Every spring, residents of Georgia have the chance to pick fresh strawberries in dozens of farms and markets across the state. If you live in GA and want to bring this experience home, perhaps you’ve considered growing your own strawberry garden.
So when to plant strawberries in Georgia? Do this task in spring if you live in north and central Georgia and fall if you live in the southern part of the state.
Table of Contents
Best Time to Plant Strawberries in Georgia
1. Plant in spring in north Georgia and central Georgia
In north and central Georgia (or hardiness zone 6 to zone 8a), it’s best to grow strawberries in spring after the last frost.
“Why?” you may ask. Strawberry seeds are not strong enough to endure freezing temperatures below 32℉. In fact, you should place them in an environment that’s 50 degrees at the minimum.
That said, if you want to garden despite freezing weather, you can do so by starting strawberry seeds indoors. To be specific, grow your plant at home in containers eight weeks before the final frost and move it outside when the blistering cold is gone.
All you have to do is look up the frost date of your locality to determine your strawberry season Georgia calendar.
For example, Columbus, Georgia has its last frost on March 14. As a result, residents here can grow strawberries on March 15 outside or January 17 indoors.
2. Plant in fall in south Georgia
If you live in south Georgia (or hardiness zone 8 to 9a), you should plant strawberries in the fall. It’s important to do this early in the season so that the plant can become strong enough to survive winter.
As for the best month to plant strawberries in, September to November would be an excellent time.
How to Plant Strawberries?
The method for growing strawberries changes depending on where you live. For zone 7 and 6 or north Georgia, matted rows work best. Meanwhile, for the rest of the state, gardeners should implement the annual hill technique. Below are some tips for both methods.
1. Matted row system
- A year before growing strawberries, check your soil to see if it has a pH of 5.8 to 6.2. Decrease the pH by adding aluminum sulfate or sulfur to the ground, and increase it by using fine agricultural limestone or wood ashes.
- Then, remove weeds from the garden bed and till two inches of manure into the ground.
- In spring, right before your planting time, apply a 10-10-10 fertilizer to the soil and dig holes for your strawberries. The holes should be 18 to 24 inches apart, and the soil should crumble easily if you crush it. At this point, you can put your strawberries into the garden bed.
- Give the plants 1 to 1.5 inches of water every week. Cut the strawberry runners when they appear within the first two years, and remove all flowers during the first spring of your planting.
- Fertilize the plant when summer comes: once in July or mid-June, and another time in September or October. Each time, you can use a 10-10-10 fertilizer, around 4 pounds of it on an 8×30 feet area.
- Re-apply the fertilizer again in late winter (following the above recommendation on quantity), and mulch the strawberries to protect them against frost.
2. Annual hill system
- Apply a 10-10-10 fertilizer to the soil, and mulch the garden bed with pine straw or plastic. Use as much as 3 pounds of 10-10-10 fertilizer per 100 square feet, though 1 or 2 pounds may also be sufficient.
- Then, place strawberry plants into the garden bed, with 12 inches as the distance between two plants and two rows.
- Water the plants frequently within the first one or two weeks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where to plant strawberries?
When selecting a location for your strawberries, keep in mind the following:
- The planting location should receive six to ten hours of sunlight and has adequate drainage.
- It wasn’t used to grow potatoes, tomatoes, strawberries, peppers, or eggplants during the previous gardening season.
- It should have an incline (around 5% steepness is ideal, but it shouldn’t be over 12%).
Do strawberries grow well in Georgia?
Yes. In fact, you’ll find over 100 farms growing strawberries in Georgia. The state’s mild weather is warm enough for these fruits to thrive. Even during winter, Georgia doesn’t have much snow, especially in its southern areas.
How long does it take for strawberry to bear fruit?
If you count the days from seeding strawberries to harvesting them, it will take four months for fruits to finish growing.
However, if you use flowers as the starting point for your estimate instead, fruits will show up four to six weeks after you see strawberry blossoms.
To know when to harvest strawberries, you can look up their maturation period. Below is a strawberry ripening chart for some common varieties.
|Variety||Days to ripening or maturity|
|Albion||60 to 90|
|Allstar||60 to 70|
|Alpine||100 to 120|
|Éclair||60 to 70|
|Honeoye||60 to 70|
|Montana||60 to 70|
|Quinault||60 to 70|
|Roman||70 to 85|
Is it too late to plant strawberries?
Fall planting of strawberries should take place six to eight weeks before the first frost. If there aren’t at least six weeks between now and the first frost where you live, it’s too late to grow strawberries, and you’ll have to wait until next year.
What are the best strawberry plants for Georgia?
When planting strawberries in Georgia, you should choose from the following varieties for the best results: Earliglow, Delmarva, Allstar, Chandler, Camarosa, and Sweet Charlie strawberry.
Of these cultivars, all are suitable for north and central Georgia, except for the Camarosa, which should be planted in middle and south Georgia.
Aside from this variety, southern Georgians should also grow the Chandler and Sweet Charlie.
What are the hardiness zones for strawberries?
Strawberries will grow well in hardiness zone 3 to 10. To find out whether your county or city falls within these zones, go to planthardiness.ars.usda.gov and look up your state map.
For example, Memphis, Tennessee is in zone 7b, making it suitable for growing strawberries. Similarly, Montgomery in Alabama is in zone 8, so residents here can plant this fruit as well.
When to plant strawberries in Georgia? The answer should now be obvious to you. Before planting, select the right location for your garden bed, and choose the best cultivar for your climate as well.
If you follow our instructions closely, your strawberries will have the best chance to develop, and you can enjoy these delicious fruits once harvest comes.