Strawberries are a bit more complex than they may appear. There are several different types of strawberries, as well as several different ways to plant them. Once you familiarize yourself with the different types of and methods for planting strawberries, you can choose what works best for you.
There are three main types of strawberries: June-bearing strawberries, ever-bearing strawberries, and day-neutral strawberries.
June-bearing strawberries only produce fruit once a year. They consist of a mother plant that sends out runners that take root in the ground and grow into rows. The first year, they require that all their blossoms be plucked in order to start growing fruit. They are a bit more high-maintenance than other forms of strawberries.
Ever-bearing strawberries are deceptively named. They do not in fact produce berries all year round, but at two different times during the year, in the spring and in the autumn. They also require having their blossoms plucked regularly in order to produce berries.
Day-neutral strawberries produce berries throughout the growing season. Their blossoms only need too be plucked once, and after that they will produce berries all summer.
Strawberries are not usually grown from seed. Buy small plants for transplanting at a nursery. You can buy them at any time of the year, although some recommend buying plants at the end of the season to capitalize on end-of-season deals. In any case, the best time to actually plant strawberries is in April, and you can find them for sale at that time as well.
Find the sunniest place possible to plant strawberries. You can plant them in the ground, in a pot, or in a hanging basket. Strawberries do not handle competition from weeds, trees, or bushes very well. For this reason, using a pot or a hanging basket might be a good idea. Strawberries also have a bad reaction to verticillium wilt, a substance harbored in peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and potatoes, so grow them far away from these plants.
If you do choose to grow your strawberries in the ground, dig in composted manure and other organic material first. Also, in saltier environments, saturate the top 6 inches with water and allow it to drain, then add peat or garden compost instead of manure. If you’re going to plant the strawberries in rows, raise the rows 8 inches off the ground. Make the rows 20 to 30 inches wide. Plant the strawberries 12 to 18 inches apart. Leave an 18 inch path between rows for weeding.
If you choose to plant strawberries in a pot, use 2 parts soil, 1 part sand and 1 part of peat moss, well-rotted manure, or compost as the planting medium. Use a pot at least 16 inches tall. It is a good idea to make a watering tube for the pot. Simply cut a piece of PVC pipe so that one end will be flush with the pot’s top when sat vertically. Then drill 1/8 inch holes along the pipe’s sides. Cap the pipe on one end. Partially fill the pot and place the pipe in the center with the capped end down. Loosely fill the rest of the pot with soil and plant your strawberries around the perimeter of the pot.
If you are planting in a hanging basket, buy a 16-inch wire basket. Line it with damp sphagnum moss or coconut fiber or buy an artificial basket liner. Place 18 plants into the sides, either through the moss or through 3-inch holes in the liner.