Strawberries are one of the most popular fruit plants you can grow in the US, and they do really well in Missouri.
If you live in Missouri, you might be asking, ‘when to plant strawberries in Missouri?’ The answer is during the spring season, or specifically from March until early April. You can also go for an early planting schedule by testing the soil using a shovel and seeing if it breaks apart easily.
When Should I Plant Strawberries in Missouri?
Strawberry beginners and eager gardeners will wait until the danger of frost has passed before planting. For the state of Missouri, the exact day might vary but it’s usually in early March. If the soil crumbles quickly when you dig one up and pack it into a ball then you can go ahead and plant your strawberries.
Ideally, you’ll want to have your soil tested to see if it meets the nutritional requirements of strawberries. You can skip this and just add organic matter and fertilize at the right time; however, this requires extra work and management on your behalf.
The best site to grow strawberries in your yard or garden is an area that gets the most amount of sunlight in a day. The more sun it gets the healthier and bushier it will be, which leads to greater and higher quality yields. Fertilizers are the second part of the equation- you can’t be asleep at the wheel while growing strawberries or else you’ll have less fruits than intended.
When planting strawberries, pay special attention to the crown and where it sits in the soil or ground. The crown has to sit just right on top of the soil level, not below the ground. Furthermore, it should not be subjected to excessive moisture or else it will quickly rot.
Pick the right strawberry cultivar that’s best suited for Missouri conditions. Varieties differ in terms of ripening season, yield, disease resistance and freezing quality. Also, purchase from reputable nurseries and learn to know which plants are healthy and which ones aren’t.
Missouri Hardiness Zone and First and Last Frost Date
The USDA has classified the state of Missouri as having hardiness zones between 5 to 7. It’s warmer than most of Illinois and colder than Iowa.
Typically speaking, Missouri has a growing season that begins in April and ends in October. The specifics of when will be different depending on where you’re located. First frost tends to fall by the second or third week of October, while the last frost is somewhere around the second or third week of April.
Missouri has a growing season of 188 days, with danger of frost unlikely between April 27 through October 2. Alternatively, frost is almost always sure to arrive from October 17 until April 12.
The Best Strawberry Species to Grow in Missouri
Missouri has some popular strawberry varieties that work well within its climate. You can choose to get a day-neutral cultivar or the everbearing cultivar depending on your preference.
Day neutrals produce flower buds (and eventually, strawberries) regardless of season, with harvest coming in during fall and summer. Some of the best day-neutral strawberries include Tribute (high yield, with medium to large fruits), Tristar (moderate yield, with small to medium fruits) and Seascape, a species most notably known for quickly bearing fruits within 12 to 14 weeks after you plant them.
Everbearing strawberries have a traditional fruiting and harvest schedule. They will most likely produce their major crops during spring, and a smaller one in fall. This cultivar also requires being exposed to shorter days in order to begin producing flowers.
The most popular strawberry plants in Missouri include:
- Earliglow (outstanding flavor, good freezing characteristics),
- Annapolis (high yield and early season grower)
- Honeoye (high yield and good for freezing)
- Redchief (sweet taste, resistant to verticillium wilt),
- Surecrop (light colored and very vigorous),
- Allstar (large fruits and great for eating fresh)
- Chandler (large fruits, mid-season grower)
- Jewel (high yields, slow runner growth)
- Lateglow (tasty and has a higher frost resistance)
- Sparkle (soft and late bloomer).
Here is a super long (and super useful) video from MU on growing strawberries in MO:
When to Plant Strawberries in Missouri: Conclusion
No matter the species, you should always observe the right planting process and meet the requirements of strawberries in order to succeed. Remember to fertilize and protect them from the frost, and you’ll have strawberries that will stay with you for a long time.
Related Article: When to Plant Tomatoes in Missouri?