Looking for a productive strawberry variety with sweet, delicious berries? Time to try Ozark Beauty strawberries!
The Ozark Beauty strawberry is an everbearing strawberry cultivar from Arkansas well-known for its sweet berries and productive growth. Ozark Beauty strawberry plants are easy to grow, thriving in full-sun locations with well-drained soil and consistent watering. Ozark Beauty strawberries are a great choice for gardeners who want to harvest great-tasting berries in both late spring and early autumn.
Read on for tips on planting, plant care, and harvesting Ozark Beauty strawberries.
Ozark Beauty strawberry basics
The Ozark Beauty Strawberry was bred by J.B. Winn of Arkansas and introduced in 1955. Ozark Beauty strawberry plants were bred from the Red Rich Strawberry and the Twentieth Century Strawberry. This strawberry plant is an everbearing cultivar.
Ozark Beauty strawberry plants tend to have a long harvest season in late spring, generally for about three weeks in late June to early July. The second (smaller) crop grows from buds set in the spring, which ripen into strawberries in late August through September.
Runner plants start to grow mid-summer but typically don’t produce strawberries until they have overwintered. Ozark beauty plants are perennials and will regrow from their roots year after year.
Ozark Beauty is one of the most productive heritage strawberry cultivars available. These vigorous plants start to produce berries in early summer and can continue until frost in good conditions. The plants are also quite cold-hardy.
“Ozark Beauty (Red Rich x Twentieth Century), originated with J.B. Winn of Arkansas. Introduced 1955 for its runner-plant production, attractive, sweet good-flavored berries. Mother plant very productive, runner plants usually produce no berries.”Present Everbearing Varieties of the United States, From The Strawberry: History, Breeding and Physiology, by George M. Darrow.
Flavor profile of Ozark beauty strawberries
When it comes to flavor, the Ozark Beauty is one of the most flavorful strawberries out there. It is said to have a honey-sweet flavor but not too sickly sweet. This gives Ozark Beauty a robust flavor that is considered one of the best tasting among strawberry varieties.
Many people like to use the Ozark beauty for jams and jellies. Their sweet flavor is well suited to canning, freezing, or just eating fresh off the plant in the garden. Because Ozark Beauty strawberries are so prolific, you will have ample opportunity to do anything you want with them. You can freeze them and save them for later, or you can give them away to your friends and family.
Planting Ozark Beauty strawberry plants
Before you can start growing your Ozark Beauty strawberries, you will need to make sure that your soil is properly prepared for your plant. They need a slightly acidic soil ph to thrive. This will help them grow well and produce lots of fruit.
You can find them as a plant at your local nursery or as a bare root (more commonly as a bundle of bare roots). When planting, make sure to not cover the crown of the plant and keep distance between individual plants. If you cover the crown, it will make it harder for the plant to grow.
Plant care for Ozark beauty strawberries
Strawberry plants need full sunlight. This should be about 6-8 hours of direct sunlight every day. If they don’t meet the right growing requirements, their growth can be stunted, and they will not produce many strawberries. That said, if you only have a few hours of direct sunlight, they may be worth a try.
These plants will also need about an inch of water every week. Strawberry plants don’t like to be in wet soil all the time, but the plants do need water to produce their foliage, blossoms, and delicious berries.
If grown correctly, you should be able to harvest bright red, moderately firm strawberries for several months. While it may be possible to grow these plants indoors, outside conditions are almost always best in a home growing situation.
Ozark Beauty plants will produce many runners (daughter plants) that you can cut off and plant somewhere else to propagate your plants. You can also leave 2 to 3 runners to root off the side of the mother plant if you like. For growers with lots of plants, this variety is most commonly grown in the hill-system method.
Choosing a good growing location
Compared to other strawberries, Ozark Beauty strawberries can grow in a wider range of areas. This makes them an ideal choice for growing in less-than-perfect areas.
The best place to plant these strawberries is in a spot that receives a minimum of 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day. Morning sun is preferable to harsh afternoon sun, but the plants can take all-day sun as long as they have enough water. Strawberries prefer soil that drains out water easily, so you may wish to work in some compost if your soil has more of a heavy clay texture.
Ozark Beauty strawberries have a hardiness rating of zones 4 -8. During winter dormancy, they can survive short periods of temperatures as low as -30 degrees! You can mulch them with a thick 6″ protective mulch in the wintertime to protect them from overly cold temperatures and temperature swings. Remove this mulch when the ground starts to thaw and apply a thin weed-reduction mulch like straw.
Harvesting Ozark Beauty strawberries
Ozark Beauty strawberries (and everbearing varieties in general) are not as firm as most other varieties of strawberries, so you do have to be careful when picking them. They can bruise easily, so when picking make sure to do it carefully.
The best way to pick the strawberries is to grab the stem between your thumb and pointer finger, pull it so that it’s taut, and twist. This will leave a little bit of the stem still attached and will help ensure that the fruit itself does not get damaged or bruised in the process. Alternatively, use scissors or pruning shears to trim the stems.
The best time to pick strawberries is in the cool morning time when the berries are still cool. Make sure not to pick any strawberries with green tips because they are not ripe.