How to grow strawberries

How to grow strawberries Perth

The best time for growing strawberries in Perth is July and August. There is nothing like homegrown strawberries straight off the plant and into your mouth. Store bought strawberries can be very hit and miss whereas home grown strawberries are sweet and juicy. An added bonus is that strawberry plants can also look good and add some colour to your backyard.

Strawberries are herbaceous plants, belonging to the family Rosaceae and are normally grown as an annual crop in Western Australia.

Strawberry varieties:
Below is a list of some of the popular varieties of Strawberries grown in Australia.

Millewa strawberries:
An exceptionally large, mostly conical shaped fruit, bright red in colour with an outstanding flavour due to its high sugar and moderate acid level. Millewa fruits heavily during the spring-summer and again during the autumn to early winter unlike many other varieties.

Lowanna strawberries:
Named after the Aboriginal word for beauty, it is a conical shaped large fruit, which is bright red and glossy. Lowanna fruit are always perfectly shaped with a red flesh and often have a very small white tip when they are at their best flavour.

Kiewa strawberries:
Kiewa continues to produce an outstanding flavour and early indications are that the aroma from ripe fruit is unmatched by any other commercial variety. You can recognise Kiewa fruit by their sharply reflexed (up-turned) green leafy calyx (green cap).

Kalinda strawberries:
A very reliable variety to grow and a market which may be compared with Lowanna. It has an extra ordinary degree of adaptability to different environments but produces the most delectable fruit when grown in warmer districts. Fruit are large conic with red flesh throughout and present a very nice product to consumers.

Bunyarra strawberries:
Bunyarra is not a very productive variety but the fruit are the best we have ever seen both in appearance and flavour. There are practically no grading losses as these plants produce only a few select flowers per truss. Really one to watch out for.

Adina strawberries:
Adina is very close to the perfect variety for consumers according to taste panels. Highly rated for the best combination of taste, juiciness, aroma and appearance. This bright red fruit is moderately glossy, extremely large and has a good low acid sweet flavour.

Tallara strawberries:
A highly productive robust variety with very deep red large size fruit, with a solid red core and sweet taste when ripe. Fruit retain their fresh flavour and appearance very well throughout the marketing process.

Temptation strawberries:
Temptation is a reliable producer and is ideal for pots because it does not have many runners, in fact it’s almost without runners. The fruit is medium sized, and flowering and fruiting occur from now for many months.

Fragoo Pink strawberries:
Fragoo Pink is one of the prettiest with very pink flowers.
It looks fabulous in tall pots where the runners can hang down to almost 1m in length. I have seen this strawberry planted out in big cement pipes at varying heights and it looks fantastic.

Seed Vs Seedling strawberries:
Strawberries are easy to grow so easily from seed, and the variety available is much more extensive and all the heritage varieties are available from seed but few are in seedling stock. The main benefit of planting from seeding is obviously the time for the plant to fully mature is shorter. However if you plant from seed you can stagger you planting which means they will mature at different rates instead of having all your tomatoes ripen at the same time.

Growing strawberries from seed is not for the impatient gardener, as most plants grown from seed will only bear fruit a year after planting (or 5 months in the case of Alpine strawberries). Its usually quicker and easier to grow strawberries from crowns or runners.

Sow seed: June-August
Sowing depth: Twice the height of the seed.
Chill the seeds in the freezer for 2-4 weeks before planting.

Planting strawberries:
When planting strawberries in Perth it is important to plant them early in the season (July) to give your seedlings a chance to become established before spring arrives.

Plant the crown of your strawberry plants at ground level and make sure all the roots are well covered with soil.

Strawberries prefer acid soils, but will grow in a variety of conditions.  Avoid nitrogen rich fertilisers, as well planting your strawberries in soil which has previously been used to grow legumes or berries. For planting, dig out a bed, put down some sheep manure, with several handfuls of blood and bone, then compost and top with the original soil in a mound 10-15cm high.

Remove dead leaves from strawberry plants during fruiting season to increase fruit production. Take the plants out of the ground every year, replant in a new bed.  Use runners to propagate new plants each season.

Harvesting strawberries:
Harvest: July-December
Different varieties will be ready to harvest at different times. Most strawberries ripen in spring, but some varieties may produce fruit all the way into autumn. You can expect to pick the first fruit 20-35 days after the flowers appear. Wait until the fruit are shiny and have developed a good colour and then pick them by cutting the stem. Once picked, they will keep in the refrigerator for 3 -5 days.

If you have any tips on growing strawberries in Perth then share them in comments section below.

Check out how to grow other berries in Perth:

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