I have a problem when it comes to strawberries. One plant is never enough. I have several types scattered about- and recently received a beautiful Gasana strawberry as a gift from my boyfriend. (ornamental AND edible- pink flowers, right up my alley as far as a new to me variety of berry goes)
I like weird varieties- oddballs and rarities. My pride and joy is the pot of pineapple alpine strawberries that has morphed from two plants in a large low pot into… kind of a mess.
Pictured: a mess. The two distinct plants are clearly crowding the pot- and the pot crowding has impacted the quality of the fruit and the health of the plant.
Sort of. Strawberries are tough bastards, easily surviving what would kill a lesser plant. I probably could leave the two plants together and just prune them…
But where’s the fun in that.
Popping the two plants out of the pot was a difficult process- and once I had the dang things separated- it showed that I was making the correct decision.
The plants were a bit of a disaster! But the inner new growth was super healthy, and the strawberries just needed all the dead leaves picked out and cleaned up prior to re-potting.
Also as expected, the aphid damage was not nearly as bad as on my other plants- strawberries laugh at other plant’s problems. They are basically weeds, which is why ornamental strawberry is such a resilient ground cover. These are alpine strawberries to boot, so they’re extra tough.
I used a mix of potting soil and coco coir with a little extra mycorrhizae starter fertilizer near the roots since this was a bit of a trauma to the plants.
The separation was a success, and nearly immediately bore fruit- literally, as within a week both plants put out new flowers and fruit, and the fruit was noticeably bigger and sweeter.
I’ll probably be able to leave both plants in their new homes indefinitely, I’ll just have to be a little more on top of pruning the dang things.
The plants were so full and bushy I was also able to take a section of plant to pot up separately as a gift for my boyfriend as a thanks for the Gasana. Alpines and really strawberries of all kinds make excellent balcony plants, as they can adapt to less direct sunlight fairly easily as long as they’re cared for. I have some old cast off Quinault under my cardoons in nearly full shade and they’re starting to fruit again.
So if you aren’t lucky enough to have a large garden, or if you have no garden at all- strawberries are a good choice for a fruiting plant you can put in a pot even if all you have for outdoor space is a balcony.
I am drowning in strawberries of course, including a surprise strawberry that popped up behind my huckleberry bush and got so big that I had to evict it to a new home.
But that’s a story for part 2.