A treat to the eyes, and delight to the mouth, strawberries are an exquisite wonder of nature that comes attached with numerous health benefits to the human body. While some of us are used to enjoying farm fresh strawberries that are available in markets throughout, some of us are also interested in growing these fruits in our own garden, with as much creativity as we want.
Strawberries can be conveniently grown using a number of methods in households, one of the easiest methods is to grow strawberries in hanging baskets or pots. This serves many purposes, the foremost being that it doesn’t cover much land, thus making it easier for you to grow in less space.
Many of you might be apprehensive of this method and might be stuck with the question “can you grow strawberries in hanging baskets, for real”? But don’t worry; all your hesitant intents will see an end as we progress with the article.
For all the strawberry enthusiasts out there, we have an ultimate guide prepared that would aid you in every step of your journey to grow strawberries at home.
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Growing Strawberries in Hanging Baskets and Pots: An Ultimate Guide
It is completely possible to grow strawberries in hanging baskets. All you need is some in-depth knowledge and know-how to grow strawberries.
This guide is created after careful research and practice and contains authentic information that would assist you in growing and nurturing beautiful strawberry plants from the comfort of your home.
Before we start, let’s revisit a small query, why in baskets and pots? Why not in an open garden? One of the reasons is the low space that it requires, whereas other reasons include the ability of strawberry plants to comfortably sit in small and compact spaces.
Lastly, it keeps diseases, bacteria, and pests at bay and doesn’t allow them to intestate the fruit, resulting in their decay.
Without any further ado, let us begin this tour!
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Selecting the Soil
Strawberries have a particular soil taste and they love living in that soil type for the rest of their lives. The best soil for strawberries in pots is a rich and loamy soil. It helps the water flow through easily and prevents the soil from remaining wet and tight for long periods of time.
The best and most appropriate soil mix for strawberry in containers include such soil that is inclined towards the acidic side, well drained, and has high quantities of organic matter. When we say acidic, we mean something that is falling between the pH levels of 5.8 to 6.2.
Following a stringent pH range is important for the growth of plants. If the soil is too acidic or too alkaline, then it becomes detrimental to the growth of strawberries, by holding the release of key nutrients in the plant. If you are unsure about the pH quantity of your soil, you can take a quick soil test, with the help of testing kits available at local store.
Next, to form organic matter, you’d require compost, shredded bark or peat moss, sand, and grit. If you decide to purchase soil, then you can remain carefree of the matter, however if you are making it at home, make sure that your soil is free of any weed roots of any kind. Further, creating drainage holes at the bottom of your plant container is a preliminary.
Lastly, before putting layers of soil, it is required that your hanging basket is lined with sphagnum moss. This moss helps retain the much needed moisture for the plants. In addition, it would also promote the growth of plants on the sides of the hanging baskets, pots, or containers, which lends it a serene look.
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As soon as you decide to grow strawberries in hanging baskets and pots, the primary thing you need to know is the quality of the container you select. That is, the container in which you are supposed to grow strawberries should be looked at with great depth and concern. It affects how your plants turn out to be.
If you step outside in the market looking for plant hanging containers and pots, chances are that you would be presented with hundreds of varieties, suiting your plant and garden needs. But, you have to focus on one such container that fulfills all the requirements of being the best plant pot.
What are these criteria? What should one keep in mind when looking for a pot? Is it important for them to be present? As a matter of fact, yes, it is very important for all the following criteria to be present when buying a pot.
Your pot can be made from any material, be it clay, wood, or even plastic. Material is not a difficult choice when it comes to pot selection for strawberries.
The containers should be significantly large in size if you have to grow more plants. Strawberries take up a lot of space while growing. Therefore, it is important that you select a pot that is wide enough to provide nutrition to each of your seedlings.
On an average, two strawberry plants demand a distance of about 10 to 12 inches between them, that too, horizontally. Giving them ample space is important for their growth and progress.
The roots of your strawberry plants need space inside the soil to grow. For this reason, make sure that your selected pot dispenses a minimum soil depth of about 12 to 14 inches, without compromising on the quality of the container.
Lastly, choose a container that gives easy transportation facilities. It should be portable and you should be able to move it in any desired direction as and when you want, especially according to sunlight and sunshade. Since you plan to hang these pots and containers, check them for inclusion of the necessary apparatus.
Nevertheless, you do not really need to invest in fancy and modest containers to grow your strawberries. You can easily opt for making baskets out of your household wastes.
Some useful materials for the same purpose would be an empty 2 liter bottle, wooden crates and / or repurposed buckets. This way, you will save a lot of money and you would be in charge of decorating your own containers of multiple shapes and sizes.
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How Many Strawberry Seeds per Hole?
Seeds are the foundation of plants, and that is what makes this point an important one. Let us begin from square one.
It is important to obtain good quality strawberry seeds in the first place. They are easy to find, cheap, and very advantageous. You can select seeds according to your own requirement. You want it treated or not treated, loose or tightly packed, it’s all up to how you wish.
Next, one needs to ensure the quality of seeds using varied household tests that are easy and affordable.
- Further, in a potting hole, approximately 4 to 5 seeds go and sit in comfortably. Do not try to exceed the number, or you would have trouble picking out undesirable and extra plants later on, which would only add to your time wastage.
- It does not end with merely placing the seeds in the pothole. It requires you to add a little layer of soil in each pothole after putting the seeds in the hole, and pressing it gently with your fingertips.
- Next, water should be added slowly and in less quantity, only with the intent of keeping the soil moist and not completely wet.
Remember, bigger the pothole size, more the strawberry plants. So, if you wish to grow more plants in a single pothole, you can choose one of a bigger size and exceed the limit of seeds to 6-7.
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Fertilizer to Grow Strawberries in Hanging Baskets
Now that you have carefully planted your strawberries, you need to know that they would require regular fertilization, without any breaks or apertures. Regular fertilization here symbolizes once in a month until the plant begins to bloom and becomes beautiful.
Fertilizer for strawberries in pots is the most important caregiver and it shouldn’t be compromised at any costs.
One can easily opt for homemade natural fertilizers to take care of their plants with the best material.
If you do not have the ingredients to make fertilizer at home, then here is a simple DIY that you can use: leftover filter coffee can be sprinkled upon the plants to get a low cost fertilizer result quickly.
Fertilization should be accompanied with water. But do remember how excess water can be bad for the plant. Summer months demand extra care and attention from the owners and urge them to look after them like a little infant.
Unfortunately, you cannot keep your strawberry stock forever, they need to be replaced after every 2 or 3 years by new plants, and in the meanwhile they want light trimming and cutting to keep their health intact.
Pests and Diseases
- Strawberries, being sweet in nature, are vulnerable to pests and diseases of all kinds. Some pests that cannot leave strawberries alone for a second include snails, snugs, meadow spittlebug, strawberry leaf roller, strawberry weevils and two spotted spider mites, amongst others.
- Fungal infections like botrytis fruit rot, leather rot, powdery mildew, red stele and verticillium wilt are also a hazard to the health of fruits.
Now, since your strawberry plants are hanging away from the ground, you can expect half of the diseases and pests to not reach you above there. But, even if they do, our agricultural markets are not devoid of kits and help manuals that would assist you in driving every unwelcome guest away.
Perhaps, you can also take some measures by yourself. The very first of these measures is to not overwater plants.
Do not give them more water than they need, it becomes a breeding place for pests and other harmful organisms. Next, expose your plants to adequate sunlight that will be pioneering in driving pests away from the plant instantaneously.
Conclusively, take special measures, including mulching and pine needles, to help keep your fruits away from the soil surface, since it becomes easy for pests to reach the fruit.
Harvesting strawberries in a pot is definitely not as easy as it sounds. It can get messy or clean, depending on the experience you entail in handling strawberry plants.
To begin with, one needs to tally their progress weekly. Once they start blooming, they only require a mere time of three to four weeks before they become ready for harvesting.
As expected, a cold weather doesn’t support the harvesting process, but a warm and sunnier climate will pace up the ripening process, making it ready for us to pick and eat.
We all are familiar with the bright red color of strawberries, and that is exactly the time to prick them, as compared to their green and white counterparts.
Let us dive into a more specific picture of harvesting strawberries. The right time of the day, what is it? The mornings are believed to be the best time to harvest strawberries, since they present less chances of getting bruised or rotten.
Once you harvest your berries, you can either immediately consume them or refrigerate them for further use.
Remember, they are perishable food items, so one should handle them with great care and sophistication. On an average, it takes about 6 to 11 months for strawberries to grow and harvest, and this estimate is subject to changes in the weather and number of plants.
In a nutshell, the aforementioned descriptors informed us about using a well drained, preferably loamy or sandy soil, for supporting the growth of strawberries, sowing only 4 to 5 seeds in the pothole at one time, choosing a wide container with enough soil depth and space, adopting natural measures to keep fungal diseases and bacteria away, harvesting them in the right season, at the right time, and lastly fertilizing the plants in the right amount regularly.
With these key takeaways in mind, one should be prepared to grow strawberries in hanging baskets and pots for best results. If you love growing strawberries and space is at a premium, then with this ultimate guide in your hand, you are only a step away from nourishing your own small garden.