grow strawberries uk climate

How to Grow Strawberries UK Climate, Conditions & Mediums

Strawberries are an easy fruit to grow and you can grow strawberries just about anywhere in the UK.   The wetter climate here works very well for this popular fruit plant, but you’ll want to make a few decisions about the best way to grow strawberries and how it suits your garden, patio or space.  One of the great reasons to grow strawberries is that they’re quick to harvest, so you’ll see results quite quickly.  There are a variety of different ways of growing strawberries and we’ll cover them all in this guide of how to grow strawberries.  UK climate considerations are taken into account, as are growing space, both indoors and out and also the different mediums you can use to grow strawberries.

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How to Grow Strawberries UK Conditions, Climate & Varieties

Strawberries are an awesome fruit to grow for the whole family and there are a variety of different ways to grow strawberries, even if you don’t have any outside space.  So we’ve taken the UK climate into account and here are the best ways to grow strawberries in a UK environment.

Read to get started now growing strawberries? Here’s our recommended strawberry growing kit kit of all you need:

7 Ways to Grow Strawberries in the UK

We think we’ve got them all covered.  That’s all the different ways to grow strawberries in the UK.  So, whether you’ve got an allotment, a big garden, a small garden, a patio or a terrace, or even a balcony, then we’ll look at how you can grow strawberries.  And for the piece de resistance, we’ll cover how to grow strawberries even if you don’t have any outside space. We cover growing strawberries in the ground later in this article, but if you’re looking at growing strawberries in containers, then our guide to the best strawberry planters is here. and as a reference, here’s the best strawberry planters at a glance.

Strawberry PlantersHighlightsWhat It Looks LikeRead Reviews & Buy Now!
Best Strawberry Planter – Best Strawberry Grow BagA pack of these strawberry planters contains 2 strawberry grow bags
Each strawberry bag has a capacity of 10 gallons or 43 litres
Strawberry grow bags from Tvird have 8 side picks for strawberry plants
Made of double-layered breathable fabric
With 2 reinforced handles
Cylindrical shaped growing bag for strawberries
These grow bags for strawberries come in black
Measurements of these strawberry grow bags are 29cm x 24cm x 4 cm
Buy the best strawberry grow bags here
Best Wooden Strawberry PlanterHerb and Strawberry planter made from long-lasting treated timber
Troughs come with a gap drainage system to prevent root rot
Extra stable A-frame design with leg bracing - all instructions included
Space-efficient tiered design minimises footprint and maximises planting capacity
Measurements of this wooden strawberry planter are 30 cm x 63 cm x 91 cm high.
Buy this lovely wooden strawberry planter now
Best Hanging Strawberry Grow BagMade from tough polyethene
Measures 54 cm x 23 cm wide
Available in dark green
Fabric is UV treated for longevity
Each bag contains 10 slit pockets for planting
5 planter bags per pack.
Buy these hanging strawberry bags
Best Stackable and Tiered Strawberry ContainerMade from plastic, durable and long-lasting
Measures 91 cm tall x 41 cm wide
Provides for 20 strawberry plants
Flow-through watering system
Excellent drainage
Buy this stackable strawberry planter
Best Hanging Baskets for StrawberriesLattice style gates provide for quick and easy planting – plant from the outside!
No requirement for liners or moss
Comes with built-in water-reservoir
Made in the UK with a UV resistant plastic
Comes with an anti-twist 4 point chain and T bar connectors
Each strawberry hanging basket measures 45.7cm x 43.3cm x 37.3 cm
Comes in a pack of 4
Buy these fab strawberry hanging baskets
Best Terracotta Strawberry PlanterMade from terracotta
Measures 32cm deep x 43cm wide at the widest point
Excellent design and great for keeping the strawberry fruit off the ground.
Buy this gorgeous terracotta strawberry planter

Grow Strawberries in Pots and Containers

Strawberries are a perfect fruit to homegrow in pots and containers.  They’re a compact fruit to grow.  They’re not only tasty fruits, but strawberries are easy to grow and they add pretty foliage to the garden or patio as well.   You need to ensure that you don’t put too many strawberry plants in a single container.  Each strawberry plant needs enough nourishment from the compost to be able to thrive. 

There are three key things to growing strawberries in containers

  1. Position of the strawberry growing container
  2. Watering
  3. Food

Positioning your strawberry growing container

Strawberries are delicate plants and need to be in a sunny but sheltered position.  That means no wind tunnels.  Growing strawberries in pots is a great way to be able to alter their position easily.  If it’s not working you can simply pick it up and move it.

These are fabulous strawberry pots and containers – that allow you to plant the maximum of strawberry plants and get a great display too: Check them out here

Watering your strawberries growing in containers

It’s a delicate balance growing anything, the right amount of watering that is.  It is no different with strawberries. Make sure your container for growing strawberries has drainage holes.  Do not waterlog your strawberries.  Too little water and they won’t flower or fruit effectively.  You are better watering strawberries little and often.  They don’t respond well to “drown and drought” type watering.   This could mean several times a day when it’s hot.  The compost should be “just damp”, never dry.

Feed strawberries in containers

We recommend using good quality compost to grow strawberries in pots (this one is excellent ), but you should remember that eventually all compost, no matter how good the quality, will run out of nutrients, so you’ll need to feed your strawberries.  Strawberries that don’t get the right supply of nutrients don’t fruit effectively and this is the most common cause of complaints about strawberries grown in pots compared to strawberries grown in the ground.

After harvesting, you’ll likely notice the runners that I mentioned above.  Snip them off and either get rid of them (your compost bin is a great place), or plant them as new plants for the next year.  Leaving them as they are will simply drain the resources of your strawberry plant.  You should also feed or fertilize the plant after harvesting.  Strawberries need to hibernate or go dormant over winter and so store up reserves to make it through the winter.  We cover winterizing your strawberries later in this article.

Grow Strawberries in Grow Bags

Strawberries are well suited to growing in strawberry grow bags.  A regular-sized grow bag will support up to eight strawberry plants.  The way to get the best harvest is to actually use two grow bags, one sat on top of the other, with a hole cut through, this will allow the strawberry roots to gain maximum depth and you’ll get a better yield.

Grow bags for strawberry growing will need very regular watering and you will need to ensure that they don’t get waterlogged too. These are the best strawberry planters and grow bags around.

RHS trials in 2016 and 2017 found the best varieties of strawberries to grow in strawberry grow bags to be Finesse Florence, Vibrant and Evie 3.

Grow Strawberries in Vertical Hanging Bags

Strawberries are a compact fruit plant – when they’re not invading spaces with the runners they send out.  That makes then a great plant to grow in small spaces, containers and bags.  Going vertical when you’re growing fruits and vegetables is a fabulous way to save and make the most of the space you have available.  Growing strawberries vertically in either vertical bags, a hanging strawberry bag planter or a stackable planter is a great way to grow strawberries and to save space. They’re easy to store, and look great – check hanging strawberry bags out here

In hanging vertical bags, the strawberries grow out of holes on the sides of the bags.  It looks pretty and its seriously easy to harvest and manage too. 

Grow Strawberries in Hanging Baskets

Growing strawberries in hanging baskets is a great way to maximize the space available in your garden or patio.  A 35 cm traditional hanging basket should house four strawberry plants.  Remember to cut drainage holes in the polythene lining.  Strawberries might like a damp climate, but they don’t like being waterlogged!  Plant your strawberry plants around the edges of the baskets in good quality compost and water well to set them off.  When your strawberry plant produces runners AFTER they have fruited you can cut them off and plant them and next season you’ll have new plants for free! This hanging basket comes with holes already in AND a water reservoir too

Strawberry hanging baskets should be sited in a sunny but sheltered spot.   Once the strawberry plants start to flower, then you should use some tomato feed to encourage healthy, juicy fruits.

Grow Strawberries in Beds aka in the Ground

Growing strawberries in the ground is the traditional way to grow strawberries.    They can be an invasive plant, which is why so many gardeners grow them anywhere but in the ground.  If you’re growing strawberries in beds, then you’ll need a sunny location, although part-shade will work.  Your soil will need to be fertile and well-drained and sheltered from any prevailing weather.  Plant the strawberry plants between 30 and 45 centimetres apart.  Great companion plants for strawberries are spinach, lettuce and onions.  We’ve also grown them right alongside and in between our Asapargus with success.

Ready for quick growing strawberry plants? These are great and get fantastic reviews

Grow Strawberries in Raised Beds

If you’re looking at growing strawberries in raised beds, then you’ll do this in the same way as if you’re planting strawberries into the ground.   Again, they have the potential to be an invasive plant, so you’ll want to take steps to protect your territory.

Grow Strawberries Hydroponically

This quite simply is the easiest way to grow strawberries.  You can grow strawberries indoors in the UK.  Easily.  And by indoors I don’t mean in a whacking great greenhouse or a huge space.  You don’t need much space at all to grow strawberries indoors.  You don’t even need compost or soil.  Strawberries are one of the easiest fruits to grow hydroponically – which means without soil, using water.  And you don’t even need a huge amount of external light to grow strawberries either.  There are some amazing hydroponic starter systems that will sit on your table, or shelf or anywhere that you have space.  They come with all you need to grow herbs, vegetables and fruits, like strawberries, even an energy-efficient grow lamp and all that fits quite easily in your home.  We’ve written about growing hydroponic strawberries here but if you do want to get started now, quickly, easily and without much expense, then this hydroponics starter kit and these wild strawberry seed pods will get you started growing strawberries hydroponically asap.

Different Types of Strawberries to Grow in the UK

There are three types of strawberries, those that are known as summer-bearing strawberries, those that are known as ever-bearing strawberries and the wild or alpine strawberry.  Summer-bearing strawberries produce a single larger harvest over about two weeks in the UK summer.  This type of strawberries also tend to grow bigger fruits.  Ever-bearing strawberries are also called perpetual strawberries and they produce fruit all season, but it’s a bit more sporadic and the fruits are both smaller and in smaller quantities. The wild strawberry, or sometimes alpine strawberry is technically an ever-bearing strawberry, but with smaller fruits.

All of these types of strawberries will grow well in the UK.  Some strawberry growing systems, like hydroponics favour the everbearing strawberry – in order to provide a regular supply of strawberries throughout the year.

The Best Varieties of Strawberries to Grow in the UK

There are more than 600 varieties of strawberries, they’re usually organized by when they are ready to harvest.  You’ll plant strawberries at two times during the year if you’re growing strawberries traditionally  March & April and then again in September & October.

We recommend growing several varieties and planting in succession, which will give you a nice steady harvest from some time in May until the Autumn.

Here are the main and usually available varieties of strawberries to grow in the UK

You’ll want to choose varieties of strawberries that fruit at different times if you plan on eating strawberries at regular intervals throughout the season. Or, if you have a smaller space, then one of the ever-bearing varieties that provides a long harvesting season, will fruit more often, but in lower quantities.

Here are some examples of varieties of strawberries to grow in the UK by fruiting season

  • Early Summer:  Honeoye, Emily
  • Mid Summer:  Hapil, Pegasus, Cambridge Favourite, Marshmello
  • Late Summer  Symphony, Rhapsody
  • Perpetual Fruiting: Bolero, Aromel

Grow Marshmello Strawberries – great fast growing plants

A great mid-season fruiting variety which crops heavily, producing rich flavoured, deep red berries.

Grow Finesse AGM Variety Strawberries – great for grow bags

This is an everbearing strawberry which produces from early summer to early autumn.  It’s a great variety for growing in strawberry grow bags.

Grow Florence AGM Variety Strawberrys – late season heavy cropper

This is another good variety of strawberry to grow in grow bags for strawberries, it’s recognized as being a good heavy cropper, have large fruits and good disease resistance.

Grow Vibrant AGM Variety Strawberries – early season heavy cropper

This strawberry variety is an early-season heavy cropper.  If it’s not too hot in July you may get a second crop in September.

Grow Cambridge Favourite AGM Variety Strawberries – the UK’s best known Strawberry Variety

You’ll get fruits from mid-June with this most well known of the UK’s strawberry varieties.  It’s reliable and grows well in a variety of compost and soils.

Grow Hapil AGM Variety Strawberries – best all-round variety

You’ll get a lovely sweet flavour with this great all-round variety as well as heavy crops of large light strawberries.

Grow Honeoye AGM Variety Strawberries – early, heavy cropper

Large bright red strawberries are the norm from this early but heavy yield strawberry.  It can be susceptible to mildew though.

Grow Pegasus AGM Variety Strawberries – late summer, heavy cropper

This late summer strawberry variety has good disease resistance and produces large, red berries.

Grow Rhapsody AGM Variety Strawberries – late-season, heavy cropper

Youll get large glossy red fruits from this late-season heavy cropping variety of strawberry, with some disease resistance.

Grow Symphony AGM Variety Strawberries – late season, excellent flavour

Lovely red glossy berries come in heavy crops with this late-season strawberry variety, this is another that may be susceptible to mildew.

Growing Strawberries – from seed, plant and bare-root runners

You can grow strawberries from seed, from potted plants and from what’s called bare-root runners.   Here’s how to grow strawberries all those different ways.

Grow Strawberries from Seed

Growing strawberries from seed takes some patience.  Strawberry seeds can take up to a month to germinate.  Your first crop will usually be the following year.  We always recommend growing fruits the easiest way (and in the case of strawberries that means from potted plants, bare-root runners or in a hydroponics system), but you might want to grow strawberries from seed if you want to grow unusual varieties of strawberries like Florian, which a strawberry variety that grows well in a hanging basket.  Florian strawberries have pink flowers and you’ll get strawberries on the main plant and also on the runners, so it’s a pretty addition to any garden, patio or balcony.

Strawberry plants need lots of sun – about 6-8 hours of direct sun each day, so if you’re planting strawberry seeds you might want to plant them in pots and containers so that you can move them around to find the best sunspot.  You’ll need to provide decent quality compost or well-fed- soil, once the seed has germinated and started to grow you may also want to add a layer of mulch or straw around the strawberry plants to stop weeds that will compete and strangle your delicate strawberry plant.  Get rid of yellow and dying leaves so that the plant focuses on the healthy growth.

Grow Strawberries from Potted Plants

The quickest way to grow strawberries is from a potted plant.  You’ll see strawberries for sale in pots from mid to late Spring.  Once you’ve bought them plant them as soon as possible.  Check your drainage, make sure it’s a decent compost or soil that you’re planting them into and water well. 

Grow Strawberries from Bare-Root Runners

Bare-root strawberry runners don’t look like much, just a bunch of roots with perhaps a few leaves.  This is normal.  You can buy them from the end of summer to the beginning of spring.  Plant bare-root strawberry runners in either early autumn or early spring.  They won’t do very well if you plant them in winter when it’s cold and wet.  You might also find cold-stored runners.  If you do these can be planted from the end of spring to early summer and you’ll get fruit about 2 months after planting.

You’ll need to plant the strawberries so that the roots are just buried and keep them well watered for the first few weeks.

When to Plant Strawberries

If you’re growing strawberries from a bare-root runner then its best to plant these in the spring or early autumn.  However, you can plant strawberries at any time of the year.  So long, as the ground isn’t frozen or waterlogged.

When to Harvest Strawberries

When your strawberries have darkened in colour and red all over and when they look plump is the time to harvest them.  You’ll find if you pick them in the warmest part of the day they’ll taste the best.  Don’t leave them too long as they’ll lose their taste and you might find that they’ll rot.  Take care when picking your strawberries so as not to bruise them.   Strawberries do not keep well once ripened and are unlikely to keep their shape if you freeze them.

Caring for Strawberry Plants Over Winter

Strawberry plants can live for five to six years, although the yields are the highest in the first two years.  So you’ll want to look after your strawberry plants overwinter.  A freeze can kill your strawberries and forgetting to water them can too. 

After your strawberry plant has finished fruiting you’ll want to remove any runners you want to keep and plant them as new plants.  Then it’s a good idea to trim the strawberry plant back to about 5-8 centimetres.  Remove the waste – if it’s not diseased, put it in your compost bin, if it’s diseased then don’t.  It’s important to remove this excess foliage as it can harbour pests and disease.

Then fertilize or feed your strawberry plant.  Tomato fertilizer is a good option.  You want to give it a good send-off for its overwintering.  Mulch around your plants, or use straw.  Basically, you’re trying to create a protective barrier against the cold and frost for your strawberries.  If it’s going to be cold, then you’ll want to protect your plants from the frost.  A covering of cardboard or plastic sheeting will stop the plants from freezing.

Final Words on How to Grow Strawberries in the UK

Wherever you choose to grow strawberries – indoors, in pots and containers, in a vertical tower, a hanging basket or even in the ground, then they’re a great and easy fruit to grow.  And there is nothing better than how fresh, sweet and succulent they taste when you pick them and eat them directly from the garden!  Good luck and let us know how you plan to grow your strawberries and how you get on!

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