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Garden Help Desk: Choose your strawberry variety based on their intended use

By USU Extension - Special to the Daily Herald | Apr 13, 2024
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Everbearing and day-neutral strawberry varieties are the best choice for gardeners who only need enough berries for a handful every day or two.
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Berries, including strawberries, are a popular breakfast fruit.
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To get a large harvest of berries for jams and preserves, a larger planting of June-bearing varieties is the best choice.
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Strawberry plants will do well in containers of many different sizes, from small berry planters to large whisky barrels like this planting.
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There are many strawberry varieties available as bare-root plants in early spring, but by mid- to late spring, the selection is limited to just a few varieties of rooted plants in pots or nursery packs.

I have a nice planter that I’d like to fill with strawberry plants. What is the best kind of strawberry to plant?

The best kind of berry plants will depend on what you want your berries to do for you.

Do you want to harvest lots of strawberries over just a few weeks for making jams or frozen berries to enjoy in the winter, or would you like just a few berries with your breakfast every day or two for most of the summer? Strawberry varieties are generally classified as June-bearing, everbearing or day-neutral based on how they produce fruit.

June-bearing strawberry plants are the choice for gardeners who want lots of berries over a short period of time. June-bearing varieties will give you one large crop early in the summer. By late June or early July, your plants will stop producing. Most June-bearing varieties produce large berries. Combining both early and midseason plants in your berry patch may extend your strawberry harvest for a few extra weeks. A few of the June-bearing varieties that will do well in our area are:

  • Earliglow: This strawberry variety is known for its early fruits and excellent flavor.
  • Honeoye: It’s very popular because of its large yields. Honeoye doesn’t do well in heavy soils, so good soil preparation and appropriate watering practices are important.
  • Sparkle: This another home garden favorite. Sparkle is cold hardy and produces very flavorful strawberries.
  • Allstar: You’ll have a nice midseason crop of large, sweet fruits with this strawberry. Allstar includes some disease resistance and is tolerant of hot weather.

If you’re looking for a serving of berries on your cereal for most of the summer, choose everbearing or day-neutral strawberries. Everbearing strawberries produce two large crops, one in the early summer and one at the end of the summer, plus a light crop in the middle of the summer. Everbearing strawberries aren’t as large as June-bearing strawberries, but their home-grown flavor is just as nice. There are many everbearing strawberry varieties. One everbearing variety that does well here because of its cold hardiness and some drought tolerance is the variety Ogallala. You can expect good yields as well.

Day-neutral strawberries don’t produce a large crop all at once. Instead, you’ll get fewer berries at a time, but you’ll get them throughout summer. Two of the many nice varieties of day-neutral strawberries with great flavor are:

  • Seascape: It is productive in a variety of home-garden conditions. Seascape’s attractive, and its large fruits have good flavor.
  • Tribute: This variety is productive and also has some disease resistance. Tribute will give you flavorful, medium-sized fruits.

You can find these varieties and many more June-bearing, everbearing and day-neutral strawberry varieties in the spring as bare-root plants, both online or in local nurseries. By late spring and early summer, you may be limited to just a few variety choices in four or six-pack plants at our local nursery and garden centers.

Strawberry plants are susceptible to some plant viruses. These viruses aren’t harmful to you, but they can affect the vigor and productivity of your plants even though the plants may still look fine. Fungal root, crown or fruit rots can also affect strawberry plants. Careful watering to avoid chronically wet soils will help to avoid problems with fungal diseases.

Whether you choose to get your strawberry plants locally or through an online nursery, make sure you choose certified disease and virus-free plants and avoid transplanting strawberry plants from your own planting or from friends’ or neighbors’ gardens as they may be infected with one of the common strawberry diseases.

Can I move some of my strawberry plants now? There isn’t enough sun where I planted them last year.

Strawberry plants need at least six hours of daily sun to do well, so a better location may be best. Your plants have probably broken dormancy, but if you’re careful to protect their root balls, water them in well and provide a little organic mulch to protect soil moisture, there’s a good chance you’ll be successful. Water them about once every five days or so until the weather starts to warm, then plan on watering every three to five days, depending on the soil moisture. Always check the soil moisture before watering as strawberries don’t tolerate chronically wet soils.

There is one thing to keep in mind about transplanting strawberries from another place in a landscape: strawberries (and raspberries) pick up plant viruses over time. The plants may look fine, but you may be replanting infected plants. Soil-borne fungal diseases are also a common problem with strawberries. Your plants have only been in the landscape for one season, so this may not be an issue, but there are no guarantees.


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