How to Grow Strawberries in Hanging Baskets

Imagine walking out to your porch and grabbing a handful of sweet, fresh berries as they overflow from a dangling basket. Strawberries are perfect for hanging baskets, and former organic farmer Logan Hailey has all the info you need to enjoy abundant yields in a small space.

strawberries hanging baskets with ripe bright red berries hang in a row in a greenhouse.

Contents

Strawberries are the best fruit crop for beginners because they thrive in a range of settings, including raised beds, pots, and hanging baskets. These compact herbaceous plants can yield significant quantities of berries from a small container. 

As long as they have well-drained soil, six to eight hours of sunlight, consistent moisture, and moderate pruning, strawberry plants are eager to cascade from a basket with bright white flowers and delicious red fruits.

Let’s dig into everything you need to know about tending these gorgeous, delicious fruits.

Can You Grow Strawberries in Hanging Baskets?

The strawberry plant in a large terracotta hanging pot in the greenhouse, showcases lush, dark green leaves with serrated edges and bears plump, glossy red fruits, each adorned with tiny seeds.
Strawberries cascade beautifully, offering ornamental charm and sweet berries.

You might not know that strawberries are the perfect fruit for growing in hanging baskets. The compact herbaceous plants naturally vine and cascade over the edges of a basket, producing verdant green foliage, pretty white flowers, and sweet red berries. These baskets are both ornamental and edible. The keys to success include:

  • A large basket
  • Well-drained soil rich in compost
  • Proper varietal selection (everbearing and day-neutrals work best)
  • Regular pruning (runner removal)
  • Consistent moisture
  • Partial to full sunlight (ideally 6-8 hours per day)

Benefits of Growing in Hanging Baskets

Top view of ripe strawberry bushes with tiny pink flowers and lush green foliage in white hanging pots.
Hanging baskets elevate gardens, providing cleaner fruits and easier access.

Hanging baskets are unique containers that add elevation and aesthetic appeal to your growing space. The benefits help both plants and gardeners:

Cleaner Fruits

One of the best parts of berry baskets is that the fruits are perfectly clean and ready to eat while dangling over the edge of the pot.

Improved Drainage

Water easily flows through a raised container, reducing the risk of root rot and waterlogging.

Air Circulation

There is greater airflow through plant foliage, reducing the risk of disease.

Easy Access

Tend your plants without bending or hunching over.

Less Pest Pressure

Slugs and weevils are unlikely to access your hanging planters.

Portability

You can easily move your baskets indoors on frigid or scorching hot days.

Space Efficiency

Make the most of a small-space garden by growing vertical.

Soil Quality

If you have poor native soil, you can ensure quality soil without digging or tilling.

Aesthetics

Decorate your porch, balcony, or patio with beautiful flowering and fruiting accents.

12 Steps to Grow Abundant Strawberries in Hanging Baskets

No need to take up limited garden space; you can grow an abundance of fresh berries hanging from your porch awning or pergola! Plus, the foliage and flowers add dazzling ornamental beauty to any patio. 

Growing these berries in baskets is very similar to growing them in the garden, with only a few key modifications.

Choose the Right Basket with Drainage

Two plastic hanging pots with ripe strawberries among jagged green foliage against a blurred background.
Choose a sturdy 10-16” basket with proper soil depth.

Almost any hanging basket is suitable for strawberry production. Ideally, it should be 10-16 inches wide and hold at least four to eight quarts of soil. Strawberry roots reach about six inches deep on average, so be sure there is enough soil depth to support them.

The sides of the basket should be a rigid, strong material like metal or chain that cradle a coconut fiber liner. Alternatively, you can use plastic baskets as long as there is a long drainage hole on the bottom.

Measure the overall length of the hanging basket so you know how low it will hang once suspended. Avoid hanging planters in walkways, or anywhere someone might run into them. You also don’t want to hang them too high; otherwise they will be difficult to water and harvest. 

Support Beams and Hooks

Close-up of hanging pots with strawberry plants suspended by hooks on a horizontal support beam.
Ensure strong support for your 10-pound hanging planter.

It’s important to consider the support for the planter. Most hanging baskets are made with chains or rope. The hanging portion should have a strong hook to secure to your structure. Whether you’re growing on a covered patio, balcony, porch, or deck, it’s crucial to find a sturdy stud or beam to drill into. You can use a stud finder tool to identify supports behind a wall. Otherwise, drill the hook holder directly into the wood beam supports of your structure.

Remember that a basket must support the full weight of soil, plant matter, and water. A full irrigated basket could weigh 10 pounds! A fallen basket can make a huge mess and disrupt or kill your carefully tended plants. It can also damage your wall, ceiling, or awning. This is why quality planters are so important. 

If you are unsure about hanging the planter, ask someone at a local hardware store to help you find heavy-duty hooks that are specially made to support ceiling suspended weight. Alternatively, search for hanging plant brackets or a shepherd hook-style holder.

Choose Compact Varieties

A gardener in a yellow apron holds two hanging containers with lush strawberry plants in a garden center.
Choose ‘Albion’ or ‘Seascape’ for flavorful, high-yielding hanging strawberries.

If all the technical strawberry jargon sounds confusing to you, skip this section and just go for ‘Albion’ or ‘Seascape.’ These two day-neutral varieties are extremely flavorful, high-yielding, and have a favorable growth habit for baskets. As a commercial organic farmer, I grew both of these plants in hanging baskets very successfully and regularly sold them to customers, who gave exceptional reviews.

The foliage naturally cascades over the container edge, and clusters of hanging berries will appear within ten weeks of planting (as early as May in mild climates). The only downside is you will need to prune away runners regularly, as these plants can produce a lot of suckers.

However, there are still many other unique cultivars worth considering. Every type has its own advantages, such as superb flavor, cold tolerance, or low pruning requirements. If you want lush, bushy, cascading hanging baskets loaded with fruit, you must choose a variety that remains compact and yields throughout the season. 

Day-neutral, everbearing, or alpine strawberries are the best types for containers, and several different varieties exist under these categories. 

Day-Neutral

Close-up of ripe and unripe albion strawberry fruit on a terracotta pot in the garden.
Choose day-neutral strawberries for compact, season-long fruit production.

Day-neutral varieties are the most recommended for hanging baskets because they are compact, reliable, and produce fruit throughout the entire season. Day-neutral means the plants produce fruit regardless of day length. Consistent flowering and fruiting means you can walk out on the patio all summer long and expect a handful of fresh berries. 

Top selections include:

  • ‘Albion’: Medium-large, flavorful berries with disease-resistance and quick growth
  • ‘Seascape’: Classic medium berries with consistent productivity and compact habit
  • ‘Tristar’: Robust and intensely sweet berries from compact, small plants

As long as the weather is between 40 and 85°F (4-29°C), these plants will keep producing. They may pause briefly in the scorching summer. Day-neutral types yield in the same year they are planted, so if you plant a basket in the spring, you can expect berries within 10 weeks of planting.

Pros of Day-Neutral Varieties

  • Fruit in the same year as planting
  • Consistent high yields, produce all season long
  • Compact growth
  • Great for annual production

Cons of Day-Neutral Varieties

  • Produce more runners (more pruning required)
  • Blossom removal within first four weeks boosts root establishment and yields
  • Need extra drainage to prevent crown and root rot

Everbearing

The Quinault strawberries, trailing from a hanging pot, display large, juicy, heart-shaped fruits with a glossy red exterior.
Opt for everbearing varieties for seasonal, low-maintenance strawberry baskets.

Everbearing varieties are also a popular choice, but their flowering and fruiting depends on day-length. They typically produce two flushes per year, in early summer and again in early fall. The first flush is the largest and later yields may reduce. But these varieties are very low-maintenance because they produce less runners than day-neutrals, which means less pruning and more compact growth.

The best basket picks include:

  • ‘Quinault’: Soft-fruited Pacific Northwest adapted variety ideal for containers, produces spring through fall and is more heat-tolerant than other types
  • ‘Ozark Beauty’: Extra large berries with moderate flavor and early yields on compact plants
  • ‘Fort Laramie’: One flush of jumbo aromatic berries with exceptional cold hardiness

Everbearing strawberries often take a year to start producing, so they aren’t ideal for impatient gardeners. While they tend to produce higher yields than day-neutrals, they also stop fruiting in the peak of summer when the days are long and the weather is hot.

Pros of Everbearing Varieties

  • 2-3 big flushes of fruit separated throughout the season
  • fewer runners and less pruning
  • Fruit in the same year as planting, but first year yields are sparse
  • Moderate to large berries
  • Compact plant size

Cons of Everbearing Varieties

  • Highest yields don’t come until year 2
  • Less berry production with age
  • Less consistent production throughout summer

Alpine

The Alexandria strawberries feature lush, dark green leaves and plump, glossy red oval fruits covered with tiny seeds.
Choose alpine strawberries for intense flavor and easy container cultivation.

Alpine strawberries (Fragaria vesca) are the most popular selection amongst chefs due to their superior flavor. These varieties are most closely related to wild strawberries that grow on the forest floor throughout temperate North America. 

Alpine varieties have smaller fruits that are packed with sweetness and intense aromas. The plants are compact and tolerate more shade than other types, making them ideal for gardeners with less sun exposure. Still, they perform best with four to six hours of sunshine per day.

The best alpine varieties include:

  • ‘Ruegen’: Vigorous growth, abundant fruits, aesthetic cascading stems, and tangy sweet berries
  • ‘Alexandria’: Pried for the sweetest, most aromatic small fruits and continuous production for snacking
  • ‘Mignonette’: French heirloom with intense flavor, petite berries, and pretty foliage

Alpine berries do not produce runners like other standard strawberries do. These wild types grow in clumps, making them easy to cultivate in a container. However, you may need to divide the clumps each year if you overwinter your berry baskets.

Pros of Alpine Varieties

  • The BEST intense strawberry flavor
  • Ideal for partially shaded areas
  • Very fragrant plants
  • Little to no runners (less pruning)
  • Pest-resistant

Cons of Alpine Varieties

  • Smaller fruits
  • Require clump division
  • Less consistent yields

Varieties to Avoid

Avoid planting June-bearing cultivars in baskets, as these types tend to get very tangled with runners and only produce fruit once per season. While June-bearers are well-adapted to southern climates, hot region growers can get away with other types in hanging baskets because the plants stay cooler under the dappled shade of an awning.

Fill With Quality Soil Mix

Close-up of a woman in white gloves pouring soil from a bag into an elongated brown flower pot for replanting strawberries.
Provide baskets with quality potting mix for thriving strawberry growth.

Poor-quality native soil is no problem when growing in baskets. Purchase quality organic potting mix with good drainage and high amounts of organic matter. Because strawberries are fairly shallow rooted, you won’t need a ton of soil to fill the baskets. This makes hanging planters much cheaper to fill compared to a raised bed.

Strawberry plants naturally thrive in compost-rich soil that drains water quickly. The ideal pH is slightly acidic, ranging from 5.5 to 6.5.

Ingredients to look for include:

  • Compost
  • Aged manure
  • Peat Moss
  • Vermiculite
  • Perlite
  • Coco Coir
  • Leaf Litter
  • Forest Bark or Litter

Some stores sell soil blends specially formulated for strawberries, but a standard potting mix will suffice. Acid-loving soil blends made for blueberries or rhododendrons may be too acidic for strawberries, but you can mix small amounts with the regular soil blend.

To prepare for transplanting, fill your hanging basket about three-quarters of the way with soil.

Start from Plugs or Crowns

Close-up of a woman in white gloves showing strawberry seedlings in a black starter tray.
Start strawberries with plugs for quick, lush growth.

Strawberries are not typically started from seed. Instead, you must source plugs or bare root crowns. Plugs are more familiar to beginners because they look just like vegetable seedlings. They are often available in four-packs or six-packs at nurseries but are more expensive than crowns. The plants are pre-rooted and arrive from the nursery with several sets of lush green leaves. Plugs take off the quickest and don’t require any special planting. Transplant them at the same depth as they were in the original container. 

Crowns are bare-root dormant plants with little to no leafy growth. They may look brown and dead, but they’re actually just “sleeping.” These dormant plants are cheaper to purchase in larger quantities in the spring. However, you must take extra care when planting them to ensure the right depth. Burying the crown too deep or too shallow can be detrimental to plant growth.

Not Too Shallow, Not Too Deep

Close-up of female hands in white gloves transplanting strawberry seedlings with green jagged foliage into a brown plastic container in the garden.
Plant strawberries with the crown at the right depth.

Understanding the anatomy of a strawberry crown will help you have the most success. The three main parts are:

Foliage

The upper green growth of the plant, including stems and leaves

Crown

The woody rounded brown nub in the center of the plant, connecting the foliage and roots

Roots

Long spindly tan-colored roots

The crown is the most important part to pay attention to when transplanting. Ensure the crown is about halfway above the soil and halfway below If you plant it too shallowly, the plant may dry out and fail to grow. But if you plant it too deeply, the crown bud can rot or fail to produce new stems and leaves, which may kill the plant. 

Use a hori hori planting knife or a trowel to make a hole about one and a half times as deep and wide as the plug or crown. Transplant the strawberry in the hole and backfill. Take into account how the soil or mulch may settle after firming and watering, as this can affect the depth of the crown.

Properly Space the Plants

An overhead view of two brown containers containing freshly planted strawberry seedlings with trifoliate dark green leaves with jagged edges and small white flowers.
Give strawberries room to thrive, spacing plants generously in containers.

In general, strawberries need 8-10 inches of space to grow to their full glory. If you plan to prune regularly, you can get away with six to eight inches of space in a container with a compact variety. A basket should have a maximum of three strawberry plants, but sometimes one or two can yield just as prolifically. More plants do not always mean more berries.

Overcrowding is a big issue with these plants, especially when growing in pots. In regions with high humidity, closely spaced plants are particularly prone to foliar diseases like mold or mildew. You want air to flow freely through the foliage, so space plants wider than you think. Small plugs or crowns will grow to fill out the container over time. 

Hang in Partial to Full Sun

Close-up of a brown hanging container containing a strawberry plant consisting of trifoliate, toothed leaves with clusters of ripe, bright red, heart-shaped fruit.
Position baskets for maximum sun exposure, optimizing berry production.

Baskets with alpine varieties can hang in partially shaded areas, but other varieties must grow in full sun in order to yield top-quality berries. Only in the hottest climates should you hang day-neutral and everbearing types in afternoon shade. In temperate and northern regions, give your hanging baskets as much sun as possible.

Ideally, the baskets should hang on a south-facing porch or deck. Orient them on the outermost portion of the beams so they can hang over the railing. This will also provide more aesthetic appeal. Avoid hanging the planters in the shady inner parts of an awning or porch. A lack of sunlight can cause pale foliage and little to no flowers or fruit.

Water Consistently

Close-up of a hanging brown pot with a ripe strawberry plant covered with water drops in a sunny garden.
Keep strawberries hydrated by watering generously and consistently from below.

Strawberries are thirsty plants and they dry out extra-quickly in containers. The shallow root systems and reduced amount of soil make regular monitoring crucial, particularly in the summer. Thankfully, hanging baskets are easy to water as long as they have a porous basket (like a coconut coir liner) or a large drainage hole.

Plan to water your berries generously every few days or whenever the soil is dry. Since most hanging baskets don’t receive rainfall while growing under cover, it is especially important to check them. Stick your finger in the soil every time you walk by to ensure that it is about the moisture of a wrung-out sponge. 

Any time the soil feels dry, give your plants a nice big drink. Hold a hose or watering can at the base of the plants and irrigate until water pours out of the bottom of the pot. Let water soak through the bottom drainage for about 30 seconds, then stop watering. Take care not to drown or dislodge the plants with heavy pressure all at once. Be patient while watering to allow the moisture to move through the planter. 

Avoid flooding or oversaturating the soil, as this can lead to root rot. Ideally, the soil is well-drained and rich in compost so moisture can flow through freely. If possible, avoid watering the foliage, as this can lead to foliar diseases. Watering from the base is recommended. 

Add Mulch

Strawberry plant with serrated, emerald green leaves and clusters of juicy, ruby-red and green berries with straw mulched soil.
Mulching hanging baskets offers moisture conservation and temperature regulation.

It may seem weird to mulch a hanging basket, but this can make a huge difference in moisture conservation. Strawberry roots are shallow and more prone to drying out while suspended in a planter. The bottom portions of the container are more exposed to sunlight and heat, which means the soil can dry out rapidly

At the same time, a hanging basket has less overall thermal mass than an in-ground bed. This means that the soil changes temperature more rapidly. Large fluctuations in temperature can cause stress to the plant. Mulch adds a layer of insulation against both hot and cold. Buffered soil temperature can prolong the fruit production window and help the plants overwinter outside if desired.

Shredded GardenStraw mulch is the easiest to use and most aesthetically pleasing. It doesn’t detract from the ornamental value of your planters, yet it still performs the functional jobs of moisture conservation and temperature insulation. If any berries develop inside the planter (rather than dangling over the side), the mulch also ensures that they stay clean and rot-free.

Add a one to two inch thick layer of straw around the base of the planter. Leave a one inch ring around the base of the plants so the straw does not smother the crowns.

Provide Moderate Fertility

Close-up of a young strawberry seedling with trifoliate, toothed leaves and hairy stems growing in soil sprinkled with organic granular fertilizer.
Ensure vibrant berries by fertilizing with organic nutrients consistently.

Container-grown berries cannot reach deep in the ground for minerals and nutrients. You must provide all of their fertility needs within the basket. The key to large, juicy, sweet berries is to fertilize at the right frequency and time.

Fertilize with an all-purpose organic fertilizer at the time of planting. Diluted kelp or fish meal are also great options, as they provide a nitrogen boost and help plants overcome transplant shock. 

Once the plants start flowering, feed them with a small dose of organic all-purpose or liquid fish fertilizer once per week. Higher phosphorus is ideal in the fruiting phase to promote amazing berry production. Don’t worry; fish fertilizer won’t make your berries taste like fish. It is a top fertilizer selection for organic strawberry growers because it provides relatively quick nutrition without the risks of nutrient burn or overfertilizing.

Avoid Quick Release Nitrogen

The farmer applies granulated fertilizers to young strawberry plants that produce glossy, deep green leaves with serrated margins and tiny white flowers with yellow centers.
Prevent excessive green growth by avoiding high-nitrogen fertilizers.

The main thing you want to avoid is high amounts of quick-release nitrogen. Like most garden plants, strawberries fertilized with large amounts of nitrogen are prone to producing an overgrowth of green vegetation with little to no flowers. Synthetic quick-release products are particularly problematic because they can megadose the plants with too much nitrogen at once, sometimes causing leaf scorching, limp stems, or plant failure.

Prune Runners Regularly

Close-up of a gardener wearing red and black gloves, using red pruning shears to trim the runners of strawberry plants growing in white pots arranged in a row.
Regularly prune runners to maximize berry production.

Pruning is key for any prolific berry production, but especially for potted strawberries. Most plants (except alpine types) naturally produce runners. Runners, or “suckers,” are long side shoots that a plant sends out to clone itself. They suck energy away from the mother plant to try to produce more vegetation. Each runner looks like a long green stem with a new baby plant growing at the tip. 

If left in your hanging basket, every runner will grow into an entirely new plant, which detracts from fruit production. They can also hang off the side, causing an unnecessary energy drain on the main plants. If you want your plants to funnel energy into growing berries, prune them regularly! This process can take less than five minutes per week.

On young transplants, it’s best to use sharp, sanitized pruners to cut off runners from the base. On mature plants, you can simply snap the suckers off with your hand. Try to catch suckers as soon as possible. They will be noticeably vining away from the main plant. Instead of cascading downward like the central plant foliage, the runners will grow from extra-long stems. They can rapidly overtake a hanging basket, causing a tangled mess of foliage with fewer fruits.

Ensure Pollination With Neighbor Flowers

Close-up of a bee pollinating a white strawberry flower with a yellow center in a sunny garden.
Invite bees to your patio for bountiful, sweet strawberry harvests.

Every cute white flower must be pollinated to grow into a sweet red berry. Strawberries are mostly pollinated by bees and wind. Botanically speaking, each flower is considered “perfect” because it has both male and female parts in the same blossom. The flowers can self-pollinate, but the pollen still must move within the flower. 

Usually, there isn’t much wind or airflow on porches, and bees are much more effective at moving pollen around. Strawberry fruits are actually called pseudocarps or “multiple fruits,” which means that a single berry is made up of up to 200 achenes, each of which is technically its own fruit. Every achene must be pollinated to produce a full, plump berry. 

Research shows that each flower needs 16-25 bee visits to fully develop. That’s a lot of bees! It is highly recommended to plant several flowering species near your strawberries to attract an abundance of bees. You can incorporate hanging baskets with white alyssum, lantana, calibrachoa, lobelia, or purplish-blue petunias (bees are particularly attracted to the color purple and blue hues). Alternatively, hang the baskets near large flowering shrubs and perennials like bee balm, coneflower, milkweed, and goldenrod.

It may seem counterintuitive to attract bees to your patio, but rest assured that most honeybees and bumblebees are far too busy pollinating flowers. They are unlikely to sting. If you are worried about their buzzing work becoming a nuisance, keep your berry baskets farther from doorways and entrances.

Overwinter or Replant Annually

A close-up of a gardener's hands dressed in black gloves trimming the wilted leaves of a dormant strawberry using garden shears.
Prepare to overwinter hanging baskets by pruning, mulching, and monitoring moisture.

Contrary to popular belief, hanging baskets can be overwintered. You don’t have to trash them after the season is done. However, some gardeners prefer to pull their strawberries out in the fall and restart with a fresh batch in the spring. Keep in mind that this works best with day-neutral types because they reliably fruit in the first year.

If you want to overwinter the plants, wait until the foliage naturally starts dying back. This occurs right around your first light frost in the fall. The containers may frost sooner than the ground, so keep an eye on the nighttime temperatures around your first fall frost date. Once the foliage withers, it means that the crown has stored all its energy in the soil and is ready to go dormant. 

Prune away the leaves and add a thick layer of straw mulch over the hanging basket. It may look like the plants are dead, but they are actually just hibernating below the surface. Ensure the soil is moist but not soggy. You won’t need to water the baskets much during dormancy, but it is important that they don’t dry out completely.

Moving In or Outdoors

Close-up of a strawberry plant emerging from dormancy, showcasing young, trifoliate dark green leaves with jagged edges atop dry, withered stems and foliage.
Overwinter baskets indoors for a fruitful spring harvest.

In mild climates, you can leave the baskets hanging outdoors. For cold-climate growers, it’s best to move the planters into a garage or shed that remains above freezing. Dormant strawberries are frost-tolerant and naturally perennial in USDA zones 4-12. However, they emerge earlier in the spring when they have moderate warmth and insulation for their roots. 

You can bring the baskets back outdoors around your last spring frost date. Keep them consistently moist and fertilized at this time. The plants will regrow their leaves and start flowering in late spring. If overwintering was successful, second-year plants produce earlier and more abundantly.

Final Thoughts

Hanging planters are not only for flowers! As long as you remember a few key maintenance strategies, you can grow prolific berry crops in these portable containers. Choose compact varieties, plant in a medium-large basket, ensure proper drainage, and prune regularly. As you pluck the berries throughout the season, it will encourage more fruits to greet you right outside your door!

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strawberry sun. Close-up of strawberry plant in a sunny garden. The strawberry plant features bright green, serrated leaves composed of three leaflets per stem, arranged alternately. The plant bears medium heart-shaped berries of juicy bright red color adorned with tiny seeds.

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