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How to Care for Strawberry Plants
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 begins 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.
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.
How to Take Care of Strawberry Plants
- Find them a sunny spot because they love and need lots of light. I 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.
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 (Yummy!)
sandy dunlap on September 14, 2019:
I received baby strawberry plants and I am on the north side of apartments. they are in floral pots and I was told they would need to go into regular soil not pots is this true
Gabriela Hdez (author) from Valencia, Spain on July 11, 2014:
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!
Kathy on July 09, 2014:
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.
Gabriela Hdez (author) from Valencia, Spain on July 16, 2013:
Wow! That is amazing and very detailed picture instructions. I'll try a similar arrangement in the future, hopefully.
Louis Fourie from Johannesburg, South Africa on July 15, 2013:
To stop the bugs to eat my strawberries i have invent the strawberry farm. https://dengarden.com/gardening/Recicle-by-using-d...
BrightMeadow from a room of one's own on April 13, 2013:
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 from Alberta, Canada on April 10, 2013:
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!
Gabriela Hdez (author) from Valencia, Spain on April 09, 2013:
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.
Cathy from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri on April 09, 2013:
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.
Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on April 09, 2013:
My Dad had the most awesome strawberry garden when I was growing up! Thanks for helping to remind me of those awesome berries!
Jill Spencer from United States on April 09, 2013:
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
Gabriela Hdez (author) from Valencia, Spain on April 08, 2013:
You are right! Nothing beats sweet fresh strawberries direct from the plant. Sorry about that deer problem, though.
Sheri Dusseault from Chemainus. BC, Canada on April 08, 2013:
Great hub! The freaking deer eat mine! But I grow them anyway as nothing is sweeter than home grown strawberries. Thanks for posting!