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Complete Guide to Planting Strawberries in Melbourne

These juicy, red fruits are not only tasty but also easy to grow.

Are you in Melbourne and thinking of growing your own strawberries? Good choice!

These juicy, red fruits are not only tasty but also easy to grow. Here’s what you need to know to get started.

When to Plant Strawberries in Melbourne

In Melbourne, the best time to plant strawberry seeds is in Spring or Autumn.

Strawberry runners are generally available in late Autumn or early Winter.

planting strawberries | Fruit & Vegetables

Choose Your Planting Method

There are two main ways to get started: seeds and runners.

Seeds

  • It’s a slow game, and you may be waiting a couple of years for fruit.
  • Newbies might find the seed germination process difficult.

Runners

  • Faster than seeds, runners are offshoots from mature plants.
  • They’re easier to handle and plant.
  • You can put them straight into the garden or a pot.
  • They’ll establish quicker, often within a month.

Prepare the Soil

Before planting, get rid of weeds and mix in organic matter like compost. Strawberries love nutrient-rich soil.

Consider adding composted manure or a balanced fertiliser to give your plants a good start.

Location Matters

Pick a sunny location. Strawberries need at least 6 hours of sunlight.

But remember, they also require good drainage. If your garden tends to be waterlogged, think about creating raised beds.

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Spacing and Planting

Strawberries like their space. Plant them about 30 cm apart in rows. This makes it easier to pick the fruit and lets air circulate, reducing the risk of disease.

Make sure the crown, the swollen base of the plant, sits just above the soil. Water the plants thoroughly after planting.

Care

Mulch with straw or sugarcane to keep the soil moist and prevent soil-borne diseases.

Water frequently, especially in dry periods. Strawberries don’t handle drought well.

Feeding

Use a balanced fertiliser designed for fruiting plants. Potassium-rich fertilisers are ideal, as they encourage fruiting.

Read our full guide to fertilising strawberries.

Runners and Offshoots

As the plants grow, they’ll shoot out runners. They can sap energy from your plant and reduce fruiting, so snip them off near the base, unless you want more plants.

Harvest Time

By November, you should see your first fruit. The best time to pick strawberries is when they are almost fully red.

harvesting strawberries | Fruit & Vegetables

Don’t delay, as they ripen and rot quickly.

Pests and Issues

Watch out for birds, possums, and snails. A bird net can help, and pet-friendly snail pellets can deter slimy intruders.

Some common diseases include botrytis and powdery mildew. To prevent these, choose disease-resistant varieties and consider using fungicides if problems appear.

In Pots

Growing strawberries in pots is doable but can be demanding. The soil dries out fast, so you’ll need to water often, maybe even several times a day in hot weather. But the advantage is fewer ground pests.

Photo of author

Steve Kropp

Based in Melbourne, Steve's passion is vegetable gardening, and he’s been writing about it for almost 5 years. He also loves all things DIY and is always looking for a new project. When not working on his own garden projects or blogging, Steve enjoys spending time with his family, cooking meals with produce harvested from his garden, and coaching his son’s footy team.

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