How To Grow Strawberries From Seed or Crowns
Rising in popularity, strawberries are grown all across Australia to keep up with increasing demand. Plant Health Australia states there are an ‘’estimated 500 growers’’ that commercially produce strawberries for sale. Production is focused in the eastern states with Queensland utilising the cooler months and the southern states producing during the warmer months.
Strawberries are also an exceptional fruit to grow in the home garden. Their flavour is exquisite when ripened to maturity and eaten fresh. Follow our handy guide so that you can grow your own tasty strawberries!
Growing from Seed
Mr Fothergill’s provides two options for growing your own strawberries. A popular way to start your own plants is from seed. Seeds are available all year round and can be a cost effective way to produce many plants. Follow these steps to ensure you get germination success:
- Strawberries originate from cooler European climates so stratifying your seed packet will enhance germination. Simply place in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks prior to sowing to place them into a Winter like state. Once the seeds are removed from the cold and sown they will spring into growth.
- Ensure seeds are sown into a tray with good quality seed raising mix. The finer the grade of mix, the better soil contact the seed will have which prevents them drying out.
- As the seeds are small, sow depth is very important. Seeds can either be pressed into the surface of the potting mix or very lightly covered with 1-2mm of soil or vermiculite.
- Keep the pots warm and moist throughout germination. In cooler months’ sow indoors and place some cling film over the pots to preserve moisture and warmth.
- Place your pots into a well-lit area to encourage germination.
- Water your tray with a fine mist to prevent the seeds from dislodging and being buried.
Growing from Crowns
Growing from crowns is another option for starting your plants. As a part of Mr Fothergill’s Summer Produce Bulb range strawberry crowns become available to purchase from June to September either online or at independent garden retailers.
Crowns are a fast method of growing your plants and will have you producing strawberries in no time. Follow these steps to ensure your crowns are well loved:
- Choose a sunny sheltered position in your garden. Partial afternoon shade during Summer will be beneficial.
- Prepare your planting site by incorporating plenty of compost and aged manure.
- Slightly mound up your garden beds to improve drainage. This will prevent your crowns from rotting. In poor draining soils consider growing in large pots or tubs.
- You can soak your crowns prior to planting for an hour or two in a bucket with water and diluted seaweed solution.
- Gently place your crowns onto the prepared bed and fan out any roots. The crowns will need to be at the same level as the surrounding soil. Any roots can be gently buried.
- Top off your beds and pots with some sugarcane mulch to keep the plants weed free and protected.
Growing and Fruiting Tips
- To encourage stronger plants and better fruit production contain your strawberries. This means pruning off any side shoots or runners thus directing energy back into the main plant.
- Strawberries will enjoy regular applications of a balanced slow release fertiliser, particularly in the lead up to Spring.
- Once flowering and fruiting apply regular applications of diluted liquid fertiliser that is rich in potassium.
- Protect your crop from slugs by sprinkling out organic slug pellets at the first sign of fruiting. You could also try creating a DIY ‘’Beer Trap’’.
- Replace your plants after three seasons or as they begin to lower in yields.
- Whilst strawberries usually prefer cooler climates, there are a number of varieties suitable for growing in warmer parts of Australia such as Australian or Californian bred varieties that thrive in subtropical climates with warm Winters. Varieties that are Day Neutral, Low Chill or Short Day are ideal as they will still produce in milder climates. Some varieties to try include Melba, Rubygem and Redlands Joy.
Mr Fothergill's stocks a range of Strawberry seeds and crowns. Strawberry seeds are available all year round whilst Strawberry crowns are only available June to September while stocks last.