Ready to start growing strawberries hydroponically? Here's a few handy tips for a successful harvest based on our experience with different strawberry varieties and growing techniques.
Use a starter plug: Strawberries grown from seed can take 2-3 years to begin fruiting. For a quicker harvest, get a strawberry plant plug from your local garden store or online from a variety of retailers.
Clean the soil from the roots of the plug by gently shaking the plant or lightly tapping the dirt on the roots with your fingers. Soak the roots in water, then rinse under cold running water to remove the remaining soil.
Secure the plant in your net pot using clay pebbles (recommended), vermiculite or other growing medium.
When planting it's important that the crown of the plant be at the right height in the growing medium. If planted too deep the plant is at risk of root rot. If planted too shallow the roots may dry out. We suggest you first plant with the crown slightly low and then pull it up to just even with the top of the growing medium (while lightly shaking the pot to make sure the roots are properly seated).
Once the plugs are well rooted you may see flowers develop within a few weeks. More new plants may then be started from runners that the plants will develop.
Although you may see flower buds within a few weeks after planting these should be pinched off initially to help promote further healthy growth. Then, once the plant has reached a good size the flowers can be left on and fruiting will occur.
Strawberries Varieties that Grow Well Hydroponically
There are three types of strawberries: June-bearing, Ever-bearing, and Day-neutral. June-bearing plants produce large berries once per year. Ever-bearing plants produce three crops per year. And Day-neutral plants will flower and fruit year round. Our suggestion is to go with Day-neutral plants in your hydroponic system.
- Albion: large fruit, excellent flavor
- Seascape: popular, firm, good-sized fruit, nice flavor
- Quinault: self-pollinating & wide berries
- Tribute: medium to large berries
- Mara de bois: productive, firm, good sized fruit with very nice flavor
Albion strawberry plant
If you prefer Ever-bearing, we recommend these varieties for hydroponics:
- Ozark Beauty: very juicy and good flavor
- Ft. Laramie: nice harvest, great taste, slightly smaller fruit
We advise these hydroponic and environmental conditions for optimum plant health & fruit growth:
- pH of 5.5 to 6.0 is ideal
- keep total salt PPM around 800 to 900 ppm during early growth stages. Lower to 400 - 500 ppm during flowering/fruiting stage or yield will suffer.
- water temperature of 65 to 72 degrees F is best
- provide a minimum of 6 hours of full sunlight or 12- 14 hours of artificial grow lighting/day
- low humidity
- pinch runners off as that will help increase and maintain fruit production
Strawberries are self-fertile and will pollinate themselves, but they usually need help from wind, bees, or someone to help transfer the pollen. To help with pollination simply brush the blossoms together to transfer the pollen from the stamens to the pistils. Here's an excellent visual guide to doing the pollinating yourself.
Avoiding Root Rot
This can sometimes be a problem in hydroponics. Wilt Guard is a product that helps plants combat Pythium root rot. It's our "go to" for strengthening plants against root rot.