Finding the best fertilizer for strawberries is important if you want the most delicious tasting berries possible.
Strawberries are generally a pretty hardy plant so using the right fertilizer really helps you focus on getting the best fruit possible.
If you’re looking for fertilizer for your strawberry plants, you’re in the right place. Let’s learn a little more about how to grow the best possible strawberries and the fertilizer you need to get there.
Table of Contents
- What is the Best Fertilizer for Strawberries?
- The Best Fertilizers For Your Strawberry Plants
- Strawberry Fertilizer Reviews
- 1. Winchester Gardens Select Organics Berry Granular Fertilizer
- 2. Down To Earth Acid Mix
- 3. Espoma HT18 Holly Tone
- 4. Jobe’s Organics 09727 Berry Granular Plant Food
- 5. EcoScraps PFTV174404 Natural/Organic
- 6. Indian River Organics Hydrolyzed Liquid Fish Fertilizer
- 7. Greenway Biotech Strawberry Fertilizer
- 8. Espoma Fruit & Berry Food
- When to Fertilize Strawberry Plants?
- How to Fertilize Strawberry Plants?
What is the Best Fertilizer for Strawberries?
Choosing the right fertilizer for strawberries is essential to growing a bountiful harvest of big, juicy, delicious berries. The right kind of fertilizer actually depends on a few things, including the time of year and the age of the plant.
Before planting, the soil should be treated with fertilizer with some sort of organic element. This means there are equal parts of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. Work the fertilizer about six inches or so into the soil so new plants will have plenty of nutrients as soon as they’re planted.
As the strawberries grow in their first year, keep an eye on them. If they aren’t doing well or if the berries aren’t ripening, adding some nitrogen fertilizer can help. Toward the end of the summer, add some ammonium nitrate fertilizer for support throughout the cooler months.
The following year, add another round of fertilizer to support the plants throughout the growing season. Make sure you get the soil tested to check the nitrogen content. Too much and you may end up with mushy berries.
Another thing to consider is whether you’re using a granular or liquid fertilizer. There are pros and cons to each.
Granules are a little easier to apply and are much more precise than liquid fertilizers. Simply scatter them directly to the soil right over the plant’s roots. Granules do need to be watered into the soil in order for them to be effective.
Liquid fertilizer is easy to spray onto your plants and you don’t need to water again after it’s applied. Most liquid fertilizers come in concentrated form so you’ll have to mix them with water before you can use them.
In that case, be very careful to mix the solution carefully. If it’s too powerful, the fertilizer may burn the leaves of the plants.
The Best Fertilizers For Your Strawberry Plants
If you want to grow the biggest, reddest, juiciest strawberries, using the right fertilizer is essential. Here are eight of the best products out there.
|Pictures||Strawberries Fertilizers||Fertilizer Analysis|
|Winchester Gardens Select Organics Berry Granular Fertilizer||2-3-4|
|Down To Earth Acid Mix||4-3-6|
|Espoma HT18 Holly Tone||4-3-4|
|Jobe’s Organics 09727 Berry Granular Plant Food||4-4-3|
|EcoScraps PFTV174404 Natural/Organic||4-5-4|
|Indian River Organics Hydrolyzed Liquid Fish Fertilizer||2-3-1|
|Greenway Biotech Strawberry Fertilizer||8-12-32|
|Espoma Fruit & Berry Food||4-3-4|
Strawberry Fertilizer Reviews
1. Winchester Gardens Select Organics Berry Granular Fertilizer
This fertilizer from Winchester Gardens is a simple, organic formula that promotes healthy growth of the roots and leaves and encourages berry growth. Because it contains all-natural ingredients, your strawberries also get the organic compounds they love.
We love that this fertilizer helps to enhance the growth of micro-organisms in the soil to encourage long-term growth. This is a great choice for outdoor plants and can also be used to prep the soil before planting. It works well with indoor containers, too.
The application is simple. They include a spoon to help spread the granules out effectively and in the right amount. For outdoor planting, the manufacturer recommends two tablespoons for each square foot of growing area. Avoid the stem and leaves and water it in immediately after application for best results.
2. Down To Earth Acid Mix
This six-pound box of fertilizer from Down To Earth uses natural ingredients like fish bone meal, kelp meal, cottonseed meal, and langbeinite. This acidic miss is ideal for strawberries, who prefer a slightly acidic pH of 5.5 to 6.5.
The manufacturer recommends using five pounds of this fertilizer for 100 square feet of the growing area so you have a little more than what you need in this box. New plants may require additional fertilizer. There are details instructions included so follow them carefully depending on whether your plants are new or established.
Do an application in early spring and another when flowers begin to appear. Use roughly one cup of fertilizer for each established plant, watering it in well. At the end of the summer, fertilize with half the amount to prepare for the next growing season.
3. Espoma HT18 Holly Tone
Another great choice for acid-loving plants like strawberries is this fertilizer from Espoma. It’s appropriate for organic gardening and uses a special blend of microbes to make sure the soil gets everything it needs to support your plants.
The microbes create long-lasting feeding, making sure the nutrients are released into the soil over time. This means you don’t need to fertilize as often. For berries, Espoma recommends feeding twice a year, once in the early spring and again about two months later.
This fertilizer should be applied around the drip line, being careful to avoid the stem and leaves. Water it in well afterward to make sure it gets down to the roots. Because this product comes in a large 18-pound bag, it’s a good choice for larger planting beds and should last you a while.
4. Jobe’s Organics 09727 Berry Granular Plant Food
This formula from Jobe’s Organic is formulated with the brand’s microbe Biome with archaea, designed to break down the nutrients that are already present in the soil so that the plants can absorb them more readily. It also helps improve the soil over time.
The convenient four-pound bag is resealable so you can save what you don’t use for later. They recommend applying this formula every four to six weeks. There are detailed instructions on the bad for soil preparation, new plants, and established growth.
If you’re looking for a fertilizer that’s meant for organic gardening, this is a great choice. It contains no synthetic chemicals and is kid and pet-friendly plus it’s safe for the environment. Plus, it’s made in the USA.
5. EcoScraps PFTV174404 Natural/Organic
Something really cool about the EcoScraps brand, in general, is they use the recycled waste from the food processing industry in their fertilizer blend. So, in addition to being organic, this company also does something good for the environment.
This formula is granular and Ecoscraps takes great care to make sure that each particle contains the perfect balance of nutrients. Application is easy and you can rest assured that every plant is getting the same number of nutrients.
There are detailed instructions for application on the side of the bag for new and established outdoor plants as well as those in containers. The four-pound bag is a convenient size and easy to store between applications.
6. Indian River Organics Hydrolyzed Liquid Fish Fertilizer
If you prefer liquid fertilizer, check out this formula from Indian River Organics. They use special cold-processing hydrolysis that maintains the ingredients’ natural nutrients for strong plants and tastier strawberries.
This product is certified for use in organic gardening and completely free from mercury, chlorine, and other heavy metals. To apply, mix two to four ounces with water in a sprayer. It’s both child and pet-friendly, too.
Something we really like about this product is the 100% quality guarantee. The company guarantees the nutrient analysis and are easy to get in touch with if you have any questions or concerns about the product.
7. Greenway Biotech Strawberry Fertilizer
This fertilizer from Greenway Biotech has a higher NPK than the other products we chose. It’s a good choice for any strawberry plant but is particularly suited for soil low in potassium. There are other necessary trace minerals, too, including copper, iron, and zinc.
There are no harmful ingredients or heavy metals and the product is registered with the California Department of Food and Agriculture which has some of the toughest requirements in the country.
There’s a lot to like about this brand, too. They’re a minority-owned small business committed to being transparent and upholding their community values. That’s not all, they donate 1% of sales to the Greenway Foundation, a foundation they started to teach students basic gardening skills.
8. Espoma Fruit & Berry Food
Finally, we recommend this berry food from Espoma. It contains microbes that help break down the nutrients in the soil so they’re more easily available to the plant. The result is larger berries that are juicier and more flavorful.
One of the added benefits of the microbes is that they actually improve the soil quality over time. That means that you won’t have to fertilize as often but your plants will get the long-term benefits of quality fertilizer.
Espoma recommends applying this fertilizer twice a year, once in early spring and again about two months later. It’s labeled for organic gardening and comes in a convenient four-pound bag with a strong seal for safe storage.
When to Fertilize Strawberry Plants?
For best results, strawberries should be fertilized at different times throughout the year. As we mentioned, it’s important to treat the soil before you do any planting.
Strawberries prefer loamy soil so if you’re starting with clay soil, consider adding some sand to get the right texture. If the soil is the wrong consistency, it won’t absorb the fertilizer effectively and the plants may not be able to absorb the nutrients completely.
Soil should be fertilized before planting to make sure that your strawberry plant has all of the nutrients it needs the second it’s planted in the ground. This ensures that the plants don’t overproduce leaves and makes for better berries.
Of course, your plants will need to be fertilized again throughout the year, too. There are different types of strawberries and, to fertilize properly, you should know what variety you’re working with. Types include:
1. June-bearers – This variety produces one crop of berries every year, usually in June as the name suggests. The best time to add additional fertilizer is after harvest to help the plant through the dormant season and prepare for next year’s harvest.
June-bearers are the most popular type of strawberry. Most strawberries that you find in the grocery store are June-bearers. They produce a lot of big, juicy fruits over a three week period.
2. Day-neutral – This strawberry plant keeps producing berries until it gets too cold and frost kills the plant. They’re annuals, coming back to life every season. To make sure they have what they need, fertilize at the beginning of June, July, and August.
These berries generally don’t produce a lot of fruit. You might be able to walk outside and pick a handful or two every day but, overall, the yield is much smaller with this variety.
3. Ever-bearers – These plants produce berries at the beginning of summer and again in early fall. Add more fertilizer after the first crop is harvested. Ever-bearer fruits are usually on the small side so be sure not to over-fertilize thinking you’ll get bigger berries.
Note that these suggestions are all general guidelines. For the best results, follow the instructions on the package of the fertilizer you choose. Each type of strawberry and each fertilizer is different so make sure you know what you’re working with before application.
In addition to fertilizer, strawberries really like organic materials which is why so many of our products are organic. If you trim back any of the leaves on the plants, you can leave them in the planting bed to add more organic fertilizer for the roots to absorb.
Some of these products also contain specially formulated microbe blends that actually work to improve the soil. In this case, you may not need to apply the fertilizer as frequently because the soil will be better equipped to support the pants for a longer period of time.
Stop fertilizing strawberries at the end of August until the beginning of the next spring. Also, never apply fertilizer to frozen soil.
How to Fertilize Strawberry Plants?
About two weeks before planting, add roughly two pounds of fertilizer for every 100 square feet of your planting bed. That said, this is a general guideline. Follow the instructions for the product you choose to make sure you’re applying it exactly as instructed.
It’s important to keep in mind that strawberry plants have shallow roots. They only grow in the top six inches of soil. If you’re treating the soil before planting, make sure the fertilizer is thoroughly mixed throughout the top six inches for best results.
For new plants, do a second application roughly six to eight weeks later. Strawberries are typically planted in rows so, for the second application, apply fertilizer along each row on either side. Repeat again in mid to late August.
For established plants, cut back the leaves and remove any plants that aren’t doing well. You can leave any clippings in the planting bed to act as organic fertilizer. Remove weeds and apply fertilizer as before.
Most of these products are granular which, in some ways, is easier to apply. While you should always follow the instructions on the bag of the product you’re using, there are some general guidelines for applying granular fertilizer.
Scatter the granules around the root and stem of the plants in the quantity suggested. Most of these products recommend adding the granules under the drip zone while others may suggest spreading it between rows.
Avoid getting granules of the leaves of the plant. If you do, make sure you remove them before watering as they may burn the surface of the leaves.
After the granules are applied, water them well. Remember, strawberry roots go down into the soil about six inches so you have to make sure the fertilizer penetrates deep enough so that the roots can absorb them.
Liquid fertilizer is a little more difficult to control than granules. It’s not always easy to get liquid fertilizer precisely where you want it, particularly on a windy day.
One positive is that you don’t have to worry about watering liquid fertilizer after application so it does save you a little bit of time.
To apply liquid fertilizer, mix the concentration according to the instructions on the bottle. Then, depending on the area you have to cover, apply using either a simple spray bottle or a larger sprayer.
This kind of fertilizer is generally safe to get on the leaves but follow the instructions for the product you’re using.
That said, it’s important to make sure you mix the concentration correctly. If the solution is too strong and it gets on the leaves, it could burn them which will lead to additional problems with your harvest.
It’s not always easy to find the best fertilizer for strawberries but it’s essential if you want the strongest plants that produce the most delicious berries. There are a lot of different mixes out there and it can be hard to tell which one is the best one.
Remember that not all strawberry plants are the same so it’s important to know what your plants are in order to fertilize appropriately.
Granular fertilizer is a little easier to apply, though it must be watered into the soil to be effective. Liquid fertilizers are great, too, just make sure you mix them to the proper strength so as not to burn the plants.
Fertilizing the soil before planting is also essential to strong and productive strawberry plants. By using the right fertilizer at the right time, you’re setting yourself up for the best possible results.