Strawberry varieties particularly productive for Florida gardens are available, but success, as with any plant, requires proper culture. Strawberries prefer growing in a location that receives at least eight hours of full sun each day. It's common practice to set bare-root transplants or containerized transplants into raised-bed rows. Raised beds aid in soil drainage and also make harvesting easier. Strawberry plants can also be grown in flower boxes and other types of containers and prefer a slightly acidic soil of pH 5.5 to 6.5. In Florida, strawberry transplants can be planted in the fall, early spring or late winter.
Typical Camarosa berries are very large and firm, with deep red color and flavorful when mature. Problems of Camarosa include anthracnose fruit rot and powdery mildew. Drip tube irrigation helps reduce disease by limiting moisture left on the leaves and instead delivering water to the roots where it is needed. Camarosa, according to University of Florida Extension, is capable of producing 1 to 2 pints of berries per plant over the duration of the growing season. This variety has been most productive in north Florida.
Sweet Charlie strawberry is resistant to anthracnose fruit rot. This fruit has a lower acid content and is often sweet and flavorful. Sweet Charlie has a low shelf life during warm weather compared with other varieties. If Sweet Charlie is consumed or processed soon after harvest, its low shelf life is not a concern.
Festival strawberry has been most productive in central Florida, according to University of Florida Extension literature. It is capable of producing 1 to 2 pints of fruit per plant over the duration of the growing season. Festival produces deep red berries that are firm and have excellent flavor. Festival strawberry is susceptible to anthracnose fruit rot and colletotrichum crown rot. Begin the season with plants from a reputable garden center or nursery to give the garden the best chance of success.
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