The best soil mix for strawberries contains 2/3 premium potting mix and 1/3 a mix of compost and aged cow manure. Strawberries grow best in slightly acidic soil with lots of added organic matter for good drainage. Premium potting mixes are the perfect base because they will contain slow release fertilizer to feed new plants.
Plant new strawberry plants out in pots in spring or fall. If you start with good soil you give your plant the best chance of growing quick and producing lots of strawberries. Strawberries need good drainage to prevent their crown from rotting. The soil also needs to have good water holding capacity because pots dry out quicker than ground soil.
This article will explore the best soil for strawberry plants, how to prepare soil for pots and the best compost for strawberries.
How to prepare soil for strawberries in pots
There are a few easy steps you can take to prepare soil for growing potted strawberries. Choose a large pot that has drainage holes in the bottom and fill it with this mix below.
The best soil mix for strawberries contains 2/3 premium potting mix and 1/3 a mix of compost and aged cow manure.
1. Premium potting mix
The best soil base for growing strawberries is a premium potting soil. This will contain composted and aged organic matter and often has slow release fertilizer which will feed your plants while they are getting established.
The difference between basic potting mixes and premium is that the premium contains other additives that help your plants to establish. This can include slow release fertilizer, soil wetters to keep the moisture in the soil for longer and even seaweed.
If you choose a basic potting mix without slow release fertilizer, add a handful of pelleted chicken manure to feed the plant for the fist 3 months.
2. Aged cow manure
Aged cow manure is a great ingredient to add to your soil mix to increase the organic matter content and add extra nutrients. Aged cow manure is a mild fertilizer which will slowly be broken down in the soil to feed the plants.
Make sure to only use aged cow manure as fresh manure can burn plant roots. Aged cow manure can be bought in bags from garden centers. You can also allow it to age at home by mixing it through your compost at home and let it break down for 6 months.
Compost is another great ingredient to mix through potting soil to grow the best strawberries possible. Home-made compost is best because it will contain a range of nutrients that come from your own food scraps or ingredients. It will contain lots of good soil bacteria and will help the potting soil to hold water.
Mix all of the ingredients together in a wheelbarrow or large bucket. Measure out 1/3 of the mix as a combination of the compost and cow manure and the rest premium potting soil.
Mix the ingredients together well with a garden fork to make sure they are well combined.
Best compost for strawberries
There are many compost types you can choose from including commercial, organic and home-made. The best compost for strawberries is always a well-aged home made compost. Make sure the ingredients are completely broken down and resemble soil. This usually takes at least 6 months to happen.
If you don’t have any compost at home you can purchase compost from large hardware stores or garden centers. Choose an organic compost if you can and you can be sure that there are no leftover pesticides in the mix.
Using regular potting soil for strawberries in pots
You can use a regular base potting mix for growing strawberries. The cheaper potting mixes will usually not contain slow release fertilizer so it is essential that you add some yourself. It is easy to mix through some aged cow manure and a handful of pelleted chicken manure to feed the plant in the first 3 months while it is getting established.
Do strawberries do well in pots?
Strawberries grow well in pots and they have the added benefit of lifting the fruit off the ground. This helps to protect the strawberries from being eaten by bugs, slugs and snails which crawl along looking for something delicious to eat.
Grow strawberries in hanging pots or elevated pots that are off the ground. You can place pots throughout your flower beds to fill in gaps or place them on the edge of your garden bed. Strawberries in pots can be moved around to find the sun and moved under protection in winter.
Do strawberries grow better in pots or ground?
Strawberries grow well in both pots and in the ground. The main benefit of growing strawberries in the ground is they will need to be watered less often because the soil will hold water for longer. They can grow larger because they will have more space to grow their roots.
Soil will also naturally contain a range of good soil bacteria which can be built up over time to break down nutrients and organic matter.
The benefits of growing strawberries in pots are that they can lift the strawberries off the ground to prevent pests, they are easy to move and easy to transplant. Hanging baskets full of strawberries can make a great feature around a pergola as long as you remember to water them!
Strawberries grow well in raised garden beds which offers the best of both worlds. They are raised off the ground and also have greater soil volume which holds water. I have been growing strawberries in pots, in the ground and in raised beds and all can be great.
How often to water strawberries in pots
Strawberries in pots will need to be watered regularly, particularly in summer to keep them growing strong. In summer water strawberries when the top 2 inches of soil is dry or every 2-3 days. Dark pots in full sun may need watering everyday during the hottest days of summer.
Water strawberries in pots in the morning to allow the leaves to dry quickly and avoid fungal growth. Improving the soil with aged cow manure and compost before planting will help them to stay moist for longer and survive summer. Cover the pot with some straw mulch to help to reduce evaporation.
Best Soil for Strawberries in Pots | Summary
The best soil for strawberries in pots is a 2/3 mix of premium potting soil and 1/3 a combination of aged cow manure and compost. This will feed the plant at the time of planting helping it to grow quickly and produce strawberries sooner. This mix will also help the soil to hold water for longer keeping the strawberries happy with regular moisture.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.