By Steve Repsys

A relative of the rose, the strawberry plant dates back for centuries. More than 20 different species of the strawberry plant exists, including the garden strawberry, the most common variety. Species are determined by the number of chromosomes. Typically, the more chromosomes a strawberry plant has, the heartier the strawberries. Strawberry plants are capable of growing around the world, including in Africa and Australia.

A strawberry plant is made up of five major anatomical parts. These include the leaf, root system, crown, daughter strawberry plant and stolen, which is also referred to as a runner. The leaves and roots are responsible for assisting in the photosynthesis process and soaking up water and needed nutrients from the soil to assist with growth and reproduction.

The crown is the base of the strawberry plant that creates the runners and blossoming fruit stalks, which will give way to strawberries. The daughter plants are sustained by the runners. Eventually, the daughter plants will make contact with the soil and form its own root system. When this happens, the runner will dry up.

Strawberry plants are susceptible to many diseases caused by fungus. One of the most common diseases is red stele root rot, also referred to as Lanarkshire disease. Red stele root rot is triggered by a fungus found in the soil. This disease affects more than half of the strawberry plants in the northern portions of the U.S. Another disease that may afflict strawberry plants is strawberry plant leaf spot. With this disease, fungus creates tiny dark spots on various parts of the strawberry plant. Strawberry plants in badly drained areas are prone to leather rot. With leather rot, a fungus turns green strawberries brown. Strawberries that are affected by leather rot will smell funny and contain an acidic taste.

Strawberry plants grow best in well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. To produce high yields, the plants need a minimum of six hours of sunlight a day and need to be planted in spring. During the growing season, the strawberry plant requires 1 inch of water per week. One of the most popular ways of planting strawberry plants is the matted-row method. In this system, strawberry plants are placed in the ground 18 to 30 inches apart in rows that are spaced out 3 to 4 feet apart. Within a month, the plants will produce runners. Fruit grows on the plant typically in June.