If you're wondering "When is it too late to plant strawberries?" you're in luck. It's never too late to buy a hanging basket with mature strawberry plants already growing. Hang these all around your property and pretend you planted them. It's never too late to plant strawberries in a greenhouse or in a container on your sun porch. If you want to plant your strawberries in the ground, now that is a different story.
Best Time to Plant Strawberries
The ideal time to plant strawberries is after the threat of frost is past in early spring, usually March or April.
In order to answer the question, "When is it too late to plant strawberries," you need to know a few important facts, such as:
- What's your planting zone?
- Which type of strawberry do you want to plant?
Learn your planting zone and optimum planting times by consulting an online map of zones.
Types of Strawberries
There are three categories of strawberries, and a wide range of different strawberry varieties. Each has different growing and production patterns. The three categories are:
- Day neutral
Of these, the June-bearing type of strawberry produces once a year, sometime around June. It stops production sometime around July. Everbearing strawberries will fruit twice, once in June and again in late summer. The new day neutral type of strawberry plant should bloom and bear fruit throughout the summer, as long as weather conditions are optimum, sometimes up to October.
When Is It Too Late to Plant Strawberries
Since they bloom and fruit right on up until October, you can successfully plant day neutral strawberries long after the others have stopped production. Actually, it is often recommended that the first year, you pinch off the blossoms anyway. This is done to save nutrients that would otherwise go to fruit production, so they'll create a more vigorous root system instead. This action helps ensure that the next year's harvest is more bountiful. So if you don't intend to have a harvest the first year, it would be acceptable to plant any of the types of strawberries in March, April or perhaps May or June. Planting in the ground in summer becomes more problematic because the intense heat creates so much stress for plants. Nurseries stop carrying certain plants after their ideal planting dates, so you may have to purchase your plants by mail order.
Options for Late Planting
If it's late in the season and you still want your very own succulent, organic strawberries, there is always a way around the proverbial wisdom of planting in March or April. To recap, here are just a few ways to have more success with planting later than March or April:
- Plant in hanging baskets or containers, as they can be moved out of the intense summer heat when necessary and they're easy to water and tend.
- Pinch off any blossoms the first year so all of the nutrients go to root growth and not to fruit production. This way it doesn't matter if your already past the bloom dates.
- Plant everbearing or day neutral strawberries because harvest period is longer. Day neutral strawberries may produce until October.
- Plant in a greenhouse, where you can artificially control all the environment or micro eco-system in a greenhouse, from water to nutrients, temperature, wind, pests and humidity. That means you can grow practically anything year-round if you choose.
- Don't plant at all. Buy plants that are already mature which are growing in hanging baskets or containers.