A strawberry pot overflowing with ripening strawberries is a beautiful and practical garden or patio feature. Specially designed for growing strawberries, these roomy containers with planting pockets on the sides allow strawberry plants to grow off the ground, keeping them clean and healthy. Gardeners have discovered that these attractive pots are perfect for growing not just strawberries but also herbs or flowers, or a combination of these.
Preparing the Pot
Strawberry pots are available in terracotta, glazed ceramic, plastic or wood. Getting plants evenly watered without washing away the soil in the planting spaces is most important. If you have a terracotta pot, soak the entire pot in water for an hour or two before planting. Place a piece of window screening over the drain holes in the pot. Position a length of perforated 3/4-inch PVC pipe, capped on the bottom and just longer than the pot is tall, down the middle of the pot and fill the pot with soil to the first tier of pockets. Plant the first layer, fill with soil to the next tier, and continue planting and filling with soil as you go up the pot. Water the pot through the pipe.
Strawberries are a natural choice for the strawberry pot. Select from everbearing, day-neutral or June-bearing varieties. Everbearing varieties fruit twice in the season. Day-neutral plants fruit several times throughout the season, and June-bearers produce strawberries only in early or later June, depending on the cultivar. Filling more than one strawberry pot with different varieties provides fruit all season. Consult your local nursery for suggestions on the best-flavored cultivars that perform well in your area. Strawberries thrive in acidic soil and full sun.
Herbs are attractive plants for tiered growing. Select a variety of textures and growth habits for the strawberry pot. Small or slower-growing herbs, such as trailing thyme, bushy oregano and spiky chives, work well when planted in the side holes. Choose larger herbs for the top, such as rosemary, sage, French tarragon, basil and lemon balm. Though herbs vary somewhat in soil requirements, a good commercial potting mix is suitable for most garden varieties. Plant the pot in place in a sunny location near the kitchen door for easy snipping.
Annual flowers, strawberries, herbs and shallow-rooted vegetables can be planted in combination. With strawberries, combine annual sweet alyssum and pansies. Tuck lettuce and radishes into the herb pot. Plant a combination of annual flowers to be placed in either sun or shade according to sun exposure requirements. A cactus or succulent garden can be planted with trailing ice plants in the side pockets. Cacti and succulents have lower watering needs and are easy to care for in terracotta pots. Consult your local nursery for guidance on cultural requirements and growing medium for cactus plants.
- "Mother Earth News"; Make an Old Time Strawberry Barrel; John Vivian; June/July 1996
- University of Illinois Extension; Gardener's Corner; Strawberry Pots
- Purdue University Cooperative Extension; Growing Strawberries; Bruce Bordelon; December 2001
- Purdue University Cooperative Extension; Growing Herbs; Kate Copsey, et al.; January 2002
- Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images
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