Growing strawberries in NZ: top tips for planting

So say goodbye to plastic punnets - we've got easy tips to make your garden a strawberry paradise.

Last updated: 13 February 2024

Why pay $5 for a punnet of mediocre strawberries, when you could pick fresh, sweet, juicy ones, right from your backyard? Not only does growing your own strawberries save you money, but you also get the fun of watching them grow and having delicious, perfectly ripe treats for you and your pals. So say goodbye to plastic punnets – we've got easy tips to make your garden a berry paradise. 

When is the best time to plant strawberries in NZ?

Ideally, you’d want to be planting your strawberries from late autumn to early winter (May to June). By getting them in the ground before New Zealand’s harsher winter months, the plants have time to establish roots and properly acclimate. This strategic timing helps their resilience and readiness for optimal spring growth.

What are the best growing conditions?

Don’t be scared off by all the things strawberries require. New Zealand tends to be a great place to grow these delicious berries, even for a total gardening novice. Here are the basics:

1. Sunlight

Strawberries love full sun, meaning they need at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day. For healthy growth and fruit development, AKA big juicy red strawberries, position your plants somewhere without too much shade.

2. Soil

Well-drained, nutrient-rich soil is key for strawberries. The soil should be slightly acidic to neutral (pH 5.5-6.5). It’s also great to mix some organic matter, like compost, into your soil to improve fertility and drainage.

3. Watering

You’ll need to keep the soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged. Drip irrigation or soaker hoses are great to avoid wetting the foliage, which can lead to diseases. But a watering can will do the trick too. 

Browse our range of drip irrigation and soaker hoses

4. Temperature

Strawberries thrive in cool to mild temperatures — so most areas in New Zealand do well. However, specific varieties may be better suited to warmer or cooler climates.

5. Spacing

Generally, strawberries should be spaced about 12-18 inches apart in rows with 3-4 feet between rows. It’s just enough space so they always have good air circulation, preventing diseases.

6. Mulching

Mulch around the strawberry plants to suppress weeds, retain soil moisture and prevent soil-borne diseases. Straw, pine straw, or shredded leaves are great mulching materials.

See our range of mulch options. 

7. Fertilisation

Fertiliser is like food for strawberries, and you want to make sure they have a sensible diet. Go for a balanced, slow-release fertiliser or one that’s formulated specifically for berries. Follow the recommended schedule, typically in spring and after fruiting.

Browse strawberry fertilisers

8. Protection from pests

If you don’t cover your strawberries, birds and slugs might eat them before you get the chance. And can you blame them? Consider using bird netting and applying organic pest control methods to protect your strawberries.

Find strawberry netting on Trade Me. 

9. Renovation

After the harvest season, renovate your strawberry patch by removing old, unproductive plants and thinning runners. This will help create healthy new growth for the next season.

10. Proper variety selection

Choose strawberry varieties that are well-suited to your climate and growing conditions. Some varieties are better for colder climates, while others thrive in warmer regions.

How to grow strawberries without a big garden

If you live in the city and you don’t have much garden room, don’t worry — you can still enjoy growing and eating your very own strawberries. Small spaces can be surprisingly perfect for these delicious berries. Whether you’ve got a balcony, patio, or even just a sunny windowsill, here are the creative ways you can get started:

1. Strawberry planters

Great for balconies or tiny patios, these let you grow strawberries upwards without needing a big garden. But while they save space, each pocket is a bit snug, so your plants might not get massive. 

Check out our range of strawberry planters

2. Strawberry grow bags

Lightweight and easy to move, these bags are perfect for small spots. They have good air and drainage, keeping the conditions just right for your strawberries. However, like planters, the pockets are a bit cramped, so they won’t grow as big as garden strawberries.

See our strawberry grow bag listings.

3. Strawberry racks

Racks let your strawberries stretch horizontally, potentially making them bigger. They're handy for tight spaces where plants can't go wide. Just make sure they get enough sun and keep an eye on runners to avoid overcrowding. 

Browse all strawberry racks

Best strawberry varieties for New Zealand

Wherever you are in New Zealand, there's a strawberry that's just right for your garden. Here are the most popular options:

1. Alpine strawberries – tiny and tasty

These little berries are known for their small size but big flavour. They love cooler climates, so if you're in places like Otago or Canterbury, these might be perfect for your garden. Alpine strawberries can keep producing fruit all season long, making them a sweet treat for a good while.

Shop Alpine strawberries.

2. Monterey strawberries – classic goodness

Monterey strawberries are loved for their classic strawberry taste. They're not too big, not too small – just right! These guys are quite adaptable, so they can do well in many parts of New Zealand. From Northland to Southland, they're up for the challenge.

More good options

Other popular strawberries to grow in New Zealand are the Cambridge Rivals, which like warm places and have big, tasty berries. The Rubygem — great for small spaces and gives sweet and juicy berries in different weather. Or the Sweetheart, which grows well where it's warm and sunny, giving super sweet and red berries.

Plant, pick, enjoy

Ready to get those strawberries growing? It’s easier than you think! Once you’ve ordered everything you need off Trade Me, all you need to do is find a sunny spot to plant them, water them regularly (but not too much), feed them and protect them, and watch the magic happen. Good luck and we hope you enjoy the fruits of your labour.

Ready to start growing strawberries?
Browse a variety of strawberry planting options for sale on Trade Me Marketplace
Shop now


Trade Me Marketplace
Trade Me Marketplace

Written by one of our Trade Me Marketplace experts - providing you with the latest information to help you shop smarter in New Zealand.