Growing Strawberries in Phoenix
BEST TIME TO PLANT: Fall
VARIETIES RECOMMENED FOR PHOENIX: ‘Camarosa’, ‘Chandler’, ‘Fresno’, ‘Fort Laramie’, ‘Lassen’, ‘Ozark Beauty’, ‘Quinault’, ‘Sequoia’, ‘Shasta’, ‘Tioga’.
SUN: 6-8 hours of direct sun, minimum. If planting when the daytime temperatures are still 95° or more, plants will benefit from some shade. Use 30% to 50% shadecloth to shade the plants until the temperatures come down below 95°. If you use denser shadecloth, plants may sunburn when the shadecloth is removed.
SOIL: Should be well-prepared soil with plenty of organic matter added to it.
PLANTING BED: Plant strawberries in a flat bed with a berm to hold water, or plant in a sunken garden bed. Either way you will have a bed that can be flooded, making deep watering easier.
PLANT SPACING: 12” to 18” apart. With wider spacing, plants may grow slightly larger, be slightly more productive, and easier to harvest. Closer spacing may help to shade the ground and keep soil temps down. The more dense leaf cover may also help to hide ripening berries from the birds.
WATERING: Once plants are established, water deeply and thoroughly so water penetrates to a depth of 12”. Allow the surface of the soil to dry before watering again, deeply and thoroughly.
FERTILIZING: Fertilize every 6-8 weeks with an organic fertilizer, according to the directions on the package.
Once strawberries begin to flower and fruit, apply a 2” to 3” layer of coarse chunky mulch or straw (NOT HAY– hay contains a humongous amount of weed seeds). Keep the mulch from being right up against the stem, as it could cause the stem to rot. This layer of mulch accomplishes several things – it keeps the berries up off of damp ground, which helps prevent rotting berries, it helps keep the soil cool, and it discourages weeds. It also prevents the soil from drying out so quickly, which means you may have to water less frequently.
Some farmers and home gardeners find it easier to treat strawberries as annuals, planting new plants in late summer or early fall, and allowing plants die during the summer.
If you want to grow strawberries through the summer, shade the plants & soil with 30% to 50% shadecloth, sometime during the first half of June. Remove shadecloth in late September. Shading will not extend the bloom & harvest season, it will only help the plants survive the summer.
It is pretty easy to make new plants from the long runners that the plants produce. The best time to make new plants for fall planting is late July & August. Look for a place where there is a leaf on the runner. Leaving the runner attached to the plant, bury it about ½ inch deep, either in the garden or in a pot of good potting soil, then set a small rock on top to keep it in the soil until it is rooted. Once this new section of the plant is rooted, cut the runner from the mother plant.
For more detailed information on growing strawberries, see the article,
“Tips for Growing Strawberries” in:
[This page was last updated on August 28, 2010]
GregorysGardeningGuide.com/Tips/Growing Strawberries in Phoenix