Different Ways to Grow Strawberries

Strawberries are perennial favorites in gardens, and they can be grown in traditional patches, raised beds, and containers. This guide will help you to grow beautiful organic strawberries wherever you plant them.

Types of Strawberries

If you’ve looked at a vendor’s website and been overwhelmed by the choices in strawberries, you’re not alone. It can all get confusing: everbearing, June bearing, day neutral. We’ll clear it up to help you pick the right variety for your patch.

June Bearing: the most commonly grown type of strawberries, June-bearing plants produce a large crop in early summer. These plants are ideal for preserving jams and sauces–and fresh eating–because you’ll get a large harvest in a short period of time.

Everbearing: these plants produce two crops yearly, one in early summer and another in late summer or early fall. 

Day neutral: plants will set flowers and fruit all summer, although more productive in cooler months. They’ll keep making fruit most of the growing season but won’t produce a lot at once. 

Don’t forget to look at the variety’s cold hardiness. Some strawberries are less cold-tolerant than others. 

A well-rounded organic soil amendment can be found that contains all of the above. If you have western alkali soil, you can amend it with organic sulfur. This all works together to create the perfect soil for perfect strawberry picking.

Soil: The Secret to Great Strawberries

Talk to experienced gardeners, and they’ll talk about soil. It’s the key to healthy plants, high productivity, and mounded bowls of delicious red strawberries. 

Strawberries prefer light and loamy soil. Good drainage is essential to prevent root rot, whether growing in-ground or in containers. Consider creating a raised bed to aid drainage if your soil is heavy clay. Follow these best practices for optimum strawberry patch performance.

  • Amend the soil before planting strawberries using aged, well-rotted manure or compost. 
  • Adjust pH if needed, aiming for 6.0 to 6.5. If you are planting in raised beds or containers using bagged soil, this shouldn’t be an issue. 
  • Clear out perennial weeds and grass rhizomes.
  • Loosen the soil with a garden fork or broadfork. Don’t turn it completely over; just loosen it up.

How to Plant Strawberries

Depending on your location, strawberries can be planted in the spring or fall. Spring is the most common time, and strawberries can be transplanted outside when the daytime temps are in the 40s and 50s. A light frost won’t hurt the new strawberry plants. Whether planting strawberries in the ground, in raised beds, or containers, choose a location with full sun.

Most strawberries are sold as “bare roots,” meaning there is no soil around the roots. Bare root plants need to be kept cool and moist until they are planted. Strawberries are also commonly available as plants in pots from garden centers in spring. Buying them established can be an excellent way to start if you only want a few strawberry plants.

Potted strawberries can be planted at the same depth as their original container, regardless of if they are grown in a pot, raised bed, or in the ground.

Bare root strawberries are quick to plant, but take care to set them at the correct depth. The plant’s crown should be above the soil, while the roots, of course, need to be covered below. The center of the crown should be right at the soil line.

Planting an in-ground strawberry patch

  • Strawberries can be damaged by late frosts and cold air accumulating in low spots, so choose an area on higher ground. 
  • Prepare the bed by working in a generous amount of compost and loosening the soil. 
  • Space the plants 12-18 inches apart, in rows 3-4 feet apart. They’ll send out runners, grow daughter plants, and fill in the gaps.
  • Mulch under and around the plants to suppress weeds and keep fruit clean.

Planting strawberries in raised beds and containers

Strawberries in raised beds are planted like in-ground patches, but you can squeeze the spacing slightly tighter. Raised beds, in particular, offer the following advantages:

  • Soil can be custom blended for great results.
  • Runners are prevented from spreading to undesired locations.
  • Excellent drainage.
  • Less chance for soil compaction from foot traffic.
  • Easy to attach bird netting or frost cloth.

Caring and Feeding of Strawberry Plants

With adequately prepared soil or potting mix and a sunny site, growing strawberries comes down to weeding, watering, and tending. Here are a few tips to make that easier.


Strawberries have shallow root systems, so plants may need supplemental watering. For an inground patch, a rain gauge can help determine if your plants need a drink. About an inch of water per week is sufficient for many soils–sandy soils drain more quickly and need extra water, as do raised beds. 

Plants in containers may need supplemental watering several times weekly during the growing season. When in doubt, stick your finger about an inch into the soil. If it’s dry, turn on the hose.


Compost and organic matter worked into the soil for in-ground and raised beds and side-dressed each year will provide what your strawberries need. If you want to add additional fertilizer, add a general-purpose balanced fertilizer (10-10-10) after the last harvest for June-bearing plants or in late summer for everbearing and day-neutral plants. 

Strawberries grown in containers will benefit from fertilization periodically when watered throughout the season.


June bearing strawberries can send out a lot of runners. Tuck these back into your patch to fill bare spots, or pinch them off. Renovation of June bearing strawberry beds can raise productivity. Check this page from Iowa State University Extension for more information on how to renovate June-bearing strawberry beds


Ripe strawberries are a magnet for birds. If you have issues with feathered berry thieves, use bird netting to prevent them from eating your berry patch. Place stakes or hoops every 4 to 5 feet to keep your net from slipping. Keeping the netting slightly tight can minimize birds becoming trapped in loose fabric. Netting can be reused for many years. 

Winter Care

Even though strawberries are perennials, they should be protected from the cold. Temperatures below 20℉ can damage flower buds and future harvests. After the first frost, place about 4 to 6 inches of straw over your plants. Covering your straw with netting will help to prevent it from blowing away. In spring, remove the mulch when new growth appears from the crowns.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *