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Growing and Caring for Strawberry Plants in Pots

Updated on April 7, 2016
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I’m a city girl and I’d always thought that strawberries were shrubs. Whenever I heard the Beatles’ song Strawberry Fields I envisioned two ancient iron gates slowly opening to a large field drawing out to the horizon, with leafy strawberry shrubs full with red fruit lined up. Well, as I found when entering a nursery for the first time, this image had nothing to do with reality.

How are strawberries grown?

  • Common garden strawberries are small plants that stay at ground level. They never become shrubs or bushes, like raspberries.
  • Their leaves are lobed and saw-toothed and they grow in sets of three. They produce other leafless stems where the flowers and fruit grow.
  • Strawberry flowers are small, white and have five petals that they lose quickly when the fruit begin to grow.
  • There is a peculiar thing about strawberries: they carry the seeds outside the fruit (that’s what the small and dark “freckles” are). Most other fruits keep the seeds inside for better protection.

This is the strawberry flower. It grows from a leafless stem.
This is the strawberry flower. It grows from a leafless stem. | Source

What is the best way to obtain a strawberry plant?

You have three choices:

You can get strawberry seeds, but I have read that growing strawberries from seed is difficult so I didn’t try this one.

Your second choice is to buy a plant, which is just what I did. You can get them dormant or not. When I bought my plant it was small but carried a lot of fruit already. You can transplant it to the soil, a flower box or keep it in a medium size pot.

There are special strawberry pots that look like “strawberry condos”. They have several openings around and up and down so you can have several plants at the same time and it’s quite practical if you have space limitations.

The third and cheaper way if you already have a strawberry is reproduction by runners. At certain times of the year, strawberries grow large stems that when reaching the ground will start a new strawberry plant. This is particularly easy to do and you can read about it here.

You can have several plants at the same time. Quite practical!
You can have several plants at the same time. Quite practical! | Source

How to take care of strawberry plants

  • Find them a sunny spot because they love and need lots of light. Prefer a spot where they receive the morning sun.
  • If you have them in pots and/or other containers, it is good to move them during the day to take advantage of changing sunlight.
  • They are thirsty plants. Water them daily, especially if they are producing fruit. It is best to do it in the morning and to avoid wetting the leaves for disease prevention.
  • Keep them guarded from extreme weather conditions and wind. Please note that even if they like sunlight, being exposed to direct midday sunlight can be damaging as well.
  • Check the pots for good drainage.
  • Keep weeds and unwanted plants in check.
  • You need to fertilize them because they need a lot of energy to produce strawberries. Buy a balanced fertilizer (10-10-10, 12-12-12, etc). Follow the directions because too much fertilizer can reduce the fruit yield and it may also stimulate runner production.

This is a strawberry runner searching for ground. It will grow roots and a we will have a new strawberry plant when it does.
This is a strawberry runner searching for ground. It will grow roots and a we will have a new strawberry plant when it does. | Source

How to pick strawberries:

  • Wait until the fruit is bright and dark red. Pick and eat the strawberries immediately because their flavor is at its best.
  • They may last longer if you pick them when they are orangish-red. You can also freeze them, but fresh cut strawberries taste better.
  • Cut the strawberries along with the green petals that join the fruit to the stem (this prevents diseases and improves conservation time).


If you still feel doubtful, watch the next video from TheVegetableGardener.


Enjoy!

A great example of picking strawberries by The Vegetable Gardener (Yummi!)

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    • CandyTale profile image
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      Gabriela Hdez 3 years ago from Valencia, Spain

      Kathy, I live in a warm area. Winters are never harsh here. However, I found this video. It suggest several measures you can take to protect your plants: http://youtu.be/wde8d9_Vihg . I hope this helps you!

    • profile image

      Kathy 3 years ago

      I bought two strawberry pots and have very much enjoyed them. I live in Northern Wisconsin and am wondering what I need to do to care for them once the frost and winter comes. Do I bring them in? Do I leave them out for the winter? Any advice is appreciated.

    • CandyTale profile image
      Author

      Gabriela Hdez 4 years ago from Valencia, Spain

      Wow! That is amazing and very detailed picture instructions. I'll try a similar arrangement in the future, hopefully.

    • louisxfourie profile image

      Louis Fourie 4 years ago from Johannesburg, South Africa

      To stop the bugs to eat my strawberries i have invent the strawberry farm. https://dengarden.com/gardening/Recicle-by-using-d...

    • BrightMeadow profile image

      BrightMeadow 4 years ago from a room of one's own

      My strawberries keep getting eaten by bugs and things. This maybe a good way to head that off. I will have to give this a try.

    • Eco-Lhee profile image

      Eco-Lhee 4 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      I had a nice little strawberry garden, and then I got a rabbit. Silly thing eats them right down to the roots. This year I want to try a hanging basket similar to the pots. Crossing my fingers and hoping it works. Great hub! Good information!

    • CandyTale profile image
      Author

      Gabriela Hdez 4 years ago from Valencia, Spain

      Thank you all for your comments, I'm glad you enjoy reading or brought you nice memories.

      Sheri and the Dirt Farmer,

      It's odd to me to hear about squirrels or deer plundering your garden. I've always thought they are nice. I live in a major Mexican city and here the only strawberry eaters are the neighborhood children.

    • ytsenoh profile image

      Cathy 4 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

      Very nice hub! I like the idea of growing strawberries in their own "condos" as you suggest. I think if you don't have a yard, but have a small patio, don't limit yourself to what you can't grow...see what you can in large pots and trying strawberries would be a great idea. Thanks.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      My Dad had the most awesome strawberry garden when I was growing up! Thanks for helping to remind me of those awesome berries!

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 4 years ago from United States

      CandyTale--My experience has been similar to Sheri's. The squirrels get our strawberries because I never manage to cover them up in time. The little rascals! Enjoyed your hub. --Jill

    • CandyTale profile image
      Author

      Gabriela Hdez 4 years ago from Valencia, Spain

      You are right! Nothing beats sweet fresh strawberries direct from the plant. Sorry about that deer problem, though.

    • Sheri Faye profile image

      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Great hub! The freaking deer eat mine! But I grow them anyway as nothing is sweeter than home grown strawberries. Thanks for posting!