If you’re growing strawberries in your garden, you’ll want to know a few simple strawberry plant care tips. These will help your plants thrive and produce lots of healthy berries!
Strawberries grow by producing runners (stolons) that spread out from the parent plant and root themselves in surrounding soil. Runners can be snipped off and moved to another spot in your garden.
Watering is a crucial part of strawberry plant care. Without it, they’ll suffer and wilt, leading to lower berry quality.
In addition, if your soil isn’t well drained, they can also become prone to root rot and other problems. It’s best to amend your soil with aged manure or compost before planting strawberries to improve drainage.
Strawberries grow and produce their best in loamy, well-drained soils with a pH of 5.5 to 7. They are tolerant of a wide range of soil types, but should be amended in advance of planting if necessary.
When the weather is hot, it’s especially important to water strawberry plants frequently to keep them healthy and thriving. They need to be hydrated at a rate of about an inch of water every week during the summer heat.
Strawberries need nutrients in varying ratios throughout their growing season, based on their stage of development. These include nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and other micronutrients that help strawberry plants do their jobs better and faster.
Using the right fertilizer at the right time can make all the difference for your strawberry crop. There are many kinds of fertilizers that you can use, including granules and liquid formulations.
Organic fertilizers are great for strawberries because they create healthy soil for your current crop and everything planted afterwards. They also add essential elements to the soil such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
In order to get the most from your fertilizer, you need to choose a product that is designed specifically for strawberry plants. Look for balanced products that have a even ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
Slugs & Snails
Slugs and snails can be a major hazard to strawberries. These pests can chew holes in leaves and fruit, leave a slime trail behind, and decapitate seeds.
They can also feed on flowers, fruits, and other plants that aren’t ripe enough yet. Slugs tend to be most active at night, so watch your garden after dark to see if you can spot them on the plant or under the mulch.
If you spot slugs in your garden, reduce their habitat by removing weeds, dead leaves, and other debris that they can hide under. Rake the mulch 12-24 inches away from your strawberry planting to make it less attractive to slugs.
You can also spray household ammonia directly on slugs to kill them. This works well but needs to be done in early morning or evening when they are most visible. Other slug deterrents include eggshells, citrus peels, and physical barriers.
Whether you’re planning for this year or the next, pruning your strawberry plants is a crucial part of making sure they stay healthy and produce fruit. Excess plant material on your strawberries can eat up nutrients and vital energy that they need to thrive.
Strawberries are not particularly prone to freezing in most areas, but they do need some protection at flowering time. This is especially true for June-bearing varieties.
To help protect the fruit set on these plants, don’t prune them back in the fall. This will kill any new growth that is still developing, and it will also leave your plants vulnerable to frost.
In addition, the flowers on strawberry plants can be a host for disease-bearing spores. So, when you’re pruning your strawberries, be sure to remove any dead leaves as well as any damaged ones.