image by Sharon Mollerus: Commons.wikimedia.org
Strawberries are an ideal fruit to grow in pots on a patio or out in the garden, as they can produce a significant amount of seasonal fruit in a very small footprint. Given copious sun, rich, well-drained soil and plenty of water, strawberries can easily be grown in a wide array of pots, including the classic strawberry urn.
Select a site for your strawberry pot where it will receive full daily sun for at least six hours each day. Some daily shade is acceptable, so long as the six hour requirement is met.
Choose a pot with good drainage that will allow each of your strawberry plants at least 1 foot of space to spread on the surface or to cascade over the side of the pot. If the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot is so large that chunks of soil will wash through it, cover the hole with a shard of broken terracotta or a layer of stones or gravel that does not plug the hole, but keeps the soil in while letting the water out. For ideal growing conditions, choose a traditional terracotta strawberry pot designed with planting holes down the sides. These allow for maximum exposure of multiple plants to sunlight and gives the strawberries space to spread out in a very tiny footprint.
Purchase bags of fresh commercial potting mix with a high humus content, or amend it with compost. Mix a dose or two of slow-release granular fertilizer into the potting mix to remove the need for monthly fertilizer applications. Fill your pot 3/4 of the way to the top with the potting soil leaving a small distance between the soil surface and the lip of the pot to act as a watering moat.
Settle your strawberry plants into the soil so that the roots are just buried, but the soil does not cover the crown or center of the plant that the leaf stems emerge from. This placement will allow the runners and daughter plants to form and produce more fruit. Press with your fingers to gently secure the soil around the roots without crushing them.
Water your strawberry plants in well at planting, and provide them at least 1 1/2 inches of water per week throughout the growing season. Your goal is to keep the soil evenly and consistently moist, and never allowing it to dry out. Warm or dry climates will dictate more water each week as will strawberries planted in terracotta pots which lose moisture to evaporation more readily. During the peak of summer, daily watering may be required. Always water at the base of the plants at the soil, and refrain from wetting the leaves, which can cause rot at the crown and damage the furry leaves.