Strawberries, fortunately, are one of the simplest fruits that you can produce in pots or containers. Compact cultivars have resulted from modern breeding efforts, making them ideal for pots or hanging baskets. You might be surprised at how many berries a little container can produce.
You can grow strawberries in a container, on a south-facing patio, or on hanging baskets on your balcony that are just as productive as traditional garden beds.
Choosing the correct strawberry, the proper pot, the best potting mix, and following easy care instructions are the keys to success. Let’s look at some ideas for producing strawberries in containers.
Choosing the Right Variety
Some strawberries are naturally roaming and like to form large groundcover mats. Others are bred to be more compact, allowing them to grow into little shrubs. Compact strawberry plants can grow to be 6-12″ wide and 8″ tall, depending on your pruning strategies. Compact strawberry types may still develop runners (little suckers that sprout new plants), but they are easier to manage.
Some varieties of compact strawberries are a yellow wonder, Quinault, seascape, and Albion.
Selecting the Right Pot
Strawberry plants have shallow root systems, but they don’t prefer to be constrained vertically to the point that they can’t dig deep enough to keep the plant upright. In the event of high winds, excessive watering, or even large fruit sets, plants with shallow roots are more likely to fall over and out of the pot.
Strawberries, whether grown in containers or on the ground, develop roots that extend 6 to 1 foot into the earth. Deeper roots provide stronger physical anchoring and greater drought and nutritional stress resistance.
This is why, for a healthy root zone, choose a container that is at least 6-8″ deep but preferably 10-12″ deep.
Using a Well-Potting Mix
Make sure your potting mix allows water to flow freely through the root zone, rather than pooling or becoming stagnant.
You can estimate the water infiltration capacity of your soil by filling a container with it and then pouring water over the top. You’re ready to plant strawberries if it immediately settles into the potting mix.
If it forms a little puddle of water on the surface, it means you either compressed the soil too tightly into the pot or the mix isn’t well-drained enough.
Maintaining the pH of the Soil
Strawberries prefer soil that is somewhat acidic, with a pH of 5.5 to 7.0. Mix in small quantities of sawdust, coffee grinds, or pine needles to produce this. You can also choose an acid-loving plant mix, such as those for roses and azaleas, to make things easier.
First published on: 13 May 2022, 05:08 IST