So, you've decided that you'd like to grow your own strawberries, and you're ready to buy strawberry plants. Congratulations! Growing strawberries is a wonderful way to add nutritious, beautiful, and easy-to-grow fruit to your home garden. Before you run out to the garden center, though, think about what type of you'll buy and where you'll shop.
Types of Strawberry Plants
Before you buy strawberry plants, decide which of the three main varieties you'll plant in your garden: everbearing, day neutral, or June bearing. Everbearing plants will put out two or three medium-sized crops during the year, day neutral plants produce a few berries at a time throughout the growing season, and June bearing plants grow only one large crop. To help you decide which type of plants you need, think about what you'll be using the berries for. If you like to cook with strawberries, then June bearing plants are a good option, because you'll end up with more berries with this type of plant, and they'll all come within a two- or three-week period. Day neutral and everbearing plants are better for people who like to eat a few strawberries at a time, fresh from the garden.
Where to Shop and What to Look For
When you buy strawberry plants, you'll either shop at a garden center or through a mail-order company. Buying strawberry plants through a garden center ensures that the plants you buy are well suited to your growing region, but a mail-order catalog or online store like Gurneys will have more variety. Apart from being more convenient of course :-)
Wherever you choose to shop as you buy strawberry plants, make sure that you look for disease-resistant varieties. Strawberry plants are susceptible to vermicullum wilt, a fungal disease that affects many different plants, but resistant cultivars are widely available.
Make sure to buy healthy-looking strawberry plants. Healthy plants will have light-colored roots, large crowns, and leaves that are neither wilted nor spotted. Healthy plants are less likely to carry disease, and are more likely to produce better fruit.
With all of these considerations to think about, it might be tempting to try to grow your own strawberries from seeds--especially since they cover every strawberry that you eat! Wise gardeners will buy strawberry plants from respectable gardeners, though, because strawberry seeds don't grow true to type. The large, delicious berries whose seeds you planted in the ground are more likely to grow small, tart berries than to taste like their parents. Happily, though, strawberries are relatively easy to grow--so no matter what variety you choose, you'll get to eat yummy strawberries in short order.