By Jenny Harrington
You don’t need a large garden bed to grow and enjoy your own strawberries. You can plant strawberries in a variety of containers so they take up little space. The best container for strawberries depends on the space you have available and how productive you want the plants to become. The right container can even help you combat some pest problems in the strawberry bed.
Made of clay or plastic, a strawberry pot has openings around the sides as well as at the top. Clay pots dry out more quickly than plastic, which can be a concern during the hottest days of summer. Most strawberry pots stand about 2 feet tall and have between six and eight planting holes in the sides. Grow a single strawberry plant in each of the side pockets and two to three plants on the top. Strawberry plants work well if you have limited space for planters. The pots may require additional water, particularly in the pockets, to ensure all plants receive the necessary moisture.
Strawberries also grow well in window boxes, though the narrow design of these boxes limits the amount of plants you can grow. Plant the strawberries in a single row down the center of the box, spacing the plants no closer than 6 inches apart. The light reflecting off window glass tends to cause the soil in window boxes to heat up quickly, so they usually necessitate more frequent watering.
A variety of pots and planters work well for strawberries. Grow multiple plants in half-barrel, 5-gallon or larger pots. Space the plants 6- to 8-inches apart and remove any runners that form on the plants to prevent overcrowding. Use planters that are at least 10 inches deep to ensure the plants have the necessary soil depth to spread their roots. If birds and pests are a problem in your garden, a planter can be covered with chicken wire to keep the pests from raiding your berries.
Plant strawberries in hanging baskets if you have limited space. The baskets take up no ground space and they can be grown indoors in a sunny window if you have no outdoor growing space available. Due to the limited room in most baskets, plants may not be as productive as they would be in other types of containers. Use a plastic basket when possible, as moss-lined baskets dry out very quickly and often require watering two times a day or more during hot weather.