Of all of the plant containers in my collection, one of my favorites is the strawberry jar. This unique pot is perfect for growing a lot of plants in a small area. The pot's many cupped openings can accommodate a lot of strawberry plants as they cascade down the sides of the pot. Aside from growing strawberries, the pot seems to be more widely used to grow herbs and a plant called hens and chicks.
Strawberry pots are available in plastic, clay (terra cotta), and ceramic. Plastic pots are the least expensive. Clay pots are porous and can support a nice green mossy patina and in my mind are the most attractive. Ceramic pots are glazed and can be attractively decorated, but they generally cost the most. Whatever pot you purchase needs to have holes in the bottom for proper drainage; otherwise your plants will be drowning in stagnant water.
For best results, get a large jar. I have one that is 17 inches tall, with an 8-inch top opening and 12 cupped openings. I also have a smaller jar that is 16 inches tall with 9 cupped openings.
When well watered and located in a shady area, the clay pots will develop a nice green “patina” that puts one in mind of the mossy stones found in an old water-cooled milk house under a shade tree.
Fill the pot with a good quality potting soil. One that contains a slow-release fertilizer and a moisture control agent is a good choice. Adding some Perlite or vermiculite is a good idea to keep the soil loose and breathing (this is important for good root growth and for water and oxygen uptake).
The strawberry jar is a great container for creating an herb garden all in the same pot. Varieties that work include rosemary, thyme, parsley, basil, and oregano. If you choose to plant flowers in your pot, petunias, impatiens, and periwinkle (vinca) will cascade well from these jar planters. I use mine for succulent plants such as hens and chicks (Sempervivum), and stonecrop (Sedum).
Water thoroughly before planting. The top opening is planted like any pot. Planting the pockets will take a little practice but basically you just need to create an opening in the soil, add the plant, and pack the soil in around the roots. Water each pocket gently to avoid soil erosion and dislodged roots. I water gently from the top and from the bottom by adding water to the clay pot saucer under the jar. Turn the pot every few days to provide plants with equal exposure to the sun.
If you have never tried a strawberry jar give it a try, they are for more than just strawberries. These are relatively expensive pots, so do not let them go through hard freezes in the winter. These pots are treasures so treat them with care.
For more information on home, lawn, indoor, or outdoor garden care and tips, as well as other garden topics, visit www.ohioline.com and click on the Yard and Garden link, or call the OSU Extension, Butler County, at (513) 887-3722, or in Middletown at (513) 424-5351, ext. #3722.
News Release provided by Richard Sunberg.