Strawberries are a highlight of summer and you don’t need masses of space to enjoy a delicious, home-grown harvest – even a strawberry planter placed on a balcony or step will do.
There are several different types of strawberry – early, mid- and late varieties; everbearers, remontants or perpetuals; and alpines. Grow a mix of types and you can enjoy delicious strawberries for several months in summer, avoiding a glut. You can buy collections – a selected mix of plants – online or by mail order.
Early summer fruiting varieties fruit from mid-June to early July; mid-summer fruiters from late June to mid-July and late varieties crop throughout July. Choose a mix of all three and be you’ll pick strawberries for many weeks.
Everbearing, remontant or perpetual strawberries deliver crops in small, irregular bursts all summer, stopped only by the frosts in autumn. You’ll get regular handfuls for your breakfast cereal from a small plot.
Alpine or wild strawberries have tiny fruits but a great flavour. These small, tough plants thrive in semi-shade and make useful ground cover below other crops or at the edge of a border. They produce fruit from spring to autumn. They’re often sold alongside herb plants, or can you can grow them from seed.
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Here’s our expert pick of the best strawberry varieties to grow.
The large, glossy and flavoursome fruits of ‘Christine’ make this a popular variety to grow. An early strawberry, it also possesses good disease resistance.
Strawberry ‘Gariguette’ has long, elongated fruits and a wonderful flavour that is reminiscent of alpine strawberries.
An early fruiting variety, ‘Korona’ produces exceptionally big crops of large, juicy fruits. These soft strawberries have a good flavour and are ideal for using to make sauces and juices.
Strawberry ‘Cambridge Favourite’
‘Cambridge Favourite’ is one of the best known and most popular strawberry varieties. It reliably produces medium-sized, orange-red berries with a good flavour.
This reliable mid-season variety will produce a good crop of large fruits, even on poor, drier soils. The fruits of ‘Hapil’ are firm and have an excellent, sweet flavour – perfect for jam.
Strawberry ‘Royal Sovereign’
It might not produce the biggest strawberries or provide the richest harvests, but the sweet, aromatic flavour of this old variety is widely considered the best of any strawberry. ‘Royal Sovereign’ is self-fertile variety, which means you only need one plant for fruits.
‘Sonata’ is a mid-season variety with a pleasing strawberry aroma and a good flavour balance of sweet and acid. It stands up well to inclement weather, too, including hot spells and heavy rain.
Bred in England, ‘Fenella’ is a modern variety. Its large berries stand up well to heavy rain and the plant is also resistant to verticillium wilt and crown rot. It has an upright growth habit.
‘Florence’ is a prolific cropper, producing firm, dark, sweet fruits that last well once picked. It is resistant to powdery mildew and is also said to be resistant to vine weevil.
‘Symphony’ was bred in Scotland and does well in damper conditions. It grows well in the north and west of the UK. It produces glossy, tasty, medium to large berries.
‘Buddy’ is a newer, everbearing variety with very sweet fruits on plants with good disease-resistance and weather tolerance. Unlike many other everbearing varieties, this one is a heavy cropper.
‘Finesse’ is an everbearing variety with good resistance to the diseases that can affect strawberries, such as verticillium wilt. It produces lots of tasty, heart-shaped fruits from July to September.
‘Alexandria’ is a vigorous variety that is flavoursome and crops heavily. It will produce fruits whenever conditions are favourable during the summer and does not produce runners.
Strawberry ‘Mara des Bois’
‘Mara des Bois’ has the flavour of an alpine strawberry but the size of a traditional strawberry and fruits from mid-August to mid-October. It’s resistant to powdery mildew.