Unlike grocery store berries that are picked when they're still green, vine-ripened strawberries are sweet, flavorful and succulent. If you don’t have the time or inclination to grow a whole garden full of plants, grow a few strawberry plants in pots.
The first rule of choosing a particular variety of strawberry plant is proper zoning. If you don’t know which zone you live in, check the USDA Hardiness Zone Map (see Resources). Most local nurseries will carry plants that are best suited to your location. However, if you are purchasing from an online site, make sure the plants are zoned for your area.
Strawberry plants like a sandy, well-drained soil. If the soil has too much clay, amend it with compost. When you can squeeze the dirt in your hand and it falls apart easily (when you open your hand), it is ready for strawberry plants.
Strawberry plants love sunshine. Plant them in your garden where they will get the most sun throughout the day. Move potted strawberry plants to different locations throughout the day to give them the most possible sun exposure.
Don’t plant your strawberries before the last frost in your area. You risk loosing the plant if you plant too early. It’s better to set strawberry plants in the ground a bit later.
Strawberries are known for getting root rot when they stand in water too long, which is why it's best to plant them in sandy soil that drains quickly and easily. That said, strawberries love water, especially during the fruit-bearing period and when the temperature is hot. Give them a good watering once a week during those times.
Too many weeds can take over your strawberry plants and diminish your harvest. Weed often.
Don’t over fertilize your strawberry plants. Feed them once after you harvest the strawberries for the season. This will give them a good start for the following year. Use a balanced fertilizer of equal parts phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium. The front label of a fertilizer container might read 10-10-10 or 12-12-12.
After harvest and before winter arrives, cover your strawberry plants with mulch. Remove the mulch in early spring after the danger of frost has passed. If you have removed the mulch, but weather reports predict frost, cover your plants with old sheets or blankets to protect them from the cold snap.