Grow soft fruit Strawberries

A close up picture of a strawberry

Home-grown strawberries are full of flavour

Traditionally, strawberries are grown in the vegetable patch, but raising them in pots is a practical alternative – it also means they are safer from slugs and you don’t need to protect them from mud splashes.

Their pretty white flowers and glistening red fruit make a decorative addition to the garden.

Best varieties of strawberries

Choose two or more varieties to give you fruit for longer.

  • Early-season: Darlisette, Sallybright
  • Mid-season: Sonata, Elsanta
  • Late season: Malwina
  • Or choose perpetual varieties such as Aromel, which produces light crops from June to October

Expert tips for growing strawberries

Buy plants in late summer, or young plants in late winter or early spring. Modern varieties should produce a reasonable crop in the first summer, so there's no need to remove the flowers. 

A picture of some strawberries growing in the wild

Try growing strawberries in pots to keep them safe from slugs

Plant three plants to a 10-litre pot, using container compost. You can expect about 700g of fruit per plant. Avoid using strawberry towers or growing bags as these are difficult to water properly.

Position in a sunny, sheltered spot. You can take some pots into the greenhouse or conservatory in February to get an earlier crop. Put them outside again when fruiting is over, as they need a cold spell to produce flowers the next year.

Caring for your strawberry plants

  • Feed with tomato food fortnightly from spring until fruits start to form, then weekly until fruiting finishes.
  • Increase your plants, or replace old ones, by selecting large, healthy runners – small plants produced on the ends of long stems. Peg these down into small pots of compost and cut the stem when they have rooted.
  • Cut back all the foliage and unwanted runners when fruiting has finished to reduce disease problems.

Renovating strawberries

Replace plants in pots after three or four years, changing the compost at the same time, as plants crop best in their second year.

A neglected strawberry patch is unlikely to be worth saving, though if the plants look healthy you could remove some runners and start a new patch in another area of the garden.

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