Unlocking the Sun’s Secrets: Maximizing Strawberry Growth with Full Sun

February 6, 2021 in environment, green living

Article summary and Key takeaways: Sunlight is crucial for the growth and development of strawberries. They thrive in full sun, requiring at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight per day. Full sun helps strawberries produce more sugars, enhancing their flavor, and build up energy reserves for winter survival and fruit production. While strawberries can tolerate some shade, growing them in shaded areas may result in weaker growth and smaller fruit. Companion planting can provide shade for strawberries in partially shaded areas. Suitable companion plants include borage, marigolds, chives, and nasturtiums. Strawberries grown in full sun tend to produce more fruit with higher sugar content, while excessive sunlight can lead to sunscald and damaged fruit. Morning and afternoon sun are both beneficial for strawberry plants. When growing strawberries in pots or containers, choose a deep container with good drainage and use well-draining potting soil. Strawberries require consistent moisture but do not tolerate waterlogged soil. In Texas, where the climate is hot and dry, strawberries need full sun and may require more frequent watering. The best time to plant strawberries is in the spring or fall. Proper planting depth is essential, with the crown of the plant level with the soil surface. It takes about four to six weeks for strawberries to produce flowers and an additional three to four weeks for the fruit to mature. Strawberries grow on short stems called stolons, not directly on the ground. Providing the necessary care and support will ensure the success of strawberry plants.

Do Strawberries Need Full Sun?


When it comes to growing healthy and delicious strawberries, one of the most important factors to consider is sunlight. Sunlight plays a crucial role in the growth and development of plants, providing them with the energy they need to carry out photosynthesis and produce food. In this article, we will focus specifically on strawberries and explore their sunlight requirements. We will discuss the ideal amount of sunlight for strawberry plants, why they need full sun for optimal growth, and address any concerns about growing strawberries in shaded areas.

The Sunlight Requirements of Strawberries

Strawberry plants thrive in full sun, which typically means at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight per day. This amount of sunlight allows the plants to photosynthesize efficiently, resulting in healthy foliage growth and abundant fruit production. Without enough sunlight, strawberry plants may struggle to grow properly, leading to weak plants, reduced yields, and poor fruit quality.

One of the main reasons strawberries need full sun is because it helps them produce more sugars, which in turn enhances their flavor. The sugars are produced through photosynthesis, a process that requires sunlight. Additionally, sunlight helps the plants build up energy reserves, which are essential for winter survival and fruit production the following season.

Addressing the Concerns about Growing Strawberries in Shaded Areas

While strawberries prefer full sun, they can still be grown in partially shaded areas. However, it is important to note that the yield and quality of the fruit may be compromised. In shaded areas, strawberry plants may struggle to receive the necessary amount of sunlight, resulting in weaker growth and smaller fruit.

If you only have limited access to sunlight in your garden or have a shaded area that you would like to utilize for growing strawberries, there are a few things you can do to improve the conditions. First, choose strawberry varieties that are more tolerant of shade. Some varieties, such as Alpine strawberries, are known to grow well in partially shaded areas.

Another option is to strategically position your strawberry plants to maximize the amount of sunlight they receive. Place them along the edges of your garden or near taller plants that may cast shadows during certain times of the day. By doing so, you can make the most of the available sunlight and help your strawberries thrive even in partially shaded conditions.

Factors Affecting Strawberry Growth in Relation to Sunlight

Impact of Sunlight on Strawberry Yield and Fruit Quality

The amount of sunlight a strawberry plant receives directly affects its yield and the quality of its fruit. Strawberries grown in full sun tend to produce more fruit and have a higher sugar content, resulting in sweeter and more flavorful berries. On the other hand, strawberries grown in shady or low-light conditions often have smaller fruit and may lack the sweetness that comes with ample sunlight.

While strawberries can tolerate some shade, it is important to provide them with as much sunlight as possible to maximize their yield and quality. If you want to enjoy a bountiful harvest of delicious strawberries, it is crucial to ensure they receive the recommended amount of full sun.

Effects of Too Much Sun on Strawberry Plants

While strawberries need full sun for optimal growth, it is also important to consider the potential negative effects of too much sun. Excessive sunlight can lead to sunscald, a condition in which the berries become overly exposed to the sun’s rays and suffer from sunburn. This can result in discolored, shriveled, or damaged fruit.

To protect your strawberries from sunscald, consider providing them with some shade during the hottest part of the day. This can be achieved by using shade cloth, placing a temporary cover over the plants, or planting companion plants that provide natural shade. By taking these precautions, you can ensure your strawberries receive enough sunlight without risking sun damage.

Morning Sun vs. Afternoon Sun for Strawberries

Many gardeners wonder whether morning or afternoon sun is better for strawberries. The truth is, both morning and afternoon sun are beneficial for strawberry plants. Morning sun helps to dry the dew off the leaves, reducing the risk of fungal diseases. Afternoon sun, on the other hand, provides the plant with the energy it needs to carry out photosynthesis and produce sugars.

If possible, try to provide your strawberry plants with a good balance of both morning and afternoon sun. This will ensure they receive the necessary sunlight throughout the day and help promote their overall growth and fruit production.

Companion Plants for Strawberries

Benefits of Companion Planting for Strawberries

Companion planting involves growing different plants in close proximity to one another to enhance their growth and protect them from pests or diseases. When it comes to strawberries, companion planting can offer several benefits. One of the most notable advantages is the ability of companion plants to provide shade for strawberries.

Companion plants can help to create microclimates within your garden, shading the strawberry plants during the hottest parts of the day. This can help prevent sunscald and provide relief from excessive sunlight. Additionally, some companion plants, such as tall flowers or herbs, can act as natural windbreaks, protecting the delicate strawberry plants from strong winds that can damage or uproot them.

Suitable Companion Plants for Strawberries

There are several plants that make excellent companions for strawberries. One popular choice is borage, a beautiful flowering herb that attracts pollinators and repels pests. Borage’s tall and bushy growth can provide shade for strawberries and create a beneficial microclimate.

Other suitable companion plants for strawberries include marigolds, which help deter pests, and chives, which repel aphids and provide shade. Nasturtiums, with their vibrant flowers, can also act as a natural mulch, helping to retain moisture in the soil and prevent weed growth.

Growing Strawberries in Different Conditions

Tips for Growing Strawberries in Pots or Containers

If you have limited garden space or want to have greater control over the growing conditions of your strawberries, growing them in pots or containers is a great option. When growing strawberries in containers, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind.

First, choose a container that is deep enough to accommodate the strawberry plant’s root system. A container with drainage holes is essential to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot. Use well-draining potting soil specifically formulated for container gardening to ensure the plants receive adequate moisture without becoming waterlogged.

Place your containers in a location that receives full sun for the recommended six to eight hours per day. If necessary, move the containers to different spots throughout the day to ensure the plants receive enough sunlight. Regularly monitor the moisture levels of the soil, as containers can dry out more quickly compared to plants grown in the ground.

Water Requirements for Strawberries

Strawberries require consistent moisture to grow and produce high-quality fruit. However, they do not tolerate soggy or waterlogged soil, as it can lead to root rot and other issues. It is essential to strike a balance and provide the right amount of water for optimal growth.

During the growing season, strawberries typically require about 1 to 2 inches of water per week. This can come from a combination of rainfall and supplemental watering. To prevent overwatering, check the moisture levels of the soil regularly. Stick your finger about an inch into the soil, and if it feels dry, it’s time to water. Avoid wetting the foliage, as this can promote the development of fungal diseases.

Do Strawberries Need a Lot of Water?

While strawberries do require consistent moisture, they do not necessarily need a lot of water. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other problems, so it is important to find the right balance. Providing adequate drainage in the soil and monitoring the moisture levels regularly can help prevent overwatering. When in doubt, it is better to underwater slightly than to overwater.

Growing Strawberries in Texas: Sunlight and Water Needs

In Texas, where the climate can be hot and dry, strawberries require careful attention to their sunlight and water needs. Providing them with full sun is crucial for successful growth and fruit production. In particularly hot regions of Texas, it may be beneficial to provide some shade during the hottest part of the day to protect the plants from excessive heat and sunscald.

When it comes to watering strawberries in Texas, it is important to monitor the moisture levels closely. The hot and dry climate may necessitate more frequent watering compared to cooler and more humid regions. Regularly check the soil moisture and adjust your watering schedule accordingly to ensure the plants receive the moisture they need to thrive.

Planting and Care Tips for Strawberries

Best Time to Plant Strawberries

The best time to plant strawberries depends on your location and the specific variety you are growing. In general, it is recommended to plant strawberries in the spring or fall when the weather is cooler and more favorable for their growth.

For spring planting, aim to get your strawberries in the ground as soon as the soil is workable and the threat of frost has passed. This allows the plants to establish their root systems before the hot summer months. Fall planting should be done several weeks before the first expected frost, giving the plants enough time to establish themselves before winter.

Planting Strawberries at the Correct Depth

Proper planting depth is essential for the successful growth of strawberry plants. When planting strawberries, ensure that the crown of the plant, which is the area where the leaves meet the roots, is level with the soil surface. Planting too deep can cause the crown to rot, while planting too shallow can expose the roots and hinder the plant’s growth.

When setting out strawberry plants, make sure to spread their roots out gently and cover them with soil, firming it around the roots to eliminate any air pockets. Water the newly planted strawberries thoroughly to help them settle into their new environment.

Time for Strawberries to Grow and Produce Fruit

Patience is key when growing strawberries, as it takes time for them to grow and produce fruit. Depending on the variety and growing conditions, strawberries typically take about four to six weeks to produce their first flowers after planting. After flowering, it usually takes an additional three to four weeks for the fruit to mature and become ready for harvest.

It is important to provide your strawberry plants with the necessary care and attention during this time, ensuring they receive adequate sunlight, water, and nutrients. With proper care, you can look forward to a delicious harvest of homegrown strawberries.

Do Strawberries Grow on the Ground?

Contrary to popular belief, strawberries do not technically grow on the ground. Instead, they grow on short stems called stolons, which are produced by the mother plant. These stolons have small roots at their tips, which can anchor themselves into the ground. The strawberries themselves, referred to as fruits, develop from the flowers produced by the mother plant.

By understanding the unique growth habits of strawberries, you can provide the necessary care and support for these delightful plants and ensure they thrive in your garden.


In conclusion, sunlight plays a vital role in the growth and success of strawberry plants. Strawberries need full sun, ideally receiving at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight per day, to produce abundant fruit and achieve optimal flavor. While they can tolerate some shade, growing strawberries in shaded areas may result in reduced yields and smaller fruit.

Companion planting can be a great way to provide shade for strawberries in partially shaded areas. Choosing suitable companion plants and strategically positioning them can help create microclimates and protect the delicate strawberries from excessive sunlight.

Whether you are growing strawberries in pots or in the ground, it is important to provide consistent moisture without overwatering. Monitor the soil moisture levels regularly and adjust your watering schedule accordingly. In hot and dry regions like Texas, provide extra care to ensure strawberries receive enough sunlight and water to thrive.

By following proper planting and care tips, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of delicious homegrown strawberries. So, make sure to provide the necessary sunlight for your strawberry plants and watch them flourish.

Question: Can you grow strawberries in the shade?
Answer: No, strawberries need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight to grow properly.

Question: Can strawberries get too much sun?
Answer: Yes, strawberries can get sunburned if exposed to too much direct sunlight.

Question: Should you water strawberries every day?
Answer: No, strawberries should be watered regularly but not necessarily every day. The frequency of watering depends on the weather and soil conditions.

Question: Is morning or afternoon sun better for strawberries?
Answer: Morning sun is generally better for strawberries as it helps to dry the leaves and prevent diseases. Afternoon sun can be too intense and may cause sunburn.


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About the author 

Taylor Kenny

Hi everyone, I'm Taylor. As a Cornell-educated veterinarian, my career has been focused on the welfare of animals. From bustling vet clinics to serene wildlife sanctuaries, my experiences have taught me the importance of compassion and understanding in animal care. I'm here to share my knowledge, experiences, and tips on how we can all make a difference in the lives of animals.