Growing strawberries in the UK
There are few plants more rewarding than the strawberry, ranging from big, juicy dessert types, smaller jam varieties, and the tiny, but intensely flavourful alpine strawberry. One of the most popular summer fruits, these delicious little berries are incredibly easy to grow – so simple in fact, that if you're not careful it will take over the garden.
Where to plant strawberries
Strawberry plants require a sunny, sheltered position, and well-drained soil that has been improved with compost. Before planting, weed the area thoroughly – we recommend that you plant through plastic or a ground cover mulch to reduce the need for weeding in subsequent months. If planting into the ground, choose a different location to where you’ve grown them before to help prevent disease.
Strawberries are highly versatile and grow well in pots and hanging baskets, and if space is limited, will grow vertically too. By planting a selection of early, mid and late season varieties along with an everbearer you can be picking strawberries right through from mid-May into October.
How to plant strawberries
Autumn or late spring is the best time to get your strawberry plants into the ground – plant yours as soon as possible after you receive them. When planting strawberries, it’s important to make sure the crown of the plant is level with the soil surface. To achieve this, first dig a hole, then replace some of the soil to create a shallow mound in the middle. Spread your plant’s roots so that they fan out over the mound and fill in around them, firming gently to remove air pockets. Water well. For more strawberry basics, check out our guide to growing strawberries.
How to look after strawberry plants
Make sure you keep your strawberry plants well watered during hot, dry periods, and once they’ve finished fruiting, remove netting and mulch from around the plants to encourage air circulation and reduce the risk of pests making their homes there.
How to make strawberry plants produce more fruit
As soon as you notice small berries beginning to form, apply a tomato fertiliser weekly or fortnightly to give fruiting a boost. Remove any extra runners that develop and keep on top of your watering. You should be ready to begin harvesting from June through September depending on the varieties you choose. In the autumn, cut away any diseased or damaged foliage. In colder areas we recommend some protection over winter such as straw or a fleece. This will help the strawberries to fruit earlier next year.
Getting the very best from your strawberry plants requires a little bit of knowhow. If you’d like to learn more, we recommend our expert guide – a collection of strawberry tips from some of the most seasoned growers in the online community.