for roots is planting depth. Mature organic matter such as composted leaves and grass clippings mixed with manure will provide ideal growing conditions for strawberries, so be sure to add some before you plant. Before you place your strawberries in their new container, prepare the soil by adding water and mixing in one cup of organic fertilizer per every gallon of potting soil or compost that is added.
Planting Strawberry Plants
Strawberries are typically sold bare-root with the roots wrapped in moist sphagnum moss, so it’s important when planting them to keep the root system damp at all times until they become established. You can do this by misting them daily or covering them with clear plastic for a few days after transplanting (until leaves begin to droop). If using opaque containers like terra cotta make sure to place the strawberry pot in bright indirect sunlight during these critical first days.
Strawberry Container Care
If your container doesn’t have good drainage, you may want to consider adding a layer of gravel or small stones at the bottom before adding soil. Also, make sure to keep the sides of your pot free of any mulch such as bark which could block air and water from reaching the roots. Waterlogged conditions will either cause strawberries to rot or produce too few fruits, so be sure never to overwater your strawberry pot and avoid watering on windy days (to prevent possible damage).
When it comes time for harvest use, sharp kitchen shears and snip stems right above the leaf rather than trying to pull them off. Picking this way will encourage additional flowers and fruit growth. The best time for harvesting is in the morning after the dew has dried. Remove leaves that have become crushed or bruised and also any fruit that is rotting to keep your strawberry pot healthy and looking nice all season long.
Strawberry container gardening can be an excellent way to add color and sweetness to your garden while at the same time expanding your growing space. By following these simple tips, you’ll enjoy a bountiful harvest from well-grown strawberries in pots.