Traditional strawberry plants do not climb naturally. Rather they prefer to spread sideways when planted at ground level. But climbing strawberry varieties are pretty similar to regular ones, and the vines can reach up to 40 inches in length.
If you have climbing strawberry vines in your yard or planning to plant some in your garden, remember these strawberry varieties are a little different from regular varieties. To keep the fruit and foliage above the ground, they need hanging containers, baskets, or trellis.
Growing strawberries on a trellis may not be too popular, but it is not unheard of. This is ideal for limited space supposedly when you have a small backyard. Plus, it keeps the pests and fungal diseases away from the plants and helps produce better quality fruits. Not to mention it is affordable and easy enough to set up.
Here, you can learn all about growing delicious strawberries on a trellis.
Benefits of Growing Strawberries on A Trellis
Growing strawberries on a trellis is a type of vertical planting system which comes with lots of benefits as well.
The most obvious advantage is you can grow lots of strawberries on a trellis in a very small space. Trellises take up a fraction of the ground area compared to planting beds or patches. As they fit almost anywhere, it’s a great option for gardeners with limited space.
Prevents Disease in Strawberry Plants
If the strawberries are exposed to wet and moist soil for too long, there are high risks of fungal diseases such as anthracnose fruit rot and gray mold (Botrytis rot). The simple solution to this problem is to keep the strawberry plants off the ground.
Reduces Pest Problems
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), strawberries contain the most pesticide residue among all fruits and vegetables. But if you grow strawberries vertically, it will keep the ground-dwelling bugs such as worms and slugs away. Thus, these pests will not be able to eat the fruits laying on the soil. Therefore, you will not even need to use pesticides on the plants, and you will get healthy, organic strawberries at home.
Easier to Harvest
Growing strawberries on a trellis make harvesting easier as you do not have to worry about weeding much. Plus, you can easily pick out the fruits, and no need to bend down or lift the leaves in order to find ripe strawberries.
Best Conditions for Growing Strawberries
If you want your strawberries to produce a healthy number of fruits, you need to create favorable growing conditions. They need to be cared for as soon as they are planted, and they need extra nutrition throughout the growing season.
You need to learn how to properly take care of your strawberry plants and that is why it is important to learn about their growing conditions as well.
Strawberry plants can withstand snow, frost, and almost any weather, but the flowers are not so resilient. The flowers are first produced in spring and every day they need at least six hours of full sun. Place the trellis in a part of the yard that does not have shade. The temperature should not fall below -2 degrees Celsius/28 degrees Fahrenheit as well.
Even if you are growing your strawberries on a trellis, you need soil for that. The plants grow best in deep, well-drained soil that is full of organic matter and nutrition. It is better if the pH of the soil is between 5.5 and 6.5 which makes the soil slightly acidic.
Your plants need a steady amount of fertilizer throughout the growing season so they can continuously blossom and bear fruits. You should use fertilizer during winter. That way the plants will produce better strawberries the following summer.
As for fertilizer, you can use traditional ones like compost, leaves, etc. However, common household items like ash, eggshells, etc. work great as fertilizer as well.
- Compost: You can buy it from shops or make it at home, nonetheless. First, you should dig out weeds and then cover the soil with a top layer of compost so your plants can get the nourishment.
- Leaves: You can also use leaves from other plants which is a benefit of companion planting. If you add leaves while planting, they will decompose throughout the season. And the soil will get calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin B12 from it.
- Ash: Ash can be used to boost up and fertilize the soil. During winter, if you have leftover ash, spread it around the plant and it will provide healthy nutrients to the soil. Some gardeners may disagree about ash use, but it certainly works for enough people to be considered a viable option for fertilizer.
- Eggshells: Eggshells are another form of fertilizer filled with rich nutrients. First, gather up the eggshells and let them dry well. Then crush them into little pieces and spread them evenly on the soil. This will nourish the soil plus slugs and snails will have an unpleasant time crawling on them.
Like all plants, strawberry plants will also need regular watering. If there’s rain, your plants will not need watering. But during dry spring, you should water them at least twice a week. During the off-season, keep watering regularly to keep the soil moist.
It is better if you use drip irrigation or a soaker hose to water the plants. That way you can avoid getting the berries wet and causing rot. A pro tip: water the strawberries earlier during the day so the sun will be able to absorb most of the excess water from your plants.
A hardiness zone refers to a geographical area having a certain range of annual minimum temperature which is relevant to the survival of many plants. Hardiness zones do not have that big of an impact on growing strawberries. Because strawberries can grow in zones 4-9 which is to say almost all states in the country have favorable weather conditions for growing them.
However, some parts of the North, Midwest, Hawaii, Alaska, etc. are either too hot or too cold for ideal strawberry growing conditions.
How to Grow Strawberries on A Trellis
Pick A Planting Site
If you want to look for a planting site to grow the climbing strawberry vines, wait until the early spring. By then, the freezing temperature will lessen, and the ground will no longer be frozen.
You should pick a site that is well-drained and directly receives six hours of sunlight a day. Also, make sure the soil at the planting site has a dark soil composition. For better results, pick a spot that is slightly elevated in your garden. Elevated areas are good for strawberries, as they help in water drainage.
Fertilize the Soil
To help your strawberry vines to grow to reach their maximum potential, you must prepare the soil beforehand. You can apply any general fertilizer over the planting site using one pound of fertilizer for every 100 square feet of the soil.
Simply till the soil with a garden tiller and work the fertilizer into the soil. Make sure the fertilizer sinks at least 6-8 inches below the soil.
Plant Your Strawberry Vines
First, you need something you can dig with as you need to make holes in the planting site. A hand trowel or a small spade will work fine. Now. Dig a hole in the soil. Make sure the hole has equal length as the length of the plant’s root to the base of its crown. Fill the hole but the crown should be visible and above the soil.
Repeat the Planting Process
If you are successful with planting your first strawberry vine, now repeat the same process for the rest of the vines. Just remember to plant them leaving 18-30 inches of space in between.
Provide Support for the Plants
The strawberry vines would require something to climb on when they sprout. Thus, the need for trellises behind the plants. Dig a 12-inch-deep trench with a shovel. The hole should be located six inches behind the plants.
Inset a 4-5-foot-tall trellis into the bottom of the trench and bury it deep into the ground. Pack soil around the base of the hole to fill it and hold it upright. You can either install a single long trellis or smaller individual ones for each plant. That is up to you.
Water the Plants
After you are done planting the strawberry vines, it is time to water them. Get a watering can or a hose and water the soil to the same depth as the roots of the plants.
Tape the Plants to the Trellis
Wait for 4-5 weeks for your plant runners to grow. Lift the vines to a vertical position, straighten them and secure them gently to the trellis using gardener’s tape. Loop the tape around the stems and tie in a knot behind the trellis.
Now, wait for your strawberry vines to bear fruits.
Can strawberries grow vertically?
Yes, strawberries can certainly grow vertically. As they are very versatile and sturdy plants, you can make them grow in a variety of planters, locations, and environments.
Is it better to grow strawberries vertically or horizontally?
There is no better or worse way to grow strawberries. You can grow them vertically or horizontally, either way, just the growing method will be different.
Do strawberry towers work?
Absolutely! As they are a huge space saver! The towers do not need weeding and the Strawberry plant runners are easier to snip off or replant. Thus, the original plant bed stays refreshed, and it can produce bigger and better strawberries.
How do you make a vertical strawberry garden?
Growing strawberries in a vertical garden mean you can grow lots of strawberries in a limited space. For that, you need to choose a vertical hanging planter. You can also make a vertical garden by using PVC pipes, old wood pellets, planting in the pockets of old clothes, etc.