My recent post on plant spacing and an earlier post on rooting depth got me thinking about what I should plant in my two strawberry pots, now that I’m settling into my Seattle apartment.
What are strawberry pots?
Also known as strawberry jars, these containers are usually upright, porous clay urns with cup-shaped pockets on the sides. You can also find strawberry pots made from plastic, resin, fiberglass, and cement. But I would avoid those last two for edible plants. Whatever material it’s made of, your strawberry pot must have a drainage hole.
What grows in strawberry pots?
Traditionally, strawberry pots are used to grow, well, strawberries. Each cup is given its own strawberry plant, and one goes in the opening on top. You can find countless online images of lush leafy growth and big red, juicy strawberries cascading from strawberry pots. The pots I have seen used for strawberries haven’t looked anything like that. Instead, they tended to be more spindly and less productive than the photos suggested. That may have just been the ones I saw, or it may have been the fact that strawberry roots, given the opportunity, can dig down as much as three feet.
I have successfully grown basil, chives, cilantro, lettuces, oregano, parsley, saffron crocus, and summer savory in my strawberry pots, even though they aren’t very big. My pots are 14” high and 10” wide, and the other is only 10” high and 10” wide.
If you want plants that look nice and require very little care for your strawberry pot, nothing beats succulents. They are colorful, durable, and can often survive winter temperatures with just a little protection, depending on where you live, of course.
Watering a strawberry pot
One of the downsides to strawberry pots is irrigation problems. Strawberry pots tend to dry out quickly. Also, their design makes it such that the plants at the top tend to get all the good water. The plants at the bottom often end up soggy, and the ones in the middle always seem to be on the verge of water stress. But I recently learned of an easy way to correct that problem, with a watering column.
A watering column is a tube inserted down the middle of the pot. It has several holes in it, allowing water to disperse more evenly. To make your own watering column, get a piece of PVC pipe that is slightly shorter than your pot and drill a bunch of random ¼” holes in the pipe a couple of inches apart in it.
After adding a few inches of potting mix to your pot, stand the pipe in the center. You might want to stuff a paper towel into the top of your watering column to keep the soil out while you continue adding soil. As you come to each side cup, add a plant of your choice and continue adding soil until the strawberry pot is full. Now, you can add water through the watering column. You may need to fill the watering column more than once, especially the first time, and all of the pot’s residents should get the water they need.
What’s growing in your strawberry pot?
You can grow a surprising amount of food in your own yard. Ask me how!
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