Strawberry fields forever part 3

The experiment of whether strawberries prefer terracotta over glazed ceramic pots is over- and the clear winner is terracotta. All my strawberries in ceramic pots were ok but definitely struggling. The alpine strawberry that was cut in half has now grown to fill the terracotta low bowl, and was fruiting in January.

Now a degree of strawberry struggle is acceptable in winter- acceptable and expected; but considering in that same winter this big boy has doubled in size, I think terracotta works way better long term.

Problem is I don’t have too many big terracotta pots unused at the moment, but that’s ok- the principle behind using terracotta over glazed ceramic is just that the porousness of the terracotta means the plant wont ever really sit in water as the pot not only drains from the bottom, but through the sides of the pot.

So fabric pots work on the same principle as terracotta, but even better- and so do coir baskets.

The Gasana strawberry, my pride and joy (and a gift from my boyfriend) struggled through the winter with a very wet pot due to our really heavy rains this year. It had a tich of an aphid infestation due to some ant shenanigans and could use some better drainage and a smaller pot.

So a coir lined hanging basket it is.

I kept the soil fairly rich- strawberries really like nutrients AND good drainage which is why they do well in any richer mix with some grit in it- or in some sort of really porous container.

I also repotted my two other alpine strawberries- one of which despite having started out in similar fashion to the thriving one in terracotta, was half it’s size. What it did do instead of growing wide is reseed itself mightily- with what looked like hundreds of baby strawberry plants all around in the soil. I have no idea what I’m going to do with that- I guess there might be a part 4 to this madness.

So after a few days I can say that my strawberries are adjusting well- happy in a sunny spot and enjoying their almost instantly better draining soil. Lots of plants can be difficult to transplant- the glory of strawberries is how hardy they are. you can literally take a shovel to a big one and split it in half and both parts of the whole will probably be better off for the rough handling.

As for the Gasana’s small aphid issues…

Behold the first ladybug of 2022!

My army is waking up.

The cavalry has arrived.


9 thoughts on “Strawberry fields forever part 3

  1. When those hanging baskets were popularized in the 1980s, it was so that we could could cut slices into them to plug annuals below them. They worked nicely for situations in which they needed to be hung up so high for adequate clearance that plants that grew within them (on top) were barely visible from below. There are a few at work for ivy geranium, but no one has ever plugged annuals below them, and likely never will while the perennial geraniums are in them.

    1. Interesting! I’ve only ever seen them with annuals/perennials sort of spilling over the side but hung low enough so that you’d usually have a center plant too. The 12” ones are perfect for strawberries and the larger ones are GREAT for determinate or dwarf tomatoes to cascade over the sides with no supports needed.

      1. Yes, that is how most people know of them. My colleague here was not even aware of how we used to use them. I thought that was rather odd, since pots are more practical and visually appealing than those basket without annuals plugged through them.
        If I grow staghorn ferns again, I will likely put them in the bottom of one of those basket, but without the mesh. I would just suspend them through the frame, with their foliage hanging out the bottom. They can figure out what to do from there.

        1. Staghorns generally figure out what to do no matter what- they’re this weird combination of fragile under certain conditions but weedy under others

          1. We grew them as big hanging spheres in the Los Angeles region. They started out in hanging pots, and just ate the pots, and grew as they accumulated falling leaves from above. I suppose that the pot within eventually becomes irrelevant. I just wanted to use the baskets so that it would be consumed sooner.

          2. It did, but they are four hundred miles away now. I would like to grow them here, but it will take many years, and they will sometimes get damaged by minor frost. I want to hang one under a pedestrian bridge at work, next to a lower level patio that overlooks a small creek.

          3. I think that I might post some pictures of a few for ‘Six on Saturday’ either this Saturday, or the next. They look like big green Covid viruses.

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