Selecting strawberry varieties for your home garden isn’t necessarily an easy task. Not only are there many different varieties of strawberries, there are also 3 different types of strawberries, each with its own set of popular varieties.
So your first task in choosing the varieties of strawberries that you’ll be growing is to understand the differences between these 3 types of strawberries:
-everbearing -day neutral -June bearing
Once you’ve decided which of these strawberry types you’d like to grow, then of course, you’ll select the varieties.
I’ll provide a description of each of these 3 types of strawberries, along with a listing of some of the more popular varieties of each type.
There are a great many strawberry varieties, with new ones continuously being developed. So consider the lists below to be no more than a starting point in the search for the best varieties for your garden.
And of course, you’ll need to decide whether a particular variety is suitable for where you live, given your climatic and growing conditions.
The name of everbearing strawberries is a bit of a misnomer. They don’t really offer a substantial harvest of fruit continuously throughout the growing season.
But they do fruit 2 or 3 times during each growing season. Everbearers (also sometimes called perpetual or fall strawberries) usually bloom and set fruit in the spring or early summer, and then again in late summer or early fall.
And when conditions are right, everbearing varieties can produce a scattering of fruit in between the primary cropping cycles.
Here are some of the more popular everbearing strawberry varieties:
A vigorous grower that produces medium sized, bright red fruit (fruit tends to be soft). Cold hardy.
One of the most popular of everbearing varieties. Produces medium sized, very sweet fruit (fruit tends to be soft). Not good for freezing.
Not the most vigorous or productive of plants, but the fruit is particularly sweet. Very cold hardy.
Day Neutral Strawberries
Day neutral strawberries are a fairly recent newcomer to the world of strawberries, having been developed in the 1960’s.
Day neutral strawberries are very similar to everbearing, and in fact might more appropriately have been named everbearing (I hope I’m not thoroughly confusing you!).
Day neutrals are so named because they are not dependent upon the day length being short or long to set flower buds. (Everbearing require long day lengths to initiate flower buds; June bearing require short day lengths to initiate buds.)
And to add to the confusion, day neutral varieties are often sold as everbearing. But they are distinctly different from everbearing.
That’s because day neutrals truly will produce fruit throughout the growing season. Unlike everbearing, which usually fruit no more than 3 times per season, day neutral varieties bloom and fruit continuously as long as weather conditions are favorable.
What weather conditions are favorable for day neutrals?
Generally, temperatures need to remain below 90 degrees F for day neutrals to continue blooming and fruiting. So if it really heats up in the summertime where you live (as it does here in Texas!), you won’t be continuously harvesting strawberries from spring to late fall if you plant day neutral varieties.
In fact, a hot summer can effectively transform a day neutral into a de facto everbearing, producing a crop in the spring, and then another in the fall after temperatures have moderated.
Here are some of the more popular day neutral strawberry varieties:
Fairly vigorous plants that produce large fruit with good flavor.
Vigorous grower that produces fruit that is small but with excellent flavor. Fruit freezes well.
Vigorous grower that produces medium sized, good flavored fruit.
Moderately vigorous plant that produces large, firm, good flavored fruit
June Bearing Strawberries
June bearing strawberries are the most widely grown, both among home gardeners and commercial growers.
In fact, odds are good that any fresh strawberries you’ve purchased in the grocery store were harvested from June bearing varieties. (But don’t hold that against them; they were probably picked before they were fully ripe and then shipped a great distance. The June bearing strawberries that you grow will be much better!).
June bearing varieties tend to produce larger, firmer berries overall than day neutral and everbearing.
And they produce one crop per season – and not necessarily in June. June bearers might produce earlier or later than June, depending upon your geographic location. They are sometimes called ‘short day’ strawberries because they require the short days of fall to trigger the development of flower buds for the following spring’s crop.
Although June bearing plants do not produce throughout the summer, by planting a mix of early to late varieties you could enjoy a harvest period of close to 2 months.
Here are some of the more popular June bearing strawberry varieties:
Produces large, early berries with an excellent flavor if allowed to fully ripen. Chandler has been a mainstay of commercial growers for many years. (It was a Chandler that tempted me into tasting a strawberry back when I didn’t think I liked strawberries!)
An old standby that offers good disease resistance, early production and excellent flavor. Berries tend to be on the small side.
Produces large berries with an excellent flavor. Fruit doesn’t freeze well.
Produces large berries with an excellent flavor. Fruit is sometimes soft.
Produces large berries with good flavor. Freezes well, and usually produces a large crop.
Which Strawberry Varieties Will You Choose?
Ah, decisions, decisions.
You’re interested in simply growing a few strawberry plants in your home garden, and now you have a bewildering array of choices to wade through just to figure out which varieties to grow. And to complicate the issue, not all varieties will do well in all areas.
Here are some points to consider which may help you to choose which type of strawberry to grow:
Growing Space Required:
Overall, June bearing strawberries are more vigorous plants than day neutrals or everbearing. They put out lots of runners that, if not removed, will take root as a new strawberry plant. So if you’re very limited in the space available for growing strawberries, that’s a factor that favors everbearing and day neutral.
June bearing tend to be considerably larger on average.
This requires more of a variety-against-variety comparison than a comparison between the 3 primary types of strawberries. There are a number of varieties of each type of strawberry that offer outstanding flavor.
Because of their greater vigor and fruit size, June bearing strawberries are generally the most productive (in terms of poundage per season).
If you live in an area where the summers are hot (many days above 90 F), you won’t get the extended production that’s possible with day neutral and everbearing varieties. These types of strawberries perform to their potential in locations where the summers are mild.
Of course, you don’t have to restrict yourself to just one type of strawberry, or even one variety. There’s no better way to find out how a given type/variety of strawberry will do in your area than by simply trying it.
So if you’re not terribly cramped for space, plant a variety of varieties in your garden. Become the world’s leading expert at which strawberry varieties do best in your backyard!