That depends on whether you live in Western North Carolina or coastal North Carolina. The two areas of the state have different growing seasons due to the difference in their climates.
The landscape of North Carolina spans six USDA hardiness zones. This means that if you live in Ashville, you will need to plant strawberries later than someone will in Raleigh or Greenville.
The average hardiness zone is 8a and drops to 6a in some areas of the Blue Ridge Mountains, where the valleys and hollows receive less sunlight and have shorter days.
The soil and climate vary in every area in North Carolina. Therefore, where you live is a significant consideration of when to plant strawberries in NC.
Check in the USDA zone where you live, as it will help you know when to plant strawberries in NC.
To find out when to plant strawberries in your area of North Carolina, read on.
When to Plant Strawberries in NC
For eastern NC, plant your strawberries in March. However, if you are in the western part of NC, or the mountains, wait and plant them from late March to April. When starting plants indoors, plant your seeds 6-8 weeks before planting them outdoors.
Plant your Strawberries in Full Sun
Strawberries require 6-8 hours of sunshine a day to produce fruit. So when you site your plants, make sure they’re in full sun the entire day.
If you do, you will have a more productive plant if you meet the other requirements of growing strawberry plants.
When growing strawberry plants in containers, ensure you place them in an area receiving get full sun.
Soil Type Strawberries Need to Grow
Strawberries prefer well-drained soil that you have amended with rich organic material that is a little on the acidic side. A pH of 5.5 to 6.3 is perfect.
However, if the pH is 6.3 or above, it may be too alkaline for your plants.
Strawberry plants need a lot of nitrogen. So a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer will provide what they need.
Other sources of nitrogen are ammonium nitrate 33-0-0, or urea 46-0-0. Both are excellent nitrogen sources for your strawberries.
But, again, a little trial and error with different products will help you find the right balance of nutrients for the best strawberries.
If you have questions about the soil in your area, it’s best to give your local Cooperative Extension Service Agency a call.
Here your local agent can test your soil and advise you on the best variety of strawberries for where you live and what you need to do to prepare your garden for growing them.
Planting your Strawberries and Keeping them Trim
Strawberry plants are fussy about how you stick them in the ground. If you plant them too deeply, they are not happy, and if you plant them too shallow, they are not satisfied either.
When planting your strawberries, be sure that the roots are covered when putting your plants in the ground, but do not plant them so deeply that the crown, where the leaves come out, is still above the ground.
Strawberry plants produce runners that grow away, form their roots along the ground, and develop a new plant. You have two options once your plants begin to run.
First, you can separate the new plant from its mother and plant it by itself.
Alternatively, you can destroy the runners. Whichever choice you make, remember, you must remove the runners or end up with a weedy plant that produces less than stellar fruit.
Growing Strawberries in Pots and Raised Beds
When growing strawberries in North Carolina, you are not limited to growing them in the garden. Strawberries also thrive in pots and raised beds.
However, like the soil in your garden, be sure that the container or raised bed drains well.
Growing strawberries in pots pose several advantages. First, you can start your plants indoors, then move them outdoors once the weather warms up.
Second, they have lovely flowers when they bloom.
You can also plant earlier when growing strawberries in raised beds. It is easy to cover raised beds so that the soil your plants are in stays warm at night, invigorating their growth.
Strawberries grow as perennials in some climates. However, when growing them in NC, consider them as annuals and replant them yearly.
Having to replant every year will allow you to try different strawberries to find the one that grows best in your soil.
Each variety of strawberry grows fruit at a different time, even if planted on the same day. Varieties of strawberries are day-neutral, overbearing, and June-bearing.
Each cultivar fruits at a certain time and have different characteristics.
Everbearing strawberries produce fruit twice per season.
June-bearing strawberries produce fruit in the spring or early June, while day-neutral plants produce berries throughout the season. However, they don’t yield as many berries at one time.
Frequently Asked Questions about When to Plant Strawberries in NC
Can I grow strawberries as a perennial in North Carolina?
You can, and strawberries grow wild in many parts of the state. However, if you decide to grow your plants as perennials, mulch them well before the first sign of frost, and keep them well covered until the warmth of spring is in full swing.
Do strawberries require a trellis?
If you are growing a climbing variety of strawberries, you will. These berries are smaller than other strawberries and make lovely visual displays in your garden as they grow delicious fruit for your table.
Taking care of houseplants and gardening are my greatest passions. I am transforming my apartment into an urban jungle and am growing veggies in my indoor and outdoor garden year-round.