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Fruits | The Strawberry | Strawberry Planning & Purchase | Planting Strawberries | Strawberry Care

Planting Strawberries

Choose a cool and cloudy day for planting strawberries.

Give them elbowroom. As well as needing a weed-free bed, strawberry runners need room to stretch.

The strawberry plant that you "set" into the ground is the mother plant. Prune damaged roots and trim long roots to 4-5 inches in length. Remove all flowers, runners and old leaves. Place the transplants in a container with a small amount of water in the bottom and keep them out of direct sunlight.

Make a wide, shallow hole for the mother plant that covers her roots, being sure to leave about half of her crown (the short stem) exposed. Roots should point down and form a small fan. Firm the soil around each plant and give it a good drink of water. Strawberries - SpringtimeThe system you use for planting individual plants depends on the type of strawberry you choose.

An important part of knowing how to grow strawberries is understanding the differences in the three strawberry types and how they grow.

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June Bearing Strawberries

Popular for their voluptuous fruit and abundant harvest, June bearers produce in the spring. A disadvantage to growing June bearing strawberries is that you won't get a crop the first year.

You can grow June-bearing varieties in either matted rows or hills.

Matted Row System

For easiest strawberry care and optimum harvest, plant June bearing strawberries 18 to 24 inches apart in rows spaced three to four feet apart. Additionally, planting June bearing strawberries in raised beds allows for good drainage.strawberry-blossoms

Set plants 18 to 24 inches apart in a row (or raised bed), with 3 to 4 feet between rows. Allow runners from mother plants to develop and root, forming a matted row about 18 inches wide. Keep the remaining distance between rows clear. Either sweep runners into the row or nip them off at the edge of the aisle. Nip off any runners from the daughter plants. During the first season, also pluck all blossoms from your plants to give both mothers and daughters time to become firmly established.

Matted rows that are too dense produce lower yields of smaller berries, have a larger proportion of misshapen berries, and have a higher incidence of disease. Ideally, as they develop, you should position runner plants in a density of about five plants per square foot of matted row. Place a small amount of soil just behind each to keep it in place. Once you achieve this density, remove all other runners.

Renovation: In order to insure good fruit production, June-bearing strawberries grown in the matted row system should be renovated every year immediately after harvest.

Mow old foliage with a mower, cutting off the leaves about an inch above the crowns. Remove these cuttings and narrow your rows to six to twelve inches wide by spading, hoeing or tilling. Remove all weeds, old plants, and weak plants, keeping only vigorous year-old plants. Work towards a density of about 5 to 6 plants per square foot of row. Continue monitoring the water supply through the summer and irrigate as necessary.

Note: Renovation is not recommended for either day-neutral or ever bearing types of strawberries.

Hill System

To grow bigger strawberries, keep runners pinched back and don't allow them to root. Plant transplants (the mother plants) in hills, pinching off any runners (daughters) to encourage the mother to produce blossoms and fruit. The less work the mother plant has to do to raise her daughters, the more fruitful she will be.

Planting strawberries in hills makes for easier strawberry care and weeding. The other two types of strawberry cultivars, ever-bearing and day-neutral, do well planted in hills since neither sends out many runners. When planting strawberries in hills, nip off all runners. This allows the mother plant to develop more crowns and flower stalks. Plant rows in groups of two to four plants with a two-foot path between rows and the plants spaced at about a foot apart.

Grow both ever-bearing and day-neutral strawberries in a hill system.

Ever Bearing Strawberries

The name ever-bearing strawberry is a little deceptive for this cultivar isn't "ever bearing," but does produce a nice harvest twice a season, once in spring and once in early autumn. During the first season, pluck all blossoms from ever-bearing cultivars through the end of June. After that, the blossoms will set fruit for a late summer harvest.

Ever bearing Strawberry

Planting ever bearing strawberries in hills makes for easier strawberry care and weeding. When you plant strawberries in hills, nip off all runners. This allows the mother plant to develop more crowns and flower stalks. Plant rows in groups of two to four plants with a two-foot path between rows and the plants spaced at about a foot apart.

Day-neutral Strawberries

The third type of strawberry is the day-neutral, which produces small berries all through the summer. Like ever-bearing strawberries, day-neutrals do well when grown in hills. When growing day-neutral strawberries, pluck off only the first set of blossoms and after that allow the fruit to set. Day neutral strawberries are typically smaller but are very sweet! A common day-neutral cultivar is the Alpine Strawberry.

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