Strawberry Plant Growth Stages In the Home Garden

Share away friends!

From an urban setting to the farm or homestead, growing strawberries is a staple in many gardens. Not only are they fairly easy crop to produce, but the abundant harvest of berries proves well worth the effort. Weather you’re plucking a red berry right off the plant and popping in your mouth, or preserving them into jams and jellies that will last years to come, the joy of growing strawberries is known by many. Learn the strawberry plant growth stages from taking the tiny strawberry runners from the mother plants and tucking them into the soil, to witnessing the bloom of delicate flowers, and finally, harvesting plump, sun-kissed berries, let’s talk all about growing strawberries. 

In this post we’ll cover:

Types of Strawberries:

  • Discussion on selecting the right strawberry varieties.
  • Insights into the characteristics of june-bearing types, day-neutral, and everbearing strawberries.
  • Considerations for planting times and methods.

Stages of Growth:

  • Going over of the life cycle of strawberry plants.
  • Focus on the important first year and the continued growth of daughter plants in the second year, third year, and beyond.

Soil, Sun, and Temperature:

  • Ideal soil conditions, including drainage and organic matter.
  • Considerations for sunlight exposure and temperature impact on plant growth and fruit quality.
  • Sustainable bug and disease management approaches.

Weed Control and Irrigation:

  • Strategies for effective weed control.
  • Importance of proper drainage and use of optional drip irrigation.

Propagation and Training:

  • Insights into the role of parent plants and the process of cultivating daughter plants, also known as runners.
  • Step-by-step guide to propagation methods, such as pinching flowers and training runners.

Harvest Tips and Tricks:

  • Essential tips for maximizing strawberry yield during the harvest season.
  • Addressing common issues leading to smaller-sized strawberries. (This can be a frustrating issue for the home gardener.)

Seasonal Care:

  • Which specific tasks need done per season.
  • Importance of square feet of row for proper spacing and disease prevention.
  • Adapting care based on the type of strawberries and local climate.


  • The ability to enjoy fresh and also preserve the harvest in abundant ways.
  • Encouraging a sense of self-sufficiency and sustainability.

This blog post comprehensively covers the journey of growing strawberries, touching on various aspects from selecting the right strawberry variety to the rewarding experiences tied to homesteading and family involvement. 

a mother and 2 children picking strawberries in a strawberry field.

Who am I to talk about strawberries?

Hi friend, I’m Eryn! A devoted homesteader, wife, mother, and creator fixing up a 100 year old farmhouse in West Tennessee with my husband. Gardening is not just a hobby, but a deep passion of mine. From starting seeds indoors each spring, to growing food, harvesting, and canning the goodness, I’m all about the garden. And strawberries! Through the blog and podcast, I share my hands-on experiences and wealth of knowledge in gardening, animal husbandry, home life and more. With a genuine love for cultivating a simple, efficient homestead life. I’m excited to inspire and teach others to embark on their own rewarding journey of growing and harvesting. (Follow along on Instagram here)

Fun tidbit: Besides jam, these are my top three favorite ways to use fresh strawberries:

  1. Strawberry Shortcake: A timeless classic, Strawberry Shortcake is a beloved dessert. Layers of tender shortcake biscuits are paired with freshly sliced strawberries and topped with a dollop of whipped cream. (Fresh raw cream from the farm if you’re at my house!) The simplicity of strawberries, biscuits, and cream check all the boxes for a perfect treat. (Top it off with a few strawberry flowers for fun!)
  2. Fresh Strawberry Tart: A tart typically features a buttery and flaky crust filled with silky pastry cream or velvety mascarpone cheese. The star of the show is the glossy strawberries along the top. A glaze made from strawberry preserves adds the finishing touch. 
  3. Strawberry Ice Cream Sundae: For a refreshing and indulgent treat, a Strawberry Ice Cream Sundae is a perfect choice. Take a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream, and top it with fresh strawberry slices, a drizzle of strawberry sauce, and a sprinkle of chopped nuts or granola for added texture. Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream and a cherry on top for the perfect finishing touch.

Now that your mouth is watering, let’s get into it! First up, finding the type of strawberries that work best for you! 

Bonus Recipe: Here is my favorite Jam Canning Recipe!

Types of Strawberries 

Types of Strawberries: Selecting the right strawberry varieties for your zone and uses are important. June-bearing strawberries, known for their concentrated fruit production during a specific period, contrast with day-neutral and everbearing varieties, which offer a more extended growing season. Understanding the nuances of each type allows you to tailor your garden to your preferences and climate.

June-bearing – “Chandler”:

  • Tidbit: Renowned for its exceptionally large and sweet berries, the Chandler strawberry is a June-bearing variety that delights with its robust flavor.
  • Growing Zone: Best suited for Zones 4-8, adapting well to a variety of climates.
  • Purchase Tip: Obtain Chandler strawberry plants from reputable nurseries, ensuring they are disease-free and certified for your growing region.

Everbearing – “Seascape”:

  • Tidbit: Seascape strawberries offer a unique blend of sweetness and acidity, producing fruit throughout the growing season.
  • Growing Zone: Well-suited for Zones 4-9, thriving in both cooler and warmer climates.
  • Purchase Tip: Opt for Seascape strawberry plants from established nurseries or reputable online sources, ensuring they are certified and healthy.

Day-Neutral – “Tristar”:

  • Tidbit: Tristar strawberries are a day-neutral variety, producing delectable berries consistently from spring through fall.
  • Growing Zone: Adaptable to Zones 4-9, making them a versatile choice for various climates.
  • Purchase Tip: Consider purchasing Tristar strawberry plants from specialized nurseries or reliable online vendors, ensuring they are disease-resistant.

Alpine – “Mignonette”:

  • Tidbit: Mignonette strawberries, a delightful alpine variety, are prized for their small size and intense, sweet flavor reminiscent of wild strawberries.
  • Growing Zone: Well-suited for Zones 4-9, thriving in both garden beds and containers.
  • Purchase Tip: Obtain Mignonette strawberry plants from reputable nurseries or specialized alpine strawberry suppliers, ensuring they are well-suited for your growing conditions.

Hybrid – “Eversweet”:

  • Tidbit: Eversweet strawberries are a hybrid variety that lives up to its name, providing a continuous harvest of sweet and juicy berries.
  • Growing Zone: Best suited for Zones 4-8, adapting well to a variety of climates.
  • Purchase Tip: Choose Eversweet strawberry plants from trusted nurseries or reputable online vendors, ensuring they are disease-resistant and suitable for your local climate.

When choosing the best time for planting your strawberry plants, consider the growing season and the specific needs of the strawberry seedlings. Early spring, as the last spring frost clears, is an opportune moment to establish your strawberry bed. Whether opting for bare-root or potted plants, the choice depends on factors like convenience, climate, and personal gardening style.

Planting tips, soil health, and stages of Growth:

Ideal Planting Time:

  • Choose early spring as the optimal time for planting strawberry starts.
  • Ensure the threat of frost has passed for to prevent possible damage to the young plants.

Bare-Root Plants:

  • For bare-root strawberry plants, soak the roots in water for a few hours before planting to rehydrate them.
  • Dig a shallow trench for the roots, ensuring they are spread out and not cramped.
  • Cover the roots with soil, leaving the crown (the point where the roots meet the stem) just above the soil surface.

Potted Plants:

  • If working with potted plants, remove them from their containers and separate roots gently.
  • Place each plant in the prepared hole at the same depth as it was in the pot.
  • Backfill with soil, ensuring the crown is above the soil level.

Plant Spacing and Soil Recommendations:

Optimal Plant Placement and Proper Spacing:

  • Space strawberry plants at least 12-18 inches apart in rows, allowing for adequate air circulation.
  • Maintain 3 to 4 feet between rows for easy access and to prevent overcrowding.

Soil Preferences:

  • Choose well-drained soil rich in organic matter for optimal strawberry growth.
  • Aim for a slightly acidic soil to neutral pH level (around 6.0 to 6.5). Unsure about your dirt? Find your local agriculture office and have them help you take and ship a soil sample! 
  • Incorporate compost or well-rotted manure into the soil before planting to enhance fertility. (Use organic fertilizers as needed)

Monitoring First Year Growth:

Early Stages & Establishing Roots:

  • Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged during the initial weeks to support root establishment.
  • Watch for signs of stress such as wilting or yellowing leaves and adjust watering accordingly.

Vigilance Against Pests:

  • Monitor for pests like aphids and slugs, which may be attracted to tender new growth.
  • Implement organic pest control methods, such as introducing beneficial insects or using neem oil, to address potential issues.

Flower Bud Formation:

  • As late spring approaches, watch for the emergence of flower buds, a positive sign of successful root establishment.
  • Prune any dead or yellowing leaves to redirect energy toward bud development.

Ongoing Care & Consistent Care:

  • Maintain a regular watering schedule, ensuring the soil stays consistently moist throughout the growing season.
  • Apply a balanced, organic fertilizer to provide essential nutrients for healthy plant growth.

The following spring, and following year will be less maintenance once you’ve gotten the roots established. 

Sun and Temperature:

Ideal Sun Exposure for Strawberry Plants:

Choosing the right spot for your strawberry plants is important for their overall health and productivity. Aim for a location that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. Strawberries thrive in full sun, and ample sunlight is essential for growth.

Protecting Your Strawberries from Overheating:

In regions with warmer climates, preventing overheating is a part of the maintenance and well-being of your strawberry plants. Consider providing partial shade during intense afternoon sun to shield the plants from excessive heat. This can be achieved by planting them near taller crops that offer natural shading or by using materials like mulch or clippings to cover the roots, preventing them from getting too hot. By strategically choosing the right location and implementing shade measures, you give your strawberries more of an opportunity to thrive.

Bug and disease management

Keeping your strawberry patch healthy involves practical steps to tackle common issues. 

  • Watch out for pesky invaders like spider mites, powdery mildew, and leaf spot. Choose organic methods for a long term approach to pest control. Regularly inspect your plants for signs, focusing on the undersides of leaves where spider mites often lurk. 
  • Introduce beneficial insects like ladybugs or lacewings to naturally combat unwanted pests. 
  • For fungal concerns like powdery mildew, apply a neem oil solution to affected areas. Promptly prune any leaves showing signs of leaf spot and dispose of them away from the patch. By actively identifying, preventing, and treating these challenges, you’ll not only be helping your plants thrive, but you’ll be protecting the health of the soil for years to come.

Weed Control and Irrigation:

Effective weed control is not just about clean beds and pretty rows; it directly impacts the health of your strawberry plants. 

  • Use mulch and allow for ample spacing contributes to minimizing weed growth. It’s easy to see and pull and get your hands between the plants. 
  • Introducing drip irrigation is an option as it not only conserves water but maintains optimal soil moisture levels, helping to keep plants healthier and more fruitful harvest. While we don’t implement this strategy, (Our patch isn’t close enough to our canning garden.) it is a good option to consider. Strawberries like a moist soil that doesn’t have high fluctuations from dry to wet. Again, this is more imperative in the first year. After plants are established they’re easier to maintain.

Propagation and Training:

Understanding the relationship between mother and daughter plants is key to broadening your strawberry patch. Explore propagation techniques like pinching flowers and training runners for creating new plants and optimizing overall plant health. Follow this step-by-step guide to successfully propagate and train your strawberry plants:

Runner Plants as Offspring:

  • All runners are potential baby plants! They can easily be rooted to expand your strawberry patch.

Identify Healthy Runners:

  • Choose a healthy runner with strong roots and no signs of disease.

Prepare the Soil:

  • Select a new location in your patch with well-drained soil that has hours of full sun.
  • Work the soil to ensure it’s loose and free from weeds.

Position the Runner:

  • Gently place the runner on the soil where you want the new plant to grow.
  • Ensure the roots are in contact with the soil. This goes for day neutral, june-bearing varieties, as well as all other type of strawberry plant(s).

Secure the Runner:

  • Use small rocks or pins to secure the runner in place, ensuring it stays in contact with the soil. Do not place any part of it beneath the soil. You simply want it to have firm contact with the dirt to grow a new root system. (This system is much easier and gives better results than starting strawberry seeds, which is a difficult endever.)

Watering and Care:

  • Water the newly planted runner thoroughly. Make sure the soil has good drainage.
  • Keep the soil consistently moist during the initial weeks to support root establishment.

Monitor Growth:

  • Regularly check on the runner plant, ensuring it’s adapting well and developing strong roots.
  • By following a few simple steps, you’ll take a runner from your current plants and establish new, thriving additions.

Harvest Tips and Tricks:

Early summer and warm climates bring berries to ripen. Here’s when to pick:

white wooden box filled with strawberries in a strawberry field.

When to Harvest:

  • A good time to pick ripe berries in early mornings for the best flavor.

Preserving Freshness:

  • Freshly picked strawberries are best stored at a cool room temperature, ideally between 60°F to 70°F (15°C to 21°C). This temperature range helps preserve the flavor, texture, and overall quality of the strawberries.

Seasonal Care:

Caring for your strawberry plants takes a bit of a year-round commitment, but it’s not hard. I promise. 

  • Spring tasks: pruning and fertilizing.
  • Summer maintenance: Water and keep eyes out for bugs and fungus. Harvest runners for new plants. Old beds might need come crop rotation.
  • Fall preparations: Trim, weed, and mulch.

To sum it up:

  • Considering the square feet required for your strawberry plantings allows for proper spacing, ensuring good air circulation and reducing the risk of diseases like gray mold.
  • Whether cultivating june bearers or day-neutral varieties, a good understanding of your local climate, soil type, and disease resistance is essential for making informed choices.
  • When it comes to soil, a well-drained and fertile soil mix is a good choice for strawberries. Conducting a soil test can provide valuable insights into the pH level, helping you create an optimal environment for your strawberry cultivars. Consider the inches of soil covering the roots, providing ample room for growth and preventing issues related to compacted soil.
  • In warmer climates, where summer heat can be intense, protecting your strawberry plants from direct sunlight during peak hours is a good idea. Consider providing shade to shield your plants from excessive heat stress, add mulch to avoid rood burn. I avoid using black plastic in my gardens for organic and clean living practices. 
  • Day-neutral strawberries, known for their extended growing season, thrive in a variety of climates. They offer a good option for home gardeners looking to enjoy ripe fruit throughout the summer months. Incorporating organic material into your soil ensures a healthy microbial ecosystem, contributing to the overall well-being of your strawberry plants.
  • When it comes to specific varieties of strawberries, the fragaria x ananassa, commonly known as the garden strawberry, is a popular choice. Its disease resistance and large size make it a preferred option for many home gardeners. However, don’t overlook the charm of alpine strawberries, fragaria vesca, which are well-suited for hanging baskets and have a delicate, wild strawberry flavor.

As your strawberry patch progresses through the seasons, pay attention to the life cycle of your plants.

From the first flowers in early spring to the last frost that marks the end of the growing season, each stage requires proper care, from late fall prep to cold weather considerations. Addressing dead leaves and practicing good hygiene in your strawberry bed helps prevent issues like leaf blight and gray mold.

The Reward

In conclusion, we covered all the strawberry plant growth stages and how growing strawberries at home is a fulfilling and easy addition to any yard or garden. By incorporating what was learned in this article, you’ll naturally fall into a gardening routine, creating an environment where strawberry plants thrive. 

Whether you’re in the United States, dealing with warmer climates, or facing disease problems, adapting your approach based on these factors ensures a successful and enjoyable strawberry-growing experience. From the excitement of planting strawberry starts in spring to the satisfaction of a high yield in early summer, to putting the plants to sleep in late summer or early fall, the journey is filled with delicious rewards. So, roll up your sleeves, grab your gardening tools, and let the strawberry-growing adventure begin!

Share away friends!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *