Food Gardening Network

Growing Good Food at Home

Growing Strawberries from Seeds or Seedlings

Planted strawberry seedlings

Planted strawberry seedlings

You can grow strawberries from seeds, but it’s much more common and effective to buy potted plants or bare roots. You can buy plants at local nurseries or box stores, but you’ll largely have to buy seeds and bare roots online.

When starting from seeds, sow them directly in the garden in early spring. It will take up to a month to see signs of germination. Plants generally won’t produce any fruit until the following year. If you remove all the flowers in the first year, you’ll have larger, stronger, more productive plants the following spring.

If you buy bare root plants, they’re dormant plants that will look dead, but they aren’t—or they shouldn’t be. Check your bare root plants for signs of rotting or mold and reject the plant if you find them. The crowns of the plant should be intact and roots should look vigorous.

In chilly USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 6 and lower, your strawberry plants should go into the ground in spring, as soon as the soil is workable. That will give them time to become established before the cold weather sets in. In warmer zones 7 and up, you’ll typically plant around Labor Day for harvests to begin the following spring.

When planting bare root plants, be sure to remove any old leaves from the crowns and soak the roots in water for at least an hour. You must pay attention to the depth at which you plant bare root plants: The crown of the plant, where the leaves originate, should sit just on top of the soil.

If you plant too deep, the crown will rot and leaves won’t be able to emerge from the soil. If you plant too high, the crown will dry out and can die.

Potted plants should be planted soon after purchase, after the last risk of frost.

For both potted and bare root plants, make sure there is plenty of room for the roots and that they’re spread out before covering them with soil.

Keep plants watered well until they’re established.

Although they’re perennials, strawberries don’t last forever. They’re most productive in the first two to five years of life. You’ll notice a drop in productivity and will want to replace them every few years.

Have you tried growing strawberries from seeds, potted plants, or bare roots? Which method do you prefer—and why? Please share your experiences with us.

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