Growing Strawberry Plants

Fragaria : Rosaceae / the rose family

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
                P P P  

(Best months for growing Strawberry Plants in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

  • P = Plant out (transplant) seedlings

September: Protect from frost

  • Easy to grow. Plant with crown (of roots) just covered.. Best planted at soil temperatures between 50°F and 68°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 12 - 39 inches apart
  • Harvest in approximately 11 weeks. Strawberries bruise easily when ripe, handle carefully. Pick with a small piece of stem attached..
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Better in a bed on their own to allow good sun and air circulation
  • Avoid growing close to: If you are using rotation beds, avoid putting strawberries where you have grown tomatoes, potatoes, peppers or eggplant
  • Ripening fruit
  • Strawberry plants

Strawberries are low-growing leafy plants which grow 12 - 15 cm (about 6 inches) tall and will spread to about 50 - 100 cm (20 - 40 inches). They have five petalled white or pink flowers. The flowers are followed by the delicious red fruits (which have their seeds on the outside).

Later in the season the plants send out runners like thin stems across the garden which will take root to form new plants. Cut them off and leave the parent growing. You can transplant the runners or let them grow where they rooted to produce new plants.

At the end of fruiting, trim off old yellow leaves and clean up any mouldy fruit still attached.

Strawberries like well drained soil with plenty of humus. To prepare your bed, dig in some compost before planting and possibly use a liquid fertiliser during the growing season. Well fed strawberries taste better.

To protect the fruit from moulds and mildew use some form of mulch around the plants. Straw, pine needles, or black plastic are all suitable. Mulch will also help suppress weeds.

Protect your plants with some sort of netting or bird scarer or you will lose most of your crop!

Strawberry plants often need replacing after a few years as they get affected by viruses and stop producing well.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Strawberry Plants

Pick strawberries and eat them straight from the garden warm from the sunshine - delicious!

Strawberries can be used in any dessert needing soft fruit or berries. Summer pudding (which also has raspberries and blackberries or boysenberries), mousse, trifle, dipped in melted chocolate or just with cream.

Sprinkle a bowl of strawberries with balsamic vinegar and a little sugar to enhance the flavour and colour.

A quick jam of diced strawberries cooked in the microwave with an equal weight of sugar until completely soft won't keep but can be used right away.

Your comments and tips

05 Jun 23, Murray Dillner - (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Hi, I livein a cold climate during the winter, how do I look after strawberry plants when they stop flowing. They have heaps of runners. Do I cut them off and store in a container out of the cold? Should I cover them and keep the frost off them and leave in the ground? Novice grower of strawberries Thanks Murray Lake Tarawera Rotorua
07 Jun 23, (Australia - temperate climate)
If you spot any dead or dying leaves on your strawberry plants, go ahead and pluck them off. This will make way for new leaves to sprout up. When it comes to runners it depends on how old the plant is. During the initial couple of years, it's a good idea to snip off the runners as soon as they pop up. This way, the plant can channel its energy into producing more fruit. However, once the third year rolls around, you can start utilizing some of those runners to create new plants through propagation. If you're worried about frost, you can try mulching them. Or, if you prefer, use a row cover, burlap, or even plastic to cover and protect them.
09 Mar 22, Susan Marseglia (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hi there, I have moved into a new property with strawberry plants. How do i care for them as i presume its the end of the season ? Do i cut back all the leaves / stems ,and have read that i can cut off the runners but what do you do with them? Can they be stored over winter somehow and replanted? Any advice greatly appreciated thanks. novice gardener
11 Mar 22, Judy Lewis (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Depends how old the plants are. Strawberries produce well for 2-3 years and then need to be replaced. If they look healthy - no black spot etc - then keep them for another year. Trim off any dead leaves and side-dress with compost. If there are runners, wait till they are firmly rooted in the ground before separating them from the mother plant. Any time from now, these new plants can be dug up and replanted where you want them. I have six rows, and each year, the first two rows are removed, and two new rows replace them on the other side of the bed, never in the same place.
11 Mar 22, Anonymous (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
I live sub tropical Queensland Aussie. The commercial growers here plant new plants (runners) in mid April. So leave your plants alone until then. Prepare new ground now to put the new runners into in April.
28 Aug 21, Lyn (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hi, we have recently purchased a property that has a smallish greenhouse with strawberries growing on one side. When we first moved in they had lovely large strawberries (April). I don't know how old these plants are, but they have quite a big layer of old brown leaves under the green ones. Should I lift these plants, refresh the soil and replant? They look pretty healthy.
31 Aug 21, Tony Baker (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
generally you replace 1/3 of plants each year, as it's the 1 or 2 year old plants that do best. it's normal to have old leaves and these fall off to become food for next crop. You probably have a few runners starting as well, use these as new plants, just pot them up to grow on a bit or push them into the soil where you want them.
13 Oct 20, Meredyth Anderson (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hi my strawberries leaves are turning creamy white, though still green as well and plant looks healthy. What could be the problem please. From Meredyth.
16 Oct 20, (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Could be powdery mildew, phone an agricultural produce agency in your area and talk to them.
01 Jun 20, Donna (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hi. I have flowers in late May/June just going into winter on my Camarosas. I planted in summer last year and got very little fruit. The plants are now in their second year. Should II pick those flowers off? Thanks
Showing 1 - 10 of 18 comments

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. GardenGrow is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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