By Samantha Volz

Growing strawberries in your home garden opens a realm of possibilities for fresh desserts, jellies, milkshakes and fruit on the table every day of the summer and fall. Strawberries don’t take up a lot of space in the garden, making them ideal for small homes and landscapes. However, if you plant multiple strawberry plants, you must space them properly to ensure proper growth.

Space strawberry plants growing in a row 18 to 24 inches apart. This spacing ensures that the roots of the plants will not entangle with each other and that each plant has enough space to get adequate water and food from the soil without competing with the other strawberries. This is also an optimal amount of space to make sure that the strawberry plants are not confined; if the plants run into an obstacle during growth, they will grow shorter and weaker.

If you plant multiple rows of strawberries, space the rows two to three feet apart. As well as providing optimal room for roots, growth and reduced competition for resources, widely spaced rows allow you room to walk among your strawberries without pushing or stepping on any of the plants. This is important for watering, fertilizing, pruning and eventually harvesting the plants without damage.

Aside from the spacing of the plants, the depth that you plant your strawberries is crucial to healthy growth. When you bury the strawberry plants in soil, dig a hole twice the width of the root system. Insert the plant so that the crown, which is the central stem that separates the roots from the main plant, sits centered at the soil line. Bury the roots and the bottom half of the crown with firmed soil and water the area well so that the roots have enough water to establish themselves.

Aside from competition and stunted growth, there are other danger factors with improperly planted strawberries. Plants spaced too closely together are more likely to suffer from rot or fungus because air cannot circulate among the plants to dry off the foliage and remove soil from the leaves. Taller plants set too close to shorter plants can also block out much-needed sunlight. Crowns planted too deep in the soil can rot from excess water, while those planted fully above the soil line will dry out from sun and wind exposure.