Strawberry Plant Care and Growing Tips

Strawberry plant care made easy.  Simple tips for growing flavorful strawberries. Everbearing and June bearing Florida strawberry plants for sale.

Sweet Treat Strawberry Special, 100 Plants

The strawberry is the most widely grown berry fruit in the United States.  This makes perfect sense:

  • Strawberries are one of the most adaptable fruits.  No matter what part of the country you inhabit, there is at least one variety which will thrive in your yard.
  • A properly planted strawberry bed will produce a bumper crop of sweet-tart berries in much less time and for a much smaller investment than any fruit tree.

Three things are critical to the production of good fruit: sun, constant moisture, and excellent drainage.

The following strawberry plant care tips will help get your bumper crop started.

Tip No. 1

Choose the Right Strawberry for Your Climate

Buy Everbearing Strawberry Plants

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Albion Day Neutral, Everbearing Dessert Strawberry icon

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Strawberry plants fall into three categories: day neutral, June bearing, and everbearing.

June bearers produce a single crop per season over the course of about 3 weeks in early-mid summer when planted in most of the U.S. except Florida where they ripen in the winter, and coastal California where they will crop from April to November.

Everbearers crop heavily in early summer and again in the fall.  A smaller crop will be produced between these two.

Day Neutral is a type of everbearing strawberry.  These plants are bed to produce continuously throughout the growing season as long as daytime temps remain below 90 degrees F.

Which type you should plant depends not only on where you life, but on what you want to do with the fruit.

In very hot climates where only one crop per season is possible, June bearers are the best choice as they produce the heaviest crop. 

June bearers would be the least appropriate choice for a home gardener who wants a continuous supply of fruit to enhance family meals.

Nomenclature Lesson

Fragaria, the strawberry's Latin genus name, denotes that the fruit is fragrant.

Its common name derives from the traditional use of a straw mulch to keep the berries off the soil.

Tip No. 2

Plant Them in the Right Soil

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Tribute, the Original Day Neutral Strawberry icon

The best soil for strawberry plants is a highly organic, virgin (not previously used to grow other crops) soil with a pH of 5.5-6.5.  Strawberries are vulnerable to soil-borne diseases, so avoid planting them where raspberries, okra, melons, or anything in the nightshade family has grown in the past three seasons.

Dig a 3-4" layer of well rotted manure or compost into the bed prior to installing the plants.  Broadcast 1 lb. of 10-10-10 fertilizer per 100 square feet of soil on top of this.

To prevent rot, set the plants shallowly into the soil so that half the crown is below and half above the soil line.  Space them 12" apart.  Mulch the bed with straw or shredded fir bark to conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and to keep the berries from touching the soil.

Now comes the hard part, pinch off the first blossoms as soon as they form.  This allows the plants to become fully established before fruiting and ensures a bigger crop the following season.  This is only done the year the plants are installed.

Feed the plants again in late summer.

Tip No. 3

Plant Them at the Right Time

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Strawberry Plant Care Fact:

Each strawberry plant will produce about a pint of fruit.

The productive life of a strawberry plant is about 3 years.

When planting a new bed or replanting an old one, you may be tempted to save money by using the runners from your old plants.

This is risky because the runners may have picked up a root disease.  The only way you can be sure you are planting disease-free stock is by purchasing certified disease and virus-free plants from a reputable source.

In most parts of the country, strawberries (all types) are best planted in early spring.

In steamy Florida, the arid Southwest, and coastal California, plant them in the fall.  Heat is detrimental to all types of strawberry plants and quickly saps them of their vigor.  In hot climates, it is probably best to treat them like annuals and start with fresh plants each year.

More Fruity Goodness, Right this Way:

Growing Strawberries in Containers

Growing Fruit Trees in Containers

Fruit and Vegetable Weight Loss Plan

Tiny's Recipe for Healthy Blueberry Muffins

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Your plant guides,

Selina and Tiny