How to Grow Strawberries in a Planter

Categories: Articles about PlantersGardening Tips and Information

Growing strawberries in a planter offers a convenient and accessible way to enjoy these succulent fruits, even if you’re short on space. By cultivating strawberries in planters, you can manage their environment more closely, leading to healthier plants and potentially larger yields.

Strawberries are well-suited to planters because of their compact root system and the ease with which they adapt to various spaces, from balconies to patios.

To ensure success, it’s essential to choose the right type of strawberry variety and planter, and to prepare the potting mix carefully for optimal growth. The planting process is straightforward, but you must take care to provide the plants with the right conditions, including sunlight, water, and nutrients. Regular maintenance is crucial to prevent common problems and to promote a bountiful harvest.

Key Takeaways

  • Growing strawberries in planters is an effective way to produce fruit in limited spaces.
  • Selecting appropriate varieties and preparing the planter with the right soil is crucial.
  • Regular care, including watering and feeding, helps ensure a healthy strawberry crop.

Getting Started

Growing strawberries in a planter is a rewarding experience, offering the delight of home-grown berries even in small spaces. We’ll guide you through choosing the right planter, selecting the best strawberry varieties, and understanding their growth cycles to ensure a successful harvest.

Choosing the Right Planter

When selecting a planter for your strawberry plants, you must consider size and drainage. A large strawberry planter is ideal as it provides ample space for root development. Ensure the planter has adequate drainage holes to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot. For inspiration, various strawberry planter ideas can be found, ranging from traditional pots to hanging baskets and tiered systems, each allowing for efficient use of space and aesthetic appeal.

Selecting Strawberry Varieties

Strawberry varieties are abundant, and your choice should reflect your climate and taste preferences. In the UK, popular strawberry varieties such as ‘Cambridge Favourite’ and ‘Elsanta’ are well-suited for planters due to their hardiness and flavourful berries. Some varieties produce berries early in the season, while others spread their yield over several months, offering a steady supply of fruit.

Understanding Strawberry Growth Cycles

Strawberries have distinct growth cycles, and typically, we plant strawberry plants in early spring, as this allows them to establish before the growing season. Strawberries often follow a perennial cycle; the initial year focuses on growth, followed by abundant fruit production in subsequent years. With proper care, strawberry plants produce fruit for several years, making understanding their cycle key to long-term planning of your strawberry garden.


Before you commence planting, it’s essential that you get the soil conditions just right for your strawberries, as well as timing your efforts to align with the growing season to ensure the best yield possible.

Soil and Drainage

Firstly, you must prepare a potting mix that promotes good drainage; strawberries won’t tolerate waterlogged roots. For an ideal growing medium, use a combination of high-quality potting mix and loamy, multi-purpose compost in a 50:50 ratio. Ericacious compost is suitable for acid loving strawberry plants. This mix should provide the draining soil necessary for healthy plants. If you’re using a raised planter, ensure there is ample drainage at the bottom to prevent water retention. You can use broken crocks in the base of your large planter to aid drainage.

Planting Times and Seasonality

For timing, your strawberries will thrive best if planted in early spring. This planting schedule aligns with their natural grow season and prepares them for a full season of sun exposure. In the UK, it’s ideal to plant strawberries around March to early April. Your planting site should be positioned in full sun, as strawberries require around 6-8 hours of sunlight per day to produce the best fruit.

Planting Process

When planting strawberries in a planter, you must consider the specifics of spacing, the method for planting runners, and the initial stages from seeds to seedlings. These are crucial steps to ensure healthy growth and bountiful fruit.

Plant Spacing

Spacing for planting strawberries is important. We recommend spacing the strawberry plants about 35cm (14 inches) apart. This allows their root systems to expand without competition, leading to stronger plants. In planters, ensure you’re choosing a pot that’s at least 30-35cm (12-14 inches) in diameter for proper root development and space for growth.

How to grow strawberries from runners

Runners are the long shoots that stretch out from the mother plant, creating new strawberry plants. To plant strawberry runners, select the most robust runners. Cut the runners from the parent plant, and plant them in the soil while ensuring their roots are fully covered and their crowns are exposed above the soil line. Firm the soil around the runners and water them well.

From Seeds to Seedlings

To plant strawberry from seed, sow the seeds thinly in trays of seed starting mix. They require light to germinate, so simply press them into the surface and keep the soil moist. Once the seedlings develop true leaves, transplant them to individual pots. Gradually harden off the seedlings before transplanting them to their final planter, ensuring the crown is at soil level.

Care and Maintenance

In caring for strawberries in planters, you need to focus on precise watering, suitable sunlight and temperature conditions, and correct fertilising along with mulching practices. These will ensure that your plants have the best chance at not only surviving but thriving with a bountiful harvest.


Strawberries require consistent moisture, especially during the growing season when they are flowering and fruiting. You must water your plants regularly, ensuring you keep the soil moist but not waterlogged, as a saturated root system can lead to root rot. In raised planters, it’s crucial to check the soil daily, as it can dry out faster than in-ground gardens.

Sunlight and Temperature

Our strawberry plants will perform the best when they receive full sunlight, which means at least six to eight hours of direct sun daily. The ideal temperature for growing strawberries ranges from 15°C to 26°C. You should place your planters in a location that avoids the intense late afternoon sun, which can be too harsh for the plants during the hotter months.

Fertilising and Mulching

You must should strawberries regularly, but cautiously. Over-fertilising can cause excessive leaf growth at the expense of fruit production. A balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season should suffice.

Mulching is also beneficial for strawberries in planters. It helps retain moisture, suppresses weeds, and keeps the fruit clean. Straw is a traditional mulch for strawberries, but you can also use wood chips or pine needles.


When you tend to your strawberries in planters, recognising the right time to harvest and employing the correct technique is vital for ensuring the best flavour and longevity of your fruit.

Recognising Harvest Time

Strawberries are ready to pick when they are fully coloured, with no white or green spots, typically about 30 days after the plants have flowered. You should look for a bright red colour, and the berries should be firm to the touch but not hard. It’s important you check your plants every other day during the harvesting season, as strawberries ripen quickly and are best enjoyed fresh.

Picking Technique

To pick strawberries, use a gentle touch. Grasp the stem just above the berry between the forefinger and thumbnail, then twist and pull with a slight upward motion. It’s crucial not to pull the berry directly, as this can damage both the fruit and the plant. After picking, place your strawberries in a shallow container to prevent them from becoming squashed, ensuring they retain their shape and quality until they’re ready for us to enjoy.

Problems and Solutions

In your journey to enjoy luscious home-grown strawberries from a planter, you must tackle a few common challenges. Let’s look at effective ways to address pests and diseases, as well as how to overcome typical growing issues, so your strawberry bed can thrive.

Dealing with Pests, Wildlife and Diseases

Pests: Slugs, snails, and aphids are fond of strawberry plants. Use a combination of manual removal and barriers, like copper tape, to deter these critters. For aphids, introducing beneficial insects such as ladybirds can be effective.

Wildlife: Use strawberry netting to protect strawberries from birds and other garden wildlife. A fine mesh strawberry netting allows sunlight and water to reach the plants while keeping wildlife at bay.

Diseases: Fungal infections like powdery mildew and grey mould (botrytis) can ruin a crop. Ensure good air circulation around your plants and consider using organic fungicides. Picking off affected leaves and fruits immediately can also help prevent spread.

Addressing Common Growing Issues

Watering: Strawberries need consistent moisture, but overwatering can lead to root rot. We suggest using a drip irrigation system to provide a steady amount of water at the root level without soaking the foliage.

Sunlight: Without enough sunlight, strawberries won’t fruit well. Make sure your planter is placed in a spot that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily.

Soil and Fertilisation: Strawberries prefer slightly acidic soil with good drainage. Feed your plants with a balanced liquid fertiliser every two weeks during the growing season to ensure they get the essential nutrients.

Planting Depth: Be cautious not to bury the crowns of the plants, as this can cause them to rot, and equally, don’t plant too shallow or the roots may dry out. The crown should sit just above the soil surface.

By being vigilant and responsive to these potential issues, you can ensure your strawberry bed in the planter remains healthy and productive.

Ideas for strawberry planters

Arthur Jack have a number of suitable galvanised steel planters for planting strawberries, all with drilled holes for drainage and short legs to keep the planter off the ground.

Particularly recommended are the small planters at 40cm x 40cm x 40cm which is more than adequate for 2 plants:

Arthur Jack Traditional small steel planter

If you want more depth go for the medium planter at 40cm x 40cm x 50cm high:

Arthur Jack Traditional medium steel planter

Or if you want space for 4 plants go for the trough planter at 40cm x 40cm x 80cm long:

Arthur Jack Traditional trough steel planter

All Arthur Jack planters are galvanised for long life and adorned with decorative steel balls and Tudor Roses on each facet. The steel structure will aid heat retention – perfect for growth. Over time the steel will develop a lovely aged patina.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, we tackle the most common queries about growing strawberries in planters, ensuring you have the essential insights for successful cultivation.

What is the best soil for strawberries?

Strawberries thrive in well-draining soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5, enriched with organic matter. To obtain the proper acidity, you can mix in components like coffee grounds or pine needles.

Source: Epic Gardening.

How do you increase the amount of fruit on strawberry plants?

To increase fruit production, ensure your strawberry plants get enough sunlight, water, and nutrients. Regularly remove runners and old leaves to direct energy to fruit production.

Can you grow strawberries in raised garden trough planters?

Yes, strawberries can be grown in raised garden trough planters, which can provide excellent drainage and ease of access.

How often should you water strawberries?

Water strawberries consistently, keeping the soil moist but not waterlogged. During warm weather, watering may be required more frequently.

How long does it take for strawberries to grow?

The time strawberries take to grow can vary, but generally, plants will start to produce fruit about 3 months after being planted.

Do strawberries need full sunlight?

Strawberries perform best in full sunlight, requiring at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day.

What is the best season for strawberries?

The peak season for strawberries is from late spring to early summer when they naturally ripen and can be harvested fresh.

Can I plant strawberries in a garden?

Certainly, strawberries can be planted in a garden, but ensure the strawberry bed has good drainage and is free from perennial weeds.

Leave a reply