Lack of garden space doesn't mean you can't grow strawberries, as strawberry plants are versatile and adapt well to container growing. The plants aren't choosy, and nearly any container will work. As added benefits, strawberries grown in pots are convenient and require little weeding. Purchase strawberry plants at a garden centre or nursery for planting in spring.
Strawberry pots, usually made of clay, ceramic or plastic, are tailor-made for planting strawberries. While any material is fine, plastic pots are lightweight and may blow over if your patio is exposed to strong wind. To plant strawberries in a pot, put a piece of mesh screen or a paper coffee filter over the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot to prevent potting soil from escaping through the hole. Plant a strawberry plant in each pocket, then plant one or two additional plants in the top.
Any sturdy container with a drainage hole is appropriate for growing strawberries. While plastic is lightweight and easy to manage, clay or terracotta pots are porous and allow air circulation to the soil, which means that the soil dries quickly. Wood or ceramic pots are often attractive, and both are suitable for planting strawberries. Plant two strawberries in a 12- to 14-inch pot. Smaller containers have enough soil volume to support only one plant. More plants may be planted in larger containers as long as the plants aren't crowded. For larger containers, consider a whiskey barrel or bushel basket.
Strawberries are attractive plants that look good in hanging baskets. As an added benefit, the plants are easy for you to reach, but out of reach of slugs, snails and crawling bugs. Hang the basket from a sturdy support, as baskets are heavy when filled with plants and damp potting soil. Plastic containers are lightweight and make good hanging baskets.
Planting the Cutting
To plant strawberries in pots, fill the pots with a well-drained, lightweight commercial potting mix. Remove the strawberry plant from the nursery container. Make a hole in the potting mix, then plant the strawberry so the crown of the plant is even with the top of the soil. Proper planting is critical as strawberries planted too deeply may rot, and shallow planting may cause the roots to dry. The crown of the strawberry plant is where the roots meet the main stem.
Caring for Strawberries in Pots
Water strawberry plants immediately after planting in the pot. Water strawberries regularly throughout the season, but allow the potting mixture to dry slightly before each watering. Strawberries in pots may need water every day, or even twice a day during hot, dry weather. Because the soil volume is small, the soil dries faster. Place the pot in bright sunlight. If your climate is extremely hot during the summer, locate the pot where the strawberries are in shade during peak afternoon heat.