How much sun do strawberries need [Complete Guide]

Strawberries require a lot of sun and water in order to blossom well and grow big, delicious berries. Choose a planting location that receives at least six to eight hours of full direct sunlight each day, preferably ten hours or more. Since strawberries require a lot of sun, care must be taken to ensure neighboring plants do not block sunlight from reaching the strawberry plant.

How much sun do strawberries need? Strawberry plants need a lot of sun to grow properly. Strawberries require at least 6 to 8 hours of full sun every day. Even it is good to have more than 10 hours of sunlight to grow strawberry plants.

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Sun Requirement Based on Strawberry Types

Proper irrigation must also be in place as the soil dries out quickly under direct sunlight. The amount of sunlight demanded also varies with the strawberry variety chosen.

With plenty of hybrid and wild strawberry plants available in the market, it can be difficult to choose a variant that can produce the maximum harvest. While some variants demand more sunlight than others, there are a few variants that can thrive in the shade as well.

1. June-Bearing Type

June-bearers are extremely common. They yield the largest strawberries. They yield fruits during a two to three-week period on average. The name comes from the fact that most June-bearing strawberry types yield a harvest in June.

Strawberry types that bear fruit in June are divided into three categories: Early Season, Midseason, and Late Season. 

Stretch the Harvest

Selecting strawberry plant kinds that yield at different times of the season allows you to stretch the harvest season and enjoy fresh strawberries for longer. Strawberry varieties that bear fruit in June are Fragaria x ananassa. The matted row technique is commonly used to plant them.

Sunlight Requirement

This variety is a short-day plant, which means that its apices will only develop into flowers when it receives less than 12 hours of sunlight. It’s a popular commercial crop in locations like the Midwest of the United States. It only produces one crop every year.

Short-day varieties are planted in the Mediterranean region in the summer or autumn. Flowering takes place in the winter and spring, while harvesting begins in the spring.

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2. Ever-Bearing Strawberry Varieties

Strawberry types marketed as “ever-bearing” aren’t really “ever-bearing.” They usually have two harvests a year, one in the spring and the other in the late summer or fall. Some ever-bearing strawberry types have the potential to generate three harvests under optimum conditions. 

Does Not Propagate

Fragaria vesca is the most common ever-bearing strawberry species. Because most of the plant’s production energy is concentrated on producing several strawberry harvests, ever-bearing strawberry varieties produce fewer runners (or none at all) than June-bearing strawberry variants.

Planting Guide

Ever-bearing strawberry types are frequently planted in hill systems or in areas with limited space. Ever-bearers are long-day plants, which means their apices will only develop into flowers when they receive sunlight for over 12 hours.

Ogallala and Ozark Beauty, for example, are not genuinely ever-bearing cultivars. They usually produce a large crop in the spring and a minor yield in the fall, with little or no crop in the between.

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3. Day-Neutral Strawberries

Three months after planting, day-neutral strawberry plants generate flower buds regardless of the hours of sunlight. They’ll start blossoming during the growing season if temperatures don’t get too hot.

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Cultivars that are day-neutral can be harvested every six weeks or so. Day/night temperatures of at least 29°C (85°F) are widely observed as the highest limit at which day-neutral strawberries will flower.

Planting Guide

Day-neutral strawberries must be managed differently than June-bearing strawberries due to their distinct growing habits. Strawberry plants that are day-neutral should be grown as annuals, plowed down after planting in the spring, and replaced every year.

Plants that are healthy and weed-free can be carried over, although yields from day-neutral strawberries tend to fall considerably over time. 

Smaller Strawberries

In milder years, they will continue to bear fruit into October. Day-neutral strawberry plants have the disadvantage of yielding smaller strawberries than June-bearing and ever-bearing strawberry cultivars.

The size of their fruit is usually small to medium, rarely exceeding 2.5 cm (1 inch). Day-neutral strawberry types are frequently planted in hill slopes or in areas with limited space.

Better Yield

The yield and fruit quality of day-neutral strawberries are far superior to that of previous “ever-bearing” varieties like Ozark Beauty, and they could be replaced with this type soon.

Day-neutral strawberries, unlike June-bearing types, will produce a decent harvest the first year they are planted. When the temperature is between 20°C and 29°C (35°F to 85°F), they flower and develop strawberries.

Read: How Long Does It Take for a Strawberry Plant to Produce Fruit

Can Strawberry Plants Grow in the Shade?

If you choose shady strawberry varieties, you can grow strawberries in the shade. One such kind is wild strawberries, sometimes known as Alpine strawberries.

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Alpine strawberries can be found growing wild along the edges of woods in Europe, North, and South America. Alpine strawberries do not spread runners when grown in the shade. 

Alpine Strawberry Types

There are various alpine strawberry kinds, each with its own distinct characteristics, but ‘Alexandria’ is the best choice for a predominantly shaded environment. Yellow Wonder, a yellow alpine strawberry, is believed to do well in the shade as well.

Just keep in mind that alpine strawberries do not produce as many fruits as larger hybrid kinds. They are, nevertheless, simply delicious when they bear fruit and are the ideal sort of strawberry to cultivate in the shade.

All-Season Harvests

Because alpine berries are smaller and less prolific than hybrid kinds, they ripen constantly throughout the growing season, which is a huge plus. Alpine strawberries are also less demanding than hybrid strawberries.

They will grow if they receive at least four hours of sunlight every day and their soil is aerated, rich in organic content, and moisture retentive. Strawberries that tolerate the shade require very little care. 

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Do Strawberries Need Full Sun? 

Partial ShadeFull Sun
Hybrid strawberry plants do not thrive in full shadow, but they can thrive in partial shade if they get at least four to six hours of direct sunlight per day.Strawberry plants should be planted in an area that receives at least 8 hours of direct sunlight per day to get the most out of them.
In these conditions, the plants will develop regularly and yield some harvestable fruit.Despite the fact that soil conditions and other factors can have a substantial impact on overall fruit yield, strawberries grown in full sun produce higher-quality fruit than those grown in partial sun.
Growth may be slowed slightly due to strawberries’ desire for more direct sunlight.The plants will not only produce more fruit, but they will also produce larger fruits on most occasions.
Strawberries in partial shade should be planted in the early spring to guarantee that they receive enough sunlight during the late spring and summer growing season.Unless your area receives heavy snowfall, you can plant strawberries to get full sun anytime in the year.

What Conditions do Strawberries Grow Best in?

A good microclimate for strawberries is a place that is sunny most of the year-round. Additionally, they need uniform temperature, rainfall, drainage, and protection from wind to thrive. If the site does not have a favorable microclimate, the grower must either enhance it or find another.

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Because the United States is in the northern hemisphere, a plot with a gently sloped ground facing south gives good light exposure as well as air and water drainage.

Add a Shelterbelt

During the growing season, the wind will dry fruit and desiccate plants. Shelterbelts should be planted to lower wind velocity if the site lacks wind protection.

A well-planned and maintained shelterbelt can help to create a uniform layer of snow that protects plants from freezing temperatures in the winter. A shelterbelt is mandatory for states that receive heavy snowfall like Utah, Washington, and Oregon.

Growing Conditions

You can tuck strawberry plants right into your garden or plant in traditional rows of slightly raised or gently sloped soil to produce a full-fledged berry patch. Follow the instructions for your particular variety, but most strawberries should be spaced 15 to 18 inches apart.

Gardeners in northern states should plant strawberries in the spring as soon as the threat of a cold winter has passed. Gardeners in the south and west states can however plant in the fall and winter as they receive optimal sunlight.

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Do Strawberry Plants Need Lots of Water?

Since the plant is exposed to long periods of sunlight, the soil is susceptible to drying out. Frequent watering is a must. Consistent irrigation is critical for producing high-yield strawberries. Because strawberry plants have shallow roots, they require constant hydration to optimal yield.

During the growing season, an average of 300 mm to 450 mm (12 to 18 inches) of irrigation water is required. When temperatures are above or below average, water may be required for spring frost control and summer crop cooling.

how much sun do strawberry plants need
how much sun do strawberry plants need

Things that Affect Strawberry Plants Growth

  • Neighboring Crops: Tall plants should not be planted near strawberries since they may restrict the plant’s access to sunlight. 
  • Previous Crops: Unless the soil has been fumigated, strawberries, should not be planted in soils where strawberries, raspberries, vine crops, alfalfa, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, beans, carrot, okra, or sod have been cultivated in any of the past four years. 
  • Root Disease and Pests:  Disease and insect pests that can harm plants are likely to be found in such areas. They include fungus diseases black root rot and verticillium wilt, which would have affected the crops and are likely to affect the strawberries as well. 
  • Chronic Weeds: Areas afflicted with sedge, nutgrass, quackgrass, Johnson grass, and thistles should also be avoided or treated before planting to eliminate these chronic weeds. If a long-term rotation that excludes the mentioned crops is not possible, fumigation should be done. This makes sure your strawberry plants receive enough sunlight and have significant yields.

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