How Long Will it Take For Strawberries to Grow in My Garden?
Are you thinking of adding some strawberries to your garden, but aren't sure how long they are going to take to grow? The answer may actually surprise you, as it depends on time of year, soil, geographic location and more. In this article, we explore how long it takes for strawberries to grow, and what to do if you are running into problems.
Strawberries are among the most popular fruits you can grow in summer. They are excellent runner plants that can make great ground cover for gardens that may have gaps on the ground, or spaces without plants.
If you are a first-timer, you might wonder how long it will take for strawberries to grow. Understanding how long they can take to grow may influence when or where you decide to plant them.
Knowing the growth period of strawberries is essential because it will enable you to plan for crop rotation to maximize land use. Strawberries are some of the easiest crops to cultivate, especially for beginners.
How Long Does It Take Strawberries to Mature?
The length of time between planting and production of this delicious food depends on many factors. These factors vary from varieties of strawberries to growth conditions. Some of the factors that will determine the amount of time your strawberries will take include:
- Growth conditions
- The time of the year during which they are growing
- Soil conditions
The modern strawberry plants can reach a growth peak of 12 inches. After the break of dormancy, it will take a strawberry plant two months to reach this height.
Depending on the environmental conditions, a new seedling will need around six months to achieve the 12 inches’ milestone peak. Therefore, seedlings grow at a rate of 12 inches per six months, while established plants grow at 12 inches per six months.
A seedling will take three times longer to reach full height. However, this can increase or reduce depending on the soil, plant nutrition, location, weather, and climatic conditions.
How Long Do Strawberries Take to Produce Fruits?
On average, strawberries take roughly three months to produce their fruits. The three months include the whole growing process up to harvest time. Depending on varieties, strawberries do well at the end of spring as winter approaches. Strawberries generally grow faster than melon type fruits, like Cantaloupe for example, which generally makes them more favorable for people looking for fast-growing fruit plants.
There are several growth phases as described below:
Phase 1: Leaves and Flowers
The production of fruits and flowers is the initial phase of growing strawberries. As spring approaches, the weather gradually turns warmer. Thus, strawberries begin producing leaves through photosynthesis. Soon, they grow large enough and start making flowers.
Phase 2: Flowers to Fruit
Plants with edible fruits produce flowers at some point, usually after acquiring enough leaves and food. Flowers usually emerge after exposure to adequate sunlight; therefore, it can take too long to produce flowers and fruits if you don’t expose them to enough sunshine.
Phase 3: Pollination and Fruit Production
Pollination is critical for strawberries. Without pollination, fertilization will not occur; thus, they won’t produce fruits. Strawberries are insect-pollinated followers. The most common pollinators are birds, bees, and other insects.
Phase 4: Production of Red Strawberry Fruits
At this final phase, strawberries grow at a very high rate as long as the soil, water, and temperature conditions are favorable.
Strawberry Varieties and Their Growth Rates
There are several strawberry varieties, each with its growth rate. Some strawberries are differently colored, and have been cultivated over time to produce different strawberry types with different growth rates. Consequently, their cultivation is different from one place to another.
These varieties bear fruits even before June in warm climates. June bearing varieties can produce fruits over three weeks. They are sensitive to the length of daytime, produce buds in autumn and flowers and fruits the following June.
Ever Bearing Types
The Ever Bearing varieties can produce fruits almost throughout. Optimal production is during spring, with light fruit produced in the summer season. Furthermore, they can bear another crop in the fall season.
Day Neutral Types
They produce strawberries consistently throughout the season until the first frost. The day-neutral types are not sensitive to the length of day or sunlight. Therefore, they produce runners, buds, and fruits regularly if there is an optimal temperature of 1 to 30 degrees Celsius.
California varieties are very tough; therefore, they can withstand extreme or unfavorable environmental conditions. To facilitate fast growth, we recommend you plant them early during spring.
We also recommend the removal of the first flowers to aid full establishment. These varieties will produce flowers during their second spring season. The fruits are usually ready for consumption 4-6 weeks later.
The alpine strawberries are different from the California varieties. It grows neatly in clumps and doesn’t produce plant runners. Instead, we recommend you plant them from seeds. Plant them in your garden four to six weeks after germination of the seeds.
After establishment, they blossom consistently from early spring through the fall season. Furthermore, they have the advantage of producing fruits in their first year.
We recommend you plant a variety of types, each with a unique response to environmental conditions. With multiple varieties, you will enjoy diverse fruits. Ensure you grow to plant them during spring to prevent rotting and guarantee fruit production.
What Is the Lifespan of Strawberries?
The life of strawberries begins with establishing a new crop, which peaks 2-3 years later. After reaching a peak potential, strawberries proceed to senescence and death. Death occurs approximately three years after its peak.
Under normal conditions, strawberries can last for 5-6 years. However, after two productive years, they usually lose their vigor, and the production of fruits declines.
As they age, strawberry plants weaken, and the fruits can die from fungi and other environmental microorganisms. The death of strawberries starts with defects, spots, and browning of previously normal and healthy plants.
Several factors can prolong or hinder the maturity of strawberries. Furthermore, you might have big strawberry plants but no fruits. The root of the problem can range from inappropriate watering and poor growing conditions.
Some of the factors that prolong strawberry maturation and fruit production include:
Inappropriate Growing Conditions
Although strawberries grow almost anywhere, they prefer soil with proper drainage and a combination of both cool and warm environmental conditions. In case they fall short of these conditions, it will take them too long to mature.
Plants grown in hot conditions don’t produce good berries. However, suppose a cold snap occurs when the plants are in blossom; open blossoms will be damaged; thus, the produce will be low.
So, suppose you’re looking to minimize strawberries’ growth period, ensure you grow them in the appropriate environmental conditions.
Inappropriate watering will also prolong maturation and fruit production in strawberries. Strawberries absorb most of their moisture from the upper few inches of the soil, which unfortunately tends to dry fast.
To compensate for this drying, you must supply plenty of water throughout the growing season.
Avoid excessive watering since it can lead to premature death by facilitating root rotting. In addition, excessive watering reduces the lifespan of strawberry plants.
Strawberry Diseases and Pests
Pest and disease also reduce the lifespan and fruit production in strawberries. Suppose you don’t control strawberry diseases and pests; they will last for less than five-six years.
Furthermore, fruit production is minimal and after an extended period. The most common pest is Lygus bugs, while the most typical disease is the rooting of roots.
Improper Fertilizer Application
As with water, too much or too little fertilizer can be detrimental to strawberries. Without adequate nutrients, growth will slow down; thus, your plant will take too long to mature. If they are lucky to reach full maturity without sufficient nutrients, their fruit production will be deficient.
Ensure you provide compost or any other organic fertilizer to replenish soil nutrients. However, be very careful with nitrogen. Excessive nitrogen promotes foliage growth rather than strawberry fruit production.
How to Hasten Strawberry Growth
To promote or hasten the growth of strawberry plants, provide appropriate growth conditions. The optimal conditions for the development of strawberries are:
- Cool and warm weather conditions
- Well-drained loamy soils
- A soil PH range of between 6 and 7
- Pay close attention to depth; ensure the crown is above the soil. Planting strawberries too deep can cause rotting, while planting them too shallow can cause dry out.
- To worth carrying out soil tests to check if your plants need special considerations
Here are some of the tricks of hastening strawberry maturity:
Water is a primary requirement for the growth of plants and animals. Strawberries don’t have deep roots; thus, ensure you water adequately, especially during dry weather conditions. Strawberries don’t like excessive water; irrigate enough water without wetting leaves if possible.
Adequate Exposure to Sunlight
Light is a requirement for photosynthesis, which plants use to make their food and grow strong and healthy. For example, without adequate light, strawberries take too long to grow since they lack enough food.
To facilitate adequate light exposure, space your strawberries properly. Proper spacing not only promotes light penetration but also avoids unnecessary competition for nutrients. In addition, since overcrowding promotes the spread of pests and diseases between plants, the spacing will limit infection and pest spread. Therefore, we recommend a spacing of 20cm between plants.
Proper Choice of Soil
Grow strawberries in well-drained and rich soils. Select soil rich in humus, sand, and slightly acidic. Provide adequate organic and inorganic fertilizer to support growth. Minimize weed growth by applying organic or inorganic mulch.
Removal of plant runners reduces nutrient competition, thus will promote growth and production from your main plant. Plant runners are elongated stems arising from the main plant.
In summary, strawberries can last between six to five years, with a peak of three years. Fruit production takes between 4-6 weeks. Planting as a bare root strawberry may accelerate the acclimation period. After the peak period, there is deterioration over the next 2-3 years.
The lifespan of strawberries and their growth rate depends on environmental conditions and the type of soil. Therefore, optimal conditions are necessary for optimal growth rate and production.