Strawberry – Fragana

Strawberries are low- growing perennials which are easy to grow and will reward you with a crop of delicious fruit during summer months.

The large Strawberries we know today are the hybrids of a cross between two American species, Frogaria chiloensis and Frogaria virginiona. There are two main types of Strawberries: those which bear one crop of fruit in the summer, and the perpetual varieties which begin to fruit in summer and continue into autumn.

It is important to grow strong, healthy plants which will crop well, so choose named varieties and renew all the plants after two to three years. Certified virus-free plants of some varieties are available. Each plant will produce between five and eight runners. Pot up the most vigorous ones.

VarietiesStrawberry - Fragana

Select a single-cropping variety which will give a high yield of well-flavoured fruit. ‘Cambridge Favourite’, ‘Tenira’, ‘Grandee’ and ‘Tonto’ will grow in containers. The perpetual types ‘Ostara’, ‘Gento’ and ‘Aromel’ are all worth growing.

Display ideas

The most attractive containers are terracotta pots with ‘pockets’ round the sides. These are rather Strawberries can be stacked in containers with ‘pockets’ for effective display.

Expensive, but you can buy a cheaper plastic alternative, consisting of self-watering, stacking modules. Wooden barrels cut in half make attractive containers. Fill your container with a mixture of one part of perlite to three parts of soil-based compost.

Pests And Diseases

Grey, velvety coating on leaves and berries is grey mould.

Treatment: Move to a sunnier spot and give less water. Good air circulation will also help as mould is caused by damp, still conditions.

A white, powdery deposit is mildew. Treatment: Spray the plants with water in the morning or use a fungicide to combat severe attacks. Do make sure that the fungicide is suitable for edible plants.

Small holes in the fruit are bird damage. Prevention: Protect the fruit from attack by draping fine-mesh netting over the container.

Looking after your plant

  • Plant up containers in July and August to get a good crop of fruit the next year, when you should prune away unwanted runners.
  • Plants need plenty of warmth so site pots in a sheltered position, preferably against a south-facing wall.
  • Water in the plants after planting and keep the compost moist but not sodden. Feed every two weeks during the second year, using a general purpose fertilizer, from early April until the fruits form during July. Feed again during autumn and then stop until the following spring.

Using Strawberries

Strawberries are low in calories and a good source of vitamin C. Eat them raw, adding cream and sugar. They make excellent jams and jellies which have a sweet, fresh taste.

PLANT CARE

Strawberries need warmth, sun and shelter when grown outdoors, as well as regular watering and feeding. Protect them from birds with fine-mesh netting spread right over the container.

  • Potting: Plant out during July and August. Use a mixture of one part perlite to three parts soil-based compost. Pot up strong runners to increase your stock.
  • Water moderately during the growing season, keeping the compost evenly moist but not saturated. Begin to water and feed again when plants start into growth the following spring.
  • Feeding: Feed every two weeks during the second year, using a general purpose fertilizer. Feed from early April until July. Feed again after fruiting until growth slows down in winter.

BEST GROWTH ENVIRONMENT

  • Light: Strawberries need plenty of sun for the plants to grow and the fruit to ripen. Grow them in a sheltered position, preferably against a south-facing wall.
  • Temperature: Strawberry plants are hardy, but give some protection from frost during severe weather. Don’t plant out young plants from November to late February as they may be damaged by hard frosts.

Buying Tips

  • Buy in early summer, selecting a single-cropping or perpetual hybrid. Plant up two containers with early and late varieties to extend the fruiting season.
  • Buy named varieties, preferably virus-resistant, with healthy-looking, compact foliage.
  • A perennial which should be renewed every two to three years.

Grow Strawberries in a warm, sheltered spot so you can enjoy really fresh fruit. Plant up a special terracotta pot or barrel to make an interesting feature.

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