If you’re wondering when to plant strawberries in the UK, then you’ll want to read this guide! We’ll discuss everything you need to know about cultivating this tasty fruit, including the perfect time for doing it.
We’ll also include some essential tips on how to grow these delicious fruits successfully. So whether you’re a novice or an experienced gardener, make sure to read on!
Why You Should Grow Strawberries
Strawberries are juicy, nutritious fruits enjoyed by people around the world. These highly versatile fruits can be eaten fresh or used in cooking and baking. Strawberries come in a wide range of varieties, each with a unique flavour.
Growing strawberry plants is easily doable for novice gardeners. Strawberries can be grown in containers or on the ground. They are also a great fruit to grow if you’re looking for a productive and delicious crop that will reward your efforts with plenty of sweet berries.
In addition, they are easy to maintain. Once established, a healthy strawberry plant will produce fruit for several years. Furthermore, some varieties have fruit several times in one season. And you don’t even have to plant a lot. About twenty to 30 strawberry plants will provide enough fruit for most families.
Another reason to grow your strawberries is that they are healthier than store-bought ones. Conventionally-grown strawberries are often sprayed with pesticides and other chemicals. So by growing your own, you’ll be getting a more nutritious fruit free from harmful chemicals.
When to Plant Strawberries in the UK
The best time to plant strawberries is mid-spring, early summer, or early autumn. This will give your plants time to establish before the winter or summer weather arrives.
If you live in the Northern regions where the winters are cold, it is best to plant them in early spring. This will give your plants ample time to grow a good root system before the colder weather arrives.
If you’re residing in an area with milder winters, you can plant strawberries in mid-spring or early summer. If you’re from a warm region where the winters are not very cold, you can plant them in early autumn.
In all cases, make sure to give your plants plenty of water during the first few weeks after planting. This will help them get established and start producing fruit.
How to Plant and Grow Strawberries
Now that you know the best times to plant strawberries, let’s take a look at how to do it. These easy-to-follow instructions will walk you through the process step-by-step.
Step 1: Pick an Appropriate Strawberry Plant Variety
Before planting strawberries in your garden, you have to determine which variety you want to grow. There are three main strawberry varieties available, and they are as follows:
- Everbearing strawberries: Everbearers – an example of which are wild strawberries and alpine strawberries – are a type of strawberry that produces fruit several times during the growing season, from early spring to late autumn. They are a good choice for gardeners who want a steady supply of berries.
- June-bearing strawberries: These strawberries produce one large crop in June. These summer-fruiting strawberries are the variety most often grown by home gardeners.
- Day-neutral strawberries: Day-neutral varieties are productive throughout the season, but they produce smaller and fewer strawberries than June-bearers.
Step 2: Choosing a Planting Site
First, you need to select a location for your strawberry plants. They should get at least six hours of sunlight per day. While the plants may grow on various soil types, if possible, choose an area that has rich, sandy soil abundant in organic matter.
The soil pH should be slightly acidic. It is best to grow the strawberries in containers filled with compost-enriched potting soil mix if you have alkaline soil.
If you are planting strawberries in the ground, remember that they thrive well on well-drained soil. Hence, raised strawberry beds are a good option for planting strawberries.
Step 3: Digging the Hole
Once you have selected a site, it’s time to dig the hole. The hole should be about twice as wide and deep as the pot your strawberry plant is in. If you are planning to grow more than one plant, observe proper plant spacing.
Once you have dug the hole, use a garden fork or shovel to mix some compost or organic matter into the soil. This keeps the soil fertile and well-drained.
Step 4: Adding Soil Amendment
If your soil is not rich in organic matter, then you’ll need to add some amendments to it before planting strawberries. You can do this by mixing in some well-rotted manure or garden compost into the soil.
Step 5: Planting and Mulching Strawberries
Once you have amended the soil, it’s time to plant the strawberry plants. Gently remove the plant from its pot and place it in the hole. Be very careful not to damage the roots when handling the potted plants.
If the soil is too dry, you can soak it in a bucket of water for about an hour before planting. This will help reduce transplant shock.
Once the plant is in position, fill in the hole with soil and tamp it down lightly—water well in order to let the soil settle around the roots.
Now that your plants are in the ground, you’ll need to mulch them. This will help keep the soil moist and cool and suppress weed growth. You can use various materials for mulching, such as compost, straw, bark chips, or leaves. Just make sure to keep the straw mulch approximately an inch away from the plant’s stem.
Step 6: Watering Your Plants
Water well immediately after planting, and then water regularly – especially during dry spells. Strawberries need about an inch of water per week, either from rainfall or irrigation.
Strawberries are a delicious, nutritious, and easy-to-grow fruit that can be enjoyed fresh from the garden during the spring and summer months.
How to Grow Strawberries in Containers
If you are short on garden space, or if the soil in your yard is not ideal for this fruit, you can always grow them in containers. Just follow these simple steps:
- Select a Container. The container should be at least 12 inches deep and 18 inches wide. Make sure it has drainage holes in the bottom.
- Spread a layer of organic compost to the bottom of the container. This will help improve the soil’s fertility and drainage.
- Plant the strawberries in rows, spacing them about two inches apart. Be sure to select a variety of different types for fruiting throughout the season.
- Water the plants well. Container-grown strawberries will need to be watered regularly – especially during dry spells. They should get at least one inch of water per week.
- Mulch your strawberries with a layer of compost, straw, or leaves. Keep the mulch an inch away from the plant’s stem.
- After mulching, fertilize your strawberries with a balanced organic fertilizer. This ensures that they get the nutrients they need to produce lots of delicious fruit.
Container-grown strawberries are an excellent option for gardeners who don’t have a lot of space or for those who want to grow this fruit in an area that doesn’t have ideal soil conditions. With timely care and attention, you can enjoy fresh strawberries from your garden all season long!
Tips for Successfully Growing Strawberries
The right strawberry growing conditions should be met to ensure a good crop. Here are some tips on how to grow strawberries:
Fertilize Your Plants
Feeding strawberries with a balanced fertilizer will ensure good growth and yield. A fertilizer that is high in nitrogen will help produce lush foliage; phosphorus helps with flower and fruit production, while potassium aids in disease resistance.
Ensure They Get Enough Sunlight
Strawberries require six or more hours of direct sunlight per day. If they don’t get enough sun, they will produce fewer berries and become leggy.
Monitor the Soil’s Moisture Level
Monitor the moisture level in the soil and water as needed. Your plants need about an inch of water per week, either from rainfall or irrigation.
Space Your Plants Correctly
Strawberry plants should be spaced two inches apart in rows six inches wide. This will help ensure good air circulation and reduce the chances of disease.
Remove any flowers that emerge during the first year so that the plant can focus on establishing strong roots. Removing dead leaves will also give way to fresh leaves.
Inspect for Pests and Diseases
Pests and plant diseases often attack strawberries. Inspect the plants regularly for pests and fungal diseases, and take action as needed.
Keep Weeds and Debris Under Control
Weeds must be kept under control; hoe or hand pull weeds regularly. It is also essential to remove old mulch and debris from the area where strawberries grow.
Use Netting or Fencing
Birds love strawberries, and the best way to protect your crops from them and other animals is to use netting and perhaps a fruit cage.
However, make sure to use the appropriate type of netting so pollinating insects can still reach the flowers. Also, be sure to remove the netting after your strawberry plants have fruited.
Harvest the Fruit Regularly
Harvest the fruit regularly to encourage more fruiting. Always use a sharp knife or scissors to cut the fruit from the plant. Do not pull it off, as this can damage the stem.
Planting and growing strawberries is a fun and easy way to enjoy homegrown fruit during the spring and summer months. Follow these simple steps for successful strawberry cultivation, and you’ll be enjoying the delicious fruits in no time!
Frequently Asked Questions About Strawberry Plant Care
How to Grow Strawberries From Runners?
To increase the number of strawberry plants in your garden, you can propagate using runners from a parent plant. A runner is a stem that grows out from the main plant and produces new daughter plants at its tip.
To propagate the fruit-bearing plants, cut off a healthy strawberry runner from the mother plant and transplant it into a soil-filled container. Make sure to water well and keep the soil moist. After a few weeks, the new plants can be transferred to a new strawberry bed.
How Do I Care for Container Strawberries?
If you are growing strawberries in containers and hanging baskets, make sure to use a soil mix rich in organic matter and drains well. Water regularly, keeping the soil moist but not wet. Fertilize with a balanced formula every two weeks. Place the container in full sun for at least six hours per day.
When’s the Best Time to Grow Strawberry Seeds in the UK?
Strawberry seeds can be sown outdoors in the UK from late February to early April. You can also start sowing seeds indoors four to six weeks before the last frost date.
What’s the Best Type of Soil for Strawberries?
Strawberries prefer free-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. To achieve this, add manure or compost to your garden soil before planting. You can also use a soil mix specifically for strawberries.
What Should I Do if My Strawberries Are Attacked by Pests or Diseases?
If your strawberry plants are attacked by pests or diseases, take action as soon as possible to prevent the problem from spreading. Remove any affected leaves and fruit, and use a registered pesticide or fungicide as needed. Sanitize all tools and hands after contact with diseased plants.
How Do I Care for Strawberry Plants After Fruiting?
After your strawberry plants have finished fruiting, remove all the old fruit and foliage. Cut back the stems to about six inches tall, and fertilize with a balanced fertilizer. Water well and keep the soil moist until new growth appears. Then you can resume your regular watering schedule.
Enjoy a Productive Strawberry Garden!
Growing strawberry plants may be a bit of a challenge for novice gardeners. However, knowing the right growing conditions and when to plant strawberries in the UK is a gratifying experience. With a little bit of effort, you’ll have a bountiful harvest of sweet and juicy strawberries from your garden!
If you found this planting guide helpful, check out our other gardening articles for more advice. And don’t forget to share your tips and experiences in the comments below!