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Strawberries are easy to grow and even a few plants can give a plentiful supply of sweet succulent fruits in summer, which are especially appreciated by children.
There are three kinds of strawberries:
A bed of strawberries usually lasts up to four years if planted into well-drained, fertile soil free from troublesome weeds. To avoid disease build-up, choose a different plot and replant strawberries every three years. Strawberries will tolerate shade, but will thrive in sunshine.
Enrich the soil by mixing in a bucketful of well-rotted manure or other organic matter before planting. Forking in a balanced fertiliser such as Growmore, at 100g per sq m (3oz per sq yd.) will also help produce good yields.
Strawberries can also be grown in raised beds where drainage is poor.
Unless growing through polythene, protect the developing fruits from wet soil by tucking straw or special ‘strawberry mats’ under the plants.
If frost threatens, protect the early flowers overnight with horticultural fleece.
Strawberry plants are cheap and easy to plant:
Strawberries are easy to grow in containers. Peat-free multipurpose compost is a good choice. Suitable containers include grow bags, hanging baskets, troughs and tubs. Healthy productive plants are sadly difficult to achieve in the traditional strawberry pot.
Container cultivation avoids the build up of soil problems, but vine weevil control is often essential. See the problems section for further detail.
Strawberries can be propagated in late summer, but no later than early autumn, by sinking 9cm (3.5in) pots filled with potting media, such as general-purpose potting compost, into the beds and inserting individual runners into them. Sever the new young plants from the parent plant when rooted. Perpetual strawberries produce few runners and new plants are best bought in annually.
Seed raised cultivars are available but are not recommended, except for alpine strawberries.
‘Rosie’: This is a very early summer bearer with good flavour.‘Symphony’ AGM: This is a reliable and heavy cropping summer bearer, cropping in late summer with good flavour. ‘Aromel’ AGM: This is a moderately heavy cropping perpetual strawberry with very good flavour.
RHS Find a PlantRHS Fruit AGM list
Strawberries can suffer from a range of problems, from bird and slug damage to specific problems such as strawberry virus and strawberry black eye.
They may also suffer cold damage.
Container grown strawberries can be troubled by vine weevil.
BlueberriesFruit in containersGoji berriesGooseberries, red and white currantsHedgerow fruitRaised bedsRaspberryRHS video: Growing strawberries
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