The best strawberry varieties
PUBLISHED: 10:32 29 June 2016
The experts at Monkton Elm Garden Centre share their favourite strawberry varieties, plus other mouth-watering soft fruit
There’s nothing better than a bowl of freshly picked ripe strawberries, warm from the sun, sprinkled with a little sugar and doused with cream! The following varieties, along with some other soft fruits, can be grown in pots and with a little care will reward you handsomely for years to come.
Strawberry plants are available in three main types – summer fruiting, ever bearers and day-neutral. If you have room for just a few plants, summer fruiting varieties would be the best for you. There is a huge choice here, but we love Honeyoye (even though its name is hard to pronounce) for early crops, Rhapsody for late cropping, and good old Elsanta as a good all-rounder. Elsanta is the variety most often grown for the supermarkets, for good reason. It is heavy cropping, easy to grow and with a good flavour. If you have the space, try some of each to extend your picking season.
Everbearers, also known as perpetual types, produce a couple of crops per year. The pickings are not heavy, but if you are growing in pots, they make a lovely decorative and tasty addition to the patio. We recommend Calypso for flavour.
You may prefer raspberries to strawberries for their rich flavour and an exciting development in fruit breeding has resulted in the first truly dwarfing raspberry suitable for pot culture, as it only reaches around a metre in height, with multiple stems. Ruby Beauty is summer fruiting and it’s available now. Prune out stems which have borne fruit immediately after cropping has finished.
Blueberries are easy to grow in pots – they love acid growing conditions so pot into ericaceous compost and feed with ericaceous fertiliser. Although self-fertile, they produce heavier crops if more than one is grown. They love the sunshine, and will need protection from birds, eager to get to the delicious berries before you!
If you want to impress your friends, there’s even a blueberry that’s pink. Pink Lemonade was developed in America and each fruit matures to a rich pink colour. It’s grown in exactly the same way as normal blueberries. Another talking point would be a nearby pot filled with Anablanca - a white strawberry that tastes of pineapple!