How to Grow Strawberry Plants in Pots

Any type of strawberry can produce fruits when grown in containers. June-bearing strawberries will give you one main crop in the early summer during roughly a two-week period. And both day-neutral everbearing strawberries offer a longer season than June-bearing varieties. Day-neutral plants produce berries sporadically throughout the summer, and everbearing strawberries will give you two to three harvests each season. However, everbearing strawberries produce smaller fruit, as well as fewer runners, than the other varieties. No matter which you choose, make sure you get the right size container, because they have different container size needs. To increase your odds of a successful harvest, follow these steps for growing strawberries in containers.

What You’ll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Watering can
  • Garden trowel

Materials

  • Strawberry crowns or seedlings
  • Planting container
  • Potting mix
  • Liquid fertilizer

Instructions

materials for planting strawberries
The Spruce / Kara Riley


  1. Prepare the Plants

    You can start strawberries from either bare-root crowns or transplants. Transplants will immediately look lush and pretty in containers, but you’ll need to wait for dormant bare-root crowns to establish and produce leaves. Strawberry plants dislike crowded conditions, so plant only three strawberry plants per square foot of soil. Because their roots are fairly shallow, measure the surface area of the container to determine area (as long as the container doesn’t taper sharply.)

    preparing the plants

  2. Add Soil

    Fill the container with a loose, loamy potting mix that will hold moisture but quickly drain away any excess water. Make sure to use a container with a drainage hole in the bottom.

    preparing your container with soil

  3. Plant the Strawberries

    Plant the strawberry plants, so their crowns (the place where the stem meets the roots) are just above the soil surface. Make a small mound in the potting mix, and spread out the roots over the mound. Then, cover the roots up to the crown with the potting mix, and water the soil well. Add more potting mix as needed after the soil settles from watering, but do not cover the crown with soil.

    planting strawberry transplants

  4. Place the Container

    Set the pot in a location that receives at least eight to 12 hours of sun each day to ensure plenty of flowers and fruits. If the sunlight is coming from only one direction, rotate the container every three to four days if possible for the plants to grow evenly. Also, make sure the plants are protected. Just because the strawberries are in pots doesn’t mean pests can’t reach them. Insects, birds, and rodents will still be attracted to your plants, so keep them protected with netting or fencing.

    placing the pot in a sunny location

  5. Water the Plants

    Water your strawberries whenever the soil feels dry about 1 inch below the surface, or about twice per week. You don’t want the plants to be sitting in water or soggy soil. So make sure the soil remains slightly damp—not dry or soggy—to provide the best environment for fruits to form. In general, the soil in containers dries out faster than the soil on the ground. Thus, long periods of hot, dry weather might necessitate twice daily watering.

    watering strawberry plants

  6. Feed Your Strawberries

    Most container plants benefit from some supplemental feeding. Feed your strawberries every three to four weeks with a balanced liquid fertilizer. Make sure to apply a balanced fertilizer in the fall as well, as the plants will begin forming perennating buds within the crown that will become next year’s flowers and fruit.

    fertilizing strawberry plants

  7. Provide Winter Protection

    Strawberries produce best if they are allowed to go dormant in winter. However, the roots might freeze in colder areas, and some containers will crack if left out in freezing temperatures. You can move your containers into an unheated garage or under a deck for winter protection. Water only when the soil becomes excessively dry. You also might be able to mulch up and around the container and leave it in place.

    strawberry with mulch surrounding it for winter protection