If You Plant a Strawberry Top, Will It Grow a Strawberry?
Over the course of the years, I have had several people ask me this question, or a version of it: “If you plant a strawberry top, will it grow a strawberry?” This year, however, I have received a noticeable increase in the number of curious questioners hoping to make good on the part of the strawberry most commonly used as a grip while the rest of the fruit is gnawed in happy contentment. After all, the little bit of white flesh left under the calyx and stem isn’t good for much other than, perhaps, making a bit of strawberry water. I don’t know why the curiosity has spiked, but it is a valid question. Since curious minds want to know…
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Q: When Do Strawberry Plants Die?
On September 13th, 2011, Elenor asked:
When do strawberry plants die? My strawberry plants are doing badly. They used to flourish for the first 3 years, but now are thinning out and getting scraggly. It is mid-September, I read about renovation – to be done around June after harvest. Can these plants be dug up and dried out through the winter, and replanted in the spring? When I bought them they were just dried out looking bare clean roots. What should I do to keep them happy and healthy?
Answer to: When Do Strawberry Plants Die?
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Q: How Old Are My Strawberry Plants?
On June 7, 2011, Diane asked:
We have strawberries in raised beds. We are getting smaller and smaller berries every year. I think I need to thin the plants. Is there a way to tell by looking at them which plants are oldest? I need to know how old are my strawberry plants. We also need to fertilize and water them. We were really just letting nature take it’s course. With a fair amount of success until now. The berries are just mostly really small this year. Thanks for this site. It was very helpful. I’m also wondering if when you create new plants from runners are you supposed to pinch off the blossoms on those or just on new bare root plants? If you are supposed to pinch them off the new runner plants, how can you tell which plants are new in the Spring? They all look the same to me in the bed. Thanks.
Answer to: How Old Are My Strawberry Plants?
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Q: How Should I be Caring for Strawberry Plants in Warm Winters?
On December 28, 2015, Sarah asked:
Should I cut my plants back before mulching? If so, how much? I am growing Yellow Wonder yellow alpine strawberries and they were really unique and tasty berries last summer, and very happy plants – not fussy at all. I am in Brooklyn, NY z7a and our weather this winter is record breaking warm. I have left my strawberries (and some of my flowers and herbs) as they were through the growing season. My strawberries are still flowering, and even some cavalier fruits are going for it! So I’ve left them alone because I was just so darn curious what they would do in this extremely unseasonable weather. But it may actually finally become winter here soon, I hope, so I would like to know, 1- should I cut back healthy vegetation before covering, and 2- anything else I need to know for a strangely warm and unpredictable winter season in my zone? Thanks so much for your great site!
Answer to: Warm Winter Care for Strawberry Plants?
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Q: Planting Strawberries on a Hill?
On May 1, 2011, Beth asked:
I’d like to replace a grassy slope (~ 6 ft x 20 ft) into a strawberry patch. Are there special considerations for hillside planting?
Answer to: Planting Strawberry Plants on a Hill?
Yes, there are several important considerations to factor in prior to beginning your project. I’ll discuss the main ones so that you’ll know what you are up against.
Q: When Should Strawberry Plants Be Mulched for Winter?
On November 20, 2015, Danny Abbuscome asked:
I have a few raised beds with strawberry plants planted in them. I got them as potted plants and had a decent crop and got several gallons of strawberries from all my plants combined. I planted them this spring, instead of last fall like you recommended (I hadn’t found this site yet). I followed all the instructions for renovation and mowed them and limited the runners so they didn’t overgrow everything. It may have been mentioned somewhere else, but when exactly do I mulch the plants for winter? I seem to get different information on a quick google of mulching strawberries. Exactly when should strawberry plants be mulched for the winter months? I don’t want to smother them or cause any harm if the plants aren’t ready. I still have some green living-looking leaves on my plants, although most of the big leaves have turned mostly brown and look dead. Can you give me some advice as to how to go about mulching? Any help would be much appreciated!
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Q: How to Go About Overwintering Hydroponic Strawberry Plants?
On October 30, 2015, Bradford Nick asked:
I have my strawberries outdoors in hydroponics. Summer has ended and we’ve had several killing frosts, but the seascape strawberries are still growing and flowering. My plan is to keep the strawberries in their hydroponic net pots, and to overwinter these pots with the roots hanging out, in a box of sand in the garage. I have a lot of runners I never trimmed. My question is, next year, will I get better production from the mother plants, or from the runners? Will unrooted runners survive 5 months in cold sand?
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Q: Problems Growing Strawberries in Containers?
On September 23, 2015, Bob asked:
I have a large container on my patio with strawberry plants in it. This was the 2nd summer for these strawberries. Unfortunately, the plants only put out a handful of strawberries back in early June. I was very disappointed to say the least. I had stopped by a local nursery to pick their brains about the lack of yield I had this summer. The lady there told me that strawberries grown in containers don’t typically produce a lot of fruit compared to those growing in the ground. She also asked me if I had fertilized my strawberry plants last fall before winter set in. I had never heard of doing this. Why would you fertilize a plant that is about to die from the coming cold months? If this is true, when do I fertilize? Now, that the plant is still green and alive, or do I wait for it to curl up and die after winter hits? It should be noted that I leave this container outside on my patio uncovered and exposed to the snow and elements all winter long. It survived fine this way last winter and grew back really nice this past spring, so I really didn’t have to baby it at all to keep it alive. It survived! Also, what fertilizer, if any, do I use for this fall fertilization?
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Q: Why Are My Strawberries Small?
On July 18, 2015, Michael Johnson asked:
Hi, I was hoping you could help me with a problem I have. I need to know what causes small strawberries. I planted my strawberries last year during September, and they put out some greenery before dying back for the winter months. This spring they came up and looked to be doing pretty well. They put out flowers on stalks that started to grow, but the size of the fruits that are produced are all tiny. They are only about half an inch big, give or take a little.
I’ve done my best to water them, and follow the instructions for what should give a good crop, but I’m still stuck wondering what causes small strawberries after doing everything I can to make them big. Can you tell me why are my strawberries small instead of big and plump like they are in the store? Any help would be appreciated! Thank you.
Answer to: What Causes Small Strawberries?
It is difficult to pinpoint exactly what causes small strawberries without being able to visualize your setup and without knowing all that has gone into their care up until this point. There are a number of things that can cause your strawberries to smaller than the ones you may be used to buying at the store or from farmers markets. So, let me point out some of the most common causes of small strawberries:
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Q: Moving Strawberry Runner Plants?
On June 25, 2011, Monty asked:
Now, where to start…early this spring I ordered a pack of 25 Earliglow plants from a supplier (who shall remain nameless). The plants arrived in excellent condition, however, instead of receiving 1 pack of 25 plants, I received 25 packs of 25 plants, so 625 plants in all! I called the supplier to inform them of their mistake and was to to just keep them, throw them away or give them away. Being an avid gardener, I couldn’t throw them away. Since I own a couple of acres, I decided to put in a dedicated bed and planted 100 of them (the rest I gave away to friends and family).
Here’s the problem: I amended the soil for the bed, planted, and pinched every bloom this year. Now the plants are going crazy. I have runners everywhere. The rows are 3 feet apart, but the plants are only about 12-18″ apart. At the rate they are growing, I won’t be able to walk in the patch by the end of summer.
So, my question is, this fall, can I remove some of the runner plants and transplant them to another larger bed that I will prepare during the summer? Should I do it now, in the fall or wait until spring? We preserve many different things from the garden such as tomatoes, beans, beets, grape jelly, etc, etc so adding strawberry jam would be a welcome addition. Thanks for any advice.
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