Strawberries are the most popular berry fruit in home gardens, being relatively easy to grow and requiring little space and attention.
They grow throughout New Zealand, although less successfully in warmer northern clay soils with poor drainage. Poorly drained soil allows development of soil fungal diseases, which can be overcome by growing new plants each year in a new area. In cooler regions with well-drained soils, plants will produce well for two or even three years before replanting with new plants in a new area.
Older varieties of strawberries were day-length sensitive, meaning they need a minimum number of daylight hours to initiate fruiting. This meant fruiting occurred for a limited period, usually around Dec - Jan. Many modern varieties are day-length neutral and fruit over a longer period. Essentially, as long as it is warm enough, they will fruit.
New plants are available in late winter - early spring from garden centres as 'barerooted' plants which are sold in bundles or as plants in single pots.
If you already have healthy strawberry plants, they will usually send out runners. Each of these runners has sets of leaves that will try and grow roots into the soil. To help the runner to establish roots, pin these into the ground. To do this, put the "pin" across the runner, just before the set of leaves (to make a simple pin, just open up a paperclip into a U shape). Leave the runner connected to the mother plant until it has formed healthy roots. At that point cut the runner so it is now an individual plant/s. Leave the plants to grow and they can replace the older plants the following year.
For plenty of strawberries to enjoy throughout summer, plant a number of different varieties and plant 5 plants per person in your household.
To prevent losing your precious strawberries to birds, we recommend that you cover your plants securely with bird netting.For full details on growing strawberries including soil preparation, recommended varieties, feeding, pest and disease prevention and control become a subscriber to Pro Advice