How To Grow Strawberries in a Planter Pot – If you want to enjoy fresh strawberries all summer long, just follow these simple tricks for a healthy, productive plant!
Growing a strawberry planter has become a much anticipated yearly project in my home. I first began this spring tradition five years ago to teach my oldest, who was then 2-years-old, about where his food comes from. Checking our planter daily for juicy, sweet, ripe, and red berries became a much looked forward to activity. Now he’s seven, but he still asks me every spring, “can we plant more strawberries?”
The first year I planted strawberries I didn’t really put any thought or research into the project. As a result the whole summer was an endless battle of keeping my soil from washing away and of keeping my plants from drying out. For the following and subsequent seasons I’ve smartened up a bit.
Strawberries grow best in a terra cotta strawberry planter. Strawberries easily become moldy and rot if there is too much moisture on the fruit, but they still need enough moisture to grow. The planter allows for adequate moisture, but also some drainage on the roots. It also allows the fruit to cascade away from the wet soil.
I mentioned previously that I had trouble with the soil washing away and drying out over that first summer. The following spring I learned that simply placing a piece of mesh on the bottom of the pot and covering it with a layer of pebbles keeps much of the soil from washing away. Additionally, it’s impossible to water the plants coming out of the side of the container from the outside without blasting much of the soil away.
The key is getting moisture down into the middle of the pot. The trick for doing this is placing a PVC pipe with holes drilled into it down the the center of your pot. To water the lower plants that come out along the sides of the pot, simply pour water down the drilled PVC pipe and the strawberries will be watered from the inside.
Now that I’ve become smarter about planting potted strawberries I have another little one who is happily learning about where his strawberries come from. He’s a more zealous picker than his older brother, though. My new strawberry challenge this season is to protect them all from being eaten while they’re still green!
- 1 terra cotta strawberry planter with plant saucer*
- 1 piece of black vinyl mesh
- 1 small bag of gardening pebbles or small gravel
- 1 length of 1" PVC pipe that is slightly longer than your planter
- potting soil
- enough strawberry plants to fill your pot**
- Cut a piece of 1" diameter PVC pipe so that it's length is about 1-2 inches taller that your planter. Next, drill ⅛ inch holes scattered along the pipe.
- Cut a square of black vinyl mesh and place it over the hole at the bottom of your strawberry planter. See the link in the blog post below to purchase pre-cut mesh on Amazon. This will prevent the soil from washing away when you water your strawberries.
- Place a layer of gardening pebbles or small gravel in the bottom of the planter, covering the mesh.
- Place the PVC pipe into the center of the pot and add potting soil around it until you are about 2 inches away from the first set of holes in the pot.
- Remove the strawberry plants from the containers they were purchased in and gently loosen the dirt around the roots with your fingers. Next, gently feed the plants through the first row of holes in the pot. I find this works best when you feed the plants from the inside to the outside of the pot. As I mentioned before, be gentle and take your time.
- Add more potting soil to the plantar until you are about 2 inches below the next set of holes. Once again gently feed strawberry plants through the next set of holes. Continue to do this until all of the holes on the side of the pot are filled and you're soil is about 5-6 inches away from the top of the planter. Plant 2-3 plants a the top of the planter and fill dirt around them as needed. Immediately water before setting the strawberries in a place where they can get full sun.
- To water the strawberry planter pour water along the top of the pot as well as through the PVC pipe. Plan on watering 1 to 2 times daily when then weather is hot and dry, and less so on cool, humid days. Feed your strawberries an organic liquid fertilizer intended for vegetable gardens every 3 weeks or per package instructions. Do this particularly if you are planning on growing them for more than one season.***
**The number of plants you need will vary based on the size of your planter. Figure on needing 1 plant for each hole along the side of the pot along with 2 to 3 to plants at the top.
***Strawberry planters can be planted yearly or they can be winterized for 2-3 seasons. To winterize your strawberries wait for the first forecasted frost and then place them in a cool, dark garage or cellar and lightly water them throughout the fall and winter taking care to not allow them to dry out. Bring your strawberries back outside in the spring once the danger of a heavy frost has passed.