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Smart Thoughts

The Sweet Taste of Success: Growing Strawberries in Containers

Red, sweet, juicy strawberries are the definitive taste of summer. Not only does June kick off the summer season, it’s also the month when most strawberries hit the market. So what do you do when your craving for strawberry shortcake or strawberry mojitos hits the roof? Harvest those beautiful, organic strawberries you had the foresight to plant just a few short months ago.

5 Strategies for Sweet Success:
1. Growing strawberries in containers is one of the easiest ways to ensure success. Strawberries thrive in lots of sun, but also need consistent water and loose, rich, soil for excellent drainage. It’s far, far easier to provide these ideal conditions when you start by planting strawberries in containers.

2. It’s oh-so-simple to learn how to grow strawberries in a pot. In fact, learning how to grow strawberries in pots is so easy, even brown-thumbs can enjoy a summer harvest. Select a pot or container with enough room to plant your desired number of strawberry plants, or “crowns” as they are sometimes called. Position them approximately six inches from the center of one plant to the center of the next. For the greatest yield, a shallow container with a wide surface area is the best choice. Soft-sided, instant raised beds are a great choice for these shallow-rooted beauties.

3. A great benefit to planting strawberries in containers, is that these gems are perennial. That means your strawberries will come up year after year, and even multiply by putting out new, little plants on runners – long stems that attach the baby plant to the original. When the roots are well established, clip the runner and transplant your new strawberries into a second container. It’s just one more reason growing strawberries in containers is a winner— you get delicious berries and new plants for free!

4. Oops…your lease is up! When you’re growing strawberries in pots, you never have to worry about leaving your hard work and money behind. Just pick them up and take them along for the ride. Perennial strawberries work even if your life is a bit like a rolling stone. Already in your forever home? Planting strawberries in containers lets you move them as your sun and shade patterns change, or if you simply want to tweak your garden design.

Finally, pick strong, healthy plants as soon as you see them in local garden centers. They’ll get a head start when you plant them in good quality soil, an aerated container, and provide a moist, but not wet, growing environment. A layer of straw mulch keeps your strawberries off the soil, and an inch or so of new compost next year will enrich your strawberries in containers for another sweet season.