How To Grow Strawberries in Pots
Trips to the farmers' market on Saturday mornings in the summer are fun and all, but there's nothing more satisfying than growing the bounty right in your own backyard. From tomatoes and okra to peppers and squash, the seasonal produce options to choose from seem endless. Strawberries are another one of our summertime favorites that are (actually) easy to grow in your garden. Once they're ripe, pluck these juicy gems off the vine to use in sweet deserts like Strawberry Dream Cake or savory appetizers like Strawberry Caprese Salad.
If you're not ready to commit to a full-blown berry patch, strawberries also grow well in containers. Set the plants in regular pots, hanging baskets, or window boxes. Some gardeners prefer using terra-cotta strawberry pots (BUY IT: Pennington Terra Cotta Strawberry Pot, $19; homedepot.com). The best part? You don't have to have a backyard to harvest your own strawberries. Containers are a low-maintenance and convenient way for small-space gardeners to also enjoy cultivating strawberry plants on their apartment balconies, front stoops, or patios.
WATCH: How to Plant Strawberries
Making the Right Pick
When looking for plants at the garden center, choose the best selection for your zone. Strawberries are divided into three categories. June-bearing varieties are known as dependable growers throughout the South and produce one crop per year in late spring or early summer. Try selections like 'Allstar' (US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9), 'Chandler' (US, MS, LS, CS, TS; USDA 6-11), and 'Surecrop' (US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8). Everbearing types produce two crops-one in late spring or early summer and another in the fall. These selections prefer the Upper and Middle South (they can't handle the summer heat any farther South). Look for 'Ozark Beauty' (US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8) and 'Quinault' (US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8). Day-neutral, the third type, also produces two crops per year; it grows fruits for longer and with better quality in the fall. We suggest 'Aromas' (US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9) or 'Tristar' (US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8).
Growing & Caring Tips
Pick a pot with plenty of room for the strawberries' roots to grow. Strawberries don't like to be crowded, so space out three (or so) plants in each container. The Grumpy Gardener recommends using name-brand potting soil in containers for best results. Deadhead spent blooms to keep the plants healthy. Give them plenty of sunlight and water for a season's worth of delicious produce.