How to make strawberry plants produce more fruit

Strawberry fruit is widely appreciated for its characteristic aroma, bright red color, juicy texture and sweetness. It is consumed in large quantities, either fresh or in such prepared foods as jam, juice, pies, ice cream, milkshakes and chocolates. Artificial strawberry flavorings and aromas are widely used in products such as candy, soap, lip gloss, perfume and many others.

Strawberry cultivars vary widely in size, color, flavor, shape, degree of fertility, season of ripening and susceptibility to diseases.  This article provides in-depth details of everything you need to know about Strawberry Plant, from types, planting, caring to harvesting and storing.

Strawberry Plant

Strawberry Plant Profile

Plant Family Roses (Rosaceae)
Genus Strawberry
Scientific NameFragaria
Trivial NamesStrawberry, Garden strawberry
OriginBack in the Stone Age
Planting Time:Varies depending on many factors

Main Types Of Strawberry Verities

You might think that all strawberries are same because they all look similar at the store but there are three main varieties of strawberries grown in the United States. Each strawberry variety has unique characteristics affecting their taste, size, color and growth care. The varieties include:

  1. June-Bearing Varieties

June-bearing verities normally fruit once during the growing season and produce berries for between 3-4 weeks. These varieties are extremely popular because of their excellent fruit quality and production.  They are also the most common strawberries grown for commercial use.

June-bearing strawberry plants usually only produce one vigorous crop of large, sweet juicy strawberries in spring to early summer. These varieties are sensitive to light and generally form flow buds in late summer to early fall when day length is less than 10 hours per day. These flowers bloom in early spring then produce an abundance of large, juicy berries in spring.

  1. Everbearing Varieties

Everbearing strawberry plants begin to form flower buds when day length is 12 hours or more per day. They produce fruit throughout an entire growing season; beginning in spring with intermittent crops throughout summer and early fall. They are extremely popular with gardeners and consumers.

  1. Day-Neutral Varieties

Day-neutral varieties are a modern cultivar developed from everbearing plants. They will continue to set and ripen fruit all summer long until a hard frost puts them into dormancy. Day-neutral strawberries will blossom and set fruit no matter how long or short the days are as long as the air temperature stays in a range between 35oF and 85oF. More importantly, while these plants fruit throughout the entire season, they don’t produce the same yields as June-bearing varieties.

Also Read: Different Types of Bananas

Planting Strawberry Plant

When Is The Best Time To Plant Strawberry?

Before arriving at the decision of when to plant Strawberry, it is important to have knowledge of a few important facts, such as:

  • What’s your planting zone?
  • Which type of strawberry do you want to plant?

In this regard, you need to have knowledge of your planting zones and optimum planting times by checking an online map of zones. However in many zones, the best time to plant strawberries is after the threat of frost is over in early spring, usually March or April.

Given that some types of strawberry like day neutral strawberries bloom and fruit right on up until October, you can successfully plant these types of strawberries long after the others have stopped production.

Well, if you have no intention of having a harvest the first year, it is appropriate to plant any of the type of strawberries in March, April or perhaps May or June.  Pinch off any blossoms the first year so that all of entire nutrient goes to root growth and not to fruit production. This way, it doesn’t matter if you already past the bloom dates. Usually, planting in the ground in summer becomes more problematic because the intense heat creates so much stress for plants.

Alternatively, you can grow the strawberries in a greenhouse where you can artificially control and manipulate the climate from temperature, wind, pests, water, nutrients and humidity. This will eventually mean that you can practically grow the strawberries year-round and anytime you choose.

Strawberry Planting Site Requirements

  • Choose a planting site with maximum exposure to sunlight. Strawberry plants require at least 6-10 hours a day of direct sunlight.
  • Strawberries can grow successfully in different soil types. If your soil is sandy, you will need to cultivate effectively in order to remove weeds and mix in 1-inch layer of rich compost or rotten mature. In cases where your planting site has clay soil type, you will need to mix it with compost or rotten manure and then rake the soil into raised mounds to achieve a better drainage.
  • Soil PH is also an important factor for consideration. Strawberries grow successfully in soils of PH between 5.5 and 7. In case your planting soil is naturally alkaline, it is advisable to add sulfur or grow strawberries in half-barrels or other large containers filled with compost-enriched potting soil. If the soil is too acidic, you can add lime to raise the PH levels.
  • Consider planting the strawberries in raised beds, raised beds are known to improve productivity of strawberries due to better drainage and deeper rooting.
  • It usually advisable to plant strawberries on fallow grounds for most success. Planting in a site that recently had vegetation such as strawberries, peppers, tomatoes or eggplant.
  • If possible, plant strawberries in a greenhouse where you can artificially manipulate all the necessary factors from water to nutrients, temperature, wind, pests and humidity.

How To Plant Strawberries (Spacing, Watering & Planting Holes)

  • Don’t plant at all. Buy plants that are already mature which are growing in hanging baskets or containers.
  • Given that strawberries are sprawling plants, provide adequate spacing for sprawling. You can place the plants 22 inches apart in order to leave some space for runners and leave 4 feet between rows. This is necessary because, strawberries grow in such a way that, the seedlings sends out runners or what other people referred to as “daughter plant’’ which subsequently send out their own runners.
  • When plants are set out, it is necessary to ensure that the roots aren’t longer than 8 inches. In case you find out that they are longer than 8 inches then it is advisable to trim them.
  • Generally, strawberry plants have long roots and therefore you will need to dig the planting hole relatively deep and wide enough to accommodate the entire root system without bending it. When planting, ensure that the leaves and flowers are exposed to maximum light and fresh air.
  • Make sure to water the plant well during the time of planting.
  • It is also important to note that, you can successfully grow strawberries from last year’s runners.
  • If possible, plant the strawberries in hanging baskets or containers, as they can be moved out of the intense summer heat when necessary and they are easy to water and tend.

Also Read: Different Types of Crabapple Trees

How To Effectively Care And Make Strawberry Plants Produce More Fruits (Berries)

Strawberry Plant With More Fruits
  • Make sure your strawberry plants are pest and disease-free. Diseases and pests are known to affect the quantity and quality of fruits a strawberry plant produces. Use sprayers to get rid of the pests and diseases as soon as you spot them in order for your plant to stay healthy and produce the expected quantity of fruits.
  • Attract bees and other pollinating agents to your yard. A small patch of strawberry alone may not be enough in as far as attracting and keeping bees in your yard is concerned. To effectives attract bees and other pollinating agents, plant flowering bushes, flowers and trees nearby your yard in the early season.
  • Ensure that your strawberry plant is getting enough amount of water. This in itself is an important factor in as far as the general plant growth is concerned. Strawberries have a shallow root system and in this regard, tend to obtain most of their water from the top layers of the soil. These top layers of soil, happens to the soils that dries up relatively fast. Also, strawberry plants require a lot of water when the runners and flowers are developing. You need to water your strawberry plants on weekly basis and place a layer of mulch around the berries to help hold moisture in the top soil.
  • Trim the strawberry runners. Runners are the long stems that run off the central plant and create more strawberry plants. Every year, the strawberry plant produces runners that root nearby and produce new plants; they remain attached to the main plant and drain nutrients from it. This can eventually make the main plant to get exhausted and take a ‘’rest period’’ from producing more berries.
  • Plant your strawberry plant in sandy, well-drained soil. Too much water can affect the fruiting ability of the strawberry plant.
  • In the first year, pick off blossoms to discourage strawberry plants from fruiting. This enables the plant to spend their food reserves on developing healthy roots. This will significantly results in much higher yields in the second year.
  • By use of hands, regularly remove any weeds around your strawberry plants especially so within the first two month after planting.
  • Fertilizer strawberries once per year beginning after the first harvest in the second season and each following year. Rather than working the fertilizer into the soil, water thoroughly after fertilizing to get the fertilizer to the root.

Also Read: Different Types of Cherry Trees

Diseases & Pests

Just like any other plant, without proper care, strawberry plants are susceptible to various pests and diseases. The most common diseases that affect Strawberry plants include:

  • Leather rot: This condition is common in immature fruit and is characterized by visible brown-red spots. Within a certain period of time, the spots spread out throughout the whole fruit.
  • White and red spot disease: This condition affects and weakens the plant foliage.
  • Gnomonia: This condition is quite common during humid-warm temperatures. It results in fruit rot and in many cases; the sepals and calyx of the plant will become brown.
  • Botrytis Cinerea: This condition is quite common during humid, damp weather and is characterized by brown spots on leaves and fruits.
  • Strawberry blossom weevil: When a plant is affected by this condition, the plant loses their flower buds and consequently their yield is affected.
  • Strawberry mildew: The condition is very common in weeded strawberry plants; it affects the flowers, fruits and leaves.
  • Powdery Mildew: Powdery mildew is a fungal disease caused by many different species of fungi. It also affects strawberry plants and takes away its nutrients.
  • Slugs: Slugs feed on ripe strawberry fruit and produce holes that render the berries unmarketable. These holes may be invaded by secondary pests such as sowbugs, earwigs and small beetles. Slugs also feed on the leaves of strawberries.
  • Spider mites: Spider mites are normally found on the underside of leaves of strawberry. They feed on leaves and reduces the plant’s vigor and may cause leaves to curl, turn brown and drop prematurely, reducing yield.

Preventing Diseases

  • Remove old and sick leaves from the plant with scissor to prevent the plant from the botrytis cinerea and other diseases.
  • Avoid use of too much fertilizer or pesticides because pests and pathogens would eventually become rampant.
  • Endeavor to use natural remedies while fighting the pest.

A Guide On Harvesting Strawberries

  • Strawberry fruits are normally ready for harvesting between 5-6 weeks after blossoming.
  • The best time for harvesting the berries is the morning hours.
  • During harvesting, harvest only the fully ripe or completely red berries and pick every 4 or 5 days.
  • Always cut the berry by the stem, avoid pulling the berry because you can to a large extend damage the plant. Strawberries should always be picked from the stem in one piece together with the green sepals.

Handling Strawberries After Harvesting

  • Do not expose the harvested berries to too much heat.
  • Immediately after harvesting, store the berries in an airy and cool area. You can store them in the vegetable compartment in the refrigerator.
  • You need sort out damaged fruits within a short period of time because moulds develop quickly.
  • Strawberries which have already molded at a small spot should be disposed immediately.

12 thoughts on “How to make strawberry plants produce more fruit”

  1. I live in North Texas, I have planted many plants of strawberries in my garden, they get enough sunshine (at least 6 hours), enough feeding and watering. The plants have produced small fruits, that appear distorted on maturity. Can you tell me how it happened?

  2. I am Jonte and I live in Canada, can you tell me what’s wrong with my strawberry plants, the plants generally look health and seem to be growing under good condition, but keep dropping most of the fruit off. What could this be?

  3. Really informative, piece,ourfarm is in Texas would like to liase with someone doing strawberry farming in Texas so that I can get a hands on experience, I would like to do it, thus the need to understand it well. Keep up this good work.

  4. Am Jerry, I live in Texas, I had done one plant in a pot which has many shoots and runners. I did not know how to propagate, now I’m done with what I’ve got here. You’re a blessing to me and promise to do more in order to get more plants for commercial purposes.

  5. Am Kerry Nelson and I live in Texas, I have had my strawberries in raised beds for two years…with overhead sprinkling…the plants look healthy…not sure the variety but they are everberring….the problem is the berries are very mushy…just wondering if it’s the type of variety and should I just dig up and start over with new variety.? Or what causes mushy berries? Thanks for your help in advance.

  6. I’ve planted strewberries last year october ever since they haven’t show flowers or produces any strewberries. The plants a growing very well &have lot runners that need to be transplanted into ports or soil. I want to know how long would they take till harvest &which season is the right season. On winter season a my plants going to die or what?

  7. I would like to know if there is any fruit picking jobs available or any farm work. We are couple and we have worked on farms for many years and last year worked at Hadlow. We are available to work now.
    Thanks for your answer

  8. The article was great and was not bored reading it.
    I’m quite interested in growing strawberries and I’m just a beginner with plants.
    How do you think they’ll fare with tropical weather? (Which is just sun and rain and more sun.)

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