bare-root strawberries - recommended varieties and culture

Strawberries are a top choice of home gardeners when it comes to growing fruit because they are irresistible to eat and easy to grow in our Northwest climate. This information sheet provides you with a list of varieties recommended by Swansons. We have also provided basic advice on planting, care and pruning. For more detailed information on any variety, please refer to individual plant signs or consult one
of our nursery professionals.


Choosing the Plants

CHOOSE YOUR VARIETIES from our recommended list according to harvest time and use. Strawberries are self-fertile so only one variety is necessary for successful yields. There are 3 classes of Strawberries:
• JUNE BEARING (Summerbearing) varieties, which fruit heavily in June.
• DAY NEUTRAL varieties, which fruit continuously throughout the summer.
• EVERBEARING (Two-cropping), which produce one crop in June and another in Autumn.

Soil Preparation

CHOOSE A LOCATION that receives full sun, in very well-drained soil that is not too rich in organic matter.
PREPARE THE SITE by incorporating planting compost or soil bulding compost. The goal is to have soil that is composed of about 25% new organic matter to the existing soil.

Planting Systems

There are two highly successful planting systems to choose from.
• The Hill System
• The Matted Row System 

The HILL SYSTEM generally is the best system for day neutral and everbearing type strawberries because they produce relatively few runners. After preparing the soil, make mounded rows about 6-9 inches tall and 1-2 feet apart. Plant the strawberry starts 12-15 inches apart in the top of the mounded rows. Maintenance consists of simply removing all the runners that grow between the rows before they root. The idea is that by removing the “baby” plants (runners) the mother plant can focus on making bigger and better fruit.

The MATTED ROW SYSTEM is generally best for June bearing type strawberries because they produce ample runners. Plant the strawberry starts 1 foot apart in rows 3-4 feet apart. Then allow many of the runners to spread and fill in the rows. Don’t let the runners grow in too densly. The plants need as much sun and air in contact with the foliage as possible. Pruning out excess runners and foliage will likely be necessary.

Strawberries may also be planted in ornamental flower beds, in hanging baskets or deck containers. The list of resource material at the end of this information sheet provide more information on these methods.

BARE ROOT plants should be soaked in water for an hour or so. Plant them so the crown will remain just above the soil after backfilling. Crowns planted below the soil are subject to fungal disease.

WATER deeply and thoroughly throughout the dry months.

FERTILIZE annually in April with an all prupose or small fruit fertilizer. Follow the directions on the package.

REPLANT strawberries after 4-5 years. By then they likely have built up sufficient pests and diseases to diminsh yields. It’s best not to replant for a few years in the same location. Try and rotate crops periodically to avoid the build up of pests and disease.


June Bearing Varieties

HOOD: One of the most sweetly flavored strawberries available. A vigorous and extremely productive plant. Large bright glossy red berries turn darker when fully ripe. Good fresh, frozen, or in preserves and jams.
PUGET CRIMSON: ‘Puget Crimson’ is a brand new variety developed right over there at WSU Puyallup for stawberry lovers right here in the cool PNW. It is described as a late season variety, so it will likely produce berries for us around July - August. It also has shown acceptional disease resistance, good skin color, and delightful flavor.

Day-Neutral Varieties

ALBION: The Albion strawberry plant is known for its very large fruit. Fruit is mostly conical, very firm and red in color. Its flavor is very good and is sweet and pleasant. It is a high yielding cultivar with robust runners and stalks. Very disease resistant. Swansons Retail Manager, Leslie Bruckner, could not stop raving about the yields she received from the plants in her garden. She insisted, without argument, that we make plants available for our customers again this year.

Everbearing Varieties

TRISTAR: The highest rated strawberry for this area by the Cooperative Extension. Firm, glossy, deep-red skinned fruit with solid, medium-red flesh. The medium sized fruits are largest in the cooler days of spring and fall. Superior flavor for eating fresh or cooking.