Growing Strawberry plants in the home garden
Growing Strawberry plants in the home garden is easy and they are a favourite. You can easily grow them in the veggie garden, in pots or in special strawberry containers.
Available for sale as potted plants or as bare rooted runners most strawberries are grown from runners.
Given good growing conditions the average gardener can easily provide fresh strawberries with a wonderful taste.
Eat them fresh, use them on cakes, wonderful in desserts and if you can keep the children from eating them you might get some yourself.
Although an individual plant will last a number of years, they do lose productivity after the first year or two. The best option is to buy ‘certified runners’ each year, or at least every two years. If you do this you will have productive plants and lots of fruit.
Planting strawberry plants
Best time for planting in Victoria, Tasmania Southern New south Wales and is autumn, growers report higher yields than from plants planted in late winter to spring. It is really only the Alinta variety that should be planted in spring and be expected to give good yields of fruit.
In Queensland, they are generally planted in autumn. You can also plant strawberry runners in spring as soon as the soil begins to warm up. In sub tropical areas plant in autumn.
- Strawberries need to be planted in full sun.
- You can grow them in the ground or in pots.
- A humus rich fertile well drained soil is essential for good growth.
- Dig soil over well and remove weeds a month or two before planting.
- Add extra organic matter in the form of well rotted compost before planting.
- Well composted chicken or sheep manure added at this stage is a good fertiliser for strawberries.
- OR a slow release fertiliser applied around 10 cm below the surface a few weeks before planting also works well.
- Plant the runners and water in well with a liquid seaweed fertiliser.
- In good soils extra fertiliser will not be needed.
- In poor soils, some extra fertiliser during the growing season may be beneficial, use a liquid fertiliser at this stage for better uptake.
Controlling Weed around Strawberry Plants
Many growers plants through black plastic, this keeps the fruit clean and helps control weeds. We suggest for the home gardener that straw is an alternative, or perhaps use the biodegradable ‘Weed Gunnel’.
Strawberries prefer a humus rich moist soil and they like a ph of around 5.5, just slightly acidic. So dig in lots of well rotted compost and aged cow manure and some blood and bone before planting.
Certified runners are best planted around 30 – 40 cm apart, this allows for good growth and good air flow which helps prevent many diseases.
Planting new runners or crowns is simple, simply plant so that the crown is just at soil level. Many home gardeners like to install a simple drip irrigation system before planting, this allows good watering practice, the plants will remain moist, but not wet.
You will notice that new plants will quickly produce runners, these should be removed to improve fruit quality and size.
At the end of the season plants can be tidied up and any runners removed, these can be saved for next season.
Problems and Tips
- Rotate strawberry crops every 2-3 years.
- Net plants to prevent birds from getting to the fruit before you do
- Ensure good air circulation to prevent fungal diseases
- How many plants does a family require for a ‘good supply of fruit’?
Generally around 25 plants is sufficient, although even a few plants in a strawberry planter can provide some wonderful fruit.
- Powdery mildew can be a problem, use a 1/10 spray of milk and water.
- If foliage begins to yellow it is usually through lack of nitrogen.
- Small leaves and very deep green colour cn mean a phosphorus deficiency.
- Yellowing leaves with brown edges can mean Magnesium deficiency.
- Strawberries plants are a herbaceous perennial.
Best purchased as ‘Strawberry Runners’ and replaced after 2 to 3 years when fruiting begins to drop.
- For strong healthy growth Strawberry plants require a sunny position and are generally planted in raised beds, often covered in black plastic, or the beds can be mulched to help control weeds and keep the fruit from sitting on the soil.
- Strawberries are best watered by drip irrigation, try twice weekly. Remember strawberry plants no not like to be waterlogged.
- Plants should be pruned back in early winter and all strawberry plants should be replaced every three years with new ‘certified runners’.
- Grow strawberries in a well-drained soil, with added organic matter such as compost, animal manure. Drip irrigation is best to help avoid fungal diseases in plants.
Best Strawberry Varieties for Australian Gardens
- RED GAUNTLET STRAWBERRY probably the the most popular strawberry plant for the home garden in Australia because it produces a good crop in its first year. Large sweet fruit for up to three years, after this remove the plants and replace with new ‘certified runners’. Certified runners are ‘virus free’ and prevent a lot of problems when growing strawberries.
- TIOGA STRAWBERRY A smaller and sweeter fruit than Red Guantlet, however it does not crop well in the first year.
- ALINTA STRAWBERRY Does well in colder climates, large sweet fruit, one of the more popular commercial varieties.
- TORREY This has low chill requirements, suited to warmer climates
- MELBA An excellent variety, high quality fruit and good yields.
- JULLIETE Another good plant for warmer climates, grows well in Queensland
- LOWANA Will crop from spring through to Autumn. Best in cooler climates
- ALBION – Low yielding, however it is regarded as one of the best tasting strawberries.
Strawberry runners are available for sale from the following growers
357 Monbulk Road SILVAN VIC 3795
Guaranteed "garden worthy" bulbs, plants and perennials. Visit the website to browse our large range of daffodils or request the latest free catalogue.
470 Monbulk-Silvan Road Monbulk VIC 3793
"Guaranteed mail order flowering bulbs, perennials, roses, trees, landscaping plants, garden accessories and community fundraising Austra lia-wide."