Growing Strawberries in Containers.




We are well into May now and although the weather hasnt been kind to us, this is a great time to pot up some strawberry plants into containers for a crop of juicy summer fruits. There is nothing quitelike home grown strawberries picked fresh from the plant. They are nothing like the rather dissapointing berries you buy in a supermarket. Many varieties available to the home gardener are not grown commercially because they are too tender and sweet to travel.

The Garden Centres and Nurseries have lots of potted plants available, but there might be more choice by mail order from specialist growers.

There are strawberries varieties that will give you a crop from early spring to late autumn. The season can be extended by growing some in the greenhouse or somewhere undercover.

There are strawberries for each part of the season. Earlies, mid-season and late varieties, and my favorites the Perpetuals. Perpetual strawberries give fruit for the longest time. They begin to crop in June, earlier if undercover, and keep fruiting in to October. They also fruit on the short runners that they produce throughout the season. Many of the varieties have light to dark pink flowers which add a decorative touch.

Strawberries can also be grown from seed, two favorites of mine are ‘Florian’ and ‘Toscana’ and if sown early enough will fruit it it’s first year. Another choice is Alpine strawberries these are mostly grown from seed and they dont produce runners like the usual strawberries.

There are a number of White strawberries available, and also some more unusual varieties. There are ‘Pineberries’ white strawberries that have a pineapple flavour, and also a Framberry, a strawberry that tastes like raspberries. I have just ordered both of these new berries and will report back later on their progress.

There are so many varieties available you need to check out suppliers, they will list varieties and their season and can offer collections to fruit from spring through to autumn.

I prefer to grow my strawberries in containers as I can move them around to get the sun. Also I have limited garden space. I grow in towers, hanging baskets, pots and tubs. They grow well in almost any container and it keeps the fruit off the ground and clean. This is important with the perpetual types as the fruit hangs down from the plant and on the runners. I just use a multipurpose compost and I like to mix in a sachet of water retaining granules before planting. I plant the strawberries around the edge of the container, making sure that the crown, the part of the plant where the leaves sprout from is just above the compost surface. Water in well then place in a sheltered and sunny spot. When the plant starts to set fruit you can feed once a week, preferable with a high potash feed such as a tomato feed or a seaweed based one. Keep them well watered while cropping.

See also  Veg seeds in pots in July

Some strawberries produce runners during the growing season, if you dont want new plants then cut the runners off. If you want to propargate your strawberries you can pin down the ends of the runners into pots using a loop of wire. When the runners have rooted and growing away, cut the off from the parent plant and grow on for next year.

At the end of the season I like to cut off any dead or tatty leaves and old fruit stalks and any missed runners. I clean around the plants and top dress with fresh compost. Keep them just moist and they will be fine sitting dormant through the winter, ready to start again next year.

There are so many varieties to choose from, check out specialist growers and nurseries but here are a few of my favorites.

Irresistable [mid-season]  Amazing [mid-season]  Toscana [perpetual]  Mara du Bois [perpetual]  Florian [perpetual]  Alpine [Mignonette]

Helen Fowler
Born in Middlesbrough. Moved to live in rural North Yorkshire in late teens. Moved back to the town in my 30's to live near Stockton on Tees. Then after a divorce and a serious accident I moved back to rural North Yorkshire near Thirsk, where I live now. I am a passionate gardener, a keen amateur photograper, I love travel, music, anything artistic and I have a great love of nature and the natural world. I have gardened since my teens and I lived and worked on a farm for years. I have owned or have experience with most pets and domestic animals. I hope by sharing my own experiences and the personal knowledge I have gained over the years, to help and encourage others to gain the most from their gardening efforts.
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