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  1. Botanically speaking, strawberries are not a true berry, but an accessory fruit. The red fleshy part of a strawberry that we eat is actually the enlarged base of the flower stalk. The seeds on the outside of the berry are called 'achenes', which are actually individual one-seeded fruits with a thin, dry covering.
  2. Strawberries as usually grown as a perennial in your garden but they work well as an annual too. Try them in a pot or hanging basket on your balcony or patio. 
  3. Mulch is great for strawberries - place mulch around plants during the growing season to conserve soil moisture and protect the fruit from grey mold or botrytis. Top them off with more mulch to protect them over winter.
  1. Wild strawberries appear were mentioned by Virgil and Ovid in the first century A.D. but were considered ornamental as they were small, hard, and lacked flavour.
  2. They are native to many areas in the world and were first cultivated in Europe in the 1300’s.
  3. With European explorations to the New World, a species of strawberry from Virginia (Fragaria virginiana) found its way back to England. Around the same time, a French spy returned home from Chile with another strawberry species (Fragaria chiloensis). These two species were crossed giving way to our modern day large and sweet tasting strawberry.
  4. In 1851, American James Wilson selected a strawberry with “perfect” flowers that did not require another variety for pollination. Strawberry cultivation exploded at this point.
  5. Indigenous peoples call the strawberry “heart berry” and consider it an important food and medicine. Its parts (roots, leaves, runners) are reminders of the connection between mind, body, spirit, and emotion. Strawberries are reminders of reconciliation and the value of heartfelt relationships.


Grubinger, V. (2012). History of the strawberry. Vegetable and Berry Program; University of Vermont.

National Aboriginal Day Sunrise Ceremony pamphlet. (2017).

Strawberries are high in Vitamins C, folate and fibre.  Click here for detailed information from the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. 

The Canadian Food Guide recommends that roughly half of the food on your plate should be fruits and vegetables.

Canada Food Guide: What's On Your Plate?

Growing outdoors

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Strawberries grow best in rich, well-draining, moist soil. Avoid growing strawberries in heavy clay or poorly drained soil.

You can improve your soil's ability to hold moisture by adding organic matter such as compost or aged, composted manure. Do not use fresh manure as a soil additive. If you think your soil needs remediation, see our Soils and soilless mixes page for detailed advice.

Any plant grown for its fruit - like strawberries - needs full sun to produce well. Strawberries do not tolerate shade. 

Strawberries are best grown outdoors in the ground, be it in raised beds or un-raised/ground level gardens if the soil is suitable. They also grow in containers, both outdoors and indoors (with supplemental light). They are not typically suitable for straw bale, or other alternative growing methods, but can be grown hyrdoponically.

Strawberries can be grown from bare-root stock available from seed companies, usually sold in bundles of 25. This is an economical way to grow strawberries if you need a lot of them. 

Bare root strawberries are dormant strawberry crowns with bare roots. If you can't plant them right away, keep them dormant by storing in the refrigerator. If the roots are dry, wrap them in a moist (but not too wet) paper towel inside a perforated plastic bag. You can plant bare-root strawberries directly outdoors once your soil has warmed up, in late April or early May. For a head start on the season, grow them indoors under supplemental light, two to three weeks before planting out.

  1. Soak the roots for an hour before planting. Use 4" pots containing a soil-less potting soil made up of peat moss or coir, and a small percentage of vermiculite and/or perlite. 
  2. Fill the pots about 2/3 full and plant roots in the pot. Fill with soil but take care to ensure that the crown (the thickened part just beneath the leaves) is set so that the mid-point of the crown is level with the soil surface. If it's too deep, it may rot and if it's too shallow, it could dry out the entire plant. 
  3. Keep soil moist but not waterlogged to encourage roots to grow. 

The ideal strawberry transplant:

  • has dark green leaves with signs of active new growth.
  • has a good root system but is not root-bound (tight, hard ball of roots).

Harden off strawberry transplants prior to planting out by moving them outdoors into a sheltered, frost-free location at least 3 days prior to transplanting.

Don't forget to label what you planted. It's also helpful to draw a map to help you track planting locations and success each year. This information is critical if you're rotating your crops to help prevent insect and disease issues.



  • You can plant transplants or directly plant bare-root strawberries 2 weeks before your plant out date or last average frost date for your area. 
  • Transplants grown indoors must be hardened off before transplanting outdoors. 
  • Whether you are planting bare-roots directly or planting seedlings, ensure the soil has thawed.
  • Space plants about 45 cm (18") apart in rows or a grid pattern.
  • Apply a 10 cm layer of mulch around plants without covering the crowns and leaves. Straw is perfect for this.

Planting bare-root strawberries directly in the garden

  • Keep roots in moist by wrapping them in wet burlap or towels while planting.
  • Dig a hole and insert the roots, spreading them out like spokes on a wheel. Backfill with soil taking care that the crown (the thickened part just beneath the leaves) is set so that the mid-point of the crown is level with the soil surface. If it's too deep, it may rot and if it's too shallow, it could dry out the entire plant. 
  • Keep soil moist but not waterlogged to encourage roots to grow. 

Planting instructions for transplants

  • When planting, cover the entire transplant or seed ball with soil to prevent the plant from drying out.  If using newspaper pots or peat pots, make sure they are quite moist before planting and remove the rims of the pots. Exposed rims, peat or coir within the plug will act as a wick, drawing water away from the transplant and drying out the root ball. 

Water the bare-root strawberries or transplants in with 10-52-10 soluble fertilizer, mixed according to the directions on the label. This is only done once, to encourage good root development. See the "Care Once Planted" tab for how to fertilize for the rest of the growing season.


There are three main types of strawberries. This chart tells a little bit about them. Strawberries are self-fruitful so only one plant is required for pollination.

Type Cultivars Number of crops Fruiting Time Extra Information
June bearing

Annapolis, Cavendish, Kent, Bounty

One crop/year Late June to Early July for about 3 weeks

Plant will send out runners in the fall that will fruit the following summer.

Cover with straw over winter.

Ever bearing Ogallala, Fort Laramie One crop/year Starts fruiting in late June or early July but continues to fruit until fall

Typically smaller fruit size than other types.

Cover with straw over winter.

Day neutrals Tristar, Seascape, Fern Two crops/year Fruits late June to early July for about 3 weeds. Then fruits a second time in August until freezeup.

Usually treated as an annual by commercial growers.

Cover with straw over winter.

Strawberries should have about 2.5cm of water per week.  

To conserve soil moisture and reduce weeding, apply a thick layer of mulch around your plants, whether in the garden or in a container. Ensure the mulch is not covering the leaves or resting against the crowns of the plants.

Pinch off all flowers on June-bearing and day-neutral plants the first summer to encourage more runners, for a thicker, more productive patch the following summer. Do not pinch flowers on everbearing types.

Strawberries benefit from growing in plastic mulches, supported plastic tunnels or crop covers, especially in far north regions.  Crop covers and tunnels must be removed as soon as flowers appear so that bees and other pollinators can pollinate flowers.

They do not require pruning but the runners can be removed if needed. 

If you want your plants to grow year after year, allow some of the runners to root to rejuvenate your patch. Space them evenly between your rows but take care not to overcrowd them. Use extras to start a whole new row or give them away to friends.

In late fall, apply a thick, loose layer of straw mulch over the entire patch. This helps insulate plants from cold and is a good hedge against a winter with low snow cover.



Grow June-bearing strawberries such as Annapolis, Cavendish, Kent or Bounty in the far north.

Strawberries are best grown as transplants from bare-root plants in the far north. Consider growing them as annuals if winters are too harsh for the plants to overwinter. Plant in an area with deep snow cover for extra winter protection.

Pre-warm soil before planting by covering cover soil with a layer of clear plastic 2 weeks before planting. Secure the edges to keep the plastic from blowing away. Remove the plastic after planting.

Strawberries are ideal grown in containers.

Strawberries benefit from black plastic mulch, row covers and clear low plastic tunnels to keep the environment around the plants warm. 


See our preservation section for more videos.


Strawberry plants put out runners. Allow some of them to root to rejuvenate your patch. Simply pull aside the mulch and nestle the runner into the soil where it will soon take root.

Space them evenly between your rows but take care not to overcrowd them. Use extras to start a whole new row or give them away to friends.


Growing in containers

Strawberries can be grown in containers or hanging baskets outdoors. They can also be grown indoors with supplemental lighting. 

Select a container that is 25 cm (10") across and has drainage holes in the bottom. Plant one or two plants in the container, more if using a larger container.

Place a layer of mulch on top of the soil in the container to keep soil moisture even. 

See: Vegetable container gardening


Choose an ever-bearing or day neutral strawberry for containers.


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Harvest strawberries in the morning and refrigerate unwashed strawberries immediately. They are best used right away but will store for up to a week in the refrigerator.


Strawberries are fully red when ripe. Immature berries do not ripen after they are picked.



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Use strawberries soon after harvest.

If you're hoping to store them longer than a month, you will need to use other preservation methods such as freezing, fermentingcanning or drying.


Cooking and preserving

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Strawberries can be cannedfermented, dehydrated (dried) or frozen.      


Coming soon!


Dehydrating strawberries




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Strawberries are relatively low maintenance. Providing their water, light and soil needs are managed they don't tend to get a lot of issues.

Ensuring that you maintain healthy soil with adequate organic matter and use row covers to prevent insect problems will go a long way towards preventing most issues.

Mulch keeps strawberries clean and reduces soil bourne diseases.

See the Common problems tab on this page for advice on other specific strawberry issues.

Common problems include powdery mildew, tarnished plant bug (lygus bug) and botrytis.


Common questions

Melon flowers are similar with an immature melon behind the flower