450g per plant
60cm between rows
Crown level with soil
Strawberries are easy to grow and a fun crop to grow with children. Plant strawberry runners or young plants in spring or autumn, and you’ll be rewarded with masses of delicious strawberries from late spring.
How to grow strawberries at home
Grow strawberries in a well prepared strawberry bed or strawberry planter, in full sun. Add plenty of well-rotted horse manure or garden compost. Choose ‘ever-bearing’ strawberries, which fruit continually all summer, or choose a number of different strawberry varieties that fruit in succession. This will give you a long season of delicious, juicy strawberries from late May to autumn.
Growing strawberries: jump links
- Planting strawberries
- Caring for strawberries
- Harvesting strawberries
- Eating and storing strawberries
- Growing strawberries: problem-solving
- Buying strawberries
- Strawberries to grow
More on growing strawberries:
- How to get an early crop of strawberries
- The best strawberries to grow
- Strawberry types explained
- How to make a strawberry bed
- How to plant a strawberry hanging basket
How to grow strawberries from runners
Plant bare-rooted strawberry runners in spring or late summer/autumn.
Prepare the soil by digging in plenty of well-rotted garden compost and apply a dressing of sulphate of potash fertiliser. Plant the strawberries so their roots are just buried, about 30-45cm apart, then firm the soil around them. Water well for the first few weeks.
Strawberries are also suited to growing in pots and hanging baskets. Use deep pots at least 15cm wide and plant one strawberry per pot. They thrive in moist but well-drained conditions, so use a soil-based compost with a deep layer of gravel or broken crocks in the base.
A growing bag will support six to eight strawberry plants, especially if you lay one bag over another, with holes cut around the bag, to allow roots to penetrate to the full depth.
Watch Monty Don’s video guide to planting up a new strawberry bed:
Looking after strawberry plants
To encourage flowering and fruit set, feed your strawberry plants with tomato fertiliser (follow the pack instructions) and water regularly. Avoid wetting any of ripening fruits to prevent grey mould.
Netting can be used to deter birds and small mammals from eating your strawberry fruit. This needs to be fixed carefully as birds, hedgehogs, slow worms and other animals can become trapped in the netting, and die. Ideally, you should use a fixed net cage with holes large enough for pollinators to access the strawberry flowers, which cannot stretch and become entangled. However, by paying careful attention to loose netting you can ensure no animals can become trapped.
Watch Monty Don’s video guide to protecting strawberry crops with straw and netting:
To encourage strong growth for next year’s crop, after fruiting finishes, cut off foliage about 5cm above ground level and give plants a good feed with a general-purpose fertiliser (again, follow the instructions on the pack).
After three to four years, fruit size and quality declines so you will need to replace your plants with new stock.
Once strawberries have been picked, the ripening process stops. So, wait until the berries are fully red before harvesting. Simply pinch through the stalks with your finger and thumb to avoid bruising the fruit.
Growing strawberries: preparation and uses
Strawberries can be eaten in a number of ways: alone, with cream, and as ingredients in a smoothies, cakes and other desserts. Damp strawberries will quickly go mouldy, so only wash what you can eat and blot them dry on kitchen paper.
As strawberries are perishable, it’s best to eat them straight from the plant, ideally still warm from the sun. You can store unwashed fruit for a few days in the fridge. If you’re lucky enough to have a glut, whizz them into delicious smoothies or use to make jam. Some varieties are suitable for freezing.
Growing strawberries: problem solving
Protect strawberry plants against slugs and snail attacks.
Grey mould can be a problem in wet weather, causing the berries to rot. Water plants in the morning rather than in the evening to give them time to dry out.
Why choose cold-stored strawberry plants?
Mail-order fruit nurseries sell bare-root runners that have been stored in cold conditions. Once planted, these young plants grow quickly to form flowers and fruit in as little as 60 days. Plant them into pots or hanging baskets for a speedy, easy and delicious crop.
Advice for buying strawberry plants
- Choose a variety of strawberries that fruit at different times, so you can harvest them over a longer season
- For smaller gardens, ‘ever-bearing’ strawberries can provide a long strawberry season without taking up the space that several varieties would
- Check all plants for signs of pests and disease before planting
Where to buy strawberry plants online
Great strawberries to grow
- ‘Elsanta’ – heavy cropper with large, tasty, red fruits
- ‘Elvira’ – heavy crops and good disease resistance
- ‘Hapil’ – large glossy fruits, even in dry conditions
- ‘Honeoye’ – prolific fruiter with large, firm berries
- ‘Pegasus’ – sweet, juicy, top-quality berries
- ‘Symphony’ – good yields and fairly pest resistant
- ‘Aromel’ – abundant dark red, juicy berries
- ‘Christine’ – sweet fruits that ripen in late May
- ‘Mara des Bois’ – large, deliciously aromatic fruits
You can also see some of our tried-and-tested gardening tools below, with a selection of great kit for planting and support.