Strawberry Bushes Buying & Growing Guide

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Types of Strawberries

Strawberry bushes, perhaps surprisingly, are unrelated to the strawberry plant. Instead, they are a member of the Euonymus family, and they are grown for their attractiveness in the garden as well as for their bright red non-edible fruit. They love a little afternoon shade and are a great addition to a mixed native border or at the edge of a woodland plot.

Strawberry Bushes for Sale

How to Grow Strawberry Bushes

How to plant strawberry bushes

Strawberry Fruit

In the wild, strawberry bushes grow in forested areas under trees, so plant your bush in partial shade. It likes a rich soil that has a high concentration of organic matter and retains moisture. Strawberry bushes are a good choice to plant if you’re looking to create a natural, woodland-like setting on your property.

To plant your strawberry bush, dig a hole twice as wide and a little deeper than the root ball. Mix some leaf mold or compost in the bottom of the hole. Tease out the root ball so the roots extend out and don’t girdle the ball. Place the bush in the hole, and backfill (replace the dirt you removed) with soil that’s been enriched with organic material, such as leaf mold.

Water your bush generously after planting. Continue to water every few days for several months until the plant has established itself and you see signs of robust growth.

How to achieve maximum results

Like all new plantings, a strawberry bush benefits from increased care in the first year after it’s planted. Keep a close eye on it to monitor water uptake. If the leaves of the bush start to droop, you may need to provide supplemental watering. Since deer consider strawberry bushes very tasty, it may also help to fence off your young plant or use a deer spray to deter them from eating the young branches and leaves.

How to Care for Strawberry Bushes

Watering and nutrients

Strawberry plant garden

In keeping with its origin as a woodland plant, the strawberry bush likes soil that is high in humus, or organic matter, which holds onto water well. Although the bush doesn’t want to sit in a puddle, regular watering or rainfall is helpful—roughly one inch of water per week is best.

Strawberry bushes aren’t heavy feeders, especially if they are planted in fertile soil. A light spring feeding of a general purpose fertilizer is all that your strawberry bush needs to thrive.

Pollination

A strawberry bush has small green flowers that open in spring and are dioecious, meaning that male and female flowers are on separate bushes. Flying insects, such as bees, take pollen from a male flower to a female flower, and a prickly fruit emerges in late summer. This fruit then splits open to reveal shiny, red-orange seeds that give the bush its common name. The seeds are poisonous for humans, and should never be eaten.

Pruning

Strawberry bushes don’t need much pruning. They are best left to attain their natural shape, with just a light clipping to remove any unruly branches. The strawberry bush does produce suckers from its base, which you can either leave or prune out. Pruning is best done in early spring, before leaves obscure the shape of the bush.

Pests, diseases, and animals

Strawberry plant with dry leaves

The strawberry bush is prone to pests, including euonymus scale, which can sometimes be controlled by pruning out infected branches. Yellow spots on the leaves and the presence of small whitish insects on the underside of leaves indicate scale insects. Horticultural oil may also help control for scale.

Diseases include powdery mildew, which occurs when plants are placed too close together or debris is left around them. Control this disease with pruning and a copper fungicide. Crown gall, cercospora leaf spot, and anthracnose may also affect the bushes.

Deer are known to feed on strawberry bushes, especially when the plants are young. Birds may eat the berries, which are best left for them since they are poisonous for humans.

Types of Strawberries

1. Beach Strawberry

Beach Strawberry

Scientific Name: Fragaria chiloensis

Mature Size: Up to 6 inches tall

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-9

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Average moisture needs

Soil: Well-draining

Flower Color: White and yellow

This strawberry plant is native to North and South America, growing along the coastline of the Pacific Ocean. Its tendency to favor these sorts of habitat is why it is commonly known as the beach strawberry or coastal strawberry, though it is also known as the Chilean strawberry, a reference to the fact that this plant grows in the mountains of Chile, and Argentina. It is thought to have been dispersed from seeds in bird droppings to these areas. The beach strawberry is one of the parent strawberries of the more commonly cultivated ‘garden strawberry.’ It was hybridized with another strawberry plant to produce a new type of strawberry plant that is enormously popular both commercially and in home gardens.

This plant is a perennial evergreen, which is short in stature but has a wide spread of up to three feet. This spreading habit results in it sometimes being used as ground cover, or to help prevent erosion of sand dunes. It tolerates light foot traffic and can be used as an alternative to lawns. The beach strawberry plant blooms from the middle of spring to early summer, producing small white flowers with yellow centers, which measure no more than an inch across. The flowers are not especially showy. By late summer, the flowers will give way to bright red, large, edible strawberries. These are considered to be a delicacy in some areas of South America.

The plant grows well in moist, well-draining soil, though it does have some tolerance of drought when established. It can grow in full sun or partial shade, enjoying some afternoon shade, especially in hot summer climates to prevent leaf scorch.


2. Wild Strawberry

Wild Strawberry

Scientific Name: Fragaria vesca

Mature Size: Up to 9 inches tall

USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-9

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Average moisture needs

Soil: Well-draining

Flower Color: White and yellow

Cultivars and Varieties: ‘Mara des Bois’

This strawberry plant is native to the Northern Hemisphere, and also goes by the name of woodland strawberry, or European strawberry. When sold as seed, it is sometimes incorrectly marketed as the Alpine strawberry, which is actually a different type of strawberry with the scientific name of Fragaria alpina. This plant is a perennial that spreads in mounds of rosettes of coarse green foliage. In late spring and for most of the summer, flowers bloom on top of hairy stems. The flowers have five white petals with yellow central discs and give way to small, edible strawberries.

The plant will produce strawberries throughout summer, often with fruits and flowers visible on the plant at the same time. This plant is easy to grow and is compact enough to keep in containers or line borders and beds. It thrives in full sun, and though it will tolerate some shade, the best fruits are produced in a full sun position. It is tolerant of a wide range of soils, but will not survive in very wet or very dry soil types. It has reasonably good resistance to disease, though keep an eye out for leaf spots and blight.


3. Scarlet Strawberry

Scarlet Strawberry

Scientific Name: Fragaria virginiana

Mature Size: Up to 7 inches tall

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-9

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Maintain moist soil

Soil: Well-draining, fertile

Flower Color: White and yellow

Cultivars and Varieties: ‘Little Scarlet’

This strawberry plant is native to North America, where it grows across most of the United States and into Southern Canada. It also goes by the name of common strawberry, mountain strawberry, and Virginia strawberry. It was this strawberry that was hybridized with the beach strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis) that resulted in the production of the garden strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa), which is the basis of most strawberries we eat today.

The plant blooms in late spring to early summer for a period of three or four weeks, with small flowers made up from yellow central discs and five surrounding rounded, white petals. Following this, fruits set in place of the flowers, which measure up to half an inch long. They are much smaller than any strawberries you would buy from a grocery store, but they do have a sweet, sharp flavor.

The plant produces toothed foliage in deep green shade, in groups of three. It is a cold season plant, which means that it continues to grow during winter when many plants go through their dormancy phase. Instead, this plant may go dormant during summer, right after it has produced fruits. The scarlet strawberry plant has a spreading habit, growing to up to two feet across. This, added to its low growing nature, makes it a good choice for ground cover. It works well as a form of erosion control on sloping ground and thrives in both full sun or partial shade. Grow this plant in a well-draining soil, which is ideally fertile and rich in organic material.

4. Garden Strawberries

4.1. Day-Neutral Strawberries

Day-neutral strawberries are a type of strawberry plant that remains unaffected by the number of sunlight hours in each day, and therefore will continue to fruit from late spring right through to the first frost, so long as temperatures remain between around 40 and 85º F. Day-neutral and everbearing strawberries are sometimes confused, as both produce fruits for longer periods than the more common Junebearing strawberries. The difference between the two is that day-neutral strawberries will produce fruits continuously, all season long, whereas everbearing strawberry plants produce fruits at several points throughout the year, with non-fruiting gaps in between.

Day-neutral strawberries should be planted in the fall. They are usually grown as annuals, but they can remain evergreen in climates that do not experience frost and can last a few years in these circumstances. Day-neutral strawberries are easy to grow, typically producing large and firm fruits. These plants can also be visually attractive, as they will often have fruits and flowers at the same time, giving the plant an interesting look. One of the best things about day-neutral strawberries, aside from the long season of fruiting, is that these plants produce an abundance of fruits in their first year.

4.1.1. Albion

Albion

Scientific Name: Fragaria x ananassa ‘Albion’

Mature Size: Up to 2 feet tall

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-9

Light: Full sun

Water: Maintain moist soil

Soil: Well-draining, fertile, organically rich

Flower Color: White and yellow

This strawberry plant was developed by the University of California, and released in 2006. It has a long fruiting period, able to produce strawberries from late spring right through to the first frost, so long as temperatures stay between 35 and 85º F. They produce flowers from early to mid-spring and continue to bloom right through summer and into early fall, with yellow central discs and five outer white petals.

These fruits give way to the succulent strawberry fruits, which are renowned for their superior taste. These juicy, bright red, conical strawberries are great when eaten fresh, but they are also commonly used in baking and for making jams and pies. The foliage of this plant is deep green, with almost concertina style leaves. Stems that produce the fruits are coarse and hairy. The plant grows to around the same width as its height and grows well in containers as well as beds and borders. It thrives in full sun, enjoying well-draining and fertile soils that are kept consistently moist.


4.1.2. Seascape

Seascape

Scientific Name: Fragaria x ananassa ‘Seascape’

Mature Size: Up to 1 foot tall

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-8

Light: Full sun

Water: Maintain moist soil

Soil: Well-draining, fertile

Flower Color: White and yellow

This strawberry plant produces deep green pleated leaves in small mounds. It will grow up to one foot in height, with a spread of up to two feet, therefore will work well in beds but also is suitable for container growth. Flowers bloom throughout the growing season, with dainty white petals and yellow centers. As the plant is not affected by the length of the day, these blooms will give way to fruits from late spring right through to the first frost. The fruits of this plant are large, firm, and symmetrical, in a conical shape. They are bright red and juicy and are renowned for having an especially good flavor.

This plant is a popular type of strawberry to grow as it offers good resistance to the diseases that commonly affect strawberries, and it is known for thriving in a range of different climates. In climates that do not get cold enough to experience frost, this plant will remain evergreen throughout the year. This plant loves full sun and should be situated in the brightest spot in your garden for best fruit production. It should be grown in a well-draining soil that is fertile and kept continually moist, but not wet.


4.2. Everbearing Strawberries

Everbearing strawberries have a misleading name, as in fact they do not continually bear fruits, but most commonly produce strawberries twice a year, in spring and late summer. In ideal conditions, the plant can produce three crops each year, with the additional crop occurring in mid-summer, making them seem as though they are almost constantly in fruit. It is this feature of the plant that leads them to sometimes get confused with day-neutral strawberries, which do produce fruit constantly; however, the two are different. Day-neutral strawberries will not be affected by the length of the day, whereas everbearing strawberries will only produce flowers when the length of the day is a minimum of twelve hours long. Everbearing strawberries tend to produce fewer runners than Junebearing varieties. This is so they can direct the majority of their energy towards producing several crops of fruit.

Everbearing strawberries struggle with high levels of heat, and so they are best suited to growing in cooler, northern climates. If temperatures get too hot, the plant will cease to produce fruits, or may even die back completely. Although these types of plants produce several crops of fruit, each crop is generally smaller than the single crop produced by Junebearing varieties, so they do not succeed in producing the most fruits overall but instead produce them more gradually as opposed to all at once.

4.2.1. Berried Treasure Red

Scientific Name: Fragaria x ananassa ‘Berried Treasure Red’

Mature Size: Up to 2 feet tall

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-9

Light: Full sun

Water: Maintain moist soil

Soil: Well-draining

Flower Color: Red and yellow

This strawberry plant is more ornamental than most other types of strawberry plants, producing a mass of semi-double, bright red flowers, which sit in large clusters. The flowers have the typical central yellow cone you will find in strawberry flowers, and these will later develop into the fruits. Even when the plant is fruiting, it maintains its ornamental appearance, with dangling stems that hold the strawberries in a row. This feature makes the plant especially attractive when grown in a container, as the pendulus fruits can hang down and be easily picked. These strawberries are rich in flavor but small in stature, making them a good size for snacking. The plant performs best in full sun and prefers moist soil that drains easily.


4.2.2. Ozark Beauty

Ozark Beauty

Scientific Name: Fragaria x ananassa ‘Ozark Beauty’

Mature Size: Up to 9 inches tall

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-8

Light: Full sun

Water: Maintain moist soil

Soil: Well-draining, organically rich

Flower Color: White and yellow

This plant was developed in 1955 in Arkansas, and is known for being the best strawberry plant to grow in this state, and is also one of the most popular of all everbearing strawberries. It produces mounds of pleated leaves that are a shield for the dangling strawberries beneath. It will typically produce two crops of fruits each year, the first in spring and the second in late summer or early fall. The plant is capable of producing three crops of fruits each year if ideal conditions are met. The strawberries of this plant are large and full of flavor. They are perfect to be enjoyed fresh, or for cooking with.

This plant has a good level of resistance to disease, and in frost-free climates will remain evergreen all year round. It thrives in full sun and will grow in any well-draining soil that is kept moist but will perform best in soils that are rich in organic content. Unlike most strawberry plants, runner plants of this variety will not fruit in their first year.

4.3. Junebearing Strawberries

Junebearing strawberries are the most popular strawberry plants to grow, both by home growers but also in commercial contexts. These types of strawberries account for the majority of different strawberry varieties available. They are called Junebearing strawberries because they fruit in the month of June, usually for a period of around two weeks. Junebearing strawberries are further broken down into different categories depending on when in the season they fruit.

Early season Junebearers are the first to fruit, usually at the end of spring. Early Midseason Junebearers will follow next, fruiting around five days after the Early season strawberries. Midseason Junebearers will set fruit around eight days after the Early season Junebearers, followed by Late Midseason Junebearers, which will begin to fruit at ten days after the Early season strawberries. Finally, the Late season Junebearers will start to produce fruits fourteen days after the Early season Junebearing strawberries.

It is important to know that type of Junebearing strawberry plant you have if you want to plant them in a way that will ensure you have a long season of fruiting strawberries. By growing a selection of Junebearing varieties from each category, you will have a selection of strawberries that will fruit in succession, resulting in a fruiting period of up to five weeks. Junebearing strawberry plants produce the biggest crops, and also the largest fruits. These plants are heat-tolerant, and so they are well suited to hot summer climates, more so than everbearing or day-neutral varieties.

4.3.1. Allstar

Allstar

Scientific Name: Fragaria x ananassa ‘Allstar’

Mature Size: Up to 9 inches tall

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-8

Light: Full sun

Water: Maintain moist soil

Soil: Well-draining, fertile

Flower Color: Yellow and white

This strawberry plant was developed in 1981 at the University of Maryland. It is a mid-season variety, which will begin fruiting in late spring or early summer, typically around eight days after the earliest Junebearing strawberries have started to set fruits. The plant is especially popular in Michigan and performs well throughout the Eastern United States and through to the Midwest.

The plant produces mounds of fresh green leaves and white flowers with central yellow cones in early spring. The flowers develop into the fruit of the plant, which are some of the largest strawberries of any variety. They are firm and succulent, with a bright red and glossy exterior. The plant will continue to produce these fruits over a period of between two or three weeks, rewarding the grower with sweet and juicy strawberries. This is a compact plant that grows up to 9 inches tall and 18 inches wide, making it ideal for container growing. It thrives in full sun, in a well-draining soil that is kept continually moist.


4.3.2. Earliglow

Earliglow

Credit to Chiot’s Run

Scientific Name: Fragaria x ananassa ‘Earliglow’

Mature Size: Up to 9 inches tall

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-8

Light: Full sun

Water: Maintain moist soil

Soil: Well-draining, fertile

Flower Color: White and yellow

This strawberry plant was developed in 1975, in Beltsville, Maryland. It as an early-season variety of Junebearing strawberries, and will begin to fruit in late spring for a period of around two weeks. This is an enormously popular variety of strawberry plant to grow and is especially suitable for beginner growers as it is easy to grow and has good resistance to a variety of diseases.

The plant produces white and yellow flowers in early spring, set to the backdrop of pleated, green mounds of foliage. The strawberries follow the flowers, and are medium in size, with a firm and sweet bite. These strawberries are also visually attractive, with a shiny exterior and symmetrical shape. Grow this plant in a bright and sunny spot, in well-draining soil with consistent moisture.


4.3.3. Sparkle

Scientific Name: Fragaria x ananassa ‘Sparkle’

Mature Size: Up to 1 foot tall

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-8

Light: Full sun

Water: Maintain moist soil

Soil: Well-draining

Flower Color: White and yellow

This is an heirloom variety of strawberry that was first developed in 1949. It produces flowers with white petals and yellow centers in early spring, which will develop into fruits in spring. This is a late-season variety of Junebearing strawberries, which means the fruits will begin to set around two weeks after the early season strawberries.

This is a very popular variety thanks to its vigorous growth habit and flavorsome fruits. It is one of the most widely cultivated strawberries for ‘pick your own’ sites, and fares especially well in the Northern United States. The fruits of this plant are medium in size, with a very sweet flavor. They are renowned for being the best type of strawberries for making jam with, but they also taste great when eaten fresh. This is a compact plant with a maximum spread of around one foot, making it ideal for growing in containers, or rows in beds. This plant thrives in full sun and a well-draining, moist soil.

 

Different Types of Strawberries (Pictures & Care Instructions)