When is it too late to plant strawberries?" It's a bit of long, winding answer. It's never too late to buy a hanging basket with mature strawberry plants already growing. Hang these all around your property and pretend you planted them. It's also never too late to plant strawberries in a greenhouse or in a container on your sun porch.
But if you want to plant your strawberries in the ground, well, that is a different story. The short answer? It's too late to plant strawberries in the ground anytime after June.
The Best Time to Plant Strawberries
The ideal time to plant strawberries is after the threat of frost is past in early spring, usually March or April. The exact timing will vary depending on your gardening zone.
Strawberries and Planting Zones: Where Are You?
In order to know when it's too late to plant strawberries in your area, you need to know a few key details, such as:
- What's your planting zone (otherwise known as your plant hardiness zone)?
- Which type of strawberry do you want to plant?
Types of Strawberries
There are three categories of strawberries and a wide range of different strawberry varieties. Of course, each has different growing and production patterns. The three categories are:
- Day neutral
Of these, the June-bearing type of strawberry produces once a year, sometime around June; hence, the name. It stops production sometime around July. Everbearing strawberries will fruit twice, once in June and again in late summer. The new day neutral type of strawberry plant should bloom and bear fruit throughout the summer, as long as weather conditions are optimum. Sometimes the day neutral strawberries will bear fruit all the way up to October.
When Is It Too Late to Plant Strawberries?
Since day neutral varietals bloom and fruit right on up until October, you can successfully plant day neutral strawberries long after the others have stopped production. Actually, it is often recommended that the first year, you pinch off the blossoms, anyway. Pinching the blossoms saves nutrients that would otherwise go to fruit production, so they'll create a more vigorous root system instead. Doing this helps ensure that the next year's harvest is more bountiful.
So if you don't intend to have a harvest the first year, it would be acceptable to plant any types of strawberries in March or April, up until May or June. Planting in the ground in summer becomes more problematic because the intense heat creates so much stress for plants. Nurseries stop carrying certain plants after their ideal planting dates. If that's the case, you may have to purchase your plants online and have your strawberries delivered via snail mail.
Options for Late Planting
If it's late in the season and you still want your very own succulent, homegrown strawberries, there is always a way around the proverbial wisdom of planting in March or April. To recap, here are just a few ways to have more success with planting later than March or April.
- Plant in hanging baskets or containers, as you move them in and out of the intense summer heat when necessary, and they're easy to water and tend.
- Pinch off any blossoms the first year so all the nutrients go to root growth and not to fruit production. This way, it doesn't matter if you're already past the bloom dates.
- Plant everbearing or day neutral strawberries because harvest period is longer, unlike June-bearing.
- Plant in a greenhouse, where you can artificially control all the environment or micro eco-system, from water to nutrients, temperature, wind, pests, and humidity. That means you can grow practically anything year-round if you choose.
- Don't plant at all! Buy plants that are already mature, and well-established in hanging baskets or containers.
Planting Strawberries for the Sweet Taste of Success
If you've missed the planting window for strawberries this season, grab an established strawberry plant at the store and get in some practice strawberry time. Definitely set yourself a calendar reminder for next year, though. You'll soon be introducing yourself as the Queen or King of Strawberries.