‘Toscana’ & ‘Delizz’ in baskets on the balcony 2018.
My son gave me a Strawberry plant which he had put in a wicker hanging basket for Father’s Day here in the UK, (June 17th) This was a very deep pink one called ‘Toscana’ which also had a few fruits forming as well. He also gave me a 2nd plant, in a normal pot as he had originally intended to put them both in the same basket but after putting ‘Toscana’ in the basket he discovered there wasn’t enough room for the 2nd plant. I told him I appreciated the plants & not to worry as I had a couple of spare baskets at home & sufficient compost to plant ‘Delizz’ in one.
Since putting them in the baskets & hanging them up on the balcony they have done very well in spite of the very high temperatures we have been having more or less since he gave me them. Most days for the last month have seen very high temperatures (for the UK!) of around 30C! No rain has fallen for the last month either! The poor plants have had to put up with strong sunshine every day from around 11am to 9pm as well as the heat. A few of my plants have actually shriveled up because of it!
On Saturday when our grandkids come round I shall let them pick the first of the fruits that are ready. Every year they help me pick my tomatoes from the plants I have grown on the balcony.
These two plants have given me quite a few strawberries but of the two ‘Delizz’ gave many more & seems a stronger plant than ‘Toscana’. In fact just yesterday, 5th November, I picked the only ripe strawberry on the plant though there are still some green berries just waiting to ripen. ‘Toscana’ on the other hand has practically died back. It has lovely pink flowers but the fruit is smaller & not as tasty as ‘Delizz’. There is no fruit on this plant at present but lots of the leaves have died back. I must cut them off sometime this week.
A few days after I wrote about the apparent weakness of the strawberry plant ‘Toscana’ I got a good look at the plant & discovered an infestation of tiny grey/white aphids. The plant looked pretty bad but I cleaned up all the dead, dying & infested leaves & hung the basket out on the edge of the balcony ceiling so it would get more light & air. The basket felt very heavy & so I thought perhaps I had given it too much water. The basket had dried out quite a bit & the compost was difficult to wet. So I watered it several times over a couple of days. After a couple of weeks further out I again checked it but now it seems to have died! :( I shall leave it where it is for the winter & hope it springs back to life in the spring again.
The other plant seems to be doing just fine. I’ve checked it as well & there were no signs of tiny grey/white aphids nor do the leaves appear dead or dying. It seems to be in good health so I expect plenty of fruit from it next year.