As a fruit or a groundcover, the beach strawberry is a delight.
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The beach strawberry is an ancestor of the large, and sometimes oversized, varieties of strawberries found at the supermarket. This compact plant often isn't sold by commercial growers because the berries are so small--only about a half-inch-wide. The small berries, however, pack in as much sweetness as the large ones but with bigger flavor. Growers also use beach strawberry plants for ground cover.
Select a location for the strawberries that is in full sun for coastal areas or partially shaded if you are inland.
Plant your beach strawberry in a large pot or in a garden bed with well-drained soil. The best time to plant is the fall or spring. Space the plants about a foot apart. Do not plant the crown of the plant under the soil.
Soak the plant completely when you first put it in place and keep it well-watered daily for the first week to encourage the roots to spread in the new soil. After the first week, you do not have to water daily, but be sure to water regularly, depending on how much rain your area gets. While beach strawberries are hardy, they cannot handle long periods of drought.
Fertilize your strawberries in early spring and summer with a granular fertilizer, 6-10-4 strength. The fertilizer provides extra nutrients to strengthen the blooms, which will bear fruit.
Cut off runners as they form. Because beach strawberries are vigorous spreaders, they can overtake your garden. If you plan to harvest the strawberries, however, don't cut all of the runners. The younger plants produce more fruit than the older ones.