Strawberries are amazing plants to grow in Pennsylvania, mainly due to their sweet and juicy fruits. Contrary to some misconceptions, strawberries are relatively easy to grow and care for.
These plants can be grown from seed or bare-root seedlings in pots or raised garden beds, and will thrive as long as their basic needs are met.
Some key information that you have to be aware of, however, is knowing when to plant strawberries in Pennsylvania and the best varieties of strawberries that suit Pennsylvania climate.
The best time to plant strawberries in PA is usually from late April to early May, when the ground begins to warm up and the threat of frost is no longer present.
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Best Time to Plant Strawberries in Pennsylvania
1. From runners
Most of Pennsylvania is in zone 5b to zone 7 and experiences a humid continental climate with humid summers and cold winters. You can grow strawberries as perennials in this climate, provided they are protected from frost when winter sets in.
Strawberry planting time typically occurs in spring, from late April to early May, but for more accurate dates, it is recommended to check the estimated last frost dates in your area and plant about two weeks after. Some examples are below:
- The last frost in Philadelphia, PA is estimated to be on April 04. Hence residents can plant strawberries outside by April 18
- In Pittsburgh, PA, the last frost will be on April 30, so strawberry planting can start around May 14.
In general, you can start planting strawberries as soon as the ground is tillable. Refrain from postponing your schedule, as the temperatures will gradually warm up after the last frost. Once they get higher than 85℉, the conditions are no longer favorable for strawberries and can kill them instead.
2. From seeds
Depending on the cultivars, strawberries may be grown from seeds. Typically, this method does not apply to hybrid cultivars, as the plants will not grow true to type.
That said, the options available aren’t really diverse, either. Most varieties that can be grown via this method are either wild alpine or old heirloom.
In any case, your planting schedule will start much sooner with seeds. While the sowing date should be 10 to 12 weeks before the last frost, you’ll have to begin preparation 20 weeks prior to this date.
To be specific, the seeds should be stratified in the fridge for 14–16 weeks, then be exposed to room temperatures for another month outside the fridge.
Best Type of Strawberries to Plant in Pennsylvania
‘Is strawberry annual or perennial plant?’ is a common question from home gardeners. To answer that, while grown as annuals in other areas, strawberries can be grown as perennials in Pennsylvania and other states in zones 5 to 8.
There are three main types of strawberries:
- June-bearing varieties are the most commonly grown variant. They typically produce fruits in June, hence the name. They don’t bear fruits in their first year but will give you an abundant harvest in the following years.
This variety is further classified into early season, mid-season, and late season cultivars. Common June-bearers that are popular in Pennsylvania include Earliglow, Wendy, Cavendish, Allstar, and Jewel.
- Day-neutral varieties, unlike June-bearing varieties, produce strawberries in their first year. However, the fruits are often significantly smaller. Seascape and Albion are day-neutral varieties that do well in PA.
- Everbearing varieties have two harvest times in a year – one in the spring season and another in the late summer or in the fall That said, everbearing strawberries aren’t popular in Pennsylvania.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does a strawberry plant take to bear fruit?
On average, it takes 28 to 30 days for the fruit to ripen and be ready for harvest after the flowers bloom.
In PA, strawberry plant season harvest happens in June through the first week in July for those planted in April and in May.
Can you plant strawberries in early spring?
Yes, you can plant strawberries outside in early spring. Strawberries flower buds can tolerate temperatures up to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it is recommended to always monitor the forecast in your area and have row covers ready in case of frosts.
When is it too late to grow strawberries?
Planting strawberry plants in garden after June 01 is not recommended in Pennsylvania, as temperatures beyond 85 degrees Fahrenheit might affect the plant’s yield.
What month and what seasons do strawberries grow?
Strawberries prefer cooler temperatures, ranging from 60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, for their growth. Hence, the best time to grow strawberries during spring is from late April to early May.
They can also be planted in the fall months, before your area’s first fall frost to allow the plant’s roots to establish in the soil before going dormant in the winter. When planting during this time, ensure to properly protect your plants from extreme temperatures.
Strawberries are great plants for your home garden not only to beautify your place but also to have sweet, juicy fruits during harvest season. Selecting the appropriate variant for your location and knowing when to plant strawberries in Pennsylvania will surely allow you to grow your own strawberry garden in no time.
We hope we’ve covered all your questions. Good luck planting your strawberries!
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