Growing strawberries in pots and baskets is a fun and easy way to enjoy a homegrown harvest of juicy berries

Growing strawberries in pots and hanging baskets

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Growing strawberries in pots and hanging baskets is an easy way to enjoy super-sweet fruits all summer long. I keep a pot of strawberries on my sunny back deck as well as a few baskets in my polytunnel so I can graze as I putter in the garden. But why grow in containers? Why not plant them right in the garden? Strawberry plants are compact and perfect for tucking in small spaces like pots, planters, and baskets. Growing in pots is also a good way to foil pests like slugs that seem to know just when a strawberry is most sweet. Plus, strawberries grown in containers are generally less prone to bacterial and fungal diseases.

When growing berries in pots, be sure to give them at least six to eight hours of sun.

Berries grown in containers need excellent drainage and plenty of sun.

Best types of strawberries to grow in pots and baskets

You can grow any type of strawberry in a pot or basket and expect a harvest, but certain types of strawberries produce fruits once a year while others yield over months, not weeks. 

  • June strawberries – June-bearing strawberry plants produce a generous harvest of large, sweet berries for several weeks in early summer. They’re popular among home gardeners and there are many varieties available to grow. To extend the season, you can plant early, mid-season, and late-season varieties of June-bearing strawberries. 
  • Day neutral strawberries – These varieties yield a modest harvest of berries from late spring through autumn, and even offer a good crop the first year. The fruits, however, are smaller than June and ever-bearing strawberries.
  • Ever-bearing strawberries – While the name implies ever-bearing strawberries fruit continuously, the truth is that they produce several medium harvests over the course of the season. I’ve also found the plants to be less winter hardy than June-bearing or day neutral varieties. Protect the plants in winter with a mulch of straw or shredded leaves.
Hanging baskets are a convenient way to enjoy homegrown berries.

Many garden centres now offer strawberries in hanging baskets. Be sure to keep an eye on watering and fertilize the pot every few weeks with a liquid organic food to encourage high production.

Best containers for strawberry plants

It may seem like a small consideration, but container selection impacts the health of your plants and how much watering you’ll need to do. For example, choose a pot without drainage holes and you’ll quickly see the impact saturated soil has on plant health. Therefore, be sure to choose a pot with several good-sized drainage holes. 

The container material also plays a part in maintenance. A porous material, like terra cotta, is gorgeous, but it dries out very quickly and you’ll need to be extra vigilant in keeping an eye on soil moisture. A plastic planter, on the other hand, retains moisture better than terra cotta. And if you really want the look of terra cotta, just find a plastic pot that fits inside the terra cotta one to boost moisture retention. 

For a sunny deck or patio, there are some very cool stackable strawberry potshanging planters, or baskets for strawberries. Even fabric bags can be used to grow strawberry plants. 

Use grow bags, planters, or pots to grow berries on a sunny deck or patio.

Strawberries can be planted in pots, planters, window-boxes, baskets, and even grow bags.

Best soil for strawberries in pots and baskets

Plants grown in containers need well-drained soil. In her container tip list, our container expert, Jessica recommends filling pots with a 50-50 blend of high-quality potting mix and compost. You can also DIY your own potting mix with our simple recipes.

Planting is also the right time to add slow-release organic fruit and berry fertilizer to your container. That way, you’ll feed your plants a little bit each time you water. 

Planting strawberries in containers

Once you’ve assembled your strawberry plants, containers, potting mix-compost, and slow-release fertlizer, it’s time to plant! Many nurseries sell strawberry plants bareroot in spring or potted in 4 inch pots. For containers and baskets, I usually go with pre-potted strawberry plants as I only need a few and they generally are already growing well and have a head start over bareroot plants. 

A typical 12 to 14 inch diameter hanging pot or basket can accommodate two to three plants. For strawberry towers or pots, tuck one plant per pocket. Plant so that the roots are covered, but the crowns of the plants are just above the soil. The crown is the short, thick stem where the foliage emerges on top and the roots below. 

Water well and move your pot or basket to a location where it will get at least six to eight hours of sun every day. If you’re growing strawberries in a hanging basket, avoid hanging it in an area that receives a lot of gusty wind. 

Strawberries can be planted from bareroot plants or potted seedlings.

Strawberries grow best in pots that are in full sun and filled with a high-quality potting mix-compost blend. Don’t crowd them in the container, leaving at least 8 inches between plants.

Growing strawberries in pots and baskets

Ok, now that you’re growing strawberries in pots, planters, or baskets, it’s time to consider maintenance. Like all container plants, you’re in charge of watering, fertilizing, protecting, and, at the end of the season, prepping the pots for winter. 

Watering strawberries in pots

Water regularly, especially when the plants are fruiting to ensure good-quality berries. Don’t overwater however. If you’re not sure if your pot needs to be watered, stick your finger into the soil to see if it’s still damp about an inch deep. Moist soil means don’t water. Dry soil means it’s time to water. 

Fertilizing potted strawberries 

I like to work in a slow-release organic fertilizer when I plant, but you can also use an organic liquid fertilizer every two to three weeks over the growing season (read package directions for specific instructions).

Pruning strawberry runners

Some varieties of strawberries produce runners which look nice when cascading down the side of a pot, but they do take energy away from the plant, reducing yield. Snip runners with sharp hand pruners as they appear to encourage maximum fruit production. 

Protecting the fruit harvest

My container strawberries are bothered by fewer pests, diseases and even birds than my in-ground plants, but that doesn’t mean these things can’t occur. Keep an eye on your plants and if birds become a problem, drape the pots or baskets with bird netting.

Caring for potted strawberries in winter

In my northern region, strawberry plants won’t overwinter outside in pots and baskets. You can move the pots to a sheltered location like an unheated garage or basement. Do check every few weeks to see if the soil has dried out, watering when necessary. Or, you can pop them out of their container and tuck them into a garden bed to overwinter. Cover them with a mulch of straw or shredded leaves for added protection. 

Are you growing strawberries in pots or baskets this season?

For further reading on growing plants in pots, be sure to check out these articles:

Learn how to grow strawberries in pots and baskets.

 

 

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2 Responses to Growing strawberries in pots and hanging baskets

  1. Musette says:

    LOL! am I growing strawberries? well! back in February, I lost my mind and ordered 75 (yes, 75!) plants, both June & everbearing – and I already had a nice grouping of June bearing & everbearing plants. Gamely, I soldiered on, planting. and planting. and planting. Finally gave up and gave a friend the last 15 plants. I have an entire raised bed devoted to them – here’s hoping I get a decent harvest!

  2. Beth says:

    This is my first year trying to grow berries. I bought 3 baskets, each have 3-4 plants. I potted 3 runners (left attached to mama) and snipped the rest. I plan to move some of them to my raised beds which have space where my spinach bolted. In fall, I plan to dedicate 2 4×4 raised beds to strawberries.I’m a bit worried about pests though.
    Next spring I’ll also buy a few more for pots. . I’ve already had squirrels or something chew off some stems while the baskets were on my deck steps. I’ve moved them up since then. I read elsewhere that container grown strawberries don’t produce as well. Is that true?

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