What Climate Do I Need to Grow Strawberries In?
Strawberries are adaptable plants and grow throughout the United States. The secret is choosing a variety well-suited to your area, because some strawberries thrive in cold climates, while others prefer mild, warm weather. Plant container strawberries if the weather in your region is unpredictable. Move them indoors when frosts or hail are predicted.
Varieties for the South
June-bearing varieties grow well in the southern U.S. These plants produce a large crop of berries in April or May, followed by little or no fruit the rest of the summer. Southern gardeners plant new strawberry plants in the fall or early spring. Fruit quality is excellent. June-bearing varieties are grown in northern regions, as well, but late spring frosts can wipe out an entire harvest.
Varieties for the North
Gardeners in northern areas of the country, with mild springs successfully grow June-bearing varieties and harvest fruit in June or July. Day-neutral or ever-bearing types are more reliable, though, in most Northern climates. Ever-bearing strawberries produce a small crop in June, followed by a larger harvest in August. Day-neutral plants produce small yields throughout the summer. If a late frost nips the plants, they will still produce fruit in July or August. Neither variety tolerates hot weather.
Growing conditions are more important than the climate when growing strawberries. Regardless of the climate, these plants need sun and moist, rich soil to produce fruit. In the South, they may tolerate light shade, especially during very hot weather. Mulch strawberries in the winter with pine needles or straw, to protect the young plants from freezing temperatures. Remove the mulch in the spring as new growth emerges.
The most important factor in successful strawberry growing is to choose a variety well-suited to your area. Consult a university cooperative extension office for strawberries that grow vigorously, survive winter temperatures and resist disease. All Star and Earliglow are well adapted to the South, for example, but may not be hardy in the North.
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