When Does A Strawberry Plant Produce Fruit?


If you recently planted strawberry plants in your yard, you may not have any fruit on them just yet.  In that case, you are probably wondering when strawberry plants produce fruit, and if there is anything you can do to help them along.

So, when does a strawberry plant produce fruit?  A strawberry plant will produce fruit in June in most areas.  Some ever-bearing or day-neutral strawberry plants can also produce fruit in the fall.  Some strawberry plants can produce fruit in their first year, and continue producing for 3 to 6 years.

Of course, depending on the variety of strawberry plant you choose, you may get fewer berries or smaller fruit.  Other factors such as crowded spacing, over fertilization, and environmental conditions can all affect the growth of fruit on your strawberry plant.  Let’s take a closer look at strawberry plants, when they bear fruit, and the factors that can affect your harvest.

When Does A Strawberry Plant Produce Fruit?

Most strawberry plants will produce fruit for at least a few weeks in June.  Many strawberry plants, including ever-bearing and day neutral varieties, will produce fruit in the fall or throughout the summer.

strawberry plant
Strawberries will usually be ripe in June. Ever-bearing and day-neutral varieties can also produce later in the summer or fall.

June-bearing strawberry plants produce fruit in June in northern climates, although they can produce as early as February in warmer climates such as Florida.  They produce the largest berries, but only produce once a year for a few weeks.

Ever-bearing strawberry plants produce fruit twice a year: one smaller crop in June, and a larger crop in late summer or early fall.

Day-neutral strawberry plants produce fruit continuously throughout the growing season if temperatures are right.  Day-neutral strawberry plants can produce in spring, summer, and fall if temperatures remain between 35 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (2 to 29 degrees Celsius).

Generally, strawberries ripen 30 days after the blossoms are fertilized.  So, if you see bees working on your strawberry flowers in May, then they are on schedule to ripen in June!  Generally, the flowers are white, but some varieties do have pink or red flowers.

For more information, check out this article from the University of Illinois Extension on growing strawberries.

Do Strawberry Plants Produce Fruit The First Year?

Yes, ever-bearing and day-neutral strawberry plants can produce fruit in the first year.  However, you should not let them!

strawberry flower
If you pinch off the strawberry flowers that appear in the first year, the plant will devote the energy to root growth instead. Long-term, this will give you more strawberries.

In the first year, pinch off any flowers that appear on your strawberry plants in the spring or summer.  This will ensure that the plant devotes its energy to growing a stronger root system, rather than producing early fruit.  In the long term, this will mean more fruit per plant.

Later in the season of the first year, you can allow the flowers to fruit on your ever-bearing and day-neutral strawberry plants.

Generally, June-bearing strawberry plants do not usually produce fruit until the 2nd year.

For more information, check out this article from the Penn State University Extension on growing strawberries.

Remember that frost damage to open flowers on a strawberry plant can destroy the fruit that would have been produced.

How Much Fruit Does A Strawberry Plant Produce?

As mentioned above, the flowers should be pinched off of a strawberry plant in the first year to allow for stronger roots.  However, young strawberry plants can produce up to a quart of fruit in their first year.

For more information, check out this article from the Ohio State University on strawberries.

ripening strawberries
A strawberry plant can produce a pound or more of fruit per year – we’ll have to wait until all of these ones ripen!

For high-yielding varieties, a strawberry plant can produce 12 to 20 ounces (340 to 567 grams) of fruit per year.  As strawberry plants get older, fruit production will decrease after a few productive years.

For more information, check out this article on strawberry production from the Penn State University Extension.

How Long Do Strawberry Plants Live?

Strawberry plants usually live for 5 to 6 years.  This includes 3 to 4 productive years, with declining fruit yield after 2 or 3 years.

Of course, if your strawberries produce runners, you can propagate them to get new plants and continue their life cycle with a new generation!

What Kind Of Strawberries Should I Plant?

When selecting a strawberry plant, make sure to choose one that you can grow in your climate!  For more information, check out the USDA Zone Hardiness Map to see what zone you are in.

strawberry flowers
When planting strawberries, you have a choice of June-bearing, ever-bearing, and day-neutral varieties.

Remember that there are three basic types of strawberry plants, as mentioned earlier: June-bearing, ever-bearing, and day-neutral.  Each of these has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Here are some strawberry varieties of different types that you might want to try:

  • Seascape Strawberry – this day-neutral strawberry plant grows in Zones 4 to 8, and produces large red fruit that matures in summer and fall.  The mature plant will be 12 inches tall and 24 to 36 inches wide.  For more information, check out the Seascape Strawberry on the Burpee website.
  • Tristan Strawberry – this ever bearing strawberry plant grows in Zones 5 to 8, and produces small red fruit that matures in summer and fall.  The mature plant will be 8 to 10 inches tall and 14 to 18 inches wide.  For more information, check out the Tristan Strawberry on the Burpee website.
  • Eversweet Strawberry – this ever bearing strawberry plant grows in Zones 5 to 8, and produces large red fruit that matures in spring, summer, and fall.  The mature plant will be 12 to 16 inches tall and 12 to 16 inches wide.  For more information, check out the Eversweet Strawberry on the Burpee website.
  • Ruby Ann Strawberry – this ever bearing strawberry plant grows in Zones 3 to 8, and produces small red fruit that matures in summer and fall.  The mature plant will be 10 to 24 inches tall and 10 to 24 inches wide.  For more information, check out the Ruby Ann Strawberry on the Burpee website.
  • Purple Wonder Strawberry – this June bearing strawberry plant grows in Zones 4 to 8, and produces small purple fruit that matures in summer.  The mature plant will be 8 to 12 inches tall and 10 to 12 inches wide.  For more information, check out the Purple Wonder Strawberry on the Burpee website.
  • Sweet Charlie Strawberry – this June bearing strawberry plant grows in Zones 5 to 8, and produces large red fruit that matures in summer.  The mature plant will be 12 inches tall and 12 to 20 inches wide.  For more information, check out the Sweet Charlie Strawberry on the Burpee website.

Do You Need Two Strawberry Plants To Get Fruit?

No, you do not need two strawberry plants to get fruit.  A strawberry plant is self-pollinating, meaning that the flower contains both male and female parts.

Wind and rain are enough to cause the male part of a strawberry flower to release pollen onto the female part of the flower.  However, pollinators such as bees can help this process along.

In fact, insect pollination can reduce malformation of strawberries and improve yields by 40% or more.  Insect pollination can also increase sweetness, extend shelf life, and reduce prevalence of gray mold on strawberries.

For more information, check out this article from the Penn State University Extension on strawberries.

What Other Factors Can Affect Fruit On Strawberry Plants?

The quality of care that you give your strawberry plants will help to decide how much fruit you get each year.  Remember that strawberry plants need full sun (8 or more hours or sunlight per day).

sunlight through forest
Strawberry plants need full sun, so don’t put them in a shady area!

If you are planting new strawberry plants, the best time to plant is in March or April.

Other important factors for strawberry plants are temperature, watering, fertilizing, and spacing.

Temperature For Strawberry Plants

Most varieties of strawberries can survive up to Zone 4 or 5, and most can survive as far south as Zone 8.  Some strawberry varieties will stop producing when temperatures are over 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Celsius).

For more information, check out this article on strawberries from the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

On the other hand, open flowers on a strawberry plant will be damaged by temperatures below 30 degrees Fahrenheit (-1 degree Celsius).  If a late spring frost threatens, you may need to take steps to protect your strawberry flowers from the cold with row covers.

For more information, check out this article from the Oregon State University Extension on strawberries.

Watering For Strawberry Plants

Avoid letting the soil get too dry for too long, especially if you have strawberry plants that are flowering or trying to get established.  Usually, one thorough watering per week is enough for strawberry plants.

For more information, check out this article from the University of Minnesota Extension on growing strawberries.

If you have a problem with dry soil, check out my article on dry soil.

garden hose
Be careful not to over water or under water your strawberry plants!

On the other hand, over watering can spell death for your strawberry plant, due to root rot or fungal diseases.  For more information, check out my article on over watering.

Fertilizing For Strawberry Plants

Before you plant a strawberry plant, add some compost to your soil.  It will provide organic material and nutrients for your bush as it grows.  The best part is that you can make compost yourself from ordinary yard and kitchen waste!

compost bin
Compost is a great way to recycle yard and kitchen waste while adding nutrients and organic material to your garden.

For more information, check out my article on how to make your own compost.

It may be necessary to use fertilizers as a supplement to compost, in order to provide extra nutrients if you soil is lacking. The best way to tell if you need fertilizer is with a soil test.

For more information, check out my article on soil testing.

A soil test will also indicate the pH of your soil.  The ideal pH range for strawberry plants is between 5.5 and 6.8.

If your soil pH is too low (acidic), you can add lime (calcium carbonate) to raise it.

If your soil pH is too high (basic), you can add sulfur to lower it.

For more information, check out this article from the University of New Hampshire Extension on growing strawberries.

Finally, remember that it is possible to harm or kill your strawberry plants by over fertilizing them.  For example, too much nitrogen can prevent your strawberry plant from producing any fruit.

For more information, check out my article on over fertilizing and my article on low-nitrogen fertilizers.

Spacing For Strawberry Plants

If you plant your strawberry plants too close together, they will compete with each other for resources, such as water and nutrients in the soil.  Planting too close together can also promote the spread of diseases.

For June-bearing strawberry plants, place them 12 to 24 inches (30 to 61 centimeters) apart, with rows 36 to 40 inches (91 to 102 centimeters) apart.

For ever-bearing or day-neutral strawberry plants, place them 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 centimeters) apart, with rows 30 to 36 inches (76 to 91 centimeters) apart.

For more information, check out this article from the Ohio State University on strawberries.

Conclusion

By now, you have a good idea of when strawberry plants will produce fruit (in June for most areas, and possibly much later into the summer or fall for ever-bearing and day-neutral varieties.  You also know a bit more about how to take care of strawberry plants and how to avoid the problems that can affect your harvest.

I hope you found this article helpful – if so, please share it with someone who can use the information.  If you have any questions or advice about strawberry plants, please leave a comment below.

jonathon.david.madore

Hi, I'm Jonathon. I’m the gardening guy (not guru!) who is encouraging everyone to spend more time in the garden. I try to help solve common gardening problems so that you can get the best harvest every year!

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