Strawberries are herbaceous perennials, although they tend to decline a bit faster in the Deep South, where they are usually treated as annuals. A well-maintained, disease-free crop can grow well for three to four years, after which the quality and yield decline. Many improvements have been made with the Strawberry. Hybrids have been developed that yield larger crops and produce larger berries, which last longer. Ozark Beauty strawberries produce a crop in June and one in the fall. Although Day-neutrals produce better quality fruit and higher yields, Ever-bearers are better for climates that have high temperatures.
How to grow: Plant in full sun.
Spacing: Plant 12″ apart.
Height: Grows 8″ to 10″ tall.
Outstanding features: Berries ripen about 30 days after first bloom. For the best-tasting berry, pick them a day or two after the whole berry turns red. Remove all ripe berries because overripe, rotting fruit will encourage diseases and insects.
Tips: Make sure the plants are well watered for the first two weeks after planting. Ever-bearer strawberries need 1 to 1½ inches of water a week. Soaker hoses or trickle irrigation is best for Strawberries because they keep water off the foliage, which helps prevent problems such as gray mold. The amount of fertilizer your plants need depends on the fertility of your soil and the health of your plants.