The best way to plant a strawberry pot for happy plants that produce loads of berries! The technique involves taking precautions against erosion, the soil drying out, and choosing the best compost. Includes a video.
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When you plant a terracotta strawberry pot, you do it with high hopes. Visions of juicy berries spilling from each opening and delighting friends, family, and yourself with homegrown edibles grown in a small space. The trouble is that strawberry pots will often fail you. Compost falls out the sides, the plants look sad, and the berries that do form can be small and dry.
There are three main challenges to overcome when you plant a strawberry pot: compost, water, and erosion. Each of these needs to be addressed if you want to see a decent harvest from your plants. Both the video and tips below will help you to plant a strawberry pot in the best way possible.
The Basics of Planting a Strawberry Pot
The main principles of planting a strawberry pot begin with thinking about what the plants need. They need sunlight, temperate warmth, water, nutrients, soil/compost, and pollination. If just one of these is lacking, then your plants will suffer.
- Plant strawberry pots between late March and April
- Place them in an area that gets sunshine for 6-10 hours a day
- Situate the pot in an area where bees can get to the flowers
- Use rich compost that will retain water
- Plant the plants in a way that reduces erosion from the sides
- Use a mulch on the top to help keep moisture inside
- Water daily in the summer, even if it’s raining
Although you can find plastic strawberry pots, terracotta is more traditional. One thing that you must be aware of when using terracotta clay pots is that they’re porous and have the ability to wick water. This means that water inside the pot and rain and moisture from outside can move back and forth. That’s why terracotta pots make excellent self-watering pots.
If there’s moisture inside and the pot is bone dry, then the clay will suck the moisture out. Therefore, it’s best to soak the pot in water before planting it. This is an optional step, but it will help your newly planted strawberries, especially if you live in a dry and warm climate.
Preventing Erosion in Strawberry Pots
A lot of advice for filling pots begins with filling the bottom with gravel or pot shards. However, a recent study says that adding material to pots to help drainage is a myth. However, placing a handful of broken pot shards at the bottom of a pot helps keep the compost inside. It helps stop erosion from the bottom.
Strawberry Plants Grow Well in Containers
Strawberries thrive in pots and are happy even if their roots grow into one another’s space. That means that pretty much any strawberry plant can be potted up in a container, be it a small strawberry pot or a larger Strawberry Pallet Planter.
Even so, I think that smaller plants do better in small pots. That’s why I chose the pretty pink petaled ‘Just Add Cream’ strawberry for mine. It doesn’t seem to grow as large as other varieties and has proved great for growing in containers. I’d also choose alpine strawberries to plant up a small strawberry pot. Another good choice is the overbearing variety ‘Mara des Bois’.
Preventing Erosion from the Pot Openings
The basic design of a strawberry pot has an opening at the top and several openings at the sides. That’s why thinking about erosion when planting a strawberry pot is a very good idea. Even pots that have lips under each opening can still have problems with compost falling out. To help with this, I cut a piece of landscaping fabric into a square with a slit on the top. Folded around the plant, it keeps the growing parts tucked into the compost, stops the compost from falling out, and can also help retain moisture.
More Strawberry Growing Inspiration
- How to Clean Up Overgrown Strawberry Beds
- 3-Ingredient Strawberry Jam Recipe
- How to Make a Better Strawberry Pallet Planter
Plant a Strawberry Pot from the Bottom Up
When you plant a strawberry pot, you work from the bottom up. Place the shards at the bottom so that they lightly cover the hole at the bottom. Next, fill the pot to the first set of holes with pure compost or soil-less potting mix. Push down on it lightly as you go.
When you get to the first set of holes, place the strawberry plants through from the inside. Make sure to spread the material out, so it doesn’t restrict the plant’s roots. Now fill the pot up to the next set of holes, pressing the compost down again as you go. There’s a lot of air in light, fluffy compost, and if you don’t press it down, the compost will settle naturally with watering. Your pot will seem emptier if you don’t lightly compact it while planting.
Planting the Top of the Strawberry Pot
There’s usually space for one or two strawberry plants at the top of a strawberry pot. After tucking them in, spread a layer of fine gravel or horticultural grit on the top. It will help lock moisture in and stop the compost from running all over the place while watering. Even if it’s raining, you should give your strawberry pot a drink once a day. For that reason, I like to keep my pot in a place I will notice and remember to water it.
Strawberry plants need a lot of warm sunshine to grow and produce berries. If you’re afraid that a plant on the back of the pot isn’t going to get enough, consider rotating it regularly. Better yet, leave that cavity unplanted or plant it with something that won’t mind indirect light.