Who doesn’t love the juicy strawberries? Well, if you are planning to grow these delicious berries in pots or containers, you would be pleased to read today’s post that is showing you the steps to growing strawberries in containers. Strawberries can easily be cultivated in containers or pots as they have roots that are shallow and grow fast indoors. While growing these berries, make sure you give them enough sunlight. However, one can achieve cent percent results only when he or she follows certain basic steps that we will explain below.
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Things you need for growing strawberries in containers
Strawberries can be cultivated, both outdoors as well as indoors. When you are planning to grow these berries in pots, you need the following things and tools besides you. You cannot have strawberries grown in pots unless you have:
a. The right kind of pot/container
b. Potting soil
c. The strawberry plant
d. PVC pipe
Let’s get into some detailing below:
Choosing the right container or pot
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When you are growing strawberries at home, the best place to plant them are pots or containers. There are a few particular types of pots that are most suited for cultivating strawberries at home.
Some of these are:
1. Strawberry plants grow well in such pots that are colored light. Not only do light colored pots and containers absorb lesser light as compared to dark pots, they also keep the roots of the plants cool. Dark color attracts heat and is not at all recommended for strawberry planting. In case you plant the berry plants in dark colored pots, there are chances that they will burn.
2. Small containers are fine as strawberry plants have shallow roots. But, try not to overcrowd the pot with too many plants. Any small sized container will have a diameter of 10 to 12 inches at least. Try to buy a small container having a depth of at least 8 inches.
3. Pots or containers with good drainage are most suitable for growing strawberries. Buy plastic pots with punched holes at the bottom. This is a must as too much water can ruin the whole plant.
Also Read: How to Grow Kiwi Fruit in Your Garden
Prepare the soil in the pot
Besides pots and containers, you also need potting soil for growing strawberry plants. Its important to bear in mind that these berries grow well in soil that has 5.3 to 6.5 pH level. Also, the plants will grow better if you fertilize the soil before planting them. So, after you fill about 2/3rd of the pots with potting soil, add fertilizer to it. Lastly, you need to plant the strawberry plants.
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Selection of strawberry plants
Before you start planting strawberry plants in pots or containers, you have to first choose the type of plant. This is because there are a lot of different varieties of strawberry plants, each having a particular need.
If you are planning to plant June Bearing strawberries, be prepared to yield a harvest in June every year. Choosing an ever bearer variety like the Red Alpine strawberries is the best option when you wish to grow the berries indoors. This is because this variety grows and propagates well in places that don’t need direct exposure to sunlight.
A PVC pipe is required when strawberry plants are grown in pots or containers. This works as watering pipe inside the pots and ensures availability of optimal moisture to the growing strawberry plants.
A drill is usually needed to make holes in pots needed for cultivating strawberry plants. Without this tool, it would be difficult to drill holes that will prevent the container and soil from getting clogged with excess water.
How to grow strawberries in containers using starter plants?
There are two ways to grow strawberry plants in pots:
1. From starter plants.
2. From seeds.
When you plant strawberries from starter plants, you basically don’t grow the berries from seeds, instead, you buy young strawberry plants from a nursery and then you plant these into pots for further growth and propagation.
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Here are a few steps for you to read.
1. Purchasing starter strawberry plants from a nursery
When you buy young plants, make sure that they have leaves that are green and in no way have shades of brown. The overall appearance of the plant, including its leaves and stems must be healthy.
2. Selection of suitable pots or containers
After you have bought the young plants, its time for selecting proper pots and containers. Its better to choose pots with drainage holes for preventing excessive water from clogging the soil. Strawberries usually grow easily in any kind of pot. Make sure to put potting soil that should be treated with fertilizer and show the plants sunlight in ample amounts.
3. Putting potting mix into the pot
Once, the containers have been finalized and chosen, its time for adding potting soil to them. The soil must fill at least 2/3 of the pots.
4. Watering the soil
This is an important step towards growing strawberries in containers. Water is a nourishing ingredient required for survival. When growing these berries in pots, one has to follow a certain way of watering. For example – keep watering the soil till it gets drained outside completely. However, never clog the potting soil with too much water as it is detrimental to the plant.
5. Making of mounds
After the water has drained off completely, make about 6 mounds soil in the pot. Keep the height of each mound to about 25.4 mm, and give a spacing of 152.4 mm between each. This is a vital step as strawberry plants have shallow roots that tend to gobble lots of space and grow.
6. Lifting the starter plants from their nursery pots
After making mounds, slowly lift each plant. You need to be careful so as not to cause harm to the roots as these are very delicate.
7. Putting the plants in jars or containers filled with water
Once, you have taken out the starter strawberry plants along with roots, its time to soak them in water for at least an hour. Hydrated plants always grow well and produce better, and this is why this step is essential.
8. Removal of soaked plants and placing them atop each mound
Once they are soaked and hydrated, place each one of these on mounds allocated for them.
9. Putting more soil to the pot
After the plants have been mounded, its time for additional filling of soil. Keep adding more soil till it reaches the crown of each plant. But, never bury the whole plant under soil.
10. Watering of plants
The last step is to water the plants regularly. But, here too, make sure that all the water drains out completely and till it does, keep watering. Be gentle while doing so.
How to grow strawberries in containers – growing strawberries from seeds
One can easily grow strawberries in containers with the help of starter plants or from seeds. There are few basic steps of how to go about the whole thing. Do read and get ideas.
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1. Buying strawberry seeds
The first and the foremost step in growing the berries from seeds is to buy seeds from a nursery.
2. Filling the pot or container with soil
After the seeds are bought, its time to fill the pot with potting soil. Then water.
3. Making holes
Once you have watered the soil, you must start to make depressions or holes in the soil. Each hole must be dug using fingers and must measure 6mm. The spacing to be kept must be at least 6″ between each hole.
4. Placement of seeds
Once the holes are made, its time for placing them, let’s say three in each hole. You can either use fingers or tweezers for lifting and placing seeds.
5. Putting soil over the seeds
After placing the seeds in the holes, put soil over them to offer a cover. For this purpose, use your fingers and press them on top of the soil.
6. Covering the top of the pot
After the seeds are sown in the soil, its time to put a cover of plastic wrap over the pot’s top. The step is vital for allowing proper germination of strawberry seeds.
7. Showing sunlight
Showing sunlight is a must for healthy growth of strawberry plants. Hence, keep the pot in a place that gets ample amounts of sunlight.
8. Watering the seeds
Watering is essential to keep the soil moist and hydrated. However, make sure not to cause too much of sogginess. Also, keep repeating this step to ensure that the soil doesn’t dehydrate.
9. Waiting for sprouting
After you see seed germination, i.e, sprouts coming out of the seeds, take off the plastic cover from the pot.
10. Keep watering
Water the seedlings so that the soil doesn’t become too dry and remains moisturized.
11. Thinning or pruning the plants
Once your seeds have germinated and seedlings have come out and grown taller, start thinning the plants by removing or clipping blossoms. Overcrowding must not be allowed.
12. Fertilizing the strawberry plants
This step would ensure that your strawberry plants remain pest or insect free and go on to produce good yield. So, make time to fertilize once every month. Use any type of fertilizer preferably organic. When fertilizing, make sure not to overdo as this may cause the plants to bear more leaves instead of berries.
13. Use a good insecticide and a fungicide
Strawberries are known to get affected with mildew, spider mites as well as aphids. Therefore, one must treat the plants with a proper insecticide and fungicide. This will stop infestation of any kind.
Also Read: How to Grow Roma Tomatoes in Pots
Some important tips for growing strawberries in containers
So, now we all know that these delicious berries can be easily grown, both outdoors in garden beds as well as indoors – in pots or containers. However, we do need to know that strawberries are usually grown in gardens and are not popular pot grown plants. With that said, we will now list a few important tips that will enable all of you to grow these in containers without a hitch.
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1. Never overcrowd when planting strawberries in pots
Since the plants of strawberries are small, they can grow pretty easily in small pots. However, the roots of these plants tend to spread and occupy more space when grown in a limited area like a pot. So, its better to sow three strawberry seeds or starter plants in one container. Too many of these plants at one place can result in less berry production.
2. Maintain a balance when watering the strawberry plants
Too much watering or too little can both cause harm to your strawberry plants. If you water too often and in heavy amounts, chances are that your plants will become soggy and might develop fungal infections. This usually happens when the water remains in the soil and doesn’t drain off. Less watering can also be detrimental. It will result in soil drying up and yielding no berries.
3. Pruning is a must
Strawberries have roots that love to spread out. Usually these plants grow and propagate well on the garden soil, but when you plant these in pots, they tend to overpopulate, causing overcrowding of plants. The more the runner plants, the lesser will be the capacity of the main plant to produce a good yield of berries, and vice versa. Therefore, one must snip or prune these runner plants and divert their concentration to produce more berries.
4. Insulating of strawberry plants is essential
These berries thrive well in hot or warm conditions. One has to be very particular in showing the strawberry plants enough sunlight, specially during the colder months of winter season. In order to prevent plants from freezing to death, you must insulate them well, either through direct means or indirect means.
5. Be careful not to expose the plants to excessive heat
All said and done, no plant can bear too much of anything. Be it excessive watering or heat, a plant can tolerate only balanced amounts of both. So, when you plant strawberries in containers, do use only light shaded pots for less heat absorption. Otherwise, place the pot under a shade to keep the plant cool.
6. The strawberry plant must be watered frequently
If you water the plant frequently, make sure to use less water each time. This will keep the soil moist and will promote better yield.
7. Strawberries grown in containers need special care
They are fast in reproducing and need special care with good quality organic fertilizer. This is done for extra nourishment of the plants that bear fruits season after season.
It is not difficult to grow strawberries in containers. Everyone that follows the above listed steps can easily grow these yummy tasting berries year after year. Just like any other plant, a strawberry plant too needs good care. Its requirement tends to double when you plant it in a pot where the space is limited. From offering treated potting soil, to choosing the right type of container, to watering, and pruning, to fertilizing, you have to follow a certain routine for best upkeep of a strawberry plant. Hopefully, this article will help you in growing strawberries in containers and will not be seen as a challenge anymore!