The Q&A Archives: Potted Berries On The Deck

Question: I would like to plant strawberrries and blueberries in pots on a very sunny deck. Will I get berries during first season? How do I insure growth success? What do I do with potted plants for the winter? I'm in zone 7 and we generally get light snow with more freezing rain. I do have area outside to store where plants/pots can be protected from snow and ice falling on them.

Answer: Strawberries will do well in a container with a rich, moisture retentive yet well drained soil mix. The everbearing types or the alpine types might be more satisfying to grow because they will produce more than one crop of berries per year. June bearers often have their blossoms removed when they are dug for sale and thus will not bear the first year. Some gardeners find it more convenient to replace the plants and add fresh soil each year, but you can try to overwinter them in the container. To do this you will need to insulate it from extreme cold. Ways to do this would be to bury it to the rim in the soil or pile mulch or another insulating material around it, or to set it in a very cold but not freezing area where the plants may rest. In sprin gyou would bring it out again quite early so the plants could wake up naturally with the weather. Note that the traditional terra cotta strawberry jar must be protected from freezing or it will likely break or shatter.

Blueberries are very large shrubs with specialized growing needs and take a number of years to bear a crop, so I would be less encouraging about growing those in a pot.

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