Light requirements: Full sun.
Planting: Space 6 to 18 inches apart, depending on type. (Read the stick tag that comes with the plant for specific spacing recommendations.) Be careful not to bury the crown of the plant, or it will rot.
Soil requirements: Strawberries need well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. Amend heavy clay or sandy soil with compost or other organic matter prior to planting. Create raised beds if soil is heavy or drains poorly. Soil pH should be between 5.5 and 6.8.
Water requirements: Keep soil consistently moist throughout the growing season. Moisture is the key to plump, fully-formed berries. Mulch soil to reduce water evaporation.
Frost-fighting plan: Strawberry plants are sensitive to frost. Temperatures of 28º F or less (a hard frost) damage flowers. Protect newly planted seedlings and established, budded plants by covering plants with straw or a frost blanket. By fall, strawberry plants have formed the flower buds that will open the following spring. To protect them through winter, apply a 2- to 3-inch mulch of straw, pine straw, or other loose organic material.
Common issues: Slugs can be a problem when using organic mulch, so use plastic mulch to discourage them). Keep birds from feasting on berries by covering plants with plastic bird netting. Small, misshapen berries are can be caused by drought or high temperatures.
Harvesting: Pick berries in the morning, when fruits are cool. Select fully formed and colored berries, as unripe berries won’t continue to ripen once picked. Carefully pull strawberries (with stems) from plants. Aim to leave about a half-inch stem on each berry.
Storage: Refrigerate unwashed berries (caps still on) in a plastic container with a loose-fitting lid. Place a paper towel in the bottom of the container before adding berries, then arrange berries in single layers separated by clean paper towels. For peak flavor, use within 2 to 3 days, although berries may last up to 7 days.
For more information, visit the Strawberries page in our How to Grow section.
Growing tip: Clip stem tips often when plants are young to encourage branching and bushiness. This yields more leaves.
Harvesting: Pick leaves at any point in the growing season, although it’s worth waiting for leaves to enlarge. Cut an entire stem if desired, or just pinch a leaf. Clip entire stems (to dry leaves) at the end of the growing season in zones where frost will kill plants.
Storage: Keep stems in a water-filled vase and harvest leaves freely. Stems should last up to a week, but flavors tend to shift as stems start to fade. Or wrap fresh stems in a barely damp paper towel and tuck into a loosely closed plastic bag. Store in a warmer part of the refrigerator (like the door). Use leaves within a week. For longer storage (and stronger flavor), dry leaves.
For more information, visit the Stevia page in our How to Grow section.
- Calories: 53
- Carbohydrates: 13g
- Dietary fiber: 3g
- Sugars: 8g
- Protein: 1g
- Vitamin C: 163% DV
- Folate: 10%
- Vitamin K: 5%
- Manganese: 32%
- Potassium: 7%
- Magnesium: 5%
Strawberries are a super-rich source of vitamin C and manganese and are packed with a long list of phytonutrients, among them an important group called phenols. Like other berries, strawberries are especially rich in phenols, compounds that provide the red color and also act as potent antioxidants working to protect the heart, fight cancer, and inflammation. Eating this potent little fruit can be an important and delicious part of a healthy diet.