Strawberries (Fragaria ananassa) are a delicious and easy perennial fruit to grow in a balcony container garden. Strawberry plants produce tiny white flowers, and quickly produce green berries that will turn red when ripe and ready to eat. This plant actually does best in plant containers, and they benefit from being planted in a hanging container. Being raised off the ground reduces the chances that garden pests will kill it (e.g., slugs). As long as you keep it in a sunny spot and make sure the potting soil doesn’t dry out, strawberry plants will thrive in your kitchen garden.
Give strawberry plants least 6 hours of full sun a day. Keep its potting soil moist at all times – don’t let it dry out, especially when the strawberry plant is producing fruit. But also do not let the soil stay soggy. Drying out can be a problem during the summer heat, especially if you have your strawberries in hanging containers with fibrous coconut lining. To protect the strawberry plant from drying out in this type of plant container, line the coconut fiber lining with a plastic bag with holes punched into it (for soil drainage). The plastic bag will keep more moisture in the potting soil.
To grow strawberry plants in your kitchen garden, you can plant them from seed or buy some at your local garden shop. There are three different types of strawberries available: June-bearing strawberries (which produce one large crop in late spring), ever-bearing (which produce one crop in the spring and one in the fall), and the day-neutral strawberries (which will produce fruit throughout the growing season).
Once your strawberry plant has established itself in its container, it will send off runners and produce new plants in its neighboring potting soil. The strawberry runners can quickly fill out a plant container. They actually produce runners so effectively that commercial strawberry growers inhibit this “behavior” by placing plastic on the dirt around the plant so the plant focuses all of its energy on strawberry fruit production and not sending out runners.
A lot of things can go wrong when growing strawberry plants. They’re attractive to wild birds and a lot of garden pests, and they are also susceptible to many diseases. Don’t plant them in the same soil where tomatoes, peppers, eggplant or potatoes have grown in the past few years because these plants can Verticillium Wilt, a disease to which strawberry plants are very susceptible. Make sure to buy “perpetual” strawberries, which will produce fruit three times in a season. Provide strawberry plants with a semi-sandy soil, and add fertilizer to the potting soil before planting. The best time to plant strawberries in the kitchen garden is in early September or early April.