You can buy strawberries all year round in supermarkets but, even in season, they’re expensive and rarely taste as good as home-grown fruits.
You can buy strawberries as pot-grown plants, as mail-order runners, or you can grow them from seed. Find out all you need to know about growing strawberries in our Strawberry Grow Guide.
There are several different types of strawberry – early 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.
Read on for more information about the different strawberry types.
Early, mid-season and late-season varieties
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.
Early: ‘Honeoye’ has a sweet flavour; ‘Christine’ produces large, sweet berries. ‘Gariguette’ has long, elongated fruits and a wonderful flavour.
‘Cambridge Favourite’ has a good flavour; ‘Sonata’ is weather resistant; ‘Hapil’ does well on drier soils; ‘Manille’ is an aromatic French variety; ‘Elsanta’ is a heavy cropper.
Late-season: ‘Florence’ has dark, sweet fruit and is disease-resistant; ‘Fenella’ stands up well to heavy rain; ‘Symphony’ was bred in Scotland and does well in the north of the UK.
Also known as remontant or perpetual strawberries, these 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.
‘Flamenco’ was bred in the UK and has sweet fruits with good flavour; ‘Malling Opal’ produces lots of fruits; ‘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.
The tiny fruits of alpine (or wild) strawberries have 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.
Choose ‘Fraise des Bois’ for flavour; ‘Alexandria’ is runner-free.
How to get the best strawberry crop
To get the best crops, take care of your plants. In pots, use an equal-parts mix of multi-purpose compost and John Innes No.3. Add well rotted manure or compost to beds and use a plant food such as liquid tomato fertiliser. Lay straw or a strawberry mat under the fruits to keep them clean. October is a good time for planting, so they can produce a good root system while it’s cool and damp.