Sweet on strawberries

Get a head start on summer: Plant bare-root berries, in a pot or in soil. We’ll show you the perfect varieties for your region.

In a good-looking pot, strawberries are just as pretty on the patio or hanging from house eaves as any ornamental plant. And they produce an even sweeter reward—luscious fruit—when you choose the right varieties for your region (see our list). Use appealing containers if garden space is tight or your soil is too heavy; go with garden beds if there's room and your soil is rich and well draining. Either way, February is prime time to plant bare-root strawberries for early summer harvest. Except for alpine varieties, which prefer a touch of shade in hot inland areas, strawberries need full sun and regular watering.

Know your berries

Alpine Strawberry
The tiny, fragile, fragrant berries appear from early summer into fall. Varieties include red-fruiting 'Alexandria' and 'Mignonette' as well as cream-colored 'Alpine White'. In hot inland areas, grow alpines in part shade; elsewhere, give them full sun.
Garden Strawberry
The most common kind, garden strawberries produce large berries from vigorous plants. Varieties are categorized ac-cording to when the fruits ripen. June-bearing varieties bear one crop in early summer; ever-bearing types produce a crop in early summer and one in fall; and day-neutral varie-ties ripen in early summer and continue to produce through fall. All thrive in full sun.
A classic revisited This ceramic Craftware container has extra-large pockets and a mottled glaze—a fresh take on the traditional terra-cotta straw-berry pot. In six colors (tropical red, above); $35;

Polish and panache

The Hover Dish is a sleek alternative to the familiar moss-lined basket. Made in Vancouver, the powder-coated aluminum containers come in five colors and sizes, all with drainage. Here, 'Sequoia' strawberry plants dangle over the edge for eye appeal—and easy harvesting. $135 U.S.;

Tips from the pros

  1. Add mulch.
    Top beds with 2 inches of straw or bark mulch, which will discourage weeds and reduce evaporation.
  2. Water wisely.
    Plants need consistent moisture while fruiting. Mulch will help keep them from drying out.
  3. Prevent problems.
    Remove diseased foliage and rotten fruit from existing plants; make sure new plants are certified disease-free.
  4. Avoid runners.
    Plants started from runners lack the same disease-resistance as their store-bought parents.

Choose the right variety

To harvest all summer, plant a mix of June-bearing, ever-bearing, and day-neutral berries.

Southern California & Hot Inland Regions
  • June-bearing: ‘Camarosa’, ‘Chandler’
  • Ever-bearing: ‘Albion’
  • Day-neutral: ‘Seascape’
Northern California & Coastal Regions
  • June-bearing: ‘Camarosa’, ‘Chandler’
  • Ever-bearing: ‘Albion’, ‘Fort Laramie’
  • Day-neutral: ‘Seascape’,1 ‘Selva’
The Northwest
  • June-bearing: ‘Benton’, ‘Hood’, ‘Puget Reliance’, ‘Puget Summer’, ‘Rainier’,2 ‘Sequoia’, ‘Shuksan’
  • Ever-bearing: ‘Quinalt’
  • Day-neutral: ‘Tribute’, ‘Tristar’
Mountain Regions
  • June-bearing: ‘Earliglow’, ‘Guardian’, ‘Haneoye’, ‘Jewel’, ‘Sequoia’
  • Ever-bearing: ‘Fort Laramie’,3 ‘Ozark Beauty’
  • Day-neutral: ‘Tristar’

Tastiest new variety

The fruit of 'Sweet Sunrise', a June-bearer, has the perfect mix of sweet and tart. US Berry Plants: $8/10 bare-root plants;

Planting from bare root


Separate plants (they often come in a bundle); trim any roots that appear damaged or are long and straggly.


Using a trowel, dig an 8- to 12-inch-deep hole, forming a cone of soil at the base to support plant roots.


Fan the roots over the cone. Fill the hole with soil, keeping the crown slightly above soil level to prevent rot. Water well.