Strawberries are the ideal fruit crop for growers with very limited space. The plants are low growing perennials and provide a delicious supply of fruit either in June (from the appropriately named "June bearers") or throughout the summer (from the day-neutral types). Plants fruit well in rows, beds, or even in pots, and make an attractive groundcover when not fruiting.
The strawberry plant is in many ways unique. It is an herbaceous perennial, composed of leaves, a crown (a compressed, modified stem), and a root system (Figure 8.1). In heavier soils such as clay loams, 90 percent of the roots can be located in the top 6 inches of soil. This shallow root system is, in part, responsible for the strawberry plant's sensitivity to water deficit and excess. Runners, or stolons, arise from buds at the base (axils) of the leaves; they are the strawberry plant's device for asexual propagation.