Strawberries

How to grow strawberries

Grow your own crop of juicy strawberries, including how to plant, care for and harvest - with the help of our practical Grow Guide.

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

Overview

Always a favourite, strawberries give a quick return for your efforts. Choose varieties that crop in succession and you’ll have sun-warmed, juicy berries to pick from late May to October.

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Damp strawberries will quickly go mouldy, so only wash what you can eat.

Growing strawberries from runners

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Growing from bare-root runners

How and where to plant strawberries

Plant bare-rooted strawberry runners in spring or late summer/autumn. A sunny, sheltered site is essential for healthy plants and well-flavoured fruits.

To prepare the soil, dig 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 like 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 to allow roots to penetrate to the full depth.

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Protecting fruit by adding straw around the plant base

Tending to strawberry crops

To encourage flowering and fruit set, feed with tomato fertiliser (follow the pack instructions) and water regularly. Avoid wetting any of the 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.

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.

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Harvesting fruit

Harvesting strawberries

Once strawberries have been picked, the ripening process stops. So, wait until the berries are fully red, then pinch through the stalks with your finger and thumb to avoid bruising the fruit.

Storing strawberries

As strawberries are perishable, they’re best eaten straight from the plant, still warm from the sun. You can store unwashed fruit for a few days in the fridge. Some varieties are suitable for freezing.

ripe-strawberries-3
Ripe strawberries to pick

Strawberries: preparation and uses

Damp strawberries will quickly go mouldy, so only wash what you can eat and blot them dry on kitchen paper. If you’re lucky enough to have a glut, whizz them into delicious smoothies or use to make jam.

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Grey mould on strawberry

Strawberries: problem solving

Protect against slugs and snails, and net to deter birds.

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. If the problem persists, use a systemic fungicide.

Why choose cold-stored 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
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Great strawberries to grow

Choose summer-fruiters or everbearers

Summer

  • ‘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

Everbearers

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Find many more great strawberry varieties to grow here