By: Amy Grant
Strawberries require at least eight hours of sun but what if you have a shadier landscape? Can strawberries grow in shade? Strawberry lovers with shaded yards rejoice because, yes, you can grow strawberries in shade, provided you select shady strawberry varieties.
Interested in growing strawberries in shade? Read on to learn about shade tolerant strawberry varieties.
Can Strawberries Grow in Shade?
It is true that strawberries need at least eight hours of sunlight to produce, so what a shaded yard needs aren’t the cultivated strawberry we’ve become accustomed to. Instead, you are looking for a shade tolerant strawberry which will be a variety of wild strawberry.
Cultivated strawberries (Fragaria x ananassa) are hybrid species of the genus Fragaria created by the fusion of Chilean Fragaria chiloensis and the North American Fragaria virginiana. Wild strawberries are the type of strawberries for shade.
Growing Wild Strawberries in Shade
When we are talking wild strawberry for shade, we are speaking of alpine strawberries. Alpine strawberries grow wild along the perimeters of forests in Europe, North and South America, northern Asia, and Africa.
Alpine strawberries (Fragaria vesca) for shade do not send out runners. They fruit continuously throughout the growing season, which is a good thing since alpine berries tend to be smaller and less prolific than hybrid varieties.
Alpine strawberries are less fussy than the hybrids as well. Provided they get at least four hours of sun per day and their soil is aerated, rich in organic matter, and moisture retentive these little beauties will thrive.
Shade tolerant strawberries are suited to USDA zones 3-10 and require minimal maintenance. There are several alpine strawberry varieties, each with its own special characteristic but the one that is most recommended for an area primarily of shade is ‘Alexandria.’
‘Yellow Wonder,’ a yellow alpine strawberry, is also said to do fairly well in shade. In either case, just be aware that alpine strawberries do not fruit as prolifically as the larger hybrid varieties. When they do fruit, however, they are absolutely sublime and the perfect type of strawberries to grow in shade.
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Read more about Strawberry Plants
Best Shade-Tolerant Fruits and How to Grow Them in the Shade
Rebekah started a small farm with her husband in 2016 in upstate New York, just north of the pristine Adirondack Mountains, where she grows vegetables and herbs and also raises sheep, chickens, and pigs. There’s nothing she loves more than helping others learn more especially about sustainable living as it pertains to health and homesteading. An avid cook, she works hard to grow and preserve enough food to support her family throughout the year.
If you’re thinking about growing an edible backyard garden, fruit is a smart choice.
After all, most fruits are not only easy to grow, but they’re quite expensive to buy at the grocery store too. When you learn how to grow fruit, you can dramatically reduce your monthly grocery bill.
However, many gardeners shy away from the idea of growing fruit, believing that their properties don’t have enough natural sunlight to grow healthy fruit plants.
That’s not the case! Gardening in shaded areas is possible – you just need to find the right shade-tolerant fruits, herbs, and vegetables. There are several edible plants that grow in full shade, and dozens of different kinds of fruit to note, too.
Here are some options for fruit plants that grow in the shade – as well as tips on how to do it properly.
Zone Nine Strawberries
Growing strawberries in Zone Nine is do-able. The major areas that fall within Hardiness Zone 9 are coastal and central California, much of Florida, and the southern coast of Texas. The desert of the Southwest U.S.A. is also Zone 9, but strawberries are more difficult to grow there, particularly in Nevada. The dry regions require ample amounts of irrigation. Florida and California, however, are well-suited for Zone 9 strawberry plants. A lot of the popular varieties are patented in those two states.
Zone 9 Strawberry Plants for California
1. Albion – plants are tolerant to changing weather, yield multiple harvests as an everbearer, and produce dark red, tasty strawberries.
2. Camarosa – a short-day junebearer that produces early and has good storage properties.
3. Ventana – produces very early in the season (even earlier than Camarosa). Flavor and shelf life are good.
Zone Nine Strawberry Plants for Florida
1. Sweet Charlie – this variety was developed in the early 1980s in Florida, and it is a real winner. It smells sweet and tastes even sweeter. It also has good disease resistance. (for a profile, click here: Sweet Charlie Strawberry Plants)
2. Other good choices: Strawberry Festival, Treasure, Winter Dawn, Florida Radiance
3. Oldies-but-goodies that will still produce: Selva, Oso Grande
Zone 9 Strawberry Plants for Texas
1. Chandler – very likely the best strawberry variety for growing in South Texas. For a profile, click here: Chandler Strawberry Plants.
2. Others: Douglas, Sequoia (both of these varieties will fruit in the early spring).
Vanilla Strawberry is different. The flowers start off green-white. Then, when the temperatures drop later in the summer and it cools down, the flowers turn reddish-pink. If your late summer night temperatures are still quite warm, the hydrangea may not have that opportunity to change color.
Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea isn’t one of those hydrangeas. Their flowers will change colors when the night temperatures cool in the fall. To grow more flowers, use a fertilizer with a higher middle number on the NPK ratio. Phosphorous helps grow flowers.
Full sun, partial shade, deer, rabbit, and drought resistant, zone 3
Hemerocallis ‘Strawberry Candy’
Bred in 1989, and has won many prestigious awards. Among the most popular varieties in the re-blooming daylilies, and is a multiple award-winner. It is an early midseason tetraploid Daylily, and will bloom in early-mid Summer. The blooms of this Daylily are bright coral-pink with red picotee margins and strawberry-red marks around its pale yellow throats. Each flower gets to be about 11 cm wide, typically lasts about 16 hrs, opening up in the morning and withering during the forthcoming night. This variety has an extremely long blooming period.
Ideal choice for shrub borders, perennial beds, ground covers, or in containers. The best time to plant Daylilies is during early Fall or early Spring. After flowering, remove spent blooms. When all the flowers are finished, cut off the scape close to ground level. Remove dead foliage as they die back in the Fall.
This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and is a good choice for attracting butterflies to your yard. This plant will grow to be about 26 inches tall and a spread of 20 inches. When growing in masses space out to 18 inches. The plant is very adaptable to both dry and moist locations, and not particular to soil type or pH. Once it has been established it is pretty drought tolerant. It has a medium growth rate. Daylilies are often call the “perfect perennial” because of its showy flowers, drought tolerance, heat stress immunity, and ability to grow with low care requirements.