Growing Strawberries In Pots
The Ease of Growing Strawberries in Pots
The strawberry-a member of the rose family is one of the only fruit which has its seeds on the outside and not the inside like other berries. This bright red color (due to antioxidants)-obviously appealing to the eye, is the most popular berry in the world, and has, to date, over 600 varieties. It is no wonder why growing strawberries in pots has become so popular.
Among the many benefits of strawberries are their vitamin and mineral content, their ability to fight off free radicals (mutated toxic cells responsible for most cancers) in the body, its anti-aging nutrients that nourish brain cells and rid the blood of poisonous toxins. Another very good reason for growing strawberries in pots.
Strawberries are a great choice when considering pots or baskets with some varieties even doing well indoors. For best results, you should choose the right variety, and then make sure to plant it correctly. Of the many varieties, all strawberries fall into one of these categories: 1)June-bearing- which produces in June and again in late summer, 2) ever-bearing-which produce through out the summer and 3) day neutral-produces a modest crop throughout summer months (except when weather is very hot). Your choice should depend on climate, conditions, and when you would like fruit to ripen.
A good choice for growing strawberries in pots is the Red Alpine (an ever-bearing)-especially if you intend to grow them indoors as they are pretty tolerant to shade. Another ever-bearer, the Brighton, is also known for doing well in hanging baskets indoors. If you are planning to hang your pots outdoors you can check with your local nurseryman to find out the varieties that do the best in your area.
Regardless of where you decide to hang your plants, make sure you plan for them to receive at least six hours of sunlight a day. This will ensure a good crop. Though full sun is best a sunny spot will do just fine for varieties that are shade tolerant. Strawberries will do well with a supplication of artificial light if need be.
Remove all blossoms on your ever-bearing or day-neutral plants for the first six weeks after planting to give them time to for becoming established, as this helps save the plants energy for producing fruit. Water each plant daily-especially if growing strawberries in pots, until plants begin to produce fruit, then reduce watering until top inch of soil is dry.
All strawberries, whether grown in or outdoors, should be fertilized once a month until flowering begins, then fertilize every 10-12 days until harvesting has ceased. For growing strawberries in pots a fertilizer high in potassium (like food for tomatoes) is needed.
Both aphids and red spider mites like strawberries. They are also prone to a powdery mildew. Powdery fungus most often must be treated with the aide of a fungicide. Growing strawberries in pots off the ground is a good way to keep your plants free of snails, slugs, and sow bugs.
For best results when growing strawberries in pots plant five to six plants in a hanging pot in the springtime. The ultimate hanging strawberry garden is grown in baskets rather than pots. For the best plants and crop alike, you will need a 16 inch wire pot. Line them with damp sphagnum moss or coconut fiber if you can find it (or another appropriate specially designed liner). Place 16 plants in the basket-pushing them through the liner around the basket sides. Then fill the basket with potting soil and plant another 6-8 plants in the top. You can produce a crop of strawberries from this same basket for about three years.