How to Grow Strawberries – Your Complete Guide
Strawberries are quite popular, especially among children. However, many people don’t know that it is actually quite easy to grow your own strawberries.
In this article, I give you all the instructions and information you need to know in order to grow strawberries in an optimal manner.
I will walk you through each step and also show you how to get from seed to harvest in the best possible way.
Strawberry Plant Profile
|Size (Height, Spread)||7 to 9 inches tall and 10 to 12 inches wide.|
|Climate||Strawberries grow best in moderate to warm climatic conditions with temperatures of 60 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit.|
|Sun Exposure||Strawberry plants love the sun.|
|Soil Requirements||Strawberries grow best in rather acidic soil with a pH between 5.5. and 6.5.|
|Country of Origin||France.|
|Growing Difficulty||Easy – Intermediate.|
|Perennial?||Many strawberries are perennials and you can therefore regrow and harvest strawberries for many years.|
|When should you start to grow?||In spring between April and May.|
|Expected Yield & Harvest||0.5 to 1 pound of strawberries per plant.|
|Time from Seed to Harvest||More than one year until you can harvest your first strawberries if you grow them from seed.|
|Pests & Diseases||Black Root Rot, Powdery Mildew, White Grub, Grey Mold, Leaf Spot, Aphids.|
|Use||You can use strawberries for fruit salads, make your own ice or just eat them raw.|
What Varieties and Types of Strawberries can you grow?
If you decided that want to grow your own strawberries, you also have to decide what variety of strawberries you want to grow. I listed the most popular strawberry sorts below:
- Ozark Beauty
While I personally love to grow Ozark Beauty strawberries due to the high yields and the nice taste, I recommend you just to grow your own favorite strawberry variety.
If you are not sure which strawberry variety you want to grow, you can also go for a seed mix so that you can try many different ones before you finally commit to your favorite ones the years after.
When should you start to grow Strawberries?
Please first note that strawberries not only live one, but even multiple years. Hence, once you’ve successfully grown them, you can hope to harvest strawberries for many years to come.
However, when it the best time to start growing your strawberries? While this also depends on the respective strawberry variety, you can start growing strawberries as early as at the end of March.
In fact, the sooner you start to grow your strawberries, the bigger and more resistant they will be when you finally transplant them outdoors.
However, if it is already April or even May, don’t bother too much about it. It can make sense to start growing your strawberries until the end of May.
Consequently, you have a high level of flexibility regarding when you want to start growing your strawberries and you can also adjust it according to your individual schedule.
How long does it take to grow Strawberries from Seed to Harvest?
If you grow your strawberries from seed to harvest, it will take more than one year until you will be able to harvest the first fruits.
Thus, say you grow strawberries from seed in April this year, you will have to wait until summer next year to harvest your first strawberries.
In fact, strawberries grow quite slow and you therefore need quite a lot of patience for growing strawberries.
If you are a rather impatient person and don’t want to wait that long, you may be better off by getting seedlings from the store in time so that you may be able to get fruits in the first year.
What is the best Climate to grow Strawberries?
Strawberries like moderate to warm climatic conditions. However, many strawberry strains have become quite resistant over the course of history and seed companies have done a really good job to make those strawberry strains quite adaptable to different climate zones.
Hence, as long as you live in a rather moderate climate with not too extreme temperatures, you can be sure that the climatic conditions will be suitable for your strawberry growing project.
What Temperatures do Strawberries like?
Similar to the overall climatic conditions, strawberries are rather flexible regarding the outside temperatures once they get to a certain height.
While they usually grow best with temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, it doesn’t matter too much if you live in an area that is a little bit hotter or colder.
However, note that especially small seedlings are quite sensitive to the cold and also to extremely hot weather.
Therefore, make sure to protect smaller plants against those extreme conditions the first weeks until they become bigger and more resistant.
What do you need to grow Strawberries?
Although growing strawberries is rather straightforward, you still need some equipment.
I listed all the equipment I would recommend you to get below. You may already have some of those things at home.
In such a case, you don’t have to buy it again 😉. If you are still missing certain things, you can use my links and buy this equipment on Amazon or you can also buy it at your local garden center.
- Strawberry seeds (you can either buy them through my links on Amazon or extract your own seeds from strawberries)
- Growing bed (to grow your seedlings)
- Big flower pots (the bigger, the better, since more soil means better nutrient supply; alternatively, you can grow your strawberries in your garden and don’t need a pot)
- Potting compost (you can either buy it or use soil from your garden)
- Bamboo sticks and cord (or other sticks to stake and stabilize your strawberries)
- Fertilizer (necessity of additional fertilizer also depends on the soil structure in your garden)
- Watering cans
- Garden shovel
- Patience and passion for growing plants 😉
What Yield can you expect when you grow Strawberries?
How high your strawberry yield will be greatly depends on the variety you choose to grow.
However, if you choose a decent variety, you will be able to harvest around half a pound of strawberries per plant on average.
Please note that I give you a rough estimate for what you can expect as a beginner.
As you get better and more experienced, chances are that you will be able to optimize your yields over the years.
Thus, don’t be discouraged if your yields are rather low for the first years.
Chances are that you will become better at growing strawberries over the years since you will acquire a lot of experience over time.
What should you grow with Strawberries?
If you want to know what to grow with strawberries, make sure to also check out the best and worst strawberry companion plants.
Why should you grow your own Strawberries?
Many people also ask me why you should even bother with growing your own strawberries.
You can simply buy them in the store or also get them from a strawberry field in your region.
All this is true and if you don’t like growing your own food, growing your own strawberries will also not make too much sense for you.
However, for me, growing my own food is more than just supplying myself with vegetables and fruits, it’s a lifestyle and a passion of mine and I really love to see the work I put in throughout the year pay off in the long run.
Moreover, I am also quite fascinated about watching my plants grow and that plants can be grown from just such small seeds into decent plants.
Long story short: If you are not passionate about gardening at all, growing your own plants will not pay off for you.
However, if you are really interested and passionate about gardening, you should definitely give it a try and grow your own strawberries.
Growing Strawberries: Step-by-Step
1. Select a Site for your Strawberry Plants
If you decided that you really want to grow your own strawberries, the first important step is to choose the optimal location for your strawberry plants.
In fact, many newbies skip this step early on in the process and get into trouble later on since they don’t know where to transplant their seedlings.
Thus, it is crucial to determine where you want to grow your strawberry plants at the beginning.
Do Strawberries like Shadow or Sun?
The first thing you should ask yourself regarding the optimal site for your strawberries is whether strawberry plants like sun or shadow.
Like many other plants, strawberries like the sun. However, a healthy mix between sun and shadow can also be good as well.
Thus, make sure that you choose a spot for your strawberries in your garden or on your balcony where those plants get at least some sun in order to be able to grow in a healthy manner.
What are the Soil Requirements of Strawberries?
In general, strawberries prefer a slightly acidic soil environment with a pH-value between 5.5 and 6.5.
If you buy potting soil from your local garden center, you should be just fine to provide your strawberries with a nice growing environment.
However, if you want to further optimize the soil structure and the soil characteristics, you can ask in your local garden center what you can add to further optimize the conditions for your strawberries.
In my opinion, relying on potting soil from the store is just fine and you don’t have to add any other components to the soil in most cases.
How much Space do Strawberries need?
Strawberry plants are usually rather small and don’t need too much space. However, make sure that you give every strawberry plant around one foot of space to each side so that it can develop in a healthy manner and also gets sufficient sun and nutrients.
Hence, if you plan your strawberry growing project carefully, chances are that you will be able to plant many strawberry plants on a rather confined space.
Should you plant Strawberries in a Pot or in the Garden?
There are several pros and cons of growing your strawberries in a pot or in the garden.
If you have a big garden and you are already sure regarding where you want to grow your strawberries, you should go for growing your strawberries in your garden instead of using a pot since those strawberry plants will have more space and soil to develop in a healthy manner.
However, if you don’t have a big garden or no garden at all, you will simply have no choice other than to use pots to grow your strawberries.
Either way, results can be quite decent as long as you closely follow the instructions in this article.
2. Plant Strawberry Seeds
Let’s assume you have figured out the optimal location for growing your strawberry plants.
Then, you are ready for the next step of actually preparing and planting your seeds.
Should you buy Strawberry Seeds or Seedlings?
First of all, you have to decide whether you want to use seedlings from the store or if you just want to grow your own seedlings from scratch.
In my opinion, growing your own seedlings is much more interesting than buying those seedlings from the store since you can really get the full growing experience from seed to harvest.
However, also note that if you grow your strawberries from seed to harvest, you will see the fruits of your labor only in the next year since it will take quite long for your strawberry plants to actually grow and to develop fruits.
Consequently, if you urgently want to harvest the first strawberries the same year you grow your plants, you should definitely go for using seedlings from the store instead of growing strawberries from seed to harvest.
Should you buy Strawberry Seeds or produce Seeds by yourself?
If you have the level of patience that is necessary to grow your strawberries from seed to harvest, you will also have to decide whether you want to use your own seeds or if you get your seeds from seed companies.
In my opinion, it can make sense to extract your own strawberry seeds since you can just choose your favorite strawberry variety from the local store and you can be sure that you really like the taste of your strawberries.
Once you got your strawberries from the store, you can just cut them into halves and extract many small seeds from the inside of the strawberries and you are ready to go.
How to plant Strawberry Seeds
Once you extracted your strawberry seeds or got them from the internet or from your local garden store, it is now time to actually plant your seeds.
The first step is to fill your growing bed with sufficient soil. Sufficient means that you should almost fill it up to the top. However, make sure to leave around one inch in height left.
After you filled your growing bed, you can place your seeds on top of the soil layer.
Make sure that each seed has a distance of about 3-4 inches to each other so that your seedlings will have sufficient space to develop in an optimal manner once they reach the soil surface.
After you placed your seeds accordingly, you have to cover those seeds with around one inch of soil. After all those steps are done, the last thing you have to do is to water your growing bed carefully.
You also have to make sure over the next days and weeks that the soil will never dry out since seedlings are quite sensitive to water shortage and may simply die off.
How long does it take to see the first Strawberry Seedlings?
If you did everything right, chances are that you will see the first results after just one week.
However, while some seedlings will reach the soil surface quite soon, others will take much more time.
Hence, it can take several weeks until all seedlings will finally become visible to you. Also note that not all seeds will turn into seedlings.
In fact, you should estimate that many seeds will not start to grow at all. To give you a rough estimate, I suggest you use 30 seeds for every 10 strawberry seedlings you want to get. If you get more than 10 seedlings, you can just remove the additional ones.
However, by using a sufficient number of seeds, you can maximize your chances to really get the required number of seedlings out of your efforts.
How to protect your Strawberry Seedlings
Since you will grow your strawberry seedlings inside your home in a protected space with plenty of light and rather warm climate, chances are that there will not be too much to worry about.
You just need to make sure that you water your seedlings on a regular basis and you are ready to go.
Thus, as long as you keep your strawberry seedlings inside, you don’t have to worry too much about protection since the dangers for your seedlings will be quite limited.
However, this greatly changes once you put your seedlings outdoors.
When should you transplant your Strawberry Seedlings?
The next crucial step is to decide when you actually want to transplant your strawberries. In my opinion, transplanting strawberries only once is the way to go.
Hence, you should grow your strawberry seedlings to a sufficient height before you consider transplanting them to your garden or to a pot outdoors.
If would suggest leaving your seedlings inside as long as they haven’t crossed the 5 -inch mark in height.
Moreover, before transplanting your strawberries outdoors, also make sure that it will no longer be freezing at night.
In fact, smaller seedlings are still quite sensitive to the cold and if you expose them to cold environments too soon, they may just die off.
Hence, make sure that the temperature at night no longer falls below the freezing mark in order to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
What kind of Protection do Strawberry Seedlings need outdoor?
Once you decided that it is time to transplant your strawberries outdoors, you need to think about additional protection.
While your strawberries had been able to grow in a rather protected environment inside your flat or your house, they will now be exposed to the dangers that wait for them outside.
In fact, pests can be become a serious problem and also snails can eat your strawberry seedlings.
Hence, it is crucial that you use slug fences in order to protect your strawberry plants until they get bigger and more resistant.
3. The Strawberry Growth Process
Now that you managed it to transplant your seedlings outdoors and to protect them from the dangers that wait for them outside, the hardest part lies behind you.
From now on, your plants will become more resistant every day and you will have to care less about minor issues after a while.
However, in order to optimize the growth behavior of your strawberry plants and also to maximize your yield, you can take further measures.
Some additional information on what you can do and what you can expect in the growth process of strawberries is given in the following.
How fast do Strawberries grow?
People often ask themselves whether they are on the right track and if their strawberries grow at a sufficient speed.
Therefore, people often try to figure out what the optimal speed for growing strawberries actually is.
However, I have to disappoint you in this regard.
There is no definitive answer to this question since there are so many factors that determine the speed of growth of your plants.
Yet, if you follow all the instructions in the article carefully, chances are that you will do quite well and that you will manage to stay on track.
Thus, just be patient and let nature do its work for you.
Should you prune your Strawberry Plants?
Some people also claim that you should prune your strawberry plant. In my opinion, pruning doesn’t make sense most of the time and I would not recommend that you prune your strawberries. In fact, just let them grow.
Mother nature usually knows what she’s doing and before humans existed, there was nobody pruning strawberry plants.
Hence, also from an evolutionary perspective, pruning doesn’t make too much sense.
Do you have to pollinate your Strawberry Plants by Hand?
If you grow your strawberry plants outdoors, there will not be a need to pollinate your strawberries by hand.
In fact, there will be many insects around in your garden or on your balcony and those insects will naturally pollinate your strawberry plants.
Thus, no need to worry or to take additional action in this regard.
How to stake your Strawberry Plants
Since strawberries stay rather small and compact, there is usually no reason to stake your strawberry plants. In fact, you can just let them grow without the need for any additional staking measures.
Hence, in my opinion, you don’t have to tie your strawberry plants to sticks since they will be able to withstand winds also without any staking.
However, if you are a quite careful person and want to stake your strawberries, fine! Just go for it, you will do nothing wrong either.
4. The Strawberry Harvest
You invested plenty of time in your growing project over the past months, or, if you started from seed, even for more than one year. Now, it is time to enjoy the fruits of your harvest.
When should you harvest your Strawberries?
Harvesting strawberries is quite straightforward and simple. You will see from the color of your strawberries whether they are ripe or not.
In fact, ripe strawberries just have a strong red color. Hence, if your strawberries are not fully red, wait a few more days and don’t get impatient.
Only if you leave your strawberries on the plant long enough, they will be able to develop the optimal aroma and will also be maximally healthy since they will produce a maximum of beneficial vitamins and other components.
However, also don’t leave your strawberries on your plants for too long since this is not good for them either.
How to store your Strawberries?
Once you harvested your strawberries, they will only have a rather limited shelf-life. In fact, you should eat your strawberries within a few days after the harvest in order to enjoy the best taste.
Thus, make sure that you use your strawberries in time so that they don’t get bad.
What to do with your Strawberries?
There are numerous ways of how you can use your strawberries. Many people like eating their strawberries right off the plant.
However, you could also make delicious marmalade out of them or also make a nice strawberry cake.
All options are tempting and you can freely choose what is best for yourself or for your family.
Strawberry Plant Care Tips
I already gave you most of the information that is needed to successfully grow strawberries. However, there are still some general topics that haven’t been discussed so far.
How often should you irrigate Strawberries?
Irrigating your strawberries is rather simple. In fact, you only have to take a closer look at the soil and you will see whether the soil is still wet enough or if you have to water your strawberries.
You can also dig a small hole next to your strawberry plant with your finger and see whether the soil sticks to your finger.
If it sticks to your finger, there is still enough water in the soil. If the soil doesn’t stick to your finger, it is time to water your plants.
Of course, this only gives you a rough indication of when to water your plants.
Over time, you will get sufficient experience to determine when to water your plants even without having to touch the soil.
At what Time of the Day should you water your Strawberry Plants?
You can water your strawberries at all times of the day and night.
However, it is slightly better to irrigate your strawberry plants in the early morning since less water will evaporate and the water can be used most efficiently.
How often should you fertilize your Strawberries?
Strawberries don’t require too much care and are able to produce decent yields even without the need to fertilize them.
However, if you really want to maximize your yields, it can be helpful to use some fertilizer before the plant actually starts to produce crops.
Yet, not every sort of fertilizer is suitable and many fertilizers are also quite harmful to our environment.
What kind of Fertilizer should you use for your Strawberry Plants?
If you urgently want to use fertilizer for your strawberry plants, at least make sure that you use natural fertilizers instead of chemical ones.
Chemical fertilizers can be detrimental to our environment since they contaminate the soil with harmful elements and also harm the local flora and fauna quite a lot.
Thus, instead of using chemical fertilizer, I advise you to produce your own fertilizer. This may sound intimidating at first, but it is actually really simple.
In fact, you just have to collect some stinging nettles and mix them will water in a big bucket.
After that, you just leave the stinging nettles in the water for a few days and plenty of nitrogen and other helpful components will end up in the water.
After a few days, you can remove the stinging nettles and have a natural fertilizer that you can use throughout the year in a completely natural and unproblematic manner.
Should you use Pesticides or Herbicides for Growing Strawberries?
Even though the use of pesticides and herbicides may increase your strawberry yields, the use of those substances is still quite harmful to our environment.
Moreover, many insect species may die in case you use those substances, which is not only bad for nature, but also for the pollination of your strawberry plants.
Hence, try to avoid using pesticides and herbicides at all costs. Moreover, instead of using these herbicides, you can just remove weeds by hand.
If you want to get more information about strawberry pest control, you should also have a look at my article on how to control strawberry pests and diseases.
What’s left to say?
Phew! It was a quite long ride. I know, this grower’s guide is quite extensive, but it is necessary to explain all those things in order to provide you with the best chances to grow your strawberries in an optimal manner.
I hope you liked this article. If you did, you can do me a favor and share my articles with your family and friends.
Not only will this help me, it will also give more people the opportunity to grow their own plants at home.
Also make sure to check out my growing strawberries faq section to learn even more about growing strawberries.
About the author
My name is Andreas and I’m really passionate about our environment and also about growing plants. In fact, I have grown several different plants over many years. I love to see my own plants grow and always try new things.
In my blog posts, I want to share my experiences with you so that you can become successful in growing various different plants, even if you are still a beginner right now.