How to grow strawberries

How to grow strawberries

All you need to know about growing strawberries, with advice on planting, maintenance and harvesting.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Plant
Plant

Do not Plant in January

Do not Plant in February

Do Plant in March

Do Plant in April

Do Plant in May

Do not Plant in June

Do Plant in July

Do Plant in August

Do Plant in September

Do Plant in October

Do not Plant in November

Do not Plant in December

Harvest
Harvest

Do not Harvest in January

Do not Harvest in February

Do not Harvest in March

Do not Harvest in April

Do not Harvest in May

Do Harvest in June

Do Harvest in July

Do Harvest in August

Do Harvest in September

Do not Harvest in October

Do not Harvest in November

Do not Harvest in December

  • Average Yield

    450g per plant

  • Spacing

    40cm apart

    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.

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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.

More on growing strawberries:


How to grow strawberries from runners

How to grow strawberries - growing strawberries from bare-root runners
How to grow strawberries – growing strawberries from bare-root 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

How to grow strawberries - looking after strawberry plants
How to grow strawberries – 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.

Tuck some straw around the plants just before the fruit starts to develop. This helps to keep the berries clean and deters slugs and snails.

Watch Monty Don’s video guide to protecting strawberry crops:

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.


Harvesting strawberries

How to grow strawberries - harvesting strawberries
How to grow strawberries – harvesting strawberries

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.


Storing strawberries

How to grow strawberries - harvesting strawberries
How to grow strawberries – harvesting strawberries

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: preparation and uses

grey-mould-on-a-strawberry-3
Grey mould on strawberry

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.


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 runners?

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.

Plastic pot

Great strawberries to grow

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Summer-cropping strawberries:

  • ‘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

Everbearing strawberries:

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