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Planting Bare Root Strawberries

Written by Hand Picked Nursery Admin


Posted on June 10 2019

How to Plant Bare Root Strawberry Plants

Although bare root strawberries are quite hardy, proper planting and care is still at the utmost importance! Below are steps we strongly encourage you to follow for the most success with your newly adopted strawberries!

If it is regularly over 78 degrees outside currently where you live, your bare root strawberries need to be started inside. Still prepare your soil as directed below in terms of soil mixture and creating elevated mounds or rows, but DO NOT plant your strawberry plants outside until they have at least four leaves!

Cups or something similar make a great container to get your strawberries started off right!

Notice: When you receive your plants, they will be on the dryer side. We do not send our plants with a lot of moisture because they can start to mold inside the package. Dry roots will not hurt the plant. It will usually be the last inch that are dry and the rest will be good. If you would like, you can also cut the roots to 3" in length. To test if your crown is alive, peel back some of the brown foliage around the crown. Underneath, the crown should be green. Within three days of planting you will know that your plant is healthy and alive!


Planting Outdoors

Step 1: Soil

Ideal soil pH is 5.5-6.5. Strawberry plants need well-draining soil. Your soil mixture should be at least 30% sand with the remaining being good quality soil. Please do not use peat moss because it may drop the pH level to be too acidic and holds a lot moisture.

Step 2: Planting Site

Your soil needs to be shaped in to raised rows that are approximately 4" tall and 6" wide. This allows excess water to roll away from the plant when it rains or when you water them. Without these rows, your strawberry plants could drown!

Step 3: Planting the Bare Roots

The most important thing at this step it to make sure you plant only the roots in the soil, the crown of the plant should be completely above the soil. If the crown is covered, it will rot and kill the plant in just a few days. For plant spacing, you will want to space out each plant about 8 to 10”. Once planted, you will want to lay down a thin layer of mulch to help lock in moisture. Once again, make sure not even mulch touches the crowns of the plants. Cedar or hemlock mulch is recommended, stay away from Pine mulch/needles.

Step 4: After Planting Care

Once planted you will water only a few times a week depending on the heat and amount of rainfall your area has. The soil should never be saturated in water. We recommend you water when you see the topsoil becomes completely dry. It is a common mistake to think the soil needs to look moist 24/7. Even when the top becomes dry, there may still water an inch or two down and that is what matters. So be careful on over watering. They may only need a trickle of water, not a full soaking.

Tip: Right before watering, make sure your plant needs water by sticking your finger in the soil. If you feel moist soil an inch-two inches down, hold off on watering.

Planting in Containers

Step 1: Soil

Please follow the same soil instructions posted above for outdoor planting.

Step 2: Materials

As pictured above, we like to use Red Solo cups. They are the perfect size for one bare root to be planted in. Make sure to cut drainage slits on the bottom like pictured above.

Step 3: Planting the Bare Roots

Just as if you were planting them outdoors, you want to make sure the crown of the plant is not covered by soil or else it will rot. Since we are planting them in cups and not a planting bed, we will be making a single mound in the cup for the bare root. Imagine you are making a pyramid around the plant.

Step 4: After Planting Care

Since these bare roots were planted in cups to be kept inside, you will not need to water these as often as outdoors strawberry plants. You will probably only need to water them once a week or about every 5 days. Please read Step 4 from “Outdoor Planting” for more information about the importance of watering properly.

Note: Starting bare root strawberry plants in a stackable container needs to be done with caution. We ask you start them in cups first and then transfer them into the stackable container. Please make sure crowns are fully exposed and there is good drainage.


Call with Questions

Best of luck with your new bare root strawberries and if you have any further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to call 919-696-0328. You can also send pictures to this number so that I can help you with the entire process!