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

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Strawberries are one of the easiest fruits to grow. They are ideal for beginners and worth growing as homegrown strawberries taste so much better than those sold at grocery stores. There’s nothing like a delicious plate of homegrown strawberries at the end of a long day! The amount of time that it will take for your strawberry plants to start producing fruit depends on many factors, such as the growing conditions, the type of strawberries you’re planting, the time of year in which you’re planting them, the type of soil that you are planting in, etc.

How long do strawberries take to grow after flowering? The average time it takes for strawberries to produce fruit is roughly 3 months.

However, the average time it takes for strawberries to produce fruit is roughly 3 months, dependent on the variety. These 3 months include the entire growing process from the emergence of leaves through to harvest time. Strawberries usually grow in the latter part of the spring season and towards the beginning of summer, depending on the area in which you’re growing it as well as the variety of strawberries you’ve chosen. Here are the different types and growing times as well as everything you need to know about growing your own strawberries.

Timing

Phase 1 – Leaves and Flowers

During the first stage of growing strawberries, it starts producing leaves and flowers. As spring approaches and the weather starts becoming warmer, your plants will produce leaves to take in all the sunlight and photosynthesize it into food. In this stage, they will continue to grow big enough to start producing flowers.

strawberry flower to fruit

Most plants that produce edible crops end up growing fruits or vegetables wherever there are flowers. After the leaves have soaked in an adequate amount of sunlight, the strawberry plant starts to grow among the little white flowers. This is the second phase of strawberry growing.

Phase 2 – Flowers to Fruit

Most plants that produce edible crops end up growing fruits or vegetables wherever there are flowers. After the leaves have soaked in an adequate amount of sunlight, the strawberry plant starts to grow among the little white flowers. This is the second phase of strawberry growing.

Phase 3 – Pollination to New Fruit

During this phase, the strawberry flowers are pollinated by the birds, bees, and other insects and begin to blossom into strawberries. At this stage they are minuscule and a pale, lime-green color as it is still the early stages, and they haven’t fully grown yet.

Phase 4 – Red Strawberries

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

In this phase, you’ll find your strawberries growing at a faster speed. Soon, you’ll have delicious red strawberries ready for the picking.

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Varieties of Strawberries

how to make strawberry plants produce more fruit
strawberry plants

There are several varieties of strawberries to choose from, and each grows at their own rate. Their cultivation varies from environment to environment.

  • June-bearing varieties

Even though they are called June-bearing varieties, these strawberries bear even earlier than June in warmer climates. These varieties bear fruit all at once usually over a time span of three weeks. Being sensitive to the length of daytime, they produce buds in the autumn, flowers and fruits the following June, and runners during summer days.  

  • Everbearing varieties

These produce a massive crop in spring, light produce in the summer, and then bear another crop during the fall season. They produce buds during long summer days and short autumn days. The buds that are produced in summer flower and fruit in autumn and the autumn-formed ones fruit during the next spring season. 

  • Day-Neutral varieties

This kind produces fruit consistently through the season until the first frost. It is  not sensitive to day length. You will get runners, buds, and fruits with regularity if temperature is maintained between 35° and 85°F (1° to 30°C). However, the amount of fruit produced is less than that of June.

  • California Strawberry

Belonging to the West Coast, the wild California strawberry is tough. These strawberry plants are often used as covers in the sun and slight shade. Similar to the June-bearing and ever-bearing strawberries, it is best to plant California strawberries in early spring.

Remove the first year’s flowers to allow the plants to become fully established. They begin producing flowers in the plants’ second spring, and the strawberries are ready to eat around four to six weeks later.

  • Alpine Strawberries

Much different to the other California varieties of strawberries, the alpine strawberry grows neatly in clumps and doesn’t spread by runners. It is best to grow alpine strawberries from the seed and plant them in the garden four to six weeks after germination.

When established, alpine strawberries bloom consistently from early spring through early fall, producing delicious strawberries from early summer into the late fall. Alpine strawberries have an added advantage of producing fruit in their first year of growth.

Recommended Varieties

It is best to try planting more than one variety. Each is unique and will respond differently to conditions, giving you a diverse range of fruits to enjoy.

  • Northeaster is ideal for the northeastern US and southeastern Canada. Its fruit has a strong flavor and fragrance.
  • Primetime is slightly more mild-flavored and a disease-resistant variety best grown in the Mid-Atlantic.
  • Cardinal is a good variety to try in the South.
  • Camarosa is best suited to the West Coast.
  • Tristar is a day-neutral variety that’s perfectly suited for hanging baskets.

When to plant strawberries

Strawberry plants are perennial, however, it is important that they are planted in the spring so that they can start producing fruit just the way you like it. Planting it into frozen ground could cause the plant to rot and could even end up completely destroying it.

Wait for the soil and the weather to become slightly warmer before planting your strawberries as this will make your plants healthier and guarantee more fruit. Thus, spring season is ideal for planting strawberries. You need to grow new plants every year to keep the fruit quality high in each season.

Growing conditions

how long does it take to grow strawberries from seeds
  • Strawberry plants need ample sunshine to grow. Ideally, 6 to 10 hours a day of direct sunlight. When growing them, you need to make sure that your site is able to receive direct sunlight.
  • Even though strawberries are tolerant of various soil types, they generally prefer loam. You should start by working in aged manure or compost the soil a few months before planting. If you have clay soil, mix in about 4 inches or more of compost and rake the clay soil into raised beds for better drainage. If your soil is sandy, mix in a 1-inch layer of rich compost or rotted manure. Organic soil is best for your strawberries. Adding organic matter to your soil will help your plants grow and be strong and healthy.

Organic compost fertilizes grow roots with lots of nutrients and minerals that they need in order to feed the leaves and keep off diseases and pests. Mix some organic compost or well-rotted manure into your soil before planting.

  • The pH level of the soil should ideally be between 5.5 and 7. If it is not the required level, work on it before planting. If soils in your area are naturally more salty and getting those pH levels is not possible, you should grow them in containers with soil that is made from compost. The planting site must be well drained.
  • It’s essential that once the flowers have started to emerge you give your strawberry plants a good feed with a liquid fertilizer. Many gardeners don’t realize the importance of this step, but feeding your plants helps provide them with what they need for producing big delicious fruits.
  • Raised beds are a great option for strawberry plants. They can be planted anywhere, regardless of space, whether you’ve got a massive outdoor space or a small one. Planting them into either containers or small, individual raised beds will help them receive all the nutrients they need and keep them protected. If planted in the open ground, they have a tendency to overtake with their runners, which can take precious nutrients away from anything else you might be growing in that area.
  • If a site recently had strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant or any other vegetable growing in them do not plant your strawberries there. It is best to practice crop rotation.

Weeds

Making sure your soil is completely clear of weeds is crucial if you want high yields. The less competition there is for nutrients from the soil, the greater the chance your strawberries have of growing big and juicy.

If you’re unsure about whether something is a weed or not, the best way to find out is by knowing if it’s something you planted there or not. If it’s not, then it’s probably a weed. Thus, if you see something popping up that doesn’t have anything to do with your strawberry plants, you need to pull it out of the soil and make sure you get all of its roots out too.

However, we advise you to identify the weeds before pulling them. You could benefit from the weeds’ medicinal properties.

How to plant strawberries

How to plant strawberries
strawberries plant
  • The first step is to ensure that there is ample space for sprawling, as strawberries are a sprawling plant. Set the plants out 20 inches apart to leave room for runners and leave 4 feet between rows.  Seedlings will send out runners or younger plants, which, in turn, will send out their own runners.
  • Roots should be no longer than 8 inches when plants are set out. Trim them if necessary.
  • The planting holes should be deep and wide enough to fit the whole root system without bending it. However, remember not to plant too deep. The roots should be covered, but the crown should be right at the soil surface. Do not bury the crown of the plant or else it could rot. The leaves, flowers, and fruit need to have direct access to sunlight and fresh air. 
  • Water plants adequately at the time of planting.

How to grow strawberries

  • During the growing process remember to keep the beds mulched to reduce water needs and weed invasion. Any type of mulch would suffice, like black plastic, pine straw, shredded leaves, etc. It will keep the soil moist and the plants clean. Slugs and snails find crawling across straw mulch difficult. In addition to that, it is also a layer between your strawberries and the ground, which can protect them from getting too wet and rotting. This is why straw is generally the preferred option.
  • Be particularly careful while weeding. It is best to weed by hand, especially in the first months after planting.
  • Due to shallow roots, you need to ensure they get the required moisture. Water the plants well, about one inch per week. Strawberry plants need ample amounts of water when the runners and flowers are developing and again in the fall when the plants are mature.
  • Fertilize with granules for stronger growth and higher-quality berries. You will see ripe berries 30 days of fertilizing blossoms.
  • Remove the younger  plants as needed. Try to keep younger plants spaced about 10 inches apart.
  • Protect the blossoms and fruit from birds by using row covers or other similar items.

Growing From Seed

You can use seeds to grow strawberries, although this may take nearly two years to produce fruit and hence, not the preferred method for most gardeners. However, if you are trying to hybridize strawberries, concerned about spreading disease from your current plants, or want to experiment, you can give it a shot.

You should cold-stratify for three or four weeks before sowing the seeds. Plant them in early spring.

Fall Planting

If you buy plants from a grower or nursery, they are often available in the fall. In more mild climates, they can be planted in fall as it will lead them to become well-established and increase the chances of them bearing fruit the next spring or summer, depending on their variety.

However, pinching off the blossoms will allow plants to develop runners and fill in the bed for a much bigger harvest the following year.

Winter Care

As mentioned earlier, strawberries are perennial plants. They are naturally cold, and tough, and able to live amongst slightly freezing temperatures. Thus, if your area has mild winters, not much care and maintenance is needed. However, in areas where temperature drops to the low twenties, strawberries will be in their dormant stage. In such cases, we advise you to arrange for some winter protection. Here are some tips:

  • When the cultivation season is over, trim the foliage down to one inch. This can be done after the first couple of frosts or when air temperatures reach 20°F (-6°C).
  • Mulch plants about 4 inches deep with straw, pine needles, or other organic material.
  • In extreme cold regions, add more insulating mulch.
  • Rain should maintain the adequate soil moisture; but, in case it doesn’t, water them well.  
  • Take out the mulch when spring begins and after the chance of frost has passed.

Spring Planting

Spring is the ideal time for planting strawberries, around six weeks before the last spring frost. Remember to pinch off blossoms; otherwise, the plants will not develop fully and future crops will be much smaller in size.

If your variety is one of the more vigorous types, you should also pinch off about half the runners. This leads to a much better crop the next year as energy is channeled directly to the mother plant.

Pests/Diseases to Watch Out for

How to Prevent Pests

  • In order to prevent pests and diseases, it is important to keep beds weed-free. Using good mulch can wade off slugs and bugs. Scattering sand over the strawberry growing area helps to keep slugs away.
  • For slightly larger bugs such as Japanese beetles, spray your plants with garlic and neem seed oil. 
  • Besides using row covers, you can use balloons as scarecrows and reflective Mylar bird tape to keep birds away and protect your strawberries from them. 

How to harvest them

How to harvest Strawberry Plant
  • Strawberries are usually ready for harvesting 4-6 weeks after blossoming.
  • Remember to only harvest fully red berries, as they are the ripe ones, and pick them every three days.
  • Cut by the stem; do not pull the berry or you could damage the plant.
  • In the case of June-bearer strawberries, they can be harvested for up to 3 weeks. They will produce many strawberries, depending on the variety you grow.

How to store them

How to store strawberries? You can store berries in the refrigerator for 3-5 days without washing them.

  • Store berries in the refrigerator for 3-5 days without washing them.
  • Strawberries can be frozen whole for about 2 months before they start to go bad.

If you want your strawberry plants to grow swiftly, the key is not to rush the process. Like any other fruit, strawberries have a primetime, and thus, you can’t expect them to grow all year round if you are growing them in your own garden. They have a season, and that means that they will come to fruit towards the middle or end of winter if you live in a hot climate. In milder climates, you will get them for a longer period that can last well into the summer. If you want delicious, juicy fruits, you need to be patient and trust nature’s process while planting them in the best growing conditions stated above.

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