One of the easiest fruits to grow on your patio in a container are strawberries. Not all of us are lucky enough to live in the Midwest where they grow wild out in the woods or have a large backyard where you can put in a strawberry patch. Luckily for us, strawberries don’t need a lot of space to produce delicious berries all summer long. Here are some great tips to grow strawberries on the patio.
There are containers that are made specifically for strawberries called strawberry pots and are usually a couple feet tall with openings all over the container. Since strawberries have a small root system, they can easily fit into these tight spaces and then will cascade down the container. They can also grow in nicely tucked into a larger container garden, a hanging basket, or in a regular pot all by themselves. Your imagination is the only limitation when it comes to finding places where to plant strawberries!
Strawberries are a type of plant that has runners or roots that run either beneath or on top of the soil surface. These runners grow into individual plants as they produce their own root systems. They then send out their own strawberry runners and keep multiplying. One strawberry plant can have many runners branching off. You can create many new plants for your own garden or to give as gifts to friends from one healthy plant. Strawberries also reproduce by seed and these are often what you see being sold as transplants. When buying a transplant at the garden store, make sure to buy one that has a few runners that appear straighter than and not as bendable as the roots.
Try different varieties from seed to see which ones you like more as some are sweeter than others. Plant nurseries typically carry just one to two different varieties so it doesn’t hurt to shop at different stores to get a few different kinds. If you decide to grow your strawberries from seed, grab a few seed catalogs and order a bunch because you can’t go wrong at a couple dollars per packet.
Strawberries in containers grow best in amended soil and need to have fertilizer added every 2-3 weeks during their growing cycle. The best way to amend the soil so that your strawberry plants continually produce is by adding compost. Use organic fertilizers like earthworm castings, plus blood and bone meal to give the plants the nitrogen and phosphorous they need to produce their fruit too.
Remember when you first plant the seeds to keep the soil evenly moist and don’t let it dry out. Once the seedlings are an inch tall, cut back the watering to every two days. It is best to give them a long soak and let the water drain out of the container for a minute or two rather than a shallow sprinkling. Fully established plants need to be watered twice a week, more often if you are in a hotter climate and daily in the heat of summer. Plant strawberry seeds at the last sign of frost or indoors 6 weeks before if you want to get a jump start on the growing season.