A strawberry jar is a tall pot that has holes in the side used for planting several plants at once. They are perfect for the balcony or fire escape gardener because they don’t take up much room and you can use them to plant a collection of different plants, either decorative or culinary. You can buy them at garden centers or places like Walmart, Home Depot or Target that have seasonal gardening departments.
Most strawberry jars are made out of terracotta; plants dry out quickly in this material. If you are shopping for a strawberry jar, opt for a larger model that allows you to give more water to the plants it holds. Also, look for lips on the side pockets. These hold the dirt so it doesn’t wash out when you water the pot. Glazed pots are more expensive, but they last longer and slow the drying process.
Plant the jar in stages, one tier at a time. Loosen the roots when you take the plant out of its temporary container and push the tops of plants through the pockets from the inside out. Fill as you plant and water each layer to settle the soil. Plant the largest or tall plants at the very top.
Keeping the plants evenly watered is the hardest part, but there are some tricks you can use to make certain all of the plants get enough water. Drill holes in a piece of PVC pipe slightly longer than the height of your jar. Stuff one end with a piece of sponge. Place the sponge end in the bottom of the pot before you start adding soil and plants (this way you can water the tube and the plants on the lower levels will receive moisture.)
You could do the same with a tall, narrow water or soda bottle if you can find one that fits in your pot without taking up too much space. In this case you won’t need the sponge. You also can use the method shown in the video below. Your herb jar may need watering every day, especially during the hottest part of summer.
Here are some herbs that do well in a strawberry jar: chives, mint, oregano, parsley, sage, thyme. Lavender and rosemary do well at the top of the planter as they tend to grow tall. Keep the herbs clipped and don’t let them flower to keep them productive. Avoid fast growing, bolting, plants like dill and cilantro.