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Planting strawberries: here is the proper way to do it

The time you plant your strawberries determines when you will be able to harvest and enjoy them. Credits: MSG/Martin Staffler

The time you plant strawberries dictates when and how many you can harvest in this gardening season. You can find out the best planting time for the various strawberry varieties here.

The harvesting time for your strawberries depends on when you plant them and the variety of strawberry. Credit: iStock/Ipinchuk

First plant, then harvest

Strawberries are a delicious treat from the garden or balcony. The bright red, sweet fruit can be snacked on individually, or with a larger harvest, processed into jam or a baked in a delicious cake.

When the fruit ripens depends on two factors:

  1. the variety of strawberry and
  2. the time they are planted.

Strawberries are normally planted in the period from the end of June until August in a bed or plant container. This is a suitable time as the weather conditions are particularly good. However, there are also varieties which can be planted much later. Other strawberries are best planted in the bed in spring. And with the ‘frigo plants’ you can even collect strawberries from the balcony or garden all year round, we explain the term below. If you build a cold frame, you can overwinter your strawberries in it, or use it to plant out early young plants as soon as March.

You can also plant your strawberries in a specially created raised bed, in which the fruit is well protected. Credit: MSG/Frank Schuberth

When should single-bearing, large fruit strawberries be planted?

You will need to replant your strawberries every two to three years until you have a particularly good harvest. This also gives you the opportunity to redesign the bed. For example, creating a new raised bed. You can give it a classic design or build a raised bed from palettes. With a few tips and the proper tools, you can create the perfect location for your strawberries.

Ideally, you should plant your strawberries in July or August. It is very warm during these months. This stimulates the strawberries to form deep roots, which are important for the plants. These root particularly well into the ground and supply the strawberry with important nutrients from the soil. The better the deep roots are developed, the healthier and stronger the strawberry plants will grow. This means they can bear lots of fruit in the coming year.

Plant different varieties of strawberry. In this way, you can extend the harvest period, as single-crop strawberry plants only provide fruit for a maximum of two weeks. In order to be able to harvest at time delays it is also worth planting the strawberries depending on their ripening time. The following generally applies here: the earlier you plant the strawberries, the more time they have to develop strongly. This also improves the harvest.

Strawberry varieties which bear several crops are best planted in the soil in July or August.

You can plant the first strawberry plants in plant pots even in the spring. Credit: Flora Press/Barbara Ellger

Can strawberry plants also be planted later?

Certain strawberries can also be planted at other times than July and August. For example, there are young strawberry plants available in pots in the shops in spring. These can be planted in the bed or plant container as early as March, so roughly when you also get the lawnmower out of its winter residence or send the robotic lawnmower on its first tour.

March is the earliest possible time. However, you can also plant the young plants in a pot until May. These strawberry plants then still deliver the first fruit in the same year. However, you should not expect a big harvest. That will only come in the next season.

You should refrain from always planting strawberries in the garden or on the balcony in the same place. Otherwise, the soil will no longer be able to deliver sufficient nutrients to the plants. This will also result in a poor harvest. Always give it a break of about three years. Then you can plant strawberries again in the same bed or location.

If you want to know more about when you should do what kind of work in the garden, you can find out the best times for all the important tasks in our Gardening Calendar.

Refrigerated plants are created from specific cultivation methods that can also be applied to strawberries. Credit: Flora Press/BIOSPHOTO/ B & G Médias

Frigo bed and waiting bed: you can plant these strawberries all year round

Commercial cultivators are providing frigo plants using a specific cultivation method. More and more hobby gardeners are delighted by these plants. Because they enable the strawberry harvest times to be staggered over several weeks. So there is always a sweet snack waiting in the bed or plant container in the garden or on the balcony.

Frigo strawberries start as completely normal plants. However, they are cut back to the plant heart and a few leaves and then frozen. Commercial breeders store the plants at a maximum of 2 °C. This extends the plants’ hibernation time.

The strawberries are then delivered from the end of March until around the beginning of September. The cuttings start to gradually thaw during transport. Buyers can then plant them immediately. As soon as this is done, the strawberries begin to flower and develop as any other strawberries. After about eight to ten weeks, the fruit is already ready to harvest.

Waiting bed strawberries are particularly hardy frigo strawberries. They are taken from the mother plant in June or July and then grown in a ‘waiting bed’. They are frozen in November and December and then delivered from the end of March to the beginning of September.

The somewhat smaller wild strawberries are perfect for extended cultivation in the same location, and for snacking. Credit: iStock/StudioBarcelona

When is the planting period for wild strawberries?

Wild strawberries can be planted both in the spring from the start of May as well as from mid-August to the end of September. This fruit is also particularly tasty to snack on. You can also cultivate them in a single place for a longer time. The soil is not so quickly drained of nutrients.

These smaller species of strawberry do not need to be planted in a row. Wild strawberries often form lots of tendrils. This makes them suitable as fruit-bearing groundcover. This can be achieved by simply leaving the strawberry offshoots on the plant. The ‘strawberry meadow’ will grow around 50 cm outwards each year.

Propagating from the plant’s offshoots is an ideal way to grow your own young strawberry plants. Credit: Friedrich Strauss Gartenbildagentur / Strauss, Friedrich

Planting your own offsets

You can also grow young plants from your favourite variety of strawberries yourself. The strawberries begin forming offsets from around the end of May/start of June. As soon as the roots form on these, cut them off with sharp garden shears and plant them in a pot with potting soil.

If you are interested in more gardening topics then take a look at our knowledge area.

Fruit diversity
If you fancy something a bit different from the classic strawberries, we recommend these exotic fruits that also thrive in our climates.