The selection of strawberries available to the home gardener is vast. Depending upon where you live, a few varieties stand out above others for their taste, hardiness and disease resistance. The best strawberry plants have an excellent taste, grow in your appropriate zone--the USDA guideline established to determine what plants can grow where according to temperature ranges-- and show disease resistance to verticillium wilt, red stele and leaf spot diseases. In addition to selecting varieties for these characteristics, fruiting time is also a consideration. If selecting several varieties, choosing varieties that bear fruit at different times will prolong your strawberry season. Strawberries may be day-neutral, meaning they bear fruit throughout the summer with a heavier crop in late spring, or they are June bearing, responding to the amount of daylight and fruit for only a few weeks in late May, June or early July. Among the most common, tastiest and easy-to-grow varieties are Earliglow, Allstar, Honeyoye, Sparkle and Tristar.
Earliglow is a June bearing variety suitable for growing in zones 4 to 8. It is one of the earliest varieties to set fruit and is resistant to verticillium wilt and red stele. The berry has an excellent flavor and is suitable for both eating fresh and freezing.
Allstar is a June bearing variety that grows in zones 4 to 8. It is resistant to red stele and shows some resistance to verticillium wilt. Berries are large and good for eating or freezing.
Honeyoye is a June bearing variety with good winter hardiness, making it suitable for growing in zones 3 to 8. It has a longer fruiting season than most other Junebearers. Its disease resistance is confined to leaf diseases, and it produces a high yield making it a popular selection for the home gardener. Honeyoye freezes well.
Sparkle grows in zones 4 to 8. Sparkle berries ripen toward the end of the June bearing strawberry season. It shows disease resistance to red stele and leaf diseases. Its flavorful fruit makes it ideal for eating, freezing or making jam.
Tristar is a day-neutral strawberry and grows in zones 4 to 8. Tristar resists red stele, verticillium wilt and leaf diseases. Berries are small to medium and good for eating, freezing or jam. This popular variety will bear fruit from June through September with higher yields in early summer and fall.