Strawberry Plant Starting Tips

Strawberry plants in dedicated planting bed

Strawberry plants are perennials. A strawberry plant will bear fruit for 2 to 3 years. A single plant will send you several runners towards the end of each season; these runners easily establish themselves as new, independent plants.

There are many varieties of strawberry. Some can be started from seed but most are started from runner or from divisions of established plants called “crowns”.

Strawberries are best grown in dedicated bed where plants are allowed to run and establish new plants.

Seed can be started indoors 8 weeks before setting seedlings out into the garden. Runners can be planted out after all danger of frost has passed in spring or in late summer or autumn.

Sowing and Planting Tips:

  • Grow strawberry plants from seed, crowns, or runners. Crowns are divisions of existing plants that have roots. Runners are stems that root at nodes along the stem.
  • Runners are easily harvested from mother plants; simply find a node that has rooted and cut the stem or runner away from the mother plant.
  • Sow seed indoors 8 weeks before setting out new plants in early spring. Plant after all danger of frost has passed.
  • Sow seed ¼ inch (6 mm) deep in lightly moistened seed starting mix.
  • Seed will germinate in 7 to 14 days at 65-75°F (18-24°C).
  • Transplant seedlings to the garden when plants are 6 to 8 weeks old the soil temperature is at least 60°F (15°C).
  • Set out root divisions or “crowns” or runners in early spring about 2 weeks after the last frost.
  • Each crown or runner should have a rooted section; plant the crown or runner so that the topmost roots are ¼ inch below the surface; the leaves should be just above the soil level. A buried crown will rot.
  • If possible, plant strawberries on hills or raised mounds and allow the runners to run away from the crown of the plant down the hill.
  • Space plants 12 inches (30 cm) apart in every direction.
  • Keep the growing medium or soil in which seeds or crowns are planted just moist.
  • Fertilize with fish emulsion or a soluble complete fertilizer at half strength.
  • Add aged compost to planting beds in advance of transplanting.
  • Strawberries prefer a soil pH range of 5.5 to 7.0.
  • Grow strawberries in full sun for best yield.
  • Plant strawberries in a dedicated bed; plants will live about 2 to 3 years or so, but established plants are always sending out runners to establish new plants.

Interplanting: Strawberries are best planted in a dedicated bed. Strawberries grow well with melons, but avoid planting them where cabbage family crops have recently grown.

Container growing: Strawberries grow well in containers. Choose a container at least 6 inches (15 cm) deep.

Recommended Planting Calendar:

  • From Seed: start seed indoors 8 weeks before setting seedlings out into the garden.
  • From Crowns or Runners: set crowns in the garden in spring about 2 weeks after the last frost in spring; runners can be separated from the mother plant and re-planted at any time during the growing season.

 

Recommended varieties: There are three types of strawberries and many varieties:

  • June-bearing types produce on crop each year in late spring or early summer. Varieties include ‘Allstart’, ‘Chandler’, ‘Earliglow’, ‘Jewel, ‘Sequoia’ and ‘Surecrop’.
  • Everbearing or day neutral types flower and set fruit over a long season with harvest peaking in early summer and continuing into autumn. Varieties include ‘Fort Laramie’, ‘Ogalla’, ‘Ozark Beauty’, and ‘Quinault’.
  • Cultivated varieties of alpine and wild strawberries include ‘Baron Solemacher’, and ‘Yellow Alpine’.

Botanical Name: Fragaria vesca

The strawberry is a member of the Rosaceae or rose family; other members of this family are apples, pears, quinces, apricots, plums, cherries, peaches, raspberries, and loquats.