If you want to have sweet, delicious strawberries even if you have not much outside space? Then you need to know how to grow strawberries in a hanging basket.
When I was little, strawberries were my favourite treat, and they still are now. And homegrown ones are the sweetest and juiciest. I love to pick them and eat them straight away.
But when you don’t have much space in your garden or don’t have a garden at all, growing space can be in short supply.
However, this doesn’t mean you have to miss out on yummy homegrown strawberries, because we will show you how to grow strawberries in a hanging basket.
Why Grow Strawberries In A Hanging Basket?
Before we get into how to grow strawberries in a hanging basket, let’s talk about why you should do it.
Strawberries belong to summer like ice cream and BBQs. And it’s so easy to grow them at home, as they are hardy plants that don’t need much maintenance.
But what do you do if you don’t have much space in the garden or no garden at all? Simple, grow them in a hanging basket.
Not only will you be able to get sweet fruits, but they will also look stunning. And a hanging basket can be put anywhere, even inside, if you have no outside space at all.
But there are other benefits too:
- you don’t need to bend down to pick the delicious fruits
- because they will be higher up, many insects and animals who might nibble at them in a bed, won’t be able to get at them in a hanging basket
- if the weather turns bad, you can quickly and easily get them out of the worst
- if you hang them on eye level, they will not only delight your tummy, but also your eyes as their flowers and fruit look beautiful
- while many pests might miss them, bees and other pollinators will still find them
So you see, it is well worth knowing how to grow strawberries in a hanging basket.
How To Grow Strawberries In A Hanging Basket
Now that we talked about why you should grow strawberries in a hanging basket, let’s look at how you do it.
Types Of Strawberries
You might not know it, but there are actually three types of strawberries and our guide about how to grow strawberries in a hanging basket would not be complete without mentioning these.
Summer-fruiting strawberries are what most people grow in their gardens. They produce a big crop of large fruit for a few weeks from early to mid-summer.
They also send out runners, so you get new plants.
Perpetual strawberries produce fruit for a longer period, from early summer until autumn, when the first frosts hit.
While they crop for longer, they tend to produce smaller fruits and fewer than the summer-fruiting ones.
They are also less likely to produce runners.
Alpine strawberries are more like wild strawberries. They prefer shade and produce small but sweet and tasty fruit. Once planted, they don’t need much care and can just be left to their own devices.
When it comes to growing strawberries in a hanging basket, all three varieties will work. But perpetual strawberries are most suited for a strawberry planter or hanging basket.
Because they don’t send out that many runners, but also because they will produce smaller fruits, so work well in small spaces.
Growing From Seed Or Buying Young Plants?
Strawberries tend to be bought as young plants, however, alpine strawberries and some summer-fruiting and perpetual varieties can also be grown from seed.
But it can take a month for the seeds to germinate and germination can be erratic. You will have to start sowing in February/March and the strawberry plants will only bear fruits the following year.
On the other hand, growing from seeds means you have more choice in terms of unusual varieties.
But if you don’t have much space, you will be better off buying young plants. It also means you will be able to enjoy sweet and delicious strawberries sooner. Now let’s move on to a very important part of our guide about how to grow strawberries in a hanging basket, the basket.
The Hanging Basket
To ensure that your strawberries have the best possible environment, it is important that you choose the right hanging basket.
That’s why we have dedicated a section to this topic in our guide about how to grow strawberries in a hanging basket.
First you have to consider that the basket will have to hold soil, your plants, its fruit and water. So, you want a strong basket that won’t buckle under the weight and break.
Therefore, I would recommend a metal hanging basket.
You will also need a lining, for which I recommend coco. It’s a natural material that will keep the soil in place, but it will allow air and water to penetrate.
This means your hanging basket is well drained, making sure your strawberry plants stay healthy.
Because while strawberries like moist soil, they don’t want it too wet, good drainage is essential.
Some hanging baskets come with plastic lining, which will prevent excess water from draining away. If you choose one of those, make sure you make drainage holes in the plastic to prevent the roots from rotting in wet soil.
Because the hanging basket is important, we recommend one in our guide about how to grow strawberries in a hanging basket to get you started.
- Traditional wrought iron effect handing basket
- Elegant Saxon style to suit any garden
- Includes coco liner
This hanging basket is sturdy and will last you a long time. The coco liners can be replaced if they start to deteriorate and because they are made from organic material, you can add them to your compost heap.
Its size is also ideal, as it is big enough for three strawberry plants. If you want more plants in one basket, you might want a bigger size, but I think that 30cm (12in) is ideal.
Preparing Your Hanging Basket
Once you have the right basket and the young plants, you are ready to create your strawberry hanging basket. An important step in knowing how to grow strawberries in a hanging basket.
Fill the basket with potting soil or good quality compost, mixed with organic matter and perlite. The latter will ensure the soil stays well drained. Whereas the rest of the soil mix will make sure that your strawberry plants have all the need for a good start.
If you want to make sure that the basket will retain moisture well, you can also add water-storing gel pallets. These will absorb the water and release it slowly to keep the soil moist.
- Water storing crystals that absorb and release water when plants need it, reducing the need for watering
- Works all season
- Simply mix into Miracle-Gro compost
You want to fill your hanging basket to just below the rim. Now your basket is ready for your strawberry plants.
Planting Your Strawberry Plants
Now plant three strawberry plants around the edge of the basket. This will ensure they have enough space to grow, and they will overspill the basket, which will also look beautiful.
Give them a really good soak to make sure they settle well into their new home and the roots will start growing.
The ideal time to create your strawberry hanging basket is May, as the risk of frost has mostly passed. And if a particularly cold night is forecast, just take your hanging basket inside overnight.
Where To Hang Your Hanging Basket?
Our guide about how to grow strawberries in a hanging basket would not be complete without a section on the best location.
Strawberries do best in a sheltered, sunny position. The more sun they get, the sweeter their fruits will be. So if you want sweet berries, hang your basket in a location where it gets a lot of sun.
If you don’t have a sunny spot, you might want to consider growing perpetual strawberries or alpine varieties, as these can tolerate more shade.
Especially alpine strawberries, which will do well even in full shade. Summer-fruiting strawberries will need a lot of sun to thrive.
Caring For Your Strawberries In Your Hanging Basket
While strawberries don’t tend to need much care, there are some things to consider when growing any plant in a container, so we include this section in our guide about how to grow strawberries in a basket.
The most important thing to be aware of when you grow strawberries in a hanging basket is that you have to water them regularly.
Soil in a hanging basket, like in any other plant pot or container, will dry out quicker than in a bed.
Especially while your plants are still establishing themselves, you need to water them frequently.
Top Tip: Stick a wooden lollipop stick in the soil. This will tell you if the soil is still moist or if it’s time to water.
It’s important that you don’t let the soil in the hanging basket dry out, as this would stress your strawberry plants.
In dry, hot weather, water your hanging basket daily, if not twice a day.
When you water the hanging basket, try not to get the foliage and the fruits wet. As this could encourage fungal diseases.
Once your strawberry plants start to flower, start feeding them with a liquid fertiliser that is high in potassium. This will encourage the growth of fruits.
A tomato feed will work well.
- Easy to apply simply mix with water in a watering can according to instructions
- For tomatoes and flowering pot plants
- With seaweed extract for maximum growth and better crops
Or you can make your own liquid fertiliser for free. Here we show you how.
Now we are coming to the best part of our guide about how to grow strawberries in a hanging basket, harvesting the fruits of our labour.
The fruits are ready to harvest when they are bright red all over. Make sure you harvest any strawberries that are ripe to encourage the plant to produce more.
Enjoy them soon after picking for the best taste. They don’t tend to freeze well, so if you have too many to eat (as if that ever happens!), you could make strawberry jam.
You can store them in the fridge for a day or two, but they will lose some of their taste.
By the way, strawberries are delicious in a glass of prosecco. Just pop them in, enjoy your drink and look forward to a boozy, sweet strawberry.
Getting Free Strawberry Plants
As we have already mentioned, summer-fruiting varieties will send out runners, once they have started fruiting.
These are essentially new plants for free. Snip them off and put the tip in a pot of compost. The new plant will produce roots, and you have a new source of strawberries for next year.
Keep the new plant on a windowsill over winter and keep it watered. That way, you will have an endless supply of strawberries for free.
And by snipping off the runners, you will also focus the energy of your plants on producing fruits rather than offspring.
Pests And Diseases That Affect Strawberries
Any guide about how to grow strawberries in a hanging basket should include a section about pests and diseases.
Like most vegetable and fruit plants, strawberries can also suffer from fungal diseases. The good news is, because you are growing them in a hanging basket, only air-borne ones will affect your strawberries.
One such fungal disease is grey mould. It occurs mostly in humid conditions.
You will see a fuzzy grey mould on decaying leaves, flowers, fruits and buds. On strawberries, the fruits might go soft and brown as the fruit is ripening.
The buds and flowers will shrivel and die. There is no cure, so the best way forward is to prevent an infection:
- Grey mould can start on dead or dying leaves, flowers and buds, so make sure you remove them as soon as you see them.
- Don’t put too many plants in one basket, as this will stop the air from flowing and encourage favourable conditions for the fungus. Allow good air circulation between the plants.
- Water from below to prevent the leaves and fruits to get wet.
- Immediately remove any infected parts of the plant.
Strawberries can also get infected with powdery mildew. This fungal disease attacks mostly the leaves and stems, but sometimes also the flowers and fruits.
The first signs of an infection will be white, powdery patches on the leaves, which will spread.
Again, there is no cure, so prevention is the best option:
- Keep the soil moist to keep your plants strong and healthy as this disease will affect plants in distress more often.
- Don’t overcrowd your basket, give your plants space for air to circulate.
- Avoid overhead watering.
- Remove any dead or dying leaves. If you see any signs of an infection, remove the infected part.
- Don’t over-fertilise as too much leaf growth will decrease air flow. This applies if you are using a nitrogen rich feed.
Knowing how to grow strawberries in a hanging basket successfully means knowing which pets could affect them.
The good news is that as you are growing your strawberries in a hanging basket, there aren’t too many pests to worry about. The usual suspects like slugs, snails and small mammals won’t find them.
However, there is one pest that you need to be aware of, the vine weevil.
This is a beetle that feeds on a number of different plants and can cause real damage to plants in containers.
The adult beetle will feed on the foliage of strawberries, however, they very seldom cause a problem.
But their larvae, which feed on the roots over autumn and winter, can kill your strawberry plants.
Adult vine weevils are 9mm long insects, which are black with yellow marks on the wing case. When they nibble at the leaves, they leave irregular notches on the edges of the leaves.
As they are active in summer, you will find these signs during the summer months.
Their grub is fat, white and crescent shaped with no legs. They have brown heads and reach a length of up to 10mm.
As they live underground, you will only be able to spot them if you check your strawberry’s roots.
You will only know that something is wrong if over autumn and winter your plants start to wilt and die.
There are some things you can do to control vine weevils in your garden:
- Check your plants and walls on mild evenings during spring and summer for adult weevils. They might hide under pots too. Pick off an adult insect you can find.
- Encourage wild life into your garden that will eat vine weevils and their grubs. These include birds, frogs, toads, hedgehogs and predatory ground and rove beetles.
Because the larvae only start feeding on the roots in autumn, you can prevent this pest from causing any problems for your strawberries in the hanging basket, by not overwintering them.
If you choose june-bearing strawberries that send out runners, you can snip them off and plant them in a small pot and grow them on the window sill, where they will be safe from this pest.
Then you can transplant them to the hanging basket the next spring.
If you want to add the soil from your hanging basket to your compost heap, check for eggs and larvae first to prevent your compost from becoming infested.
Now that you know how to grow strawberries in a hanging basket, you are ready to create your own and enjoy delicious sweet strawberries at home. Happy Growing!