How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Strawberry Tree

A strawberry plant (Arbutus undo) is a tree that produces brightly colored, round fruits that are not Strawberry but taste bland. The trees also have delicate flowering, fragrant flowers.

The fruit of the strawberry tree is a fruit with flavors similar to Apricots and guavas, with subtle woody undertones.

The leaf of the tree is bright and dark. They are about 2 to 4 inches long. The leaves change color in the fall, which is October through December. The tree blooms bell-shaped, white or pink flowers that bloom in clusters and mature along with the fruit.

All this is brought together by the gorgeous multicolored bark and twisting branches, which make a stunning ornamental tree. If allowed to grow as a small tree, it will eventually become an enormous, lush dome.

In time, they develop a beautiful look with a slight twist: dark, lush red, stemmed, leathery leaves, dark, reddish brown flaking, and shreddy bark.

The fruits are edible. However, they’re generally not very enjoyable when fresh. They also make the Portuguese medronho liqueur, along with jelly and jams.

It is likely that this plant will develop at a slow or moderate pace and will be able to begin to plant new trees in the autumn. It’s among the most appealing small trees in residential areas. However, it’s not readily found in the eastern region.

As a master gardener, I’ll guide you through the steps to maintain this evergreen plant in this post.

Botanical Name: Arbutus unedo

Common Names: Strawberry tree, Killarney strawberry tree, Irish strawberry tree, cane apple, Dalmatian strawberry arbutus

Family: Ericaceae

Plant Type: Evergreen shrub

Hardiness Zones: 4 – 9 (USDA)

Sun exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Soil TypeWell-draining and sandy or loamy soil

Soil is acidic and slightly acidic

Age of maturity: 3-5 years

Height:8-12 ft

Bloom Time: From late autumn through winter

Color of the Flower: White or pinkish bell-shaped flowers

Local Area of Origin: Mediterranean region (Western Europe, North Africa)

Strawberry Tree Plant Care

Cultivating strawberry trees is an art in the same way as a science. Understanding the specifics of your plant’s requirements and adapting as needed is essential. Here’s a list of your strawberry tree’s most critical care factors.

Many essential aspects must be considered when you’re looking to care for your strawberry plant. Knowing the importance of light, soil temperatures, water, humidity, and fertilizer will allow you to ensure the right conditions for your plant to flourish.


The role of light is crucial in the development of the strawberry tree. Like humans who thrive in the sun, most strawberry varieties require sun-filled days to maximize their growth potential.

Ensure that the area you choose to plant gets, at minimum, up to six hours of direct sunlight each day for maximum growth. The brighter light will encourage blooming flowers, leading to abundant fruit production.

Alongside direct sun, it’s essential to consider the duration and intensity of light. The strawberry trees can benefit from constant, bright lighting throughout the day. Avoid areas with a lot of shade or areas susceptible to prolonged dark days.


Strawberry trees like well-drained, acidic soil. The strawberry plant won’t thrive in conditions that are too wet. Excessive watering or inadequate drainage could lead to root decay. So, you must ensure that the pH of your soil is acidic, ranging from 6.0 to 6.5, to allow your plant to flourish.

Find a pH kit at your local garden store to determine your soil’s pH. If your soil isn’t acidic enough, consider adding sulfur or iron sulfate to lower the pH.

It’s essential to think about the soil’s condition alongside pH levels. The strawberry trees thrive in soils that are abundant in organic material. The addition of compost or well-rotted manure can increase soil fertility as well as provide vital nutrients for your plant.


It’s essential to think about the soil’s quality alongside pH levels. The fruit trees thrive in soils that are high in organic matter. Adding compost or well-rotted manure will improve soil fertility and provide vital nutrients to your tree.


When watering your strawberry plants, it is essential to be consistent. Regular, long-lasting irrigation sessions help to build solid and robust root systems. But do not soak the soil. Instead, it would be best if you aimed to maintain dry, well-drained soil for this evergreen plant.

It would be best if you watered your trees regularly in the hot summer months since the soil may dry out quickly. However, decrease the watering frequency during the colder seasons or when there is a lot of rain to avoid excessively soaking your tree’s roots.

It is vital to know that strawberries have a mild tolerance to drought once they have been established and are grown within well-drained clay. While they require frequent watering, they can also withstand brief periods of water shortage. But prolonged drought can cause stress on the tree and affect the fruit production.

Temperature and Humidity

They are generally tough and can withstand a variety of climates. They prefer low temperatures and are not suited to extreme temperatures or frost. Ideal Strawberry growing temperatures range between 20-30 deg C (70-85degF).

While they can handle certain levels of humidity, ensure they have adequate air circulation to prevent the spread of disease. If your area’s humidity is consistently high, you may consider using a material that can absorb excess water.

Awareness of the humidity and temperature in your growth area is essential. Extreme temperatures and high humidity levels could stress the tree, causing damage to the quality of the fruit. Think about using shade cloths or other methods to shield your tree from extreme temperatures or cold.


Fertilizers can be essential in increasing the growth rate and production of fruit in the strawberry tree. A well-balanced fertilizer with an even nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus ratio could be used in the spring when growth is booming.

Additionally, organic compost could offer a slow-release nutrient source that will benefit your tree for an extended period. Follow the product’s instructions or talk to an experienced local horticulturist before adding fertilizers.

Alongside regular fertilization, keeping track of nutrient levels within your soil is essential. Testing your soil will allow you to determine which nutrients are missing and modify your fertilizer application accordingly.

Remember that taking care of your strawberry plant is a continuous process. Regular monitoring, correct maintenance, and prompt adjustments will ensure the health and efficiency of your tree for many years to come.

The harvesting process from Strawberry Tree

In the fall of late autumn or early winter, typically during November or December, the strawberries on the strawberry tree are prepared to be picked. The berries are harvested when their skins become bright red and soft to the touch.

How to Plant Strawberry Tree

Planting your tree can bring a sense of satisfaction that’s not often available in store-bought, pre-purchased fruit trees. Caring for seeds and watching them transform into mature plants is satisfying and reconnects us with nature and life cycles.

Let’s take a look at the step-by-step procedure to plant strawberry plants:

1. Stratify the Seeds

To ensure that the seeds germinate successfully To ensure a successful germination, it is suggested that strawberry seeds be stratified seedlings. This is similar to the natural cycle of seeds exposed to cold winter months before sprouting in the spring.

To separate the seeds, put them in a bag and seal them. Then, put it in the refrigerator for two weeks. The cold process will break the seed’s dormancy and allow it to germinate.

2. Select the Right Planting Site

After the seeds have been stratified, you can select the ideal location for your strawberry tree. They prefer well-drained soil and thrive in places with full sun or shade. Be aware of your tree’s mature dimensions and ensure it has enough space to expand and spread its branches.

3. Prepare the Soil

Before planting it, ensure the ground is prepared by eliminating debris or weeds. The strawberry plants prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH range of 5.5 to 6.5. You can modify your soil by adding organic matter, such as peat moss or compost, to reduce the pH when your soil seems sour.

4. Plant the Seeds

When the soil and ground are ready, it’s time to plant the strawberry seeds. Make a small hole about an inch deep, then place the seeds in. Please place them in the soil and gently press on them to ensure a proper seed-to-soil connection. The area should be thoroughly watered so the roots get the moisture needed to grow.

5. Nurture the Seedlings

As the days pass and the days pass by, check on your strawberry seedlings. Make sure that the soil stays damp but not soaked. In excess watering, the roots can develop decay, so it’s crucial to find the right balance. When the seedlings emerge and produce their first leaves, it’s time to give them more attention.

6. Transplanting

If you planted the strawberry plant in small pots, you may eventually have to transplant them into larger containers or directly into your outdoor plant location. Select a sunny spot with good drainage and plenty of space to allow the tree to develop. Remove the seedlings gently from their pots, taking caution not to harm the delicate roots, then place them in the new place. After transplanting, water thoroughly to ensure the seedlings can establish themselves in their new environment.

If you follow these steps, you’ll be in good shape to plant your very personal strawberry tree. Be patient and take care are essential when nurturing the seedlings in their early stages. As your plant expands, the rewards will be beautiful shade, beauty, and delicious fruit. Therefore, take a leap of faith, enjoy the excitement of planting, and watch your strawberry plant flourish in the future!

Types of Strawberry Trees

Here are a few of the most sought-after strawberry varieties and the most essential characteristics of each:

  • “Compacta” This kind of plant will provide you with a tiny strawberry. It’s a trendy selection because it grows only 8-12 feet tall, making it the perfect choice for growing in pots for a patio.
  • “Rubra” This variety of Strawberry is famous because of its stunning pink blooms.
  • “Elfin King”Choose the dwarf cultivar referred to under the alias “Elfin King” if you don’t want to bother removing lots of fallen fruits. Naturally, the disadvantage is that it yields smaller ornamental fruits.
  • “Oktoberfest”: This is a fantastic dwarf strawberry plant that makes a beautiful container plant.

Common Pests and Plant Diseases for Strawberry Tree

The strawberry trees with vivid red fruits and evergreen leaves are cherished in every garden. Although they’re generally resistant, these gorgeous trees aren’t immune to many pests and diseases.


A common insect that can cause havoc to strawberry trees is the birds. These birds, which are feathered with their sharp eyes and swift beaks, are quick to grab the delicious fruit of the tree. As you gaze at the stunning splendor of the strawberry plant, be on guard for any indications of bird activity. You may want to consider using bird nets or other measures to keep these soaring thieves from enjoying the fruit before you do.

Another insect that could cause damage to strawberry plants is slugs. These slimy creatures are especially attracted by the fruit’s sweet fruit and soft leaves. To keep your strawberry plant free of slugs, you should regularly examine the leaves and the surrounding areas for indications that they are present. If you see any slugs on the site, you can employ slug traps and other natural methods to limit the population and safeguard your plant.

Along with rodents and slugs, they are also dangerous to your strawberry plant. Mice, squirrels, and other mammals of a smaller size are known to love the fruits of the tree just as much as we do. These intelligent creatures can swiftly discover their way into the trees and leave smaller quantities of fruits to enjoy. To keep rodents from feasting on your strawberry trees, consider using barriers or repellents that are safe for the tree and the environment.

Plant Diseases

While pests are annoying, illnesses can also impact the health of strawberries. A common ailment can be root rot caused by excess water on the ground. When soil becomes saturated and suffocated, it creates ideal conditions for fungi to flourish, which can lead to root decay. Ensure the strawberry tree is placed in well-drained soil to stop this disease. Also, be careful not to over-water. Check the soil’s moisture levels regularly, then alter your watering schedule.

Another ailment that could affect the strawberry tree is Phytophthora. This fungal pathogen can cause the crown and root to rot, which causes reduced growth and wilting leaves. Phytophthora thrives in poorly drained soil and can quickly spread when left unchecked.

To guard your strawberry trees from the ailment, ensure adequate drainage and avoid conditions that cause waterlogging. Also, guaranteeing good garden hygiene, including removing any affected plant material, will help prevent the spreading of Phytophthora.

The care of a strawberry tree isn’t just about attending to its needs but about developing a deeper connection to the natural world. While you embark on your quest to care for and nurture these gorgeous trees, you are a part of the life cycle inside your backyard. The sweet benefits of your hard work will bring joy to your soul and fill your garden with the bounty of strawberries.

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