Cheap n’ Easy Container Idea – Strawberries and Violas


What to do with a lone strawberry plant leftover from another soon-to-be-revealed project, a small flat of red violas ($3.50 for 16 plants!), and an old coffee canister that was thrifted as part of a 70s era fake woodgrain 4 part kitchen canister set?

Put them together!

I figure the red viola flowers will look great alongside the red strawberries and everything is edible. I poked holes in the bottom of the canister using a large, and very dangerous nail left behind by the dudes who installed new gutters on our building, filled the new “pot” with container soil, and mulched the top using shards from a terracotta pot that broke in transit — nothing is wasted! And to think I used to smirk at my grandmother’s tendancy to hourd Swiss Chalet containers and plastic bread ties — there was a lot of useful crap in those drawers!

It’s been about a week since I planted this up and I’ve already got little strawberries forming and new flowers in bloom.

Total cost about $2.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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17 thoughts on “Cheap n’ Easy Container Idea – Strawberries and Violas

  1. My great grandma used to have a whole closet in the mud room filled with yogurt and butter containers, old plastic tv dinner trays, mason jars, etc. I actually wish I had inherited it all when she passed away…there was some useful stuff there!

    I second loving the red violas with the strawberries…good idea!

  2. I know this might be a stupid question but is that an actual strawberry plant. Like the ones you eat as fruit?

  3. Yep it’s a strawberry. Strawberries do well in containers and a good sunny spot. The first two berries are just turning pink… not long before they are ripe and ready to eat.

  4. My husband just built me a strawberry container/box out of recycled wood from an old futon. It holds 36 strawberry plants. It turned out beautiful however we have never grown strawberries before and we were just told that we’ll have to wait until next year as it is too late to plant the strawberries now. Is this true?

  5. Kate: In what part of the world are you located? The best times are early spring and fall depending on the type of plant but that shouldn’t stop you from putting plants in now if you already have them on hand.

    p.s. Great use of a recycled futon!

  6. We are in St. Catharines, Ontario which is in-between Niagara Falls and Toronto. We don’t have the plants on hand yet, we were planning on going to get some this week. If we find ever-bearing plants, that should be okay? I am wondering if we could use it for any other fruits/vegetables if the vegetables if the strawberries don’t work out?
    I would love to post a pic of the box, is there an option for uploading pics?

  7. If I planted these do you think that they would do good by a sunny window? Or do they have to be outside?

  8. Is it true that it is good to pick the flowers the first two years so that the strawberry (planted in the ground) can focus it’s energy growing.

  9. Destiny: Strawberries can be grown in partial sun but produce more in full sun. It would need to be a south-facing sunny window.

    Liz: I don’t do this with container plants because they don’t often survive the winter in my region… especially if I’m growing in terracotta pots. It does help establish stronger plants if you do this with in-ground grown plants but everbearing plants are the exception… you can pick the flowers off early in the season and then let them fruit in the fall.

    One year is long enough. I have never heard of waiting two years.

  10. I’ve an idea to plant strawberries with some geraniums in my balcony windowbox. It receives sun for most of the day.. Do you think they’re a good match?


  11. Janey: It depends on the geranium… some of the scented varieties don’t take as well to hot sun. However most geraniums do and I’m assuming that’s what you mean so I would say that they would be alright together. My only concern would be that the geranium roots can sometimes get a little large and may compete with the strawberries.

    I would just give it a try and see how it turns out! A lot of the trick to gardening is just about taking chances and making observations on the results.

  12. Because of strawberrie’s widespread root systems, what’s the best and safest way to transplant them?

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