How and When to Plant Strawberries in the UK

Home-grown strawberries are sweet and delicious and generally speaking they’re quite easy to grow. But do you know when to plant strawberries in the UK, and how to grow strawberries in pots? UK weather varies, but this guide will give you the info you need.

6 February 2024

Whether it’s while watching Wimbledon, stocked for a picnic or topping an ice cream dessert, a UK summer isn’t a real summer without strawberries! And nothing tastes sweeter than the knowledge you’ve done it yourself. Indeed, growing strawberries can be a great gardening activity for both beginners and experienced gardeners alike. They can be grown in pots, window boxes, grow bags, hanging baskets and in gardens of all shapes and sizes, so let’s find out when to plant strawberry seeds in the UK to ensure a bountiful harvest.

So if you want to know when to plant strawberries in the UK, our guide will cover all the key points you need to get growing.

When to Plant Strawberry Seeds in the UK

A gardener plants strawberries into the soil. (Credit: Elena Lavrinovich via Getty Images)

The key to successful strawberry cultivation starts with understanding the best time of year to plant them.

If you want to know when to grow strawberries in the UK, there are two optimal planting seasons for strawberries, spring and autumn. Spring planting, typically after the last frost around late March to early April, allows the plants to establish themselves and start producing fruit in the same year.

Autumn planting, usually in September or early October, offers an advantage for the following year’s harvest, as the plants have time to develop strong root systems over the winter months. Both seasons have their benefits, and the choice largely depends on your gardening schedule and goals.

The Three Main Types of Strawberries

Fresh strawberries (Credit: Dougal Waters via Getty Images)

There are something like 600 different cultivars of strawberry, each with its own unique characteristics such as flavour, size, colour, and growth habits, but strawberries can be divided into three main types –

Summer-Fruiting Strawberries

These are the most popular types of strawberry. They have a heavy – but very short – timeframe of fruit production that can last just two or three weeks between early and midsummer.


These are often known as perpetual strawberries. They are the opposite of the summer-fruiters, in that they produce small crops – in number and size – over a much longer period of time, usually between around early June until the first flash of frost.

Alpine Strawberries

These are also known as woodland or wild strawberries and they produce small berries which can be red, white or yellow. Over the summer months, you’ll get small, intermittent crops.

So we know when to grow strawberries in the UK, but how do you do it?

Growing Strawberries

Close up of a strawberry plant. (Credit: Helaine Weide via Getty Images)

When we’re discussing how to grow strawberries in pots, UK gardeners will know that it’s pretty straightforward. All you need are pots, your potting mix, some liquid fertiliser and vermiculite (which you may not have heard of but we’ll explain what that is!)

The Right Pots

Your pots or containers should be at least 20-25 cm (8-10 inches) in diameter and have good drainage holes. Larger pots can accommodate more plants and retain moisture better.

Choosing the Right Strawberries

As we’ve said, there are hundreds of different types of strawberries to choose from but the key to understanding how to grow strawberries in the UK is knowing which type to go for. Some of the most popular summer-fruiting strawberry varieties are Elsanta and Honeoye, and one of the most popular and easiest to grow is the Cambridge Favourite.

The Potting Mix

Fill your pots with a high-quality potting mix, preferably one that contains a mix of peat, compost, and perlite or vermiculite to ensure good drainage and nutrient retention. You can also add vermiculite separately.

Vermiculite is a natural mineral that expands when heated and is commonly used in gardening and horticulture. It resembles small, airy flakes or pieces and improves soil aeration. It tends to be very effective for retaining moisture, and provides good drainage. When it’s mixed with soil or compost, it creates a healthy environment for plant roots, making it easier for them to grow and get the nutrients they need for the plants to thrive.

Perlite is an additive which provides oxygen to roots. It can speed up germination and improve the growth of plants from saplings to adults.

Planting Strawberries

Place each strawberry plant in the pot so that the crown is level with the surface of the soil. The crown is the part of the plant where the roots meet the stems. The crown is a critical area because it’s the point from which new growth emerges. It’s slightly swollen and usually sits just above the root system.

Looking After Your Strawberries

Ripe red strawberries being grown amongst mulch. (Credit: Westend61 via Getty Images)

Another key aspect of this guide on how to grow strawberries in pots is also the care and maintenance you’ll need to undertake. As an initial step, ensure you water the plants thoroughly after you’ve planted them. You need to ensure consistent moisture, especially during dry periods, but avoid saturating the soil. Containers tend to dry out faster than garden soil, so regular watering is crucial.

Mulching & Feeding

Applying a thin layer of straw or pine needles – known as mulch – to the surface of the pot helps retain moisture, suppresses weeds, and keeps the fruits clean. You should also feed the plants with a liquid fertiliser once every couple of weeks during the growing season to encourage strong growth and fruit production.

Control & Protection

Knowing how to grow strawberries in the UK will hopefully ensure a bountiful harvest, but taking care of your plants is very important. You should regularly remove runners – the long, slender stems or shoots that grow out horizontally from the main strawberry plant – to focus the plant’s energy on fruit production. In pots, space is limited, so controlling these runners is important. If required, you should also protect your strawberries from birds and slugs. Netting can be used to cover the pots to prevent birds from eating the fruit.

Harvesting & Aftercare

Harvest the strawberries when they are fully red and ripe. Gently twist or snip the fruit off to avoid damaging the plant. At the end of the fruiting season, remove any old or yellowing leaves to encourage new growth. You can also replace the top layer of soil with fresh potting mix and apply a general-purpose fertiliser.

A Berry Good Idea

Strawberries in a fruit garden (Photo: Jacky Parker Photography via Getty Images)

Knowing when to plant strawberries in the UK and how to grow strawberries can be a delightful and rewarding gardening experience. With the right timing, either in spring or autumn, and by following the essential steps for planting and care, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of beautiful berries.


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