Growing Strawberries in Containers
Grow Strawberries No Matter Where You Live
Growing strawberries in containers is not only fun, but beautiful. And of course - edible! When I lived in a tiny apartment on Long Island, I was able to grow many fruits and vegetables in large containers and pots on the deck. The deck was the only sunny space available in the yard. Does that sound familiar? If you live in an apartment or condo, or perhaps there are big trees shading your yard the way I had in my old house, you can still grow strawberries. Strawberry jars or containers let you plant many strawberries in less space, or you can use a typical large planter, a whiskey barrel planter, or even window boxes or hanging baskets to grow strawberries. They really can do well with limited space. As long as they have good soil, sunlight and water, they should do fine.
(All photos in this lens were taken by Jeanne Grunert, the author of the article.)
How to Plant Strawberries in Containers
To grow strawberries in containers, you need to find a good sized container. Window boxes work fine, as do hanging baskets, half whiskey barrels, large planters, or the special pots called strawberry jars. If you plan to grow strawberries for just one growing season, any size container will do. Make sure that it has holes drilled in the bottom to allow water to drain out. If you are using larger containers, move them to the space where you want them to be throughout the season before filling them with soil. They may get too heavy once filled with soil for you to move them easily. Place the containers in a sunny locations. Strawberries need bright, direct sunlight every day for six or more hours in order to develop fruit.
I like to grow strawberries in containers from plants already started at the nursery or garden center. Buying started plants shortens the time it takes for the plants to get established in their new pots, and that shortens the time it takes for them to produce berries.
It's best to use bagged potting soil from the garden center rather than digging up dirt from the garden for your pots. Garden soil can contains microbes or insects that are harmful to your plants. Some potting soil mixes come premixed with fertilizer, which is great for strawberries. They tend to be heavy feeders and need either compost or fertilizer regularly.
Fill your container with soil, then plant the strawberries so that there is about 4 to 6 inches between the plants. If you're using a strawberry jar with multiple pockets around the jar, plant one plant per space or pocket. Water the container well when you're finished, and water it daily on days when it doesn't rain.
Strawberry Plant in Bloom
A strawberry jar offers an economical alternative to pots. You can plant many strawberry plants in the same amount of space that a typical container would offer, but fit in about twice as many plants. If you buy a terra cotta strawberry planter, empty it of soil at the end of the growing season and store it in a dry location. Snow, ice and rain can make terra cotta crack.
This is a classic strawberry jar that can fit many plants. Plastic is lightweight.
Multiple jar set, great for patios.
You can use this terra cotta jar for either strawberries or herbs.
Tips for Growing Strawberries
Need more information on growing strawberries in containers or general strawberry care instructions? These links offer more insight and information to help you grow great strawberries.
- HGIC 1405 Growing Strawberries : Extension : Clemson University : South Carolina
Growing strawberries in South Carolina home gardening. Site selection, soil preparation, strawberry planting, matted row and annual hill systems, fertilizer, renovation, harvesting and bird control. Disease and nematode problems.
- Growing Strawberries - Strawberries and More - University of Illinois Extension
- Purdue Cooperative Extension Office
- Colorado State University Extension - Strawberries for the Home Garden
Strawberries are adapted to nearly all areas of Colorado. They may be June bearing, everbearing or day neutral. This fact sheet describes varieties, culture, harvest, and pest management.
- Strawberries for the Home Garden - University of Minnesota Extension
Strawberries for the home garden from the University of Minnesota.