Strawberries grow on green vines that are either trained to climb a vertical support structure or left to naturally scramble on the ground. The delicious berries are a popular home garden fruit that liven up the space with attractive colour during the growing season. Although you can grow the plants on the ground, consider growing them upward to create a vertical garden for enhanced appeal and interest.
A suitable option for gardeners with limited space, vertical gardening offers many advantages. Not only do vertically grown plants add a decorative touch to the surrounding area, but they also serve a functional purpose. Vertical gardening adds natural colour at varying eye levels, especially during the growing season when the green strawberry vines produce red berries. Growing strawberries vertically makes the plants easier to prune, inspect for pests or disease, and harvest. Vertical gardening frees up ground space, allowing you to grow other plants. It provides better sunlight exposure and increased air circulation to the plants. You can use vertical plantings to conceal unattractive parts of your landscape, such as a compost pile or chain link fence.
Selecting Vertical Design
Strawberries can be grown many ways vertically, depending on personal preference, available space and allocated budget. If space is limited, grow a few plants in a large planter. Install a tall stake behind each plant and attach growing tendrils with nylon strips to encourage upward growth. Alternatively, create a three- or four-tier assembly using three to four pots, each slightly smaller than the other. Fill the pots with quality potting mix and stack over the larger one. You can also plant strawberry plants in a strawberry pot, a commercially available pot with holes along the sides that provides growing space to strawberries.
Ensure the planting site has well-draining soil and full sunlight exposure. If growing the plants in containers, use quality potting soil mixed with organic compost or manure. Use pots with adequate drainage holes and spread gravel or crockery shards over the base of each to improve drainage. Mulch the soil around the plants, maintain effective weed control practices, provide 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water every week and feed the plants a well-balanced fertiliser during the growing season.
Despite their advantages, vertically grown strawberries have some drawbacks. The plants cast a shadow on the ground when they climb a trellis or stake, thus limiting choice for ground plantings. For this reason, grow shade-loving plants that will thrive in the soil below and around the trellis. Vertically grown strawberries are exposed to more sunlight and wind, which makes the soil dry out sooner. Inspect strawberry plants for stress that indicates under-watering or under-fertilising.
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