How to Grow Strawberries
and Free Strawberry Plants

Learn how to grow strawberries to avoid the toxic sprays or chemicals that are too often found on this very popular fruit. 

There are three types of strawberries and growing all three will give you an abundant supply for the whole season. 

Planting strawberries in hanging baskets or planters will not only add charm to your home, but provide you easier access to this wonderful fruit.

Although, I recommend growing strawberries in a fertile garden bed for the best tasting strawberries.

And the better way to grow strawberries is to plant an already rooted strawberry plant, but you can also use strawberry runners or daughter plants instead. 

Learn how to grow strawberries and you can have this luscious fruit practically for free for years to come.

How to Grow Strawberries

  • Best to plant a rooted strawberry plant
  • Requires slightly acidic soil with a ph range of 5.5 to 6.5
  • Requires well-drained, loamy, and fertile soil
  • Strawberries need full sun, at least 6 hours per day
  • Requires at least one to two inches of water a week - be sure to keep plants well watered during fruiting season
  • Mulch to help with soil moisture and to deter weeds from growing
  • Space your plant approx. 12 to 24 inches apart - depending on the types of strawberries planted
  • Choose the right variety for your location - strawberries will grow in zones 3 to 10
  • You will need to protect strawberries from birds when fruit starts to ripen with wire or a mesh system
  • Make sure to prune strawberry plants after the harvest season

Tips for How to Grow Strawberries

Strawberry plants are perennials and will produce fruit abundantly for a good 3 to 5 years.

After the third year, strawberry plants in general tend to start producing less fruit. 

However, regular pruning can be essential in getting the most from your strawberry plants and could help your plant produce a good harvest for as long as 6 years.

How to Grow Strawberries - Best Time:  Plant your strawberries as early in the spring as your soil will allow.

That's probably the best time, but planting strawberries in the summer, fall, or even winter can work just as well.

It will depend on the climate in your region.

In colder climates - planting strawberries in the spring is best, but summer will work too.

In hotter climates - plant strawberries in the fall or winter.

How to Grow Strawberries in Winter:  You must protect strawberry plants against cold winter temperatures.

Mulching with something like straw should be enough to get strawberries through the winter as long as the ground doesn't really freeze.

You can also overwinter them in a pot and place the pot in a sheltered location such as an enclosed garage or shed.

Also, choosing a strawberry variety that is winter hardy will surely help as well.

How to Grow Strawberries in a Container

If you have poor soil or your soil drains poorly, planting your strawberries in pots or containers could solve that problem. 

It is also easier to overwinter strawberries in pots than in a cold garden bed.

Just dig a hole deep enough for the roots and set your plant into the hole with the crown just above ground level.

Then fill in the soil so that the roots are completely covered and water. 

Make sure to purchase strawberry plants that are disease-free and come from a reputable nursery or farmer.

Ever-bearing and Day-neutrals make the best types of strawberries for potted plants.

3 Types of Strawberries

There are three types of strawberries that you can choose from to plant in your edible garden - June-bearing, Ever-bearing, and Day-neutral.

  • June-bearing - are strawberry plants that produce a large crop of large strawberries once each year and most likely in the month of June.
  • Ever-bearing - are strawberry plants that produce two to three medium sized crops of fruit every year.  However, the quality of fruit is sometimes not as good as that produced by June-bearing plants.
  • Day-neutral - are strawberry plants that produce a few berries throughout the entire growing season.  These strawberries tend to be medium in size.

Ever-bearing and Day-neutral plants don't send out as many runners as the June-bearing plants which produce a lot of runners.

This allows these two types of strawberry plants to focus their energy on producing multiple harvests instead.

Different Varieties of Strawberry Plants

Camarosa Strawberries - June-bearing plant

  • Produces Huge Fruit
  • Grows in Zones 3 to 9

Allstar Strawberries - June-bearing Plant

  • Produces Large Fruit
  • Grows in Zones 4 to 8

Shuksan Strawberries - June bearing plant

  • Produces Large Fruit
  • Grows in Zones 6 to 10

Quinault Strawberries - Ever-bearing Plant

  • Produces Large Fruit
  • Grows in Zones 4 to 8

Ft. Laramie Strawberries - Ever-bearing Plant

  • Produces Large Fruit
  • Grows in Zones 4 to 9

Tristar Strawberries - Day-neutral Plant

  • Produces Small to Medium Fruit
  • Grows in Zones 4 to 8

How to Prune Strawberry Plants

Pruning is essential to controlling how much fruit your plant will yield each season.  You will want to tame out-of-control runners especially on June-bearing plants.

There are shoots from the mother plant called runners which can be used to produce more strawberry plants.

You may want to cut off all runners as soon as they appear, allow them to grow into new plants, or even cut them back once the season is over.

Keeping runners under control will help your plant direct its energy into fruit production and then it should give you a good harvest for about six years.

Also, after every harvest season - trim your plants 1 to 2 inches above soil level to keep your plants productive for next season.

How to Grow Strawberries Better:  During the first growing season of June-bearing strawberries, remove all flowers as soon as they appear.

Removing the flowers will promote stronger root and stronger plant development which will ensure a larger crop next season.

During the first growing season of Ever-bearing and Day-neutral plants, remove the flowers until the end of June.

After the month of June, you can allow the flowers to stay which will then set fruit for a summer/fall harvest.

Harvesting Strawberries

It's important to note that strawberries are their sweetest when they are fully ripened on the plant. 

This means that you should leave strawberries on the plant for a day or two once they start turning red.

When your strawberries are fully red and ripe, grasp the stem just above the fruit with your fingers and gently twist or snap to remove the ripe berry.

You'll want to harvest daily or at least every other day once your strawberries start to ripen.

The best time for harvesting strawberries is early in the morning and in dry weather.

Be sure to remove spoiled fruit to prevent problems for your strawberry plant.

Strawberries will store for a few days in your refrigerator, but do not wash them before storing.

How to Grow Strawberries
- Strawberry Seeds vs. Strawberry Runners

Strawberries can be grown by planting strawberry seeds, but it will take about two years before they can be harvested. 

A much easier and quicker way is to purchase a strawberry plant or rooted plants. 

After a few weeks, most strawberry varieties will produce runners or new daughter plants.

Also, strawberry seeds won't often grow true to type, but runners are a clone of the mother plant. 

All you will need is to purchase a few mother plants and you will have a constant supply of daughter plants in no time.

Once established, this new plant can be separated from the mother and moved to another location. 

Just remember every 3 to 6 years, you'll want to replace all of your strawberry plants to keep your patch productive.

You can do this by starting strawberry seeds a couple of years before the new plants are needed or simply plant the cloned daughters in place of the older plants. 

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