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Strawberry Plants (Fragaria × ananassa) Care Guide

Strawberry Plants (Fragaria × ananassa) are popular with many gardeners as they are very easy to grow and provide the fun of picking strawberries fresh from the garden. Somehow they are juicier and sweeter than store-bought ones.

Strawberry plants are versatile and grow well in the borders of garden beds, pots and containers or even hanging baskets.  

Strawberries come in a huge range of varieties and while most of us are familiar with the red ones, did you know that they also come in white varieties?

Common Problems with Strawberry Plants

  1. Birds eating strawberries – Who can blame them? A juicy red strawberry is too hard to resist! To prevent this, use netting or a bird cage.
  2. Flowers appear but no strawberries are produced – The flowers are not pollinated by bees or butterflies. Introduce some flowering plants to your garden to attract bees or butterflies.
  3. Outer leaves are brown and wilted. – This is caused by Verticillium Wilt, due to a fungus in the soil. Dig up your strawberry plants and do not plant strawberries in that area of the garden again for three years. Do not plant strawberries on the ground which has grown potatoes, tomatoes or peppers in the last three years as this fungal issue is more likely to occur.

Common Mistakes with Strawberry Plants

  1. Strawberry Black Eye – The flowers appear black in the centre. It is caused by late frost, which occurs when the flowers are fully open. The frost damages some parts of the flower preventing the formation of fruit. To avoid this next year, only put straw/mulch down when the fruits have started to form as straw/mulch will insulate the plant from the warming effect of the ground and make it more liable to being damaged by the frost.
  2. Not picking strawberries the correct way – The best way to ensure that you don’t damage the strawberries or the plant is to pick the fruit and the stem together. Gently twist it between your fingers to and pull lightly. Never pick just the fruit by yanking it off the plant.

Care Requirements & Guide for Strawberry Plants

Watering: Regular watering especially during fruiting season is important. It is best to water established plants with drip irrigation or a soaker hose rather than being watered overhead. This avoids getting the fruit wet and helps prevent rot. 

Light: Strawberry plants thrive in full sun. The fruits require sunlight to ripen.

Temperature: The ideal temperature for strawberries is between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It is possible for strawberry plants to tolerate temperatures as low as 22 degrees Fahrenheit, as long as the plant is protected from frost.

Soil: Strawberries prefer a loamy soil, which is made up of roughly equal amounts of clay, sand and silt or organic matter.

Fertiliser: Strawberry plants need a lot of nitrogen when they are producing runners and fruits.

Propagation: Strawberry plants are propagated via runners or seeds. Strawberry plants will put out runners. As the runners take root, the connecting stems can be snipped, then the resulting plantlet can be carefully dug up and transplanted into a new location. If you are growing strawberry plants from seed, do note that it takes about a month for them to germinate and will usually crop the following year.

Fun Fact about Strawberry Seeds

Unlike other fruits, strawberry seeds are located on the ‘outside’ of the fruit. What looks like a “seed” (achene) on the outside of the fruit is actually one of the ovaries of the flower, and the seed is located inside it. 

Which Strawberry Seeds Should I Grow?

We recommend the following:

Garden-in-a-Pail (Strawberry) includes a steel pail (5.5″ high x 6″ diameter), seeds, growing medium, coconut husks for drainage and step-by-step directions.
Strawberry Garden in a Bag includes a bag (10″ high x 6.5″ wide), seeds, growing medium, coconut husks for drainage and step-by-step directions. This is a french dwarf variety.

Alternatively, you could consider other strawberry options available from time to time. Happy planting!