Strawberries, in general, are fairly easy to grow and there’s nothing like a fresh berry plucked off your own plant. The best pots for strawberries are those which are urn shaped, punctuated with holes down the sides in variable areas. Even though the holes make the pot look like dirt, water or even the plant may fall out of them, these pots are perfect for growing strawberries in containers.
Types of Strawberries
There are three main categories for strawberries: June bearing, Everbearing, and Day-neutral.
June Bearing strawberries produce a large, concentrated crop once a year during late spring or early summer (usually in June).They send out a lot of runners that can quickly become a tangle of vines. This category is better suited for a garden bed.
Everbearing strawberries’ fruiting season stretches from early spring until fall. They send out fewer runners and will not produce as much as the June Bearing types. Although it will produce fewer berries, it’s enough for snacking and tastes better than any store bought berries. This category does well in containers.
Day-neutral is a newer variety of everbearing strawberries. They produced more consistently throughout the growing season. Day-neutral strawberries prefer cooler temperatures and will not bear fruit in hot weather. If you live in an area with hot summers, skip this category.
When shopping for strawberries, the varieties will not always specify which category the strawberries will fall under. Ask the garden center associate to aid you in the category identification.
How to Grow Strawberries in a Pot
Now that we have our pot, the question is how to grow strawberries in containers. You will need one plant per side opening and three or four for the top (for ordinary containers, just three or four plants will do).
Cover the drainage holes loosely with terra cotta shards or a screen to slow drainage and fill the bottom of the pot with pre-fertilized, soilless media amended with compost or a slow release fertilizer like 10-10-10. Continue to fill in the container as you plug each hole with a berry plant, lightly patting the plant into the soil as you fill.
Strawberry plants in pots need to be kept watered. Insert a paper towel tube filled with gravel down the center of the pot and fill in around it as you plant, or use a pipe with holes randomly drilled through to aid in water retention. This will allow water to seep throughout the strawberry pot and avoid overwatering the top plants. The additional weight may also keep plastic pots from blowing over.
Finish off your strawberry container with the three to four plants. Water it thoroughly and set the pot in full sun to part shade. Strawberries do best in temps from 70-85 F. (21-29 C.), so depending upon your region, they may need more shade and/or water. A light colored pot will also aid in keeping roots cool. Too much shade can result in healthy foliage but few or sour fruit. Add sphagnum moss or newsprint around the base of the plants to keep the soil from washing out.