The Best Strawberry Plants

Is there anything quite as delicious on a warm summer’s day as strawberries and cream? The sun’s out, things are nice and bright, and you have a fantastic clutch of strawberries to enjoy. Best of all, you’ve been growing strawberries from your own plants, out in your own back garden. That’s only going to make the famous red fruit taste even sweeter! In our eyes it does, anyway!

Strawberries are still some of the most popular fruits available that people enjoy and grow from year to year. There are plenty of strawberry varieties out there, however, which might well surprise you if you have only ever snatched a couple out of a punnet on the odd occasion! However, what you might be happy to hear is that you can easily grow a variety of strawberry fruit in your garden with very little effort and encouragement. And why would you even need a push?

The top strawberry plant seeds available to buy are not always easy to narrow down, which is why we’ve gone to plenty of effort to source some of the best-performing and best-reviewed plants on the market. What you might find is that the average strawberry plant can be quite fickle when it comes to propagating and bearing fruits. Therefore, no matter the plants or strawberry varieties you buy, it’s always a good idea to look into a growing and cultivating guide.

Keep reading, and we will break down everything you need to know about finding the top strawberry plants available, and what you need to know about growing the average strawberry plant in general.

In This Review?

Strawberry Full Season Collection

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If you are completely new to strawberry growing and really want to tuck into some juicy fruits first time around, then you really cannot go wrong with this ample collection of red and sweet treats.

These perennial favourites are available in three types – the Cambridge Favourite, which we will look at below, the Florence, and the Honeoye. These strawberries are really easy to grow across early to mid and late summer, meaning that even as early as one bright day in June, you could have a harvest of red and juicy fruits to enjoy.

These seeds will help you with your first yield of delicious fruits in polytunnels, pots, beds and more. The texture on these three varieties, too, is nothing short of stupendous.

Features

Flowers: Available May
Harvest: Available June and July
Height: 20cm max

Pros

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Cons

Cambridge Favourite (Mid Season)

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The Cambridge Favourite berries are, of course, part of the above selection, but if you know that you have a fantastic taste for these mid season berries, this is a variety you can easily buy on its own to be steadily grown in the bright weather.

This perennial, everbearing fruit favourite is one of the most popular varieties of strawberry available to buy, and the price is certainly right. Boasting a vivid texture as well as super sweet taste, these somewhat large plants are very easy to start growing without much threat of disease. This is a variety which is well known for showing hardy disease resistance.

Plant early and get a June crop of strawberries normally at least four months in. You’re going to see fantastic yields over the next two years, too, making this a good investment for anyone who wants sweet, tasty strawberries for plenty of time to come. This everbearing plant will produce a fair crop of fruit and more besides.

Features

Flowers: Available May
Harvest: Available June and July
Height: 20cm max

Pros

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Cons

Just Add Cream

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The Just Add Cream variety of strawberry is a world exclusive according to Thompson & Morgan. Cross bred to be one of the most fragrant and strongest tasting strawberries around, the Just Add Cream is not only unique in taste, but is one of the most eye-catching plants available, meaning that if you’re looking for sweet fruit produce as well as a great-looking plant addition, this might be the best plant for you.

What we find really impressive about these red fruit plants is the fact that you can keep these grown late into the year, meaning that you can even expect a large crop of strawberries up to the time frost starts drifting in.

Cross bred to offer delicious flavours, texture and a smell that supposedly reminds you of childhood, the Just Add Cream is one of the most popular everbearing strawberry plants varieties available to buy right now, meaning it’s a real sweet hit with a strong fan base. Get in there early before it’s too late!

Features

Flowers: Available May, June, July, August
Harvest: Available June, July, August, September
Height: 30cm max

Pros

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Cons

Florence (Late Season)

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We do love late season strawberries if they are ever available, though that’s not to say the early or mid varieties are inferior. The Florence, however, is another popular variety of fruit available which, as you’ll remember, forms part of the fantastic Thompson & Morgan triple pack above.

These everbearing fruit plants are some of the easiest strawberry plants to start seed by seed, and whether or not you prefer runners, these cross bred beauties produce some delicious red fruit that put plenty of common large plants to shame. It’s reasonably resistant and should start bearing some of the toughest fruit available in your garden.

These plants are known to be great for beginners. While you are still going to need to show seed plots and runners attention – and while they may not be the most autonomous growers available like the alpine – there is no reason why this seed could be your ideal choice the first day you start growing fruit.

A little higher priced than some, this far-yielding variety will be bearing tasty fruit long into the bright days you have left. If planting early or mid doesn’t appeal to you, then this late bloomer will start bearing some of the tastiest produce available and known come the end of July.

Features

Flowers: Available May
Harvest: Available June and July
Height: 20cm max

Pros

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Cons

Malling Centenary

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The Malling Centenary is a classic plant option which should produce some of the tastiest and richest fruits you can hope for from seed and runners alike. It’s reasonably resistant, and Thompson and Morgan’s research shows that these plants produce more and more each year. Therefore, if you are looking for a great value yield, then buy, buy, buy.

One of the favourites of the team at Thompson and Morgan, this type of strawberry also proves to be hugely appealing to newbie growers and expert gardeners alike. A premium plant available to buy throughout the year, it should give you some delightful fruits to snack on within just two months of your initial planting.

Unlike some of the above varieties, too, these plants will do well long into the autumn, meaning if you do still have a taste for strawberries and cream ahead of Halloween, you might just get lucky.

Features

Flowers: Available May, June, July, August
Harvest: Available June, July, August, September
Height: 30cm max

Pros

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Cons

Why Grow Strawberry Plants?

Why even ask? Strawberry plants, when you look after them well, are likely to bear some of the most delicious red fruits your garden has ever been responsible for.

Remember tasting those red, juicy, delicious strawberries from the supermarket or the local farm shop for the first time? It’s a pretty unbelievable experience. It’s entirely possible you can enjoy planting and harvesting your own home grown strawberries, too.

As mentioned, and as you can see, there are more than a few strawberry varieties out there. If you’re really not sure which of the strawberry plants available are likely to appeal to you the most, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t keep a close eye on those buyer reviews. Trust the taste buds and instincts of fellow fruit gardeners!

Strawberry plant growing can be amazingly rewarding. As mentioned, these plants do sometimes have the propensity to be a little difficult to start off with, meaning it’s worth keeping a close eye on them. You’re going to need to keep disease resistance in mind, for example. Even the most seemingly hardy of strawberry plants are at risk of nastiness such as crown rot and verticillium wilt, meaning it really will pay for you to know what you’re looking for.

Don’t worry – we’re here to help, from mara des bois to alpine strawberries. Keep reading for more of a lowdown on how to make the most of strawberry plants.

What is the Best Time of Year to Plant Strawberries?

On the whole, it’s best to start growing strawberry plants in your garden in the spring. Therefore, if you have any strawberry runners or seeds available, it’s probably a good idea to get them in the ground in the autumn.

Many people choose to start them in the spring, though this will normally be the case if you are growing from seeds, rather than runners.

The earlier in the better, really, though there’s no harm in getting them going during mid spring, either. What you’re really going to need to make sure of, and this is regardless of the varieties or options you have available, is to give your fruit plants plenty of water.

This will help to get them big and strong in time for the summer. Once planted and once you are starting to see progress from early spring onwards, it might be a good idea to start fertilising them.

However, finding the best fertiliser can be tricky. That’s perhaps a topic for a different guide! Let’s keep this write-up on the medium side of things!

No matter when you plant your strawberry plants (hint – again, it’s early to mid spring!), you should always be very careful to avoid getting too much water on any new fruit. Otherwise, you could actually be making your strawberries prone to nasty diseases. Naturally, that’s something you’re going to want to avoid time and again, long after your seeds start taking root.

It’s worth doing a bit of research into this. In our own collective experience, you’ll be able to get a good crop of sweet strawberries from seeds in spring planting and growth, for a summertime harvest. However, runners will probably do best taking root in the colder months. Experiment and see – early or late, it’s a pretty variable equation.

Are Strawberry Plants Easy to Grow?

Oh, yes – absolutely. Strawberry plants are really easy to get growing providing you give them plenty of care and attention, and that goes for medium to large varieties, too.

However, depending sometimes on the type of strawberries you are trying to grow, you may find that they are at risk of all kinds of nastiness. Your berries might be at risk from mildew, crown rot and verticillium wilt problems available in the soil.

What’s more, if you think you can’t wait to get your taste buds around your delicious new fruit, think about what your everyday garden pests are likely to make of it. Strawberry plants are always real winners with common fruit munchers, meaning that even if you have small, medium or larger berries growing in your plot, you’re at risk of serving up a fruity feast.

That’s why – while it’s really easy to produce strawberry plants and to get them to take root – protecting them is high priority. It can take days for fruit to start appearing, but seconds for them to get gobbled up by garden pests. If you want to get to that summertime harvest, make sure you give your strawberry plants the time and protection they deserve.

Some of the easiest strawberry plants to care for, and therefore some of the most popular, are alpine strawberries. Alpine strawberries don’t tend to need much looking after, as it’s known, meaning that you can pretty much leave them to their own devices.

If you are unsure of what to do for the best when it comes to your strawberry plants, always see the back of the seed packet – following the instructions on your seeds is always going to be the best way to set any kind of expectations.

Do Strawberry Plants Come Back Every Year?

Yes, some varieties of strawberries available will come back year after year for a summer harvest.

However, how big your yield is, and whether or not they will indeed come back when you expect them to, will depend upon how well you treat them.

It is not unheard of for medium to large strawberries to come back the next year, albeit a small size to what you may be used to. Again, the type you choose may impact on this, which is another great reason why it is worth looking carefully at the varieties available.

In some cases, you may be able to produce strawberry plants for up to three or four years, providing the conditions are perfect. There is a high chance you’ll get perennial strawberry harvest periods if you do your research and protect your strawberry plants against the worst pests.

So yes – even if you have been lucky enough to have seen one or two crops fully grown, you could get a taste of your own home grown strawberries for a couple of years to come, providing you put the work in.

What's the Best Thing to Grow Strawberries In?

The jury is out on this, but as strawberry plants are likely to start growing with very little provocation, you can pretty much plant your chosen variety anywhere you like.

Many people will choose a variety of bed options for their strawberry runners as this tends to be most convenient. However, plenty of growers will choose to keep their everbearing plants in pots and hanging baskets, where they can keep an eye on them throughout the year. This might not be a bad idea if you want to keep them resistant against bugs and pests which are likely to see your plants and want to tuck in.

Should I Pick the Flowers Off Strawberry Plants?

It’s normally a good idea to remove fruit from strawberry plants as soon as they start looking red and juicy, but when it comes to the flowers, you will probably do well to leave them as they are.

However, there are some cases where you can remove the available flowers from an everbearing strawberry plant. For example, you may wish to do this well or late into the summer, really only if you think your plants are looking a bit on the weak or weedy side.

Generally, though, you should be looking to keep your flowers on if you have planted strawberry runners from late spring onwards. These will likely give you some late fruit in the months to come, normally in 50 to 60 days or more. Therefore, if you plant runners for growing strawberries in around March, April, May time, you can expect some variety or varieties of strawberry plants to serve up fruits by June, July and August.

Again, varieties may vary on this front, meaning it’s again a really good idea to look at what the packet says if you buy seeds outright.

What are Problems I Might Face When Growing Strawberry Varieties?

As with any fruits or plants available in general you might grow in your garden, you are at the mercy of a few different pests and problems along the way. This applies to small, medium and large types.

For example, here are a few common issues that everbearing plants and strawberry varieties might succumb to across March, April, May, June and otherwise.

Mildew is a real pain when it comes to leaves. Not only is it pretty unsightly, it’s going to do some serious damage to your strawberry plants’ leaves. The best thing to do is to start thinking about cooler areas to put your plants in, or to start giving your strawberry varieties soil that is a little bit damper, or on the moister side.
Crown rot is a real terror if you let it ravage your fruits. It’s essentially necrosis of the strawberry, which is about as pleasant as you might think! This can lead to your variety of plants and fruit deteriorating and failing to grow any further, and what’s more, they can die. Therefore, the best thing to do with this type of rot is to avoid damaging and giving your strawberry variety poor nutrition. Some strawberry varieties show a fair amount of disease resistance, but rot is something which can and will occur to the most poular strawberry variety unless you are really on the ball. This occurs in June, July, August – you name it.
Verticillium wilt normally occurs as a result of fungi interrupting the growth of your strawberry variety. This means that it can invade the tissue of your plants and do more than a good number on the essentials your plant needs to be able to soak up water. Essentially, the fungus gets in early to get as much water out of your plants as possible. Make sure to look for strawberry varieties known for disease resistance, and as with all strawberries you are likely to grow, always be sure that you are giving them enough fertiliser and a balanced diet. Sometimes, care is all you need to offer. However, you need to make sure you care for your strawberry variety – no matter how red it might be – well!

Pests and Strawberry Varieties

As mentioned, from season to season, it’s not just you who is likely to find juicy red fruit all the more tempting. Give your garden pests enough of a treat, and they will gobble up your fruits to their hearts’ content. Instead of laying down a sweet platter for bugs and beasties, you’re going to need to be on high alert.

Regardless of whether or not you plant early or late, or if your variety of strawberry is large or small, you’re always likely to get attention from slugs. However, there is a humane way to get rid of them. Simply make sure to not overwater your beautiful red varieties, and to make sure you get rid of anything nearby that a slimy slitherer is likely to use to hide under. This means making sure you keep your beds as clear as possible, and that you don’t have too many leaves.

Aphids tend to be even nastier when it comes to attacking your sweet, red fruit. Attacking throughout spring and into June and July, aphids are likely to suck down on strawberry sap, which they happen to find pretty sweet and addictive. If you’re already noticing leaf damage and some pretty weedy looking plants, then you may well have a good crop of aphids. Get them away from your fruits by planting them as close to rhubarb as possible as natural resistance!

There are many different pests and creatures lurking in the undergrowth who want to latch onto any plants and strawberries available. But that’s just it – try not to make a plant too available to them!

This can be easier said than done, so if there is a large chance you’ll have a good population of minibeasts near your plants and produce, make sure to read up on the varieties you are currently growing. Research is always the key to clever gardening – and you can trust us on this!

What Should I Look for in Strawberry Plants?

Of course, the first things you should be looking for in the best strawberry plants are disease resistance and growing seasons.

Alpine strawberries, for example, may not always grow at the same time as other plants and seeds available. Others may produce fruit at different times of year. Can you plant your strawberry seeds early or late into the season? Which is likely to work best overall for you?

Be sure to pick a clutch of seed to take root in a convenient spot in your yard, as well as those which you can cross pollinate without fear of diseases such as verticillium wilt taking effect. Fungi and mildew may be common, but there are more and more types of strawberry out there which are bred resistant to disease.

For example, you may be able to breed cultivars, or grow cultivars from a seed selection you come across online. Cultivars are much the same to strawberries as pedigrees are to dogs. That is, they are cross bred to offer specific taste, red look, texture, and resistance against certain diseases available.

Therefore, you may want to look at one or more cultivars you can grow with ease, or, you may even want to cross breed your own across the spring and summer days. The choice is yours, particularly if you know you like your strawberry texture a certain way. At the very least, it’s worth beating back against mildew and anything that’s likely to have a go at your root or leaf.

Otherwise, why not take a look at resistant and tasty strawberry varieties you can grow from seeds and runners online? You’ll find that the top picks in our list are brilliant places to start. However, if you have a bright idea after spitting another type of strawberry seed elsewhere, there’s really nothing stopping you trying your own varieties. Look and see how you get on!

Conclusion

As you can say, there may well be more to the average strawberry yielding plant than you might think. These berries are nice and juicy, but they are going to need as much TLC as you can physically give them.

You’re likely to see type after type of strawberry grow really well in the right conditions, but as they are so sought-after by pests, a bright idea is to really safeguard them as best you can. there’s only ever going to be a small chance that slugs will take a fancy to your fruits if you let them!

Take a look through the types of berries listed in our buying guide, and with a bit of research, you may be able to start cross breeding your own new varieties. The possibilities really are endless!

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