Growing strawberries in containers is the best way to enjoy this pretty, easy-to-grow berry. Learn how to do it the best way and get the biggest yield.
When most people think of container gardening, flowers are often the first things that come to mind. Container gardening is becoming increasingly popular as an easy and inexpensive way to brighten up your space. In addition to flowers, this year try something different: strawberries in containers.
Strawberries are one of the easiest plants to grow in containers. With strawberries, you get a plant with pretty foliage and flowers. Of course, you also get the added benefit of yummy fruit to snack on too!
Different Types of Strawberries
There are three main categories of strawberries: June-bearing, Everbearing, and Day-neutral. Each type is better suited for a specific container.
Something to keep in mind is that 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.
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.
Because of this, June-bearing strawberries are better suited for a garden bed instead of a container.
Everbearing strawberries? fruiting season stretches from early spring until fall. They send out fewer runners and will not produce as much fruit 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 produce 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.
Tools Needed for Growing Strawberries
When you grow strawberries in containers, you?ll have relatively few tools that you need. Plus, you already may have many of these at home! You?ll need to have:
- Strawberry seedlings
- (see below for more information)
Type of Pots That Are Best For Growing Strawberries
When selecting a container for strawberries, pick a pot that will be large enough: at least 8-12 inches wide.
You may have noticed that strawberry pots look different from your standard plant pots. This is because strawberries have a spreading growth habit and shallow roots.
For this reason, a specific strawberry pot is often the best place to grow your berry vines. A wide, shallow container is another good choice. Most importantly, the container must have good drainage.
Lastly, select a pot that is light-colored; this will help keep the plant?s roots cool spot 11x11 popup gazebo tent instant with mosquito netting outdoor gazebo canopy shelter with 121 square feet of shade beige_700053 in the summer.
Growing Strawberries in Containers
Do strawberries do well in pots? Yes, and it may even be possible to grow strawberries indoors. However, you should be very careful and follow these tips to help them thrive.
#1 Use the Correct Soil
Strawberries prefer a loose, loamy soil with a pH between 5.3 and 6.5 (acidic). If you are unsure of what your potting soil?s pH is, it?s pretty easy to . All you need is water, vinegar, and baking soda.
#2 Give the Plants Plenty of Sunshine
Next, you need to pick a spot that gives the plant lots of sunlight. Select an area that receives 6-8 hours of sun per day.
#3 When to Plant Strawberries
You can plant strawberries in the early spring or in the fall (if you live in a warm area). Strawberries are sensitive to the cold weather, so avoid frost if you can.
Remember, day-neutral strawberries prefer the cold (just not too cold), and will not produce in a hot climate.
#4 Spread Them Apart
Your strawberry plants need to be spaced at least 2 ft apart, so only plant 1 or 2 plants per container. Remember, these plants like to spread out as they grow, so give them plenty of room.
#5 Plant the Seeds in the Container
Fill the container with a potting mix and make a small mound in the middle. Spread the roots out over the mound. Cover the roots and up to the crown with additional mix and water well.
How to Care for Strawberries in Containers
Caring for strawberries in containers is different than caring for them when they are planted outside.
#1 Water the Strawberries Frequently
First of all, containers require frequent waterings, but only water when the soil is dry to the touch. You may have to water daily during hot weather. This is because containers dry out faster than soil in the ground.
The challenge with a strawberry jar is that the shape of it can make getting the water properly saturated to the center of the pot a bit difficult. Without proper watering, your berries will have shallow roots that do not lend themselves to thriving plants.
One fun trick I use is to employ a DIY watering tube that will help get direct the water to the middle of the pot where it?s needed to grow those juicy berries. I put together a post on Angie?s List showing in containers.
Additionally, make sure to feed your strawberries every 3-4 weeks with a liquid fertilizer.
#2 Overwinter the Strawberries
You can overwinter strawberries. They will produce better the following year if they are allowed to go dormant during the winter.
If you live in an area that gets extremely cold, move your strawberry containers into an unheated garage or basement in the winter. Water the container only when the soil becomes dry. In milder winter climates, mulch up around the container and leave it until spring.
You can read a bit about in this post. It?s a similar concept.
Do you have to replace strawberry plants?
Strawberries are short-lived perennials. Even with the most dedicated care, you will have to replace the plants about every 3 years.
No worries, though. Enjoy them for a season, then reevaluate. If you are able to get them to grow again for an additional summer, it will be well worth the effort.
I?m a big fan of strawberries, as you may be able to tell from the list below! Here are posts for everything you need to know about these sweet berries from how to grow them to how to eat them!
Seed starting is a right of passage for most gardeners. However, there are so many different ways to do it, that it can be overwhelming! Compare the pros and cons of 7 different DIY seed starting trays that you can make at home. From using eggshells to toilet paper rolls for seed starting, learn which method works best.
The weather may be warming a bit and it?s been many months since we had our green thumbs digging in the soil, so it?s no surprise that folks are just itching to get seeds started. I?m hearing about or seeing a lot of different seed starting blog posts floating around the web, from rookies who picked up a kit at the local hardware store to seasoned pros with pretty sophisticated grow ops.
I decided it was probably time for me to chime in and share what I know to be true about seed starting as well, so I put together this series. I?ll share my experiences with all those super-adorable containers you can make at home (Part 1 ? below) as well as . So here goes, the good, the bad, and the ugly of seed starting containers.
Note: for more information on the whole process of seed starting, check out for the basics. The following is more in-depth on only one of the topics covered briefly in that post.
The Best DIY Seed Starting Trays You Can Make At Home
You absolutely, positively, do not need to BUY anything to be successful at seed starting. Well, besides your seeds (if you haven?t saved your own) and some great sterilized seed starting mix, you can find most of what you need around the house.
Not every oh-so-cute Pinterest-worthy repurposed container gives your seeds the best start though. And some are just unnecessarily time-consuming. Here are the facts so you can choose what is right for you and your garden.
These wildly popular little containers can be easily made by cutting strips of newspaper and rolling it around a small tomato paste can, glass, or to make cheap little starters. Make sure the paper you choose uses a non-toxic soy-based ink, especially when growing veggies start.
Newspaper is biodegradable so you can plant your seedling out in the garden in the newspaper pot and it?ll break down naturally from the bacteria and other organisms in the soil.
Pros: cheap, readily available, plantable pot breaks down easily
Cons: can be flimsy when wet, can?t bottom-water delicate seedlings, time-consuming to make many
Toilet Tissue Roll Pots
These pots are a bit sturdier than the newspaper pots and again readily available. We all use toilet paper, right? To make a toilet paper roll into a simple diy seed starting container, cut tissue roll in half. Then cut four ?? long slits on the bottom of one end, equally spaced to make 4 flaps you will fold over like closing a box.
In theory, the cardboard will break down in the soil so they can be planted out like the newspaper pots, BUT not all soil is equal. If your soil doesn?t have the necessary elements to break down this cardboard quickly the roots will not be able to spread and the plant will suffer.
If you do plant them in the ground, be sure to plant the whole container, because if the lip stays above soil it can wick moisture away from the roots.
This method of seed starting works well for cuttings and seeds that may take longer than average to germinate. But, remember, without the right soil, your seedlings will likely have to be removed from these before planting, so choose wisely.
Pros: cheap, readily available, sturdy, hole in the bottom for drainage
Cons: time-consuming to make many, too small to be useful for most seedlings, will likely need to be removed when planting.
Egg cartons can be a good option for starting plants with shallow roots that you want to plant in a row, such as peas or lettuce. By the way, we?re talking about the cardboard variety, not styrofoam egg cartons here. Styrofoam never decomposes?I avoid it at all costs.
Grab a box cutter and use it to score (not cut!) a line through the middle of the divets in the carton. You are basically doing this so that all the seeds can germinate together, but later you can gently pull it apart to drop all the seeds into the dirt.
When it?s time to plant, simply make a trough in the dirt and place your egg carton halves inside. Pull the cartons apart sot hat the seeds fall through.
Pros: cheap, readily available, helps keep seeds spaced evenly apart
Cons: have to get the seeds from the container into the ground, which can be tricky
These are so adorable aren?t they? Using a cardboard egg carton filled with soil, you can find 12 little cells to start seeds. When you?re ready to plant you can theoretically just grab one and plant in the garden like the toilet tubes. And the eggshells couldn?t be more precious.
HOWEVER?I won?t even do a pros and cons list on them because that?s it for pros (cute) and never mind that you?ll have to remove the seedling from that shell and crush it before it hits the soil, they are just too darn small.
This means you will have to delicately extract that little seedling before it has its true leaves and plant it in a bigger, deeper container. I say, why not just start with a bigger container and save the seedling the stress?
They don?t have to be yogurt (shown here are cream cheese containers) but you get the picture. This is the equivalent of the plastic nursery pots. Just punch a few drainage holes in the bottom and Bob?s your uncle. My only suggestion is to to make sure it isn?t toxic to yourself or your plants.
Pros: cheap, readily available, sturdy, drainage holes for bottom watering
Cons: Unless you are fairly new to gardening, you probably have more nursery pots than yogurt containers, not all plastic is safe to reuse
Plastic Salad Containers
The box that you buy pre-washed baby greens in will make a lovely container, as will a chicken dome or a cake tray. Anything that has a bit of a bottom on it and a wonderful clear plastic lid will create a mini greenhouse akin to what you can buy in retail.
Cut a few holes in the lid for ventilation and check it often to make sure seedlings don?t succumb to the dreaded ?damping off,? a fungal infection that kills the seedling. You can either set all your little homemade containers in these or line the bottom with soil and plant directly.
Pros: cheap, readily available, sturdy, is a built-in greenhouse
Cons: not all plastic is safe to reuse, you must keep an eye on greenhouse domes and vent regularly to avoid damping-off, need to prick out and transplant germinated seedlings one by one which will inevitably cause some loss
So, most like you don?t have a around your home. But, they cost you about $35 and once you have one, it is the option with the least waste, because it requires no additional materials outside of your seed-starting mix.
To use this handy tool, combine your seed starting mix with water in a bucket until it?s the same texture as wet sand. Grab your and press it into the wet mix. Then, press the handle and you?ll have perfect little blocks of soil that you can add your seed into.
Pros: no-waste option, easiest way to transplant seedlings into the ground
Cons: have to purchase a tool
The Best Seed Starting Trays ? Personal Preference
That?s my list. Are there more? Please comment if there are others out there that you have used and loved or hated. What it really comes down to is a personal preference.
I?ve tried many ways and I have my favorite, trusted, old standby seed-starting methodology, but you will find that in Part 2 of this series. Check out where I write up the pros and cons of the store-bought seed starters out there: peat pellets, fiber pots, and more.