Overwintering Strawberries

overwintering strawberriesStrawberries are a delightful treat for thousands of home gardeners every year.  The sweet rush of flavor that comes after sampling the distinctive aromatic profile makes for a truly rewarding experience early in the growing season.  Strawberries are one of the first fruits to be harvested in virtually every temperate region of the world, and the life cycle of the strawberry plant is uniquely suited to bearing an early crop.

Usually before spring even arrives, the strawberry plants are coaxed from their long winter’s slumber by rising temperatures and burst forth from dormancy in a fevered rush of vegetative production on their journey to setting a nice harvest of berries for the gardener who lavished care on them.  But, in most areas, winter poses a real threat to the life of the little forbs.

This post will help you successfully overwinter strawberries so that YOU can enjoy that first burst of juicy strawberry fruits each and every spring.

How to Overwinter Strawberry Plants in the Ground

overwintering strawberry plantsStrawberries are relatively small plants, but they have a big productive capability.  Due to their small size and easy adaptability, they make great ground plants and container plants.  How to overwinter strawberries in containers will be discussed in the next section.  Here the basics of overwintering strawberry plants in the ground will be briefly discussed.  Extensive details on caring for strawberry plants can be found on the comprehensive Growing Strawberries reference page.

Overwintering strawberries in the ground is relatively simple.  Strawberries are cold hardy, for the most part, and will survive mildly freezing temperatures without much problems.  So, in areas with mild winters, little to no care may be required.  However, in more northern (or southern for the Southern Hemisphere) regions, extra care will be required.  That care takes the form of mulching.

Strawberry plants must have protection when the temperature drops into the low twenties.  Once that temperature has been reached (usually in December), the plants should be in their dormant stage.  At that point, it is time to overwinter them by mulching.  For most regions, a mulch of straw or pine needles two or three inches thick is sufficient, but in colder regions more insulating mulch should be added.  Again, more specifics about in-ground overwintering strawberries is available on the reference page mentioned above and on this page: How to Mulch Strawberry Plants for the Winter.

How to Overwinter Strawberries in Containers

overwinter strawberriesOverwintering container strawberries takes a bit more effort than overwintering in the ground, but it is still easily accomplished.  Added difficulty comes from the susceptibility of containers to heat transmission.  Terracotta pots and strawberry planters (as well as plastic ones and Topsy Turvy planters) do not have the added protection of extensive amounts of insulating soil surrounding the potting soil and potted strawberry.  Because of this, container strawberries are much more at risk of freezing to death outside and must be further sheltered from the elements during the biting cold of winter.

The easiest way to do this is to simply put the pot or container in an unheated garage near an internal wall.  This will allow the dormant plant the protection it needs to survive.  And, the prolonged darkness in the garage will actually help maintain dormancy.  Covering with a towel or other opaque material can also help in that respect.

When the temperatures start to warm, simply take the containers back outside for the next growing season.  The rising temperatures will revive the plants from dormancy, and production will commence again.

Watering Overwintered Strawberries

Just as with storing bare-root strawberry plants, your overwintered strawberries still have to have appropriate water.  Totally dry soil means dead plants.  Too much moisture can also be fatal.  During the cold temperatures and while the plant is dormant, only minimal water is needed.

For outdoor, in-ground, and mulched overwintering strawberry plants, the natural precipitation should appropriately maintain sufficient soil moisture.  For the container plants, however, water will have to be provided.  The easiest way to provide appropriate water is to collect snow from outside and throw a handful or two on top of the soil.  The slightly warmer temperatures in the garage should slowly melt the snow allowing a more natural seepage into the container soil.  Doing this periodically (about once a month) should sufficiently moisten the soil and allow the plants to thrive again come spring.

Benefits of Overwintering Strawberries

There are numerous benefits to be had by overwintering strawberries.  Here are some of them:

Overwintering Strawberry Plants Is Natural

Strawberry plants have a dormant phase for a reason.  It increases their life span!  Strawberry plants can be kept inside at warmer temperatures all year round, but this essentially causes the plants to never “sleep” and drastically reduces the overall life span of the plant.

Overwintering Strawberries Maximizes Production

Strawberry plants are perennial by nature.  Letting them go dormant during the winter as nature would have it allows for maximal production from each plant.  Since strawberry flowers should be pinched during year one for spring plantings, the second, third, fourth, and even sometimes fifth years are where production really comes on strong.  Protecting dormant plants during the winter yields much more production following.

Overwinter Strawberries to Save Money

If you overwinter strawberry plants successfully, you don’t have to buy them again the following year.  And, since they’ll live longer, you don’t have to replenish them as often either.  Plus, since overwintered strawberry plants are more productive than plants that are never allowed to go dormant, you get to eat more of your own strawberries; and that means you’ll be saving money by not buying strawberries at the grocery store or farmers market.

It Is Fun to Overwinter Strawberry Plants

And, lastly, it is just plain fun to overwinter strawberries!  They don’t suffer cold injury, and it brings a true green thumb at least a modicum of satisfaction knowing that his plants are kindly looked after.  So, save yourself the work of replanting new plants each year and overwinter strawberries henceforth.

Overwintering Strawberries: Conclusion

overwinter strawberriesHopefully, you are now equipped whether you needed to know how to overwinter strawberries in containers or how to overwinter strawberry plants in the ground.  Following the advice on this page and elsewhere on this site will help keep your plants productive year after year.  So, have fun, save money, and maximize your harvest!  And, if you have any strawberry-related questions, feel free to leave a comment.  Good luck!

219 thoughts on “Overwintering Strawberries

  1. good day,
    I have an elevated bed with strawberry plants that have produced fruit all summer ( 2012 ). last week, end of September, I decided to transplant them to another bed. I have 2 questions?

    1) most of the leaves are chewed – what should I do ? what should I do to stop this mottling ?

    2)some of the roots are very long 3 to 4 inches and I decided to cut some of them in half leaving one or two inches of roots. What should be the proper way to handle this procedure ?

    Thank you very much for your reply and your help 🙂
    PS: we leave in Nova Scotia Canada

    • Janet Thiebaut,
      You likely can’t stop the mottling if it is the normal dying off of old leaves or the transition into dormancy. Just remove the dead growth to minimize the risk of fungal infection or other diseases. I would also leave the roots alone. The more roots, the more nutrients will be absorbed and the quicker the plant will be established in its new location. See also: Transplanting Strawberries. Good luck!

  2. Hi,
    I have some strawberries in containers I just bought from Burpee, (2 purple wonder, 1 sweet charlie, and 1 jewel) they are still very young and the frost should be coming soon (zone 7, northern Nevada). The winter’s here are pretty unpredictable, we didn’t get snow till spring and it snowed in June. However, the temperature’s during the winter were freezing (like 16 degrees fahrenheit in the early morning) I moved to a town house and we don’t have a garage to put the strawberry plants in, I was wondering how I could overwinter my plants without a garage? I do have access to some pine mulch, and I’ve been looking for some straw to buy, but so far I haven’t been able to find any. Any help/suggestions? Thanks!

    • Chelsea,
      If you are going to plant them in the ground next year (or ever), go ahead and do it now. Then, you can mulch them to protect them through the winter. If you plan on leaving them in the pots, you can simulate an over-wintering environment for them by digging a pot-sized hole in the ground and lowering the plant (pot and all) into the hole. Then, mulch around and on top of the pot for the winter. See here for more: Mulching Strawberry Plants for Winter. Good luck!

  3. I have both container strawberries, as well as a ground plot in a 10″ high 3 ft x 8 ft frame. It;s late October and the ground ones are still producing, but also covering every square inch inside the frame (which is covered with chicken wire to deter birds). How much do the plants need to be cut back before winter, and then straw mulching? It seems there are runners everywhere. It’s a great sea of green now, but I want them to be healthy in the spring. Thanks.

  4. I planted 30 crowns this year, spread to over 100, pinched off all the flowers. I hadn’t mulched yet, some nights temps have gotten to mid-high 20’s but we’ve had days in 40’s and 50’s. The deer munched all the leaves off my plants (and uprooted some) last night! I mulched with straw this morning, is there hope for berries (or even live plants) next year?

    • Shelly,
      Absolutely! Except for the plants the deer destroyed, it sounds like you are doing things right. I’d expect a bountiful harvest this spring! Good luck!

  5. I am thinking of growing strawberries in a pyramid raised bed in Minnesota. What is the best way to winter them or should I consider a different method in such a cold region?

  6. I am ready to bring my strawberries back outside from overwintering. I am not sure what to do with the dried leaves that ate still hanging on from last summer. Should I leave them be or prune them off? They are pretty crunchy and I don’t know if they will interfere with new growth. Please advise. Thanks!

  7. How long does it usually take winterized pot grown strawberry plants to bounce back to life after spending the winter in the dark basement? Trying o figure out if most of mine are goners or if I should give them a little more time. One is sending out leaves but the other three are still brown and crunchy after being outside for about 2 weeks. Thoughts?

    • Rachel,
      If the three don’t start putting out leaflets in the next week, I’d replace them. More than likely, they are dead. Sorry!

  8. Darn! With this one second year strawberry plant should I just let it produce flowers and berries as it wants or should I worry about trimming things back as you do with first year plants?

    • Rachel,
      If there is room to expand or you want to save the runner plants for next year, just let it be. You may want to make them easier to move later by helping the runners establish themselves in little pots of some sort. Once they are established, you can snip the runners and move them anywhere you’d like. If you don’t want to have more plants and are only looking to get as many berries as possible, snip all the runners. As the plant is a second-year plant, don’t cut the flowers. Those will be your strawberries! Good luck!

  9. I’m interested in planting my strawberries in rain gutters this time but I’m not sure what to do with them in the winter months. I live in Nova Scotia, Canada where the winters are very cold. What do you suggest? Thank you very much.

    • Karen Barnes,
      During the winter months, you’ll need to use extra insulation to keep them alive if you plant in gutters. Without the natural insulation of the soil, the roots/crowns have a tendency to freeze. So, one tact that you can take is to keep the plants in their gutters in a garage near a wall. Second, you’ll need to completely wrap the gutters with a towel or other insulating material. This can be tedious, however, as the insulation will need to be removed periodically so that the soil can be watered. If the soil dries completely out during winter, the plants will die just as surely as if they succumbed to the cold. Good luck!

  10. I live in Colorado and overwintered my strawberries in containers in the garage. I…forgot to water them and only watered them once. BUT, it looks like there’s a little bit of life in them in the very center. I took them outside and watered them well and put them in the sun ,and cut off all the dead branches. What would a plant that’s still alive look like? It just looks like there’s a tiny little bit of green in the very middle that feels soft instead of crunchy. Is there hope for my plants? How soon will I know?

    • Sarah,
      You’ve done everything you can at this point. If they will revive, they should begin to do so soon. However, it is likely that their conditions over the winter months have stressed them to the point where it would probably be best to start with new plants. The stressed plants are unlikely to achieve their old level of vigor, even if they do manage to survive. Either way, good luck!

  11. I was considering the guttered strawberries for commercial purposes. I have one question, maybe Mr. Strawberry knows the answer to this. If you removed the gutters from there raised position and in the winter time placed the gutters on the ground and hoed up soil on both sides of the gutters would the added soil give the roots the protection/insulation it needs if the whole gutter was underground or at the dirt was at least level with the plant?

    • Ryan G.
      Yes, if you piled enough soil on the sides to simulate them being underground, that would provide insulation. However, you would also need to cover the tops with a generous amount of some sort of mulch as well. Clean straw works well. Good luck!

  12. I have plants in a strawberry Topsy turvy planter. If I bring them in for the winter how often should I water and how much water each time? Or could I wrap it with a towel or blanket outside.

    • Sheila,
      Depending on your climate, you might need to do both. If it doesn’t get too cold, just bringing them inside a garage near a house wall will be enough. As to water, water them just enough to keep the soil from drying out completely. Wrapping with a towel or blanket will provide an extra measure of insulation. Good luck!

  13. Runners? They make new plants! I have a container plant in Minnesota. It has lots of vines. I want to winter it in the garage. Do I start new plants now and will the babies survive the garage process>

    • Mila Minnesota,
      Yes, if you root the daughter plants now, they should survive the winter with appropriate care. Good luck!

  14. I have many strawberry plants, the garden needs to be thinned out. I would like to save the plants that I have thinned out and replant them or give them to friends next spring. When I bought them from the store, they came from in a hole filled plastic bag filled with sawdust. Can I store them like that over the winter?

    • Shelly,
      You can store them that way, but it is more difficult to keep them healthy/mold-free. Storing bare-root plants is not as easy or as good for your plants as keeping them in soil throughout their dormancy during the winter months. Good luck!

  15. I ordered ornamental “toscana” potted strawberries that will ship mid sept. Surely young plants. I planned to put them in containers. In zone 5a. I could put them by the foundation on the south side (or any side really) of the house over winter. I could try putting the containers inside larger ones with added insulation. Or I have a basement, but it stays fairly warm with my house. Will either work, should I have to bury the containers in the ground?

    • Rocky,
      Each of those methods might work, but if you try them, be sure to monitor the temperature and provide extra protection if it is going to get too cold. Good luck!

  16. I live in Alaska and would like to try and over winter my strawberry plants. Do I need to leave them out until the first frost? Our trees are turning and the first frost should be soon. I have a room that is not heated in our basement that I can store the plants in.

    Thank you for all the information that I have gleaned from your site!

    • Vicky,
      You just want to make sure the plants are dormant. Usually, it takes temperatures in the 20s to induce dormancy, so if you get a mild frost in the lower 30s, I’d wait until it gets just a tad bit cooler. Good luck!

  17. I have some pineberry plants in a planter that I want to overwinter. I have the perfect location for them when I need to bring them in but I’m curious when I should actually bring them in. Should I let the first frost hit them and bring them in when the temperatures remain close to freezing at night?

    • Sarah,
      Yes, the strawberry plants should be dormant. In other words, the temperatures should be in the upper 20s at night for a few nights in a row. That will typically induce dormancy. Then, you can overwinter them as discussed above. Good luck!

  18. I live in Wisconsin. Zone 5b. If I order plants now I wont get them here and planted until the first of October. Is this too late to plant them outside or should I use some other method? Any help would be appreciated.

    • jessica,
      As long as you get them in the ground right away, they still should survive and have time during the warmer days to establish their roots prior to next spring. Good luck!

  19. Do day neutral and/or everbearing strawberries require a period of dormancy? Could I have a couple plants in containers in a sunny place indoors during the winter, and outside in temperate months and still have plants last a few seasons? Thank you.

    • Rocky,
      They do not have to have a period of dormancy, but their lifespans will be shortened without them. They should still last 2-3 years, though. Good luck!

  20. I have several containers of strawberry plants that I would like to winterover. They are glazed pottery “strawberry” pots, the type with several side pockets. I live in Minnesota, and I’m concerned that the pots will crack with the freeze-thaw cycle if left in the garage full of soil. I’ve had this happen with unglaze terra cotta pots in the past. Any thoughts? Thanks!

    • Laurel,
      The soil in your pots should have enough pockets of air and other compactable material to allow the residual water to expand as it freezes without doing damage to your pot. Unless you fill the pot completely with water, or you have hidden pockets of water inside the walls of your pot, it should do fine through the winter without cracking in your garage. The temperature may make the terra cotta more brittle, however, so do take extra care when handling. Good luck!

  21. Hi – I live in Colorado and have fragaria hybrid strawberry plants in containers. This will be my first attempt at overwintering. Should the plants be cut back before moving them to the garage? If so, by how much? Thanks for the info here. Very helpful!

    • Patty,
      Wait until the plants enter dormancy. The vegetative material at the top will wilt and shrivel. Once that occurs, snip it all off or remove it from the top of the soil. Just be careful not to damage or snip into the crown at soil level. cutting each wilted leaf 1/4 to 1/2 inch above the crown will be fine. Good luck!

  22. I have about 80 beautiful and healthy strawberry plants that I started growing this spring in 5″ deep rectangular plastic containers. The temperatures are starting to dip into the high twenties at night (I live in Durango, CO) and I’ve noticed that the top few inches of the soil freezes and then thaws again in the daytime. Will the freeze-thaw cycle damage the plants? The leaves are still completely green, with no sign that the plants are going into dormancy. Should I bring the containers indoors now, or wait until the leaves turn brown?

      Once the temperatures drop into the upper 20’s for several consecutive, your plants will go dormant. When that happens, you should remove the dead/wilted leaves and then protect them from the more extreme temperatures. Good luck!

  23. I have container strawberry plants and live in Minnesota. My garage is detached, so there is no internal wall for minimal warmth. Is it better to dig container-sized holes in my small garden and overwinter them in the ground (then dig back out in spring), or to try insulating them somehow in my garage?

  24. you said at one point to water the strawberry at what point do you think i should water the plant and allowing it thrive again as in spring,also would porch do if i cover the plant w/a towel i live in illinois i just want my strawberry to survive the winter i have them in a container

    • pamelal l poehling,
      You need to water your strawberry plants periodically throughout the winter just to make sure they do not die from dehydration while they are dormant. In spring, you can water them regularly as soon as the weather warms and the ground thaws. They can also survive on your porch as long as you insulate them adequately enough. Towels will often work sufficiently. Good luck!

  25. Do i water my container plants before putting in garage and during the winter in the garage? In my sunroom now.
    Thank you

    • sherry,
      Yes, you need to water them all winter long, just enough to keep the soil slightly damp. If the soil dries out completely, your plants will die. Good luck!

  26. We had a lot of rain this summer, and my strawberry plants are really big – some of them are over 18 inches high. Should they be mowed before mulching? This will be their second winter (central KY).



    • Betty,
      Once the plants go dormant when the temperature drops, the wilted/dead vegetative matter should be removed prior to mulching. Good luck!

  27. Thanks for the great tips, I have had my plant in the basement all winter and we are ready for year two! Bring on the spring!

  28. Thank you for the tips!
    I Live in Toronto, and have a 16″x16″ x12″ tall container I brought into the garage. I planted it late spring last year so it never had the chance to fruit. But it filled the container well by the end of the year.
    I just brought it out now, soil was mostly moist, some green leaves still there, but lots of brown too.
    When should I cut/pull them off?
    Is there a time to fertilize and if so when and how strong?
    Thanks do much.

  29. hi, i have overwintered my strawberry plants for the second winter outside in their containers. i pack them full of snow in the pots and pack snow around them, i live in the chicago area. this worked the last 2 winters,, my plants were not to be believed, but im not sure if they survived this one. when should i start to see new growth to know if they have made it. thanks.


    • marc schwartz,
      You should have started to see green by this time. If you don’t see any signs of life at this point, they probably gave up the ghost this winter. You can always get more! Good luck!

  30. I have two 4″ pvc pipes which I hung horizontally between two fence posts, about 5′ off the ground, with 1.5″ holes cut 12″ apart. I grew lettuce and herbs in them last year, this year I am planning on putting in some strawberries. I live in zone 6,and am thinking about overwintering. What if I wrap them in a heavy plastic sheet in November? Do you think that would be enough protection?

    • Geoffrey,
      It likely will be, unless you have a terribly cold winter. Zone 6 is usually warm enough for them to survive without too much fuss. Do make sure you keep the soil reasonably moist, however, or they will die. Good luck!

  31. I planted twelve strawberries in a pallet, which likely can’t be moved for winter. I live in central Illinois. Should they be treated like they’re in the ground?

  32. Hi I was hopeing you could help me. I have bought a new strawberry plant for my old is died planted it last year and it was very healthy,but it went through the winter and it didn’t survive. I need your help please tell me what to do. For I really would like strawberry, I also have a blueberry and raspberry plant,blueberry plant didn’t make it either,but the raspberry plant did which this was the only plant and they were planted in the same containers. The containers are not that heavy plastic it’s thin plastic. So please help I would really appreciate it.

    Sorry I just want to let you know I live in Winnipeg,Manitoba,Canada.

    • Nicole carriere,
      Following the instructions on this page should help your strawberry plants survive the winter better. If you have the strawberries planted in containers, you need to insulate the containers well. If the root system of the strawberry isn’t protected and insulated by being in the ground and well-mulched, it will get too cold and freeze to death. For appropriate varieties for your location, see here. Good luck!

  33. I have planted strawberries and raspberries. In separate containers I have read your article but I was wondering if I should cut my strawberry plants down or if I should just leave all the runners an leaves on them through the winter. And also is there a trick to growing larger size strawberry fruits in pots I just planted mine about a month ago an the fruits are kinda small

  34. We have a 8 foot by 25 foot bed of Jewel strawberries. It is getting to be difficult to reach the center plants and hard on my old body to be crawling around on the ground.
    I have an old 10 foot round horse feeder 12 inches deep. I want to take the outer rows of plants and transplant them into the feeder. I am planning on drilling holes in the bottom for drainage, putting in a layer of straw, filling the first 6 inches with top soil, transfering the plants with 4 inches of the bed soil they are growing in and installing a sprinkler in the center.
    My Jewels have finished growing berries for this season here in Michigan and I have runners everywhere.
    My questions are:
    Will they survice a Michigan winter if they have a foot of soil under them?
    Should I transplant them now or should I wait till fall?
    How far apart should I be placing the plants in the feeder?

    • Larry Ward,
      It sounds like you have a good plan. With ten total inches of soil, they should do well and have enough nutrients. If the feeder is on the ground, your strawberries should survive. Just be sure to mulch a bit extra to ensure you prevent cold damage during the dormant season. As to your other questions, see the Growing Strawberries and Transplanting Strawberries pages. Good luck!

  35. Hello,

    I am new to this so please bear with me!?

    I live in a first floor flat & planted the strawberry plants in a plant trough, with plenty of drainage holes in the bottom & placed it on the sitting room window ledge.

    It gets the sun first thing in the morning. Could you please tell me if I am doing the right thing & also when do I bring them in to start the overwintering process?

    Also, with living in a flat, where would be the best place to keep them as I don’t have a garage?

    Many thanks from Somerset, UK

    • J,
      The plants will be quite a bit more productive if they got more sun than just a few hours in the morning. Also, depending on how much heat radiates from your home during the winter, they might do just fine where they are. If you are very concerned, you can bring them inside before they go dormant and treat them as a house plant during the winter. Hope that helps, and good luck!

  36. I grew 2 varieties of strawberries in containers this season. Everbearing and a junebearing variety. I plan to overwinter them in my basement so that my roots are strong and developed next season. I used miracle grow soil that says it will feed them for 6 months.

    What can I do to fertilize them in containers next season? Liquid fertilizer? Any special brands/ingredients? When should I start adding liquid fertilizer?


  37. I have started a large strawberry garden, well redid one. I took all the ones I had from years before that the weeds and grass over took. I dug all that I could find and layed landscape fabric down and cut holes every 6 inchs and planted them. My question is, the runners? What to do to save them? I have grass clippings on the weed block so what ever roots are on the runners are probably shallow. Can I just cut the runners and store them. Do I have to plant them in dirt?

  38. The only thing I didn’t see about overwintering plants in containers is if I should cut them back. I have a spot picked out in my garage just waiting for them – they were so good and I can’t wait for next year’s harvest.

    • Deborah,
      Yes, once the plants go dormant, all the leaves will wilt and die. At that point, remove all the vegetative matter carefully so as to avoid injuring the crown. Them put them in their garage spot until next spring! Be sure to remember to water them periodically, however, as they will die if the soil dries out completely. Good luck!

  39. I have a huge plastic pot on my patio that has 3 different varieties of strawberries growing in it. This past summer was their very first year. Winter is coming and I live in a townhome community. We do not have garages or outdoor sheds, so I basically have nothing at all to store this plant in. It’s way too big of a pot to bring into my home. So what does one in my situation do for overwintering my strawberries so they do not die?

    • Bob,
      You can wrap the pot with some insulating material and them mulch the top with straw. If you keep the pot right next to your house, it should survive like that. Good luck!

  40. My strawberry bed is much too thick with plants…… I would like to winter them and then next Spring, remove all plants from the bed fertilize the entire bed after plants are removed and then replant those plants with healthy roots and give them proper spacing. I clean up each plant by removing dead and discolored leaves before replanting them. My question is whether I am stunting the growth of the plants by taking them out of the ground and replanting them after they are “cleaned up.” or would I be better off leaving the those plants in the ground that have proper spacing and remove only those plants that are not needed to keep my bed full of plants.

  41. Thanks for all of your great info. I was gifted with a ‘hanging’ Strawberry Plant for Mother’s Day. It’s beautiful, tho really needs daily care, i.e. watering and fertilizing ‘Daily’! Plus keeping it in sun all day. I have trees at one end, so was constantly moving it to the sunny side. It’s like having a pet poodle!
    Soooo, placing it in my basement for winterizing is OK? And should I cut off the blossoms and trails?

    • Jacquie,
      If your basement is unheated, that will work. It needs cooler temperatures to stay dormant after cool temperatures come. Yes, go ahead and cut off any dead or hanging material after the plant goes dormant. Good luck!

  42. Hello, “Mr. Strawberry”!
    I am new to caring for strawberries. I have a couple of pots of strawberries outside of my house and the freezing temps/snow are coming in a couple of days. The plants are still very green and have (unripe) berries on them. Would this be the time to put them in the garage and trim down the foliage to 2″ or should I put them in the garage and wait until they go dormant before I do any trimming? The leaves of the plants have begun turning red, but much of the plant is still green and there are quite a few (what I am assuming are) runners. I am not sure how to tell a plant is dormant.
    Thank you for all of your help! Heather

    • Heather,
      Once the temperatures drop into the upper twenties for a few nights, the plants will usually go dormant. The leaves will wilt (and can be removed then), and the plant will look dead. That is when it is dormant! Move it into the garage then. If you are expecting a really cold spell (prolonged temperatures in the mid-low twenties or teens, you can go ahead and move them into the garage as those temperatures can be enough to give the plants cold injury. Good luck!

  43. Hello Mr. Strawberry,
    What a wonderful site! Thank you so very much. I live in North Carolina zone 7a. We made a strawberry pot out of a 55 gal. heavy black plastic pickle barrel. I have trimmed all the dead from my plants. There is still considerable green. We are expecting to be hit by that polar vortex in next couple days. I had planned to winter the barrel in place wrapped in burlap thinking needed precipitation could still get through. Should I do something more? We have a carport which sometimes gets wind blowing through the open north side. Easterly and Southerly sides are enclosed with aluminum single pane windows. Westerly side is the wall of the house with a dryer vent near the ground. If we move the barrel into carport would it still need wrapped with the burlap or frost blanket?

    • Johnna,
      Thank you for the kind words! In zone 7a, the temperatures often won’t get cold enough to cold injure your plants, even if you don’t protect them at all. So, it sounds like what you have done will be sufficient. Good luck!

  44. This is my second season helping with Strawberries. Last year we were able to get straw down before the snow came. This year the snow came much sooner than anticipated. I know if the snow stayed all winter, they would be fine. But over the weekend it melted a little,and it snowed again very early this morning. I can see some of the plant, and the majority of it is covered. So my question is do you think the plants will be ok? Or is there something else I can do?

  45. I have my strawberries in gutters on the ground and covered with a white winter grow cover which I also use on a hoop structure to grow some winter vegetables. We have had several hard freezes (zone 7 – Virginia mountains) but the strawberries still look pretty green and healthy and not dormant. I uncover them during days when it is not too cold or expecting frost and particularly when rain is expected. I was planning to take the cover off and mulch them with straw but now am thinking that this grow cover may do a good enough job at protecting them through winter. Do you think I should mulch with straw or just continue to try to use the cover? thanks your site is great!

    • Stu,
      There is a good chance that in Zone 7 the cover will be sufficient. Just keep an eye on the forecast. If we don’t have one of those severe Polar Vortex events like we did last year, your plants should do just fine with only the cover. Good luck!

  46. I guess I put my potted strawberries in the garage to soon as they are still mostly green… I have watered them as needed and now worried that I should expose them to the cold to kill the tops or cut them back to the ground so they can “sleep”…. what do you suggest…???

    • allen,
      You can just snip off the leaves. If you’d prefer, you can put them back out and let mother nature do it for you! Good luck!

  47. Hi! I live in Oklahoma, zone 7, and our fall and winter has been very mild this year. I planted a couple of Toscana strawberries in a big planter around the end of summer. They had leafed out and grown pretty good since I planted them. All this time, I kept them outdoor. It seemed like they didn’t go dormant at all. They are still leafy and green. Do I need to worry about them?

  48. Hi I live in zone five and was planning on putting up a strawberry tower with straw on the outside and dirt on the inside. our temperatures get kind of extreme from time to time .. will they survive and if I do put the towers up how do I protect them during the winter. the tubes are approximately eighteen inches in diameter.

    • ken,
      As long as you keep the plants from drying out in the warmer seasons they should survive the summer. During the winter you will likely need to insulate them with old towels or some other insulating material. Good luck!

  49. I have been seeing strawberries grown in hanging planters made from household guttering. How would one overwinter something like this in zone 7 North Central Texas (Red River) Would hanging the planters on racks and storing them in an unheated conex shipping/storage container work? While our winters are relatively mild, we do get 20 to 30 days of freezing weather spaced with warm 50’s to 70’s spikes.

    • Km Koesler,
      With winters as mild as yours sound, you would likely be able to leave them outside all winter without any protection at all. Only if the temps drop down to the low twenties would you likely need to cover or move them inside. Good luck!

  50. Mr. Strawberry
    This is my 1st year with my potted strawberries but am concerned about Michigan winters. We don’t have a garage and live in an apt. Really would like to winter them if possible. Would they be okay on a patio?

    • Charlotte,
      They might be. You’ll need to apply some extra protection around the pot and make sure the soil doesn’t dry out during the winter months. Placing the pot directly against house wall can help as well. Good luck!

  51. I live in Portugal’s sunny south. Snow and freezing temperatures are unknown here. Do I water my potted strawberries in winter? Thanks for any advice you can give me.

    • Bernard,
      If they are outdoors, you shouldn’t need to water them as precipitation will provide enough moisture. If they are sheltered, you will need to water them. Good luck!

  52. Hello, I have an allotment and have strawberry plants in the polytunnel, I am going to grow the runners on in some guttering, will they be ok in the polytunnel over winter or will they need additional protection?
    Lorraine Watson Yorkshire England

    • Lorraine Watson,
      It depends on the coldest temperatures. If the temps drop down into the teens, you’d need to wrap the gutters with extra protection to prevent cold injury. Good luck!

  53. We have an unusual situation, I think. We live in zone 4, high altitude in the mountains of Colorado. We have everbearing strawberries in our greenhouse. We have a heated garage (around 50 degrees) and hope to overwinter there. Will that temperature keep our strawberries dormant?

    • Jan,
      In the absence of light, it might be. However, with light coming through windows, they would likely not stay dormant. I’m sorry!

    • billy,
      You can wrap them and keep them outside or put them in an unheated garage. Just don’t forget to water periodically if you put them in the garage. Good luck!

  54. Similar to Billy, I have 2 (well, maybe four if I set all the runners :-)) large hanging baskets (18″ wire baskets with coir lining). We planted the baskets a few months ago – one with 3 Albion plants, and one with 3 Seascape (I think that was the name) plants. In the center of each basket we put dolomite and a slow-release fertilizer (same stuff used in Earthboxes) which resulted in some pretty healthy plants. Didn’t know we were supposed to pinch off the flowers first year, so got a fairly decent crop anyway 🙂

    Now… winterizing. I don’t have ground to bury the baskets (or just the plants) in — we’re in a townhouse. No garage, but a covered carport. We’re in a zone 7 area (Burnaby/Coquitlam, outside of Vancouver).

    What do you think my best option is?
    – remove plants from baskets around November and plant them in containers and leave outside on the deck
    – leave them in their baskets, and put the baskets against the front wall of the house (under the carport)
    – build a cabinet under the carport, large enough to hold the baskets on shelves (so, say 4’High x 2’Deep x 2′-4′ wide), and close the cabinet (so no light gets in)
    – something else?

    If you got all the way through that, great 🙂 Any pointers you can provide would be greatly appreciated.


    • Jay,
      If you are in Zone 7, you can probably get by with keeping your plants on the deck up against a house wall. If the temperatures are expected to drop into the teens, you can wrap old towels around them to provide a bit more insulation. But, there is likely going to be enough heat seepage/protection at the house wall to keep them alive and well until next spring. Good luck!

  55. I have my strawberries in a raised bed that is 32 inches tall inside a green house that is maintained no lower than 60’F during the winter because I raise tomatoes during the winter.

    Keeping them at this temperature does not allow them to go into dormancy does it?

    Would you recommend moving them outside the greenhouse. I live in South Texas (Zone 9)

    Thanks in advance

    • Kim F,
      It is unlikely that they would go into dormancy if the temperature stays at 60 degrees. Moving them outside should do the trick. Good luck!

  56. Hi! We live at 7,000+ in western Wyoming in Zone 3. I have Ever-bearing Strawberry plants in my small greenhouse. I would like to winter them over in our unheated garage. But how cold it too cold??? -20? -30? What are your thoughts?

    The plants are doing well in hanging pots but I feel they need more room and should possibly be transplanted. Should I do this before wintering over or next spring? Plus, there are many runners that need to be planted. Should I plant these runners now? And if so, what are the very best type of containers for strawberries? I know they are more “shallow rooted” and do not need deep pots but what are the best dimensions for containers that you have found in your experience? Thanks for the help!!

    • Catherine,
      -20 to -30 degrees would very likely cause damage to your plants, especially if they are in pots. They *might* survive if you plant them in the ground and then mulch very heavily/thickly. They would definitely be able to expand more if transplanted into the ground. The major issue with containers is space. Strawberry plants like to spread out so they run out of room fairly quickly in pots. Another issue with pots is insulation. Especially with hanging baskets, there is very little protection from the elements, so the roots can freeze through and kill the plants. Biggest and deep is best as far as containers go. The deepness is important for insulation more than anything else. You specific plants might survive in the garage if they are by a wall that bleeds some heat from the interior of the home. Transplantation should be done be now for zone 3, with the end of September being the latest you should attempt it. Good luck!

  57. Hello,
    I live in the far far north and have very cold long winters. I do have a greenhouse that I use in the summer for my tomatoes. Can I use the greenhouse for my strawberries that are in containers for storage during the winter months? If I put them in the greenhouse and cover them with a tarp to keep them dormant, do you think this is sufficient for the strawberries to survive?

    • Jon,
      It might, but the tarp may trap moisture which could facilitate fungal infection and damage or kill your plants. Good luck!

  58. I have strawberries in my garden, but they’re spreading into the yard. I was thinking of transplanting these into some big containers (like window-box sized) and wintering them in my unheated mud room, then giving them to friends to transplant in the spring. Or transplanting in pots, or another section of the garden. Do you think this would work?

    • Laura,
      Yes, it will probably work as long as you keep them by a wall of the house and make sure the soil doesn’t dry out completely. Good luck!

  59. We live in zone 6, sometimes it gets down to zub-zero but not often. Strawberries are in a raised bed, aka 10″ tall 1.5′ wide box. How do I keep them safe during the winter?

    • Kimberley,
      The plants may do well without any protection at all if you have a mild winter. If the forecast calls for temps in the teens, you’ll need to provide extra insulation to your raised bed. More clean straw will usually do the trick. Good luck!

  60. Hello,

    I live in Alaska and I have several strawberry plants that I would like to try and save this winter. They are in rain gutters on a wooden frame (elevated about 2′). We can remove the gutters from the frame. I am not sure the best way to store them over winter. Zone 3-5 temps. It is frequently very windy where I live in the winter, and temps can range from -30F to 30F during the winter, with 0-10F average temp. I have a heated garage (avg temp 55-60F) and an unheated greenhouse. I can also try to dig a ditch and bury the gutters and mulch with hay. What is your advice to store these plants over winter? Thank you!

    • Christine,
      If you purchased a cold-hardy variety, which I am assuming you did, I’d remove the gutters from the frame and store them in the greenhouse, mulched, in a shallow trench, if you can. That will mitigate somewhat both the wind and temperature. Good luck!

    • Vicky Weibel,
      Not a big one. Your plants should still give you strawberries next year, just not as many as you’d likely have harvested if you’d pinched the flowers. Good luck!

    • Julie,
      Yes, after the plants enter dormancy, all the dead/wilted foliage should be removed. Do take care not to damage the crown at soil level, however. Good luck!

  61. I did not “mow” my strawberries when it should have been done. How should I proceed? The plants are still growing well with excellent foliage. We live in Oregon. Should I still trim them back now or let them go and cover if it gets very cold?

    • Bailie,
      At this point, I’d recommend you leave them be until the plants enter dormancy when the weather cools. At that point, gently snip the dead/wilted foliage from the crowns and carefully rake out of the bed prior to mulching. Good luck!

  62. Mr. Strawberry,
    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 alot 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?

  63. Greetings-

    I’m in Colorado, about 30 miles south of Denver – zone 5b. I have about 70 plants (3:1 mix of Tribute and Ft. Laramie) in twelve 24″ x 12″ x 4″ containers – the type meant to straddle 2×6 deck rails. (The 4″ dimension is soil depth; they extend another 3″ down on either side of the deck rails and have drain holes along the lower edges).

    I expect nighttime temps to drop into the 20s by mid-November and will overwinter the plants in my unheated garage after they go dormant. My plan is to cobble together some racks out of cinderblocks and 2×6 lumber, to minimize space consumption while making it easy to toss some snow on them once in a while.

    How important is light (or lack thereof) during overwintering? The garage has a couple of large windows on the west wall, plus windows on the roll-up doors. It’s only “dark” in there when it’s dark outside. During the day, especially afternoon, the garage gets quite a bit of natural light.

    Should I drape something over my racks of containers? I’m thinking of a woven landscape mesh that will block most light, that will allow some air circulation, and that I can easily lift off for adding snow.

  64. Bancroft Ont is in a 3B hardiness zone, winter temps can hover around minus 30 F for weeks. Will potted berries survive if kept in a dark porch next to an outside wall of the basement? Or better to bring into an unheated dark room inside the house? Thanks, Dan

    • An unheated dark room would work, but if you wrap the pots/containers with an insulating material, the radiant heat from the wall of the house may also allow them to survive if it is relatively sheltered. Good luck!

  65. Hey I have a question. This is my first yr w strawberries (any plants really) and I started w 3 poted plants, and now have well… alot. Lol they just keep giving more plants. I know they yield less fruit this way but I’m ok w that. Hoping next season to get them in a planter box :). Anyway my question is. On one plant it has a couple of RED leaves (fall is here and they are beautiful) so I started looking into wintering them. I thought mulch on top of them. But w more research… oops pots = indoor wintering. Ok. Great. Question when do I bring them in? I am in Sout Carolina. Day time 70s night is prob in the 40s??? I dont want to bring them in too soon but I’m afraid I will keep em out too long and damage them. Help! Again this isy first “garden” I plan to expand next year depending on how these beautiful plants go. Lol thanks in advance for your help.

    • Amanda,
      In South Carolina you don’t really need to bring the pots in for the winter. In fact, you likely don’t have to do any special care for them at all. Unless the temperature is going to drop into the teens for a while, just keeping them outside against a wall of your home will likely keep them cozy enough until the weather warms and spring calls them forth again. Good luck!

  66. Thanks for your great page! We were given some strawberry plants from a garden that someone is getting ready to winter. It’s October in East TN, which has weird weather. We will be 65 one day and sleet the next, then days of below freezing with wind then a week of 45. So, I have not only strawberries that I need to transplant, I need to winter them. I do not have a bed prepared because I wasn’t expecting them. I think we will put them in plastic window boxes and mount those in the spring to fencing to keep rabbits out. So, put them in the window boxes, cover them with a towel, put them against an inside wall in the garage (unheated) and water once a month? Thanks again!

    • Cat J,
      Yes, as long as the soil stays slightly moist so the roots don’t dry out, that sounds like an acceptable plan! Good luck!

    • mike tanguay,
      It depends on your climate. If the temperature in the greenhouse stays reasonably warm in your location, all you may need to do is make sure the soil doesn’t dry out. If the plants are potted (not in-ground), you’ll need to place insulating material around their containers if you are in a very cold location. Good luck!

  67. Mrs. Strawberry

    I live in Ohio zone 6a/6b and will be planting strawberries for the first time. I have been reading a lot and love the site. I have a few questions that I couldn’t find answers to. I’m going to plant in a 4’x4′ raised bed. Would it be better to design the bed as a flat square or make vertical tiers in the bed and how many should I plant if I’m going to allow runners to grow? Also I plan to sacrifice the first season and pinch off the flowers and allow runners to grow. Is this okay or does allowing the runners to grow negate the energy saved from not fruiting? Finally if it’s okay to let the runners grow at what point if any, should I cut the daughter from the mother plant? I look forward to you reply. Thanks Nick S.

    • Nick S.,
      You can either have the bed flat or tiered. As long as you have adequate drainage, both will work equally well. A lot of folks prefer the tiered approach or “strawberry pyramid” layout as it segments the growing area, helps keep track of runner plants, and makes reaching the center part easier to reach when picking strawberries. If you are going to let runners root to form a matted row-type bed, the details can be found here. The plant spacing is shown in the diagram if you follow that link. Thanks for visiting the site, and good luck!

  68. I really want my strawberries to love me. If any one has any tips on what strawberries love, please let me know. Mine are in a terra cotta strawberry pot and I am already worried it is too small, plus they are on a windy balconey, plus it is still mid April in Vermont and does get down below 32 degrees at night some times.

  69. I have strawberry plants in a ceramic strawberry Jell-O growing on my deck unfortunately I do not have a garage to overwinter them I don’t really want to take them inside is there anything else I can do with them to keep them alive for the spring

    • Barbara Cramer,
      It depends on your agricultural zone. If you live where it is warm enough, you can get by with doing nothing. If you live in a moderately cold winter zone, you can keep them alive by wrapping them in an insulating material and keeping them close to a house wall. If you live in a very cold winter zone, they’ll likely die regardless. Good luck!

  70. I live in WV, I have my strawberries in big containers. How would you suggest I overwinter my strawberries? I have no garage or greenhouse,I have no place in my house. Please and Thanks!

    • Amanda Gallaher,
      You can leave them in the pots and place the pots on the leeward side (protected) of your house right by the wall. Then, you can dig a pot-sized hole in the ground and place them in the hole until spring comes next year. Go ahead and mulch over the pot as if they were in a strawberry bed in the ground. If you can’t do that, you can mound dirt around the pot by the wall. If you can’t go that, you can wrap an insulating material around the pot instead. In West Virginia, that should be sufficient to keep them alive until next spring. Good luck!

  71. I live in Minnesota I have strawberries in planter boxes on a wall. The boxes are 4 ft long a foot wide at top. How do I over winter them?

    • Kevin,
      If the planter boxes are attached to your home’s wall, there is a good chance that the radiant heat that leaks through from inside will keep them warm enough to avoid cold injury. If they aren’t, you’ll likely need to wrap the planters with an insulating material that will still allow for rain/other water to keep the soil from drying out. Good luck!

  72. I live in yellowknife, where winter gets to -40 each year. I lack a garage, and i have my plants in containers. What would be the best way to overwinter them?

    • Jake,
      You will need to heavily mulch them. If you have a root cellar, you can try storing them there, just don’t forget to water them. If you don’t have a tremendous amount of them, you may want to dig a hole to place the pots in and then mulch heavily. With temperatures dropping to -40, it will be much more difficult to keep potted plants alive than in more moderate climes. Good luck!

  73. I have planted strawberries in a three tiered pyramid. Do I heavily mulch them. with straw, in the winter to protect the plants. Our winters her in Mi. get quite a lot of snow and very cold, below temps! Thank you for your help!

    • Janice Winchel,
      Yes, you will need to mulch them heavily with clean straw to keep them from suffering cold injury with the frigid winter temperatures there. Good luck!

  74. Hi,

    I have my strawberry plants growing in beds with landscaping fabric. They are starting to get their runners and I am wondering the best way to save the runners. I know I could cut holes in the fabric but would prefer not too. If I put plastic pots out alongside the plants and placed the runners in them, while still attached to the mother plant so they can take root, do you think that would work fine?

    I was thinking that I could just wait to clip them for when I am ready to bring the pots inside to overwinter them. Thanks!!

  75. I made a “strawberry tree” as seen on Bonnieplants.com, the plants are in wire baskets with coconut liners and hang from hooks on a pole…what’s the best way to overwinter these? Thanks in advance!

    • Penni Jones,
      If you have an unheated garage, storing them there against the side of the house that is heated is best if you live in colder climates. Just be sure to water them occasionally so that the soil doesn’t dry out completely. Good luck!

  76. Can I not just bring my strawberries inside where it is warm, keep them near a well lit window? Or do they need the dormancy? Thanks 🙂

    • Jo Jacobs,
      They do better with a dormant period. Keeping them active all year round diminishes both life span and yield. Good luck!

  77. Hi! This is my first year of real gardening. B/C of a serious mole problem, I’ve done container gardening that’s worked well for most things.
    Strawberries have done really well, although I’m just learning. I do also have a 6 x 8 “portable” greenhouse . You told another person that to winter their plants in the greenhouse, just make sure they don’t get totally dried out. But don’t we have to cover them? Doesn’t being dormant mean they also are kept in darkness?
    I plan to grow vegetables in my greenhouse over the winter, so there will be sunlight and heat. Insulating GH for good growing environment. ( I will use heater on the coldest of nights.) Doesn’t all this pose a problem for the strawberries?
    Also, I’m concerned about all the runners the plants have sent off. I’ve tucked them back into the pots to grow roots, but will I have to transplant the entire containers of plants into bigger pots before wintering them? OMG…there is so much to know just for one type of plant!
    Thanks in advance for any advice you have to share. I will continue to research the site.

    • Madeline Crabb,
      To best overwinter strawberry plants in greenhouses, they should be unheated. If you are going to grow other vegetables in the greenhouse, then the strawberries won’t enter dormancy as it won’t get cold enough to induce them to go dormant. If you live in Zone 7 or below, you likely won’t even have to protect them at all if they are outside without any protection at all (as long as there isn’t a low cold snap). The dormant plants don’t require darkness, just cold temperatures, to remain dormant. You don’t have to transplant the rooted runners into new pots prior to winter, but it is best to transplant them in the fall for best success rates. Good luck!

  78. This is my first year growing strawberries. I do have an unheated garage, but the wall against my house is completely covered with junk, so I can’t put it there. Can I just leave it in my garage and not against the wall? I’ll cover it with a towel or two. Thanks!!! ????

    • Jessica,
      Yes, if the plants are properly insulated, they will do fine in the garage. Just make sure that you keep the soil from drying out. Otherwise, they will certainly die. Good luck!

  79. Dear Mr. Strawberry,

    I have plastic window boxes on my outside deck as my containers. I also have some Mr. Stacky containers. I am trying to figure out how to winterize them, since I live in Boston and I don’t have a garage or unheated basement. The basement has the furnace and boiler room in it, so it stays warm all winter. I don’t have the land to dig holes for winterizing in the ground. What do you recommend? They containers are all on a deck above ground, so I’m guessing they would be too exposed during the winter.

    Thank you!

    • Boston Planter,
      You might want to try getting the plants/containers as close as possible to the sheltered side of your house as possible. Then, you can use some hardware cloth (or even fencing with larger holes, if cheaper) to create a cage around the plants/planters. Fill the cage with clean straw so that the plants are completely covered (once they go dormant), and just make sure that the soil doesn’t dry out completely over the winter months. That is probably one of your best options. Good luck!

  80. I’d like to know if I can overwinter my hanging strawberry plant in an indoor closet on an outside wall? As well, do I have to cut it back before overwintering?

    • Marie,
      If by “indoor” you mean inside your house, no, that won’t work well. You don’t need to cut the plant back before overwintering. Simply wait until the temperature drops, then remove the dead leaves once the plant enters dormancy. Good luck!

    • Lindsey,
      You should bring them in once they go dormant. Usually, that will occur when the night temperatures have been in the mid-to-high twenties for a few days in a row. Good luck!

  81. Two years ago I ordered organic strawberry (8 plants) on-line. I planted them and they spread everywhere. I have no rows but just plants in a small section in my garden. The second year I had lots of great berries (I planted 4 June and 4 Ever bearing). Now that the berries have not produced in July, Aug., and Sept I have tons of tall clover-looking plants taking over my strawberry patch. The weeds are so close to the strawberry plant that I have a hard time hand-pulling the weeds. I have done some pulling but the clover looking tall weeds have taken over. Will they die over the winter? Is there an organic weed killer to use? (My strawberries will be affected since they two are so close together). Help!

    • Diane,
      Unfortunately, weeds are the bane of strawberry plants. Mulching helps to keep them down, but the weeds simply have to be removed one way or another. I know of no organic herbicide, unfortunately. If they die over the winter, they will likely come back next year. The best option is to spend the time pulling them up now and then applying a mulch to help prevent their return, or being vigilant next spring and nipping them in the bud. Good luck!

  82. Hello!
    I just received 50 bare root Tribute strawberry plants from Starkbros. I live in a 5a zone in South Dakota.
    I was going to plant these in a half whisky barrel just for the winter and then separate them this coming spring. I was going leave this outside for the winter since we don’t have room in the garage. So, I thought maybe I could wrap burlap around the barrel with space to stuff hay around and on top of the barrels. Do you think this will help keep my plants shielded from the cold?

    Thank you

    • Des,
      It is possible. You will definitely need a bit of extra insulation with an above-ground planter, but if you insulate it enough and place it so that it can benefit at least a little bit from the ambient heat of your home (put it adjacent to a wall), they could do fine. Good luck!

  83. I was stupid and upcycled an old BBQ. I started with 5 plants and now have 8 but its november and I am still getting fruit. How and when do i overwinter them? I am in zone 8B. Should i just leave them along or what?

    • JONI,
      In zone 8b, I would let the plants continue to produce as long as they will and enjoy the fruits of labor! Also, unless you have a very significant cold snap, you can likely go the winter without mulching. Just remove the dead/shriveled leaves once the plants go dormant. Good luck!

  84. I am in zone 6a. I have strawberry plants near the house on the west side. Last year I covered them with burlap because I was afraid the nearby deer and rabbits would eat them over the winter. Do I need to do that to protect them from the cold or is there an easier way?
    Thank you!

    • Diann,
      In zone 6a, a generous covering of clean straw should do the trick just fine. They will go dormant over the next few weeks (if they haven’t already) and the vegetation will die back to the crown. Since the leaves die back, the wildlife will usually leave them alone (moles/voles and chipmunks can damage the roots and squirrels will sometimes dig at them). Good luck!

  85. I read that it’s best to thin strawberries. Mine are all together with no space between. How do I know which ones to pull since the plants spread but are still connected.

    • Diann,
      If your plants are young, thin them to about 3 plants per square foot. If they are old (3-4 years), try to selectively remove the older plants as they will start to decline in vigor soon. Good luck!

  86. I’m in Zone 5b and my strawberry plant has been acting weird; it JUST occurred to me that it may be trying to go dormant as the daylight shortens (my strawberry plant and I are from Florida). My question is this: I just watered it, soaked the soil like I usually do, so should I wait to put it in the garage until the soil has dried out a bit? I don’t want the roots to rot.

    • Sarah,
      Yes, once you move a potted plant to the garage, you need to make sure that the soil stays just moist and never waterlogged. Good luck!

  87. It’s me again. I have the upcycled BBQ. We got a cold snap. Snow today I was out looking at my strawberry plants and have more then 8 plants in this BBQ. Is winter a safe time to transplant ever bearing strawberries? I would like to transplant to hanging containers and get rid of the BBQ as the birds like to try to tip it over. They have tipped it once already.

  88. I was going to winterize my strawberry plants but it’s the end of December and today the temps are in the 70’s. I looked at the plants but most ask the leaves are still lush and green, should I go ahead and winterize them out wait a little longer? I live in northern central Kentucky. The winter here is very unpredictable from year to year. Should I wait another few weeks, fit I’m sure we’ll have colder weather still and some on late spring this year?

    • DeForrest,
      If the leaves are still lush and green, you should wait prior to winterizing/mulching them. Give them a few weeks more, and they will go dormant. Winterize then! Good luck!

  89. I grow my strawberries hydroponically. How should I prepare and store the plants when the temps finally drop below freezing in Texas? Remove them from the system and cover with mulch? I have considered leaving the system running with a tank warmer and small hoop tunnel.

    • David Hill,
      If you can keep the plants warm in a hoop tunnel and with a tank warmer, they will likely survive better than trying to remove them, pot them/mulch them, etc. I’d try the option you suggested first. Good luck!

    • Robert Tatro,
      Usually you remove it once the night-time temperatures are going to stay in the high twenties or higher. However, the temperatures have been erratic this year more than usual. It is likely that things will cool off again before warmer temperatures arrive and stick around for good. So, I’d leave them mulched for the time being. Good luck!

  90. I use the square foot gardening method and live in Omaha, Nebraska. I have raised beds that sit counter top height off the ground. I planted an 4′ x8′ box last year with strawberries. They did great last year and produced tons of runners. We did not let them fruit. When they went dormant I covered the box with straw. I took the straw off when it started to warm up a few weeks ago. Plants are showing no signs of life. It’s now late April still nothing and it has been nice and warm. I am afraid I lost them. They should be growing by now correct? The boxes are 2×6 wood around the sides. I may try again and insulate the boxes on the bottom and sides, and straw in heavier. Can you use black plastic over the top or will this be to hot on sunny days? I could also use clear plastic and create a green house effect as well. Any thoughts?

    • Terry,
      If you had cold enough weather this winter, it is likely that they died. Beds that are raised off the ground are similar to potted plants (or other containers). This might help. Also, this coming winter, it would be good to insulate all around the plants if they will still be raised. If possible, you can lower the raised bed to the ground and cover with straw, allowing the ground to provide some of the bottom insulation. Good luck!

  91. I live in Sacramento, CA, and used straw bales for strawberry plants last summer. They stayed in the bales overwinter. Though the bales have somewhat collapsed the plants have multiplied and are very green but no flowers. I would like to leave them in place for the coming summer. What do I need to do to keep them healthy and productive this summer?

    • Jim D.,
      I’d start here! Also, with the straw bale method of growing strawberries, you might want to fertilize, if you haven’t yet. As the hay decomposes, the plants can sometimes become nutrient deficient and produce smaller or fewer strawberries. Good luck!

  92. I just bought strawberry plants (through a school fundraiser) and I want to put them in containers as I don’t have garden space. I live in zone 3 (Southern Manitoba). What is the best type of container to use so that they will over winter best? I’ve seen the plastic or terracotta pots, but also have seen interesting vertical designs using PVC tubes. I would bring them into the garage for winter, and it stays around -2 to -5 Celcius in winter.

    • Laura,
      I would advise against the PVC tubes if you are planning to overwinter them. They are much more difficult to insulate. Any container in your location will require a bit of extra work to insulate, but if you can bring them into a garage to protect them, most will do adequately. Overwintering outside in pots of most any kind will likely result in the entire contents of the pot freezing through and ultimately resulting in significant cold injury or the death of the plants during the coldest months. If you need to keep them outside, if you have a space in the ground you can dig up, you can dig a pot-sized hole in the ground and put the pot in the hole. The ground will insulate and a liberal blanket of clean straw will probably keep them alive over the winter. Good luck!

  93. I read a lot of these and my situation was not mentioned that I saw anyway. I do not have an unheated garage, Greenhouse or root cellar. Unable to dig holes in ground for containers. Etc and mine are in the five tier containers. I have a shed or a enclosed porch. the porch would be easier to keep them watered as the shed sometimes get a ton of snow in front of it or iced up and I can’t get into it. I live in zone 5 in New York, upstate. Would the enclosed porch be okay if I brought them in when there was an extended period of Below 32 degrees at night? or should I wrap towels around them ?what kind of insulating material could I put around them if I left them on the porch?

    • Cathy,
      In Zone 5, putting them in the enclosed porch against a house wall would likely be enough to keep them alive through the winter as long as you water them periodically to keep the soil from drying out. If the temperatures are forecast to be really low, just through a could of old blankets over them until the temperature warms a bit. Good luck!

  94. In getting ready for winter, can strawberry plants be cut back? – if so, when and how? This year I have had a problem with little, black, spotted beetle critters eating the berries. What are they and how do I get rid of them? They are also attacking my raspberries. I am growing two types of strawberries: Ozark Beauties and Quinlan – (I believe).

    • Terry Levesque,
      Yes, the plants can be cut back or mowed after the harvest is in and renovation starts. To remedy the beetles, you might want to try regular applications of diatomaceous earth. Good luck!

  95. 1.) Can strawberry plants be cut back or mowed over in the late fall?
    2.) How do you properly thin them out?
    3.) Little black, spotted beetles are attacking the strawberries and raspberries. Is there a natural way to get rid of them or is pesticides the only effective method? If pesticides, what kind?

  96. My strawberries are planted in planters on my fence. Some of the planters need repairs requiring removal of the plants. If I were to plant them in my raised beds for the winter, when would be the best time to do that? Could they then be replanted in the planters in the Spring? They are producing fruit right now. I’m in zone 6b and our average last frost date is October 3rd. Thank you for your help.

    • Lorri,
      If you need to transplant, it is best to do it in the fall. Doing so allows the plants to re-establish themselves prior to going dormant, and they will have a better survival rate that way. However, re-transplanting them again in the spring will add additional stress to the plants, and they will likely not produce as well for you following the spring transplantation. So, if you can leave them in the raised beds next spring, they will probably do better! Good luck!

  97. Thank you Mr. Strawberry for your helpful information. I plan to get the diatemaceous earth you mentioned. Hope I can find it locall as I will need alot for the strawberries and raspberries. Again, thank you for your helpful information. Terry

  98. I am overwintering in containers, zone 4. My plan is to place them along and outside wall in my garage, which is not heated, but houses my furnace and water heater, thus staying warm. How cold do the plants need to be to stay dormant? I am a bit worried with the warmth in the garage that they will not stay dormant.
    Any recommendations?
    Thank you,

  99. Quick question, new to gardening. I have a bunch of runners with established roots clipped, in pots, and ready to be planted. I tiled a bed but it’s pretty sand like – manure added years ago – but I want to plant them there though. What should I do to the soil before planting? It’s end of summer and coming into the fall here in BC where I live. Should I get compost, mix it in, make my beds, and use fish fertilizer in each hole before planting? Should I use mulch around them too? Any advice much appreciated!!! Thank you kindly

  100. I saw a video once of a fellow who had really long bags of soil and he was taking strawberry plants, roots exposed, and shoving the root systems into the bags. He had stored them over the winter and was planting them for the new season. This got me thinking about how on earth he had stored those plants over the winter… Can strawberries be removed from the soil and then stored? I’ve never had a video bring up so many unanswered questions.



  101. I have not mulched my strawberry plants yet because the ground temperature was still 40 degrees. We just had about three inches of snow. The air temperature is in the 30s and will be in the 20s tonight, 30s again tomorrow. The day after tomorrow it is expected to dip down into the teens at night but be near 40 in the daytime off and on for the rest of the week. Should I get the snow off the plants and mulch before the air temperature is in the teens? I understand the snow is probably helping insulate the plants at this stage and I’m not afraid of them getting damaged but I wonder when to mulch. Thanks.

    • Denise Shelton,
      The ground temperature is more vital than the air temperature. The snow will insulate the plants at this point. Once the snow melts, go ahead and clear off the dead top foliage and then mulch. Good luck!

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