Strawberries are a highlight of summer, and you don’t need masses of space to enjoy a delicious, home-grown harvest – even a balcony will do.
There are so many varieties to grow, but most of them are split into several categories depending on when they ripen. Earlies ripen from late May, mid-season strawberries from mid-June and the late varieties from late June. Everbearing or perpetual strawberries produce flushes of strawberries from late summer until the first frosts, extending the season.
Grow your strawberries in a rich, fertile and sunny position so the fragrant fruits can ripen in the sun and develop the sweetest flavour. Keep them well watered and fed, too, especially if they’re being grown in containers.
Check out our pick of the best strawberry varieties to grow.
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 a mid-season, self-fertile variety.
‘Finesse’ is an everbearing variety with good resistance to diseases affecting strawberries, like crown rot and verticillium wilt. It produces lots of tasty, heart-shaped fruits from July to September.
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.
The large, glossy and flavoursome fruits of ‘Christine’ make this a popular variety to grow. An early strawberry, it also possesses good disease resistance.
‘Buddy’ is a newer, everbearing variety with very sweet fruits on plants with good disease-resistance and weather tolerance. Contrary to many other everbearing varieties, this one is a heavy cropper.
‘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.
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.
If you’re gardening in shade, consider growing a small-fruited, alpine variety like ‘Alexandria’, which is more tolerant of shade. This variety is vigorous, flavoursome and crops heavily. As an alpine strawberry, it will produce fruits whenever conditions are favourable.
‘Mara des Bois’
While ‘Mara des Bois’ is an alpine variety, the fruits are comparable in size to modern cultivars and have an exquisite aroma and flavour. Resistant to powdery mildew.
Strawberries lend their texture and flavour to a great many recipes, including tarts, jams, crumbles, mousses, ice lollies and summer drinks. Discover lots of recipes using strawberries from our friends at Olive Magazine.