Strawberry plants lend well to container gardening. To grow strawberries in strawberry pots makes it even prettier and more convenient. The second best way would be to grow strawberries in hanging pots. In this article we will discuss both these methods and provide you with tips and suggestions for the same.
There are various varieties of strawberries that you can choose from. There are basically three types of strawberry plants depending on their fruiting habits, they are – June bearing, ever-bearing and day-neutral.
June-bearing – Produces fruits for 2 – 3 weeks during the spring season
Ever-bearing – Produces 2 to 3 harvests spread out across spring, summer and fall
Day-neutral – An improved variety of ever-bearing plants, they produce fruit through out the growing season. This variety should be the best choice for hanging baskets.
We will first discuss how to grow strawberries in strawberry pots and then follow it up with the procedure to plant strawberries in hanging baskets.
What is a strawberry pot?
It is a special type of container for planting small herbs, vines and shrubs. A strawberry pot is urn-shaped and has many opening along its sides, making it look like the fruit it’s named after.
When you are growing strawberry plants pots you end up with several benefits as listed below
- You can use a potting soil which is free from dirt and parasites and hence provides a safe enviroment for the fruit plant.
- Strawberry pots have a vertical design which allows for good drainage.
- The strawberry fruits will be hanging out of the pot from the holes and hence are lot less susceptible to rot.
Quite simply plants like strawberries do well in hanging baskets or in containers like strawberry pots. If they are planted on garden soil you would need to come up with some technique to keep the fruits from touching the soil else they would end up rotting or developing moulds and mildew.
How to plant strawberries in strawberry pots
Here’s what you will need:
- A strawberry pot
- Potting mix
- Strawberry plants
- Some slow releasing fertilizer like osmocote
- PVC Pipe 1.5 inches in diameter, about the small height as the strawberry pot
Follow these simple steps to prepare the strawberry pot for planting.
- Mix some slow releasing fertilizer with the potting mix (use the right amount as per label instructions)
- Add water to this mix so as to make it moist. If the mix is dry it would spill off the opening when you put the soil into the urn.
- Place a layer of this potting mix at the bottom of the strawberry pot
- Cap one end of the PVC pipe and drill small holes on the sides of the pipe as shown in the image. Stake the pipe into the pot with the capped end at the bottom. This pipe will act as our watering hole.
- Place the strawberry plant at the bottom most opening outside-in. Add a layer of potting mix around the roots.
- Repeat step 5 for the rest of the openings till you reach the top.
- Plant 3-4 strawberry plants on the top
It’s as simple as that. The PVC pipe part is the only item which requires some technical effort with the use of a drill and may be a saw to cut it to size.
A few tips to keep in mind are:
- Use a well drained potting mix so that the water can easily reach the lower openings of the urn.
- Space the drill holes randomly along the PVC pipe. The holes should atleast be 1/4 inch in diameter.
- Avoid watering through individual openings as you end up washing away the soil. It is best to water through the PVC watering pipe arrangement.
- Don’t omit the step of adding slow release fertilizers to the potting mix. Once the soil is in place it is difficult to add fertilizers to the bottom soil.
- Close the opening of the PVC pipe with a towel while you are putting soil into the urn. This will prevent the soil from falling into the pipe.
- Massage the root ball of the strawberry plant into a tubular shape so its easy to pass it through the pot openings.
- While watering through the pipe you will need to be a little patient as you would need to water three or four times to provide enough water to the bottom soil.
If you find this a little tedious you can as well go ahead with growing strawberry plants in small sized pots. Strawberries have shallow roots and hence do well in shallow pots.
How to grow strawberries in hanging pots
Strawberries attract slugs and snails. Planting them on garden soil is quite risky due to this factor. Hanging pots solve this problem quite easily, no wonder many gardeners end up growing their strawberries using this technique.
You can plant three to four crops of strawberry on the same hanging pot or basket with each plant yielding 2 pounds of fruits each basket will give you 8 pounds of succulent strawberries to enjoy. An added advantage is that the hanging strawberries will stay naturally dry and warm due to the breeze around the garden.
A few pointers to keep in mind while growing strawberries in hanging baskets are as below
- Arrange for a netting to be placed over the crops when they start fruiting, this will prevent birds from nibbling away at the fruits.
- Strawberry plants enjoy a good feeding of fertilizers regularly and more so in a hanging basket because of the limited amount of nutrition present in the small quantity of soil available.
- Be careful while watering the plants, using a hose pipe can spill the soil over and would also wet the fruits. It is best to use soaker hose for this purpose.
- Prune off all the runners that grow in the first season so the energy is conserved for fruit production.
- Once the flowering starts you should feed the plants every 10 days with a fertilizer that is high in potassium like the “tomato feed”.
- You will have vigorous fruit production the first year but it will dwindle in the subsequent years. It is a good idea to renew the planting every year.
It is quite easy to prepare a hanging basket or pot for growing strawberries, here’s what you need to do
Buy a 14 inch wire basket – You can also buy a wooden or a plastic basket for this purpose. Most gardeners use a wire basket mostly for cosmetic purposes.
Get some potting mix, slow release fertilizer and hydrogel crystals – Mix some slow release fertilizer along with the potting mix, add some water to moisten the mixture and add some water retaining gels (hydrogel).
Use peat-moss to layer the wire basket – Soak the peat moss in water for 2 minutes and then layer it along the sides of the basket. The layer should be 2 inches thick.
Once you are done with this initial preparation you are ready to start planting. You can plant close to 4 strawberry plants along the sides. Put the potting mix into the basket and cover the roots of the strawberry plants with soil. Make sure the crown of the plant is in level with the soil.
Don’t allow the soil to dry up too much, keep checking the moisture content and replenish water whenever necessary. That concludes our discussion on how to grow strawberries in hanging pots.
Whether you decide to grow strawberries in strawberry pots or in hanging pots, they make for great berries and will add flavor to your ice-creams and yoghurts throughtout the summer.