If you want to grow strawberries but are short on space or simply not ready to commit to a full bed (we totally understand!), growing strawberries in hanging containers is the perfect solution. With a few simple steps and a little knowledge, you'll be ready to pot a hanging basket that's equal parts beautiful and functional. Here's everything you need to know to grow a luscious, productive strawberry harvest in a compact space.
Best Strawberries for Hanging Baskets
Those big, juicy berries you're used to seeing at the grocery store need plenty of space to stretch, so growing strawberries in hanging containers requires thinking outside the plastic produce box. Luckily, many smaller, highly productive strawberry varieties perform well in baskets.
The key is to look for varieties that grow few runners, and instead opt for those that put more of the plant's energy into fruit production. In general, avoid long-reaching Junebearing strawberries, and search instead for Alpine or day-neutral varieties.
Top basket-worthy strawberry plants to shop include:
'Alpine Alexandria': These high producers provide a steady stream of berries from a single pot.
'Alpine Yellow Wonder': Its sunny hue makes it less susceptible to becoming bird food.
'Alpine White Soul': Like 'Yellow Wonder,' birds leave 'White Soul' alone.
'Mignonette': This variety doesn't have runners, which means less pruning.
'Montana': Extra-large white flowers make for an even prettier pot.
'Ruby Ann': 'Ruby Ann' strawberries are prized for extra dark-red fruits and flowers.
'Summer Breeze Deep Rose': Rose-colored blooms set this pick apart.
'Tristan': This versatile, attractive and productive variety checks all the boxes.
Supplies for Planting Strawberries in Hanging Pots
No surprises here: In addition to strawberry plants, you need a hanging basket and soil.
Opt for a pot with drainage holes — strawberry plants don't like to sit in wet soil. Plastic pots are a smart choice, as terra cotta drys out faster and may break if the pot falls. You can also use a self-watering hanging basket to keep you from reaching overhead for water quite as often.
Ensure you use soil designed specifically for containers with the right balance of ingredients to support drainage. Burpee Organic Potting Mix contains perlite, which helps drainage even further. Using everyday garden soil in pots can lead to soggy (and unhappy) plants and potential bacteria and fungi.
When to Plant Strawberries in Hanging Baskets
Plant garden-ready strawberry plants or crowns in early to mid-spring. Because strawberries start producing in late spring to early summer, you'll be behind schedule if you wait until after your average last frost date. Don't worry — they'll handle chilly spring nights just fine.
Where to Place Baskets
Growing strawberries in hanging containers requires a spot that receives a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight daily. Some Alpine varieties can tolerate a bit more shade, but be sure to check your specific plants' tags for more details. Your front porch, back deck or anywhere you want to hang an S-hook or install a hanging basket stand are all great options. Get creative!
And, at the risk of stating the obvious, make sure it's somewhere you can reach to water and harvest. You may also want to invest in an extended sprayer wand so you can water more efficiently and accurately.
Generally, the same strawberry growing instructions for in-ground plants apply to growing strawberries in hanging containers. However, you should remove all runners (aka stolons or vines that extend from the original plant) from varieties that produce them. Runners seek soil to put down roots to grow new plants, and it's a long journey from your hanging basket to the ground. Plus, without them, your plants can focus on developing more berries. (Note: Alpine strawberries do not produce runners.)
One of the benefits of planting strawberries in hanging pots is that you can move them around as needed. Whether it's an unexpected deep freeze, a sweltering heat wave or a midsummer hailstorm, you can protect your plants by moving them indoors or under cover.
How to Harvest
The best time to harvest strawberries is when they're fully red and have just a bit of give but aren't soft or mushy. Resist the urge to grab the fruit right off the stem — you could harm both the berry and the stem left behind. Instead, use clean gardening shears to cut away the fruit and a small portion of the stem.
FAQs About Growing Strawberries in Containers
What should you do with hanging strawberry runners?
Remove them using pruning shears or scissors.
How do you protect strawberries in hanging baskets from birds?
Elevation protects hanging strawberries from many slugs, bugs and soil-borne diseases but makes them an easy target for hungry birds. Deter feathered friends by growing a non-red variety (such as 'Alpine Yellow' or 'Alpine White Soul'), or cover your basket with bird netting.
What do I do with strawberry plants in pots at the end of the growing season?
Some types of strawberries are intended to be grown as annuals. Compost those at the end of the season. For other types, you can move them into the garage or basement for the winter and water them when the soil dries out, then bring them back outside the following spring. Or, you can plant them in the ground in the fall to overwinter and grow again next year.
Learn more about growing strawberries on the Burpee blog.