Not every strawberry lover has the opportunity to plant their own strawberry patch. Luckily, growing strawberries in hanging baskets or planters is easy and can be done right on the balcony.
Hanging strawberry planters are a space-saving way to grow strawberries (Fragaria). Read on to find out how to plant hanging strawberries, what care they need and what varieties are suitable.
Hanging strawberries: characteristics
Hanging strawberries are a special type of strawberry that has a trailing growth habit. Strawberries belong to the rose family (Rosaceae). They are perennial herbaceous plants with long-stalked, three-part leaves that are covered in soft hairs. The strawberry bears white flowers with five round petals, which are loved by bees and other insects. To propagate, the plant forms runners and one-seeded nutlets. Depending on the variety, they can flower and fruit from April or May up until autumn.
Is there such a thing as a hanging strawberry? Yes, hanging strawberries do exist. They are a unique variety of strawberry with a trailing growth habit. Their long shoots and compact growth make them ideal for growing in pots, as the strawberries hang down the sides. So, if you want to grow strawberries but have limited space, hanging strawberries are ideal. You do not need a strawberry patch for these strawberries, as hanging strawberries are grown in a pot that you can hang on the balcony like a hanging basket. In a sunny spot, you will be able to harvest particularly aromatic fruits.
Which varieties are suitable as hanging strawberries?
There are so many strawberry varieties that it is easy to lose track of them. Here are the best varieties of strawberry plants for hanging baskets:
- Strawberry ‘Diamante’: this compact day-neutral variety produces fruity, sweet strawberries that can be harvested from May until the first frosts. It develops long, trailing shoots and is well suited for hanging baskets.
- Strawberry ‘Ostara’: this everbearing variety fruits in spring and again in July until the first frosts. The ‘Ostara’ strawberry has large yields of medium-sized, juicy fruits that taste like wild strawberries.
- Strawberry ‘Loran’: this compact everbearing variety has dark red, sweet fruits from June, and has hanging shoots, making it perfect for hanging baskets.
- Strawberry ‘Elan’: this everbearing variety has a vigorous trailing habit and fruits prolifically from June to October. The fruits are large and very sweet with higher than average vitamin C and sugar levels.
- Strawberry ‘Mara des Bois’: this wild strawberry variety has smaller softer fruits with an intensely aromatic flavour. The strawberries are ready for picking from July to October and should be eaten straight away.
- Strawberry ‘Cambridge Favourite’: this British mid-season variety grows great in pots, producing a heavy crop of incredibly sweet fruit from June to July.
- Strawberry ‘Just Add Cream’: this compact everbearer has masses of pink flowers in spring and heavy yields of sweet fruit reminiscent of wild strawberries from June until the first frosts. Looks beautiful in hanging baskets.
Tip: since hanging strawberry plants are often grown in hanging baskets, they can be picked quite conveniently and without having to search the ground for fruit. In addition, there is no need for mulching when growing strawberries vertically.
Growing strawberries in hanging baskets: location and procedure
The perfect location for hanging strawberries is sunny, airy and well protected from wind and rain. They prefer humus-rich, nutrient-rich and slightly acidic soil. The soil can be slightly moist, but the strawberries do not tolerate waterlogging. Hanging strawberries will grow in partial shade as well, but the yield will be lower than in a sunny spot.
When planting hanging strawberries, keep the following in mind to ensure that they feel at home and begin flowering and fruiting as soon as possible:
- Timing: strawberries are sensitive to frost. Even if the first strawberry plants are on offer in early spring, they should only be planted in a pot when the risk of frost has passed.
- Soil: our Plantura Organic Flower Compost is a nutrient-rich soil enriched with quality compost that has just the right pH for hanging strawberries.
- Pot size: the pot should have a minimum diameter of 25cm and good water drainage. This will provide enough space for 2 – 4 strawberry plants. In a window box, space the strawberry plants 20cm apart.
- Before planting, place the root balls of the hanging strawberries in a bucket of water, making sure that the leaves do not get wet.
- Next, add a drainage layer of clay shards or pebbles to the bottom of the pot to prevent waterlogging and fill with compost.
- Plant the strawberries and press them down firmly.
- Finally, water the hanging strawberries thoroughly.
Tip: hanging strawberries do not rest on the ground, so the strawberries stay nice and clean and do not get mouldy.
To sow strawberries, you can either buy seeds, or save the seeds yourself from fully ripe fruit, which should be stored in a cool, dry place until the time of sowing. Here is a small guide on how to sow hanging strawberries:
- Sowing time: February to March.
- Before sowing, let the seeds soak in lukewarm water for 4 hours.
- Fill a growing tray with compost, such as our Plantura Organic Herb & Seedling Compost, which gives the strawberry seeds optimal germination conditions. In addition, it promotes good root growth due to its stable and loose structure.
- Spread the seeds on the soil, press them down and water them.
- Cover the tray with transparent film to keep the humidity evenly high but do not forget to ventilate once a day.
- Place the seed tray in a semi-shady spot on a windowsill and moisten the soil when it dries out.
- Germination temperature: 16 – 20 °C.
- After 2 – 6 weeks, the first strawberry shoots will appear.
- As soon as the strawberry plants have developed 5 leaves, they can be transplanted.
- Perfect for herbs as well as sowing, propagating & transplanting
- For aromatic herbs & healthy seedlings with strong roots
- Peat-free & organic soil: CO2-saving composition
Hanging strawberry care tips
By taking a few basic care measures, you can ensure a bountiful strawberry harvest.
Watering: hanging strawberries prefer moist but not too wet soil. Water the plants regularly so that the soil never dries out completely. Especially during hot spells, ensure a regular supply of water. You can water a little less during fruiting, as too much water will make the strawberries taste watery.
Fertilising: fertilise hanging strawberries fortnightly, as they have a high nutrient requirement. Our Plantura Liquid Tomato Food is an organic liquid fertiliser that can be conveniently applied when watering. It provides strawberries with a balanced nutrient ratio and contributes to a rich harvest. It contains an increased potassium content, which, among other things, is important for overwintering hanging strawberries. A primarily organic slow-release fertiliser, such as our Plantura All Purpose Plant Food, which is mixed into the planting soil right at the beginning, is also well suited for this purpose. Alternatively, the hanging strawberries can be fertilised with compost.
Pruning: pruning hanging strawberries is not very time-consuming. After the last harvest, remove all shoots that have borne fruit that year. Also, cut off brown, yellow, dry and diseased leaves and parts. Replace the plants after three years because over time the strawberry plants produce fewer and fewer flowers and fruits.
Hanging strawberries: winter care
Strawberries are generally hardy. However, since hanging strawberries are grown in pots, it makes sense to protect them from frost so that the root balls do not freeze through. To do this, you can simply place the pot in a bright, cool place indoors. Do not forget to water the strawberries a little from time to time during the winter indoors so that the root ball does not dry out completely. Avoid waterlogging to prevent fungal growth. The plants do not need to be fertilised in winter. Alternatively, you can insulate the flowerpot with straw mats or foil. After overwintering, it is a good idea to replace all the soil in order to give the strawberries strength for the new season.
Tip: to prepare for winter, cut off the runners in your hanging strawberry baskets, loosen the soil and fertilise with potassium in autumn.
Propagating strawberry plants
Strawberries in hanging baskets can be propagated by runners and seed. To propagate by runners, use the parts of the plant that grow right next to the mother plant. These are usually the strongest and thus increase the chance of success. Read our expert article to find out how to propagate strawberries.
Sweet strawberries come in a wide variety of shapes and colours. An alternative to hanging strawberries is climbing strawberries, which can also be grown on the balcony to save space.