How Much Sun Do Strawberries Need?

Like almost all vegetables and fruits, strawberries prefer full sun. The fruits will be more numerous, larger and sweeter, and the plants may also be healthier. If your garden has shady spots, you may still be able to harvest some of these sweet red fruits by manipulating the environment or choosing certain types of strawberries.


Day Length

Strawberries are affected by both temperature and daylight. All typical garden strawberries fall into one of thee categories: June bearing, ever-bearing or day-neutral. June bearers provide you with one large crop in early summer. Ever-bearing strawberries give you two smaller crops, one in early summer and one in early fall. Day-neutral strawberries will only fruit when temperatures are between 35 and 85°F (2 and 29°C).

Strawberry Types

In addition to the common commercial strawberry, there are other types that may do better in shady conditions. The Alpine strawberry is a wild variety that has been bred for garden cultivation and can tolerate shadier conditions than most strawberries. Fragaria vesca, the woodland strawberry, actually prefers moist, shady conditions. Fragaria virginiana, the Virginia strawberry, will grow in part shade.

Varieties for Shade

Growing strawberries in shade is a gamble, and it may be hard to find some of these as they are not used in the commercial market. These varieties or types are more likely to do reasonably well:

  • Alexandria – a variety of Fragaria vesca, ever-bearing.
  • Alpine strawberry – Fragaria vesca, ever-bearing.
  • Fragaria virginiana subspecies – glauca, grayana, platypetala, virginiana.

Growing in the Shade

If a shady spot is the only thing you have for your strawberries, choose the varieties above. Be careful not to over-water, as it may encourage diseases. If you do have some choices, it’s better to plant your strawberries in areas that get morning sun and afternoon shade. Do not expect these plants to produce as well as they would when grown in full sun. Try for a minimum of six hours of sun per day.

Other Options

If your vegetable garden is shady, consider growing your strawberries elsewhere. For example, strawberries will grow well in containers and there are a number of these that are designed for maximum production in a small area, such as strawberry jars and strawberry towers. Strawberries are also attractive enough to grow in the flower garden and act as a ground cover once the fruit is harvested.

Basic Growing Requirements

All strawberries will do best in rich, fertile soil. The soil should be on the acidic side and should drain well. If your soil doesn’t meet these requirements, amend with well-rotted leaf mold, aged manure or organic compost. To improve drainage, place plants in raised rows. Keep weeds down and water at least once a week.