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 10°C and 20°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 30 - 100 cm 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 12-15cm (about 6 inches) tall and will spread to about 50-100cm (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

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
02 Jun 20, Anonymous (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
I wouldn't - maybe read or research when to grow strawberries in your area. In sub tropical Qld Australia - they plant early April and start picking June. I don't know anything about your variety.
16 Jan 20, Suzanne (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I live in central auckland and grow strawberries in a large concrete trough approx 340 mm deep and wide. I had the opportunity to get a number of strawberry plants a few days ago, and want to know if I plant them now, protect them will they winter ok?
Showing 1 - 10 of 16 comments

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.

- Tony Baker

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