Growing Tips - Strawberries

Planting Steps 

Step 1  Unpack your new plants immediately.  Soak the plants in clean water for 5 minutes.  Then refrigerate or begin the planting process.  Do not refrigerate for more than 3 or 4 days before planting. 

Plants should be planted as soon as possible. 

Step 2  Select the growing location.  Whether planting in the ground, in a container or a raised bed, make sure to use well-draining soilStanding water or saturated soil deprives roots of oxygen.  Be sure to choose a sunny area for your plants - Strawberry plants require a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. 

Step 3  When planting, ensure the crown (the “heart” of the plant, where the roots meet the leaves) is at soil level.  No part of the crown can be above the ground.  Water the plants thoroughly after planting to encourage root establishment.  Make sure when planting to space the plants at least 12 inches apart.   

  • Make sure the roots are straight and not bent upward when placed into the soil. 
  • Do not trim the roots prior to planting. 

Plant Caretaking and Tips for Success   

Watering:  Strawberry plants need consistent watering to thrive, especially during fruit bearing season. Always water at the base of the plants to prevent fungal diseases.  If possible, do not wet the canopy of the plant when watering.  Keep the soil moist at depth, but allow the surface to dry between waterings. 

  • Ideal watering time is early in the morning.  Avoid watering in the early evening. 

Fertilizer:  Fertilize once every month beginning 1 week after planting with ½ tablespoon per plant of a balanced fertilizer 16-16-16.  Water after fertilizing to help move fertilizer into the root zone.  Light green leaves and a lack of vigor indicate a need for further application.  

Flowering and Fruiting:  Plant vigor is important to ensure consistent and large fruit.  Removing the first 6-8 flowers that emerge will allow the plant to focus on growing big and strong before it begins producing fruit.  Do not allow the fruit to come in contact with the soil.  Place plastic film (mulch), straw or newspaper on the soil around the plant’s base to reduce weeds, prevent soil splashing on fruit, and protect against insects and pathogens.  

Pests:  The most likely pest of strawberry plants is the spider mite.  To protect from mites, gently spray the plants once a week with water from a garden hose shower nozzle.  Be sure to thoroughly spray the undersides of the leaves where mites reside.   

Winter:  Overwintering strawberry plants will be damaged by winter temps below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.  If grown in beds or in the ground, trim / reduce plants to a spacing of 12 inches between plants.  Be aware that 2nd-year plants produce less fruit of a lower quality, ideally plant new plants each year.