Strawberries 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.
- The Annual Life Cycle of a Strawberry Plant
- Renovating Your Strawberry Plants
- How to Overwinter Strawberry Plants in the Ground
- How to Protect the Flower Buds From Winter Cold
- How Do You Get Containerized Strawberry Plants Through the Winter?
- Choosing the Shelter for Your Strawberry Plants
- Watering Overwintered Strawberries
- Benefits of Overwintering Strawberries
- How to Overwinter Hydroponic Strawberry Plants
- Answer to: Overwintering Hydroponic Strawberry Plants?
- What If You Only Have to Deal With Occasional Outbreaks of Cold Weather?
- What Can You Do If Your Strawberry has Frosted?
- What About Cold Weather Growing for Strawberry Plants in Towers?
- But What If I Want Fresh Strawberries All Winter Long?
- Overwintering Strawberries: Conclusion
The Annual Life Cycle of a Strawberry Plant
In the wild, strawberry plants are perennials. They set flower buds in the fall. Then the plant needs a long period of minimal activity to use photosynthesis in lower temperatures and less intense light to build up sugars in its stems and stolons to power a burst of fruiting the next year.
In strawberry plants, dormancy doesn’t mean total inactivity. It just means that the plant is redirecting its energy to built up buds for fruiting and stolons that will reach across the ground to form daughter plants.
If a strawberry never gets the cooler and darker weather it needs to recharge and rejuvenate, it will continue to try to flower and set fruit. But it will get weaker and weaker with fewer and fewer strawberries, while the crown and roots become more and more susceptible to disease.
Many strawberry growers are fine with pulling up strawberries at the end of the growing season and planting again the next spring. But it’s a lot of work to pull up old plants, sterilize the soil or containers the plants grew in, make sure that the dead strawberry plants aren’t harboring insects or disease, and then put out new plants the next year.
There is also the added cost of new plants. But some varieties of strawberry plants are so productive that it makes sense to keep them going through the winter.
What are some good guidelines for choosing which strawberries to keep through the winter and which varieties to pull out and replant next year?
If the strawberry is day-neutral, it isn’t sensitive to the length of day, at least with regard to trying to set more and more strawberries. Day-neutral varieties like Albion, Jewel, Fort Laramie and Tristar may yield strawberries for months on end, but they only get weaker if you try to keep them through the winter for production next year.
If the strawberry bears most of its fruit in the early summer, then it is a good candidate for overwintering. These “June bearing” strawberries (depending on your climate, the peak bearing season may be as early as March or as late as July) only need winter care to rev up production all over again next year. Strawberry varieties of this type include Allstar, Chandler, Earliglow, Honeoye, and Surecrop.
We can’t list all the early-summer bearing varieties here. But chances are they were identified as such when you bought them. You can check with the grower or the nursery to be sure.
Winter care for strawberries begins in late summer.
Renovating Your Strawberry Plants
Late summer or early fall are times for “renovating” your strawberry plants. When you see that your strawberry plants aren’t producing new fruit, it’s time to prepare them for their pre-winter renovation.
The process of renovating your strawberry plant involves cutting it back to just 2 inches (5 cm) high and carrying away the trimmings. This interrupts any disease processes and deprives insects of a winter home.
If you have a small strawberry patch, or you grow your strawberries in containers, you can do the trimming with hedge clippers. If you have a large, flat field, you can use a lawn mower, but you need to make sure the blade is elevated so you leave the crown intact and you don’t take all of the foliage off the plant.
Make sure any plant debris is carried off to the compost pile. Then give your strawberry plants some late-season fertilizer.
Conventional growers can put out one pound of 10-10-10 fertilizer for every 25 plants. Scatter fertilizer pellets over the ground, rake them in gently, and water your plants (preferably with a drip, not with a sprinkler, to prevent a new round of fungal diseases).
If you are growing your strawberry plants organically, this is the time to give them aged compost and foliar mineral sprays.
Either way, fertilize in the late summer or early fall, at least a month before your expected first frost. You don’t want to stimulate tender new growth that would only get nipped by frost. You want the vines and flower buds to have a chance to mature before really cold weather sets in.
Winter care for in-ground strawberry plants
A few light frosts will just send your strawberry plants into dormancy. There is no need to race out to your garden to cover up strawberry plants for frost protection if they have already stopped blooming and bearing strawberries. (If they are still blooming, of course, a thermal blanket — not a sheet of plastic — offers adequate frost protection.)
Winter temperatures much below 15 degrees Fahrenheit (about -10 Celsius), however, will kill the flower buds that the plant needs for next year’s production. It is important to protect the flower buds from winter cold.
How to Overwinter Strawberry Plants in the Ground
Strawberries 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 Protect the Flower Buds From Winter Cold
An important principle of cold protection is that still air is an insulator. The secret to keeping strawberries warm in the winter is thick covering or a light mulch that traps warm air inside it. Even better, this mulch would have lots of surfaces that can catch drops of moisture that release heat as they freeze.
Pine needles make a great mulch. They are easy to rake away from your strawberry plants when the weather warms up in the spring, and they keep the soil slightly acidic as they decay.
Clean, weed-free wheat, oat, or soybean straw is also a good choice. Or if you had a corn patch, chopped up corn stalks make a great choice.
Covering your plants with plastic will increase the overall temperature underneath, so long as the edges are sealed. The heat of the ground helps maintain the temperature, since the underground freezes less quickly than top soil, the air or water.
Cardboard is sturdy and may be suitable if you have a small strawberry patch or pot to cover. It will block wind and increase the temperature underneath.
It is important to let your strawberry plants harden off with a few light frosts before you add protective mulch. You don’t want lots of active growth going on underneath the mulch that could produce tender shoots that could be damaged by sudden, severe cold.
Winter care for strawberries in containers
Winter can be prime time for growing strawberry plants. You can transplant year-old plants into containers in the early fall, placing the container in a sunny but protected enclosure. The plant can set flower buds and grow roots to grow like gangbusters next spring.
How Do You Get Containerized Strawberry Plants Through the Winter?
The principle to remember for winter care of strawberry plants in containers is that shoots are hardy, but roots are delicate. Most growing containers for strawberry plants don’t provide a lot of insulation. Cold drafts can circulate around the containers. The soil or planting medium inside the container can become as cold as the ambient air surrounding it.
If a shoot dies, the plant can replace it. But if the roots die, the plant dies, too.
The key to overwintering is controlling the temperature so that the plant is cold and alive, but not actively growing.
Slow exposure to lower and lower temperatures gives the strawberry plant to make its own “antifreeze”. The stems and the roots accumulate sugars in the plant sap that keep it from freezing through.
Constantly freezing and thawing keeps the plant producing new growth that dies with the next freeze, depleting its energy so it will be weaker next spring.
Get containers ready for overwintering
Successful overwintering requires good timing. Strawberry plants should be in their pots for several weeks before they are exposed to cold. In most of the colder-winter areas of North America, this means that year-old plants need to be in pots in their winter shelter in October so they will be ready for cold coming as soon as November. The stronger the root system, the stronger the plant.
Any dead stems or leaves should be removed to prevent botrytis infections.
The strawberry plants need to be thoroughly watered when they are put in their pots and at least one more time before they are put to bed for the winter. Watering is critical because soil moisture is a source of heat. Not only does dry soil freeze much more quickly than damp soil, water releases heat as it changes from liquid water to ice.
Don’t forget rodent control. Strawberry plants make a tasty winter snack for any mice or rats that may choose to spend the winter inside your plant shelter. But what kinds of shelters do strawberry plants need?
Choosing the Shelter for Your Strawberry Plants
Thermal blankets are a great choice for maintaining strawberry plants outdoors during the coldest winter months when temperatures are constantly below freezing. Common thermoblanket materials include polyethylene foam laminated with white UV-resistant polyethylene film (for instance, The Winter Blanket), flexible polypropylene foam (Microfoam), and closed cell polyethylene foam (Guilbond). There are also fleece plant blankets that keep plants warm even in severe cold. Blankets should be oriented north-south so they are not lifted by strong northerly winds. The edges should be weighted down. When thermal blankets are removed in the early spring, they should be stored indoors so they will last another two or three years. In locations where temperatures fall below -10 degrees Fahrenheit (about -25 degrees Celsius), plants should be covered with two layers of blankets.
For even more thermal protection, cover plants with a layer of plastic, a layer of straw, and another layer of plastic. First, build an inexpensive frame of wood or mesh wire to cover the area where the strawberry plant containers have been placed. The cover the frame and the plants with a sheet of inexpensive clear plastic. Cover the first layer of plastic with 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) of dry straw, and then cover the straw with another layer of white plastic. This protects your strawberry plants against both extreme cold and thawing.
Yet another way to keep strawberry plants at a constant temperature below freezing is inside an unheated quonset polyhouse. Strawberry plants in their containers are placed on a flat, dry, well-drained surface. A quonset hut frame is built from PVC pipe. At temperatures you are likely to encounter in the fall, PVC pipe is flexible so it can be bent into hoops and attached to a frame built around the plants.
The quonset frame is covered with one or two layers of polyethylene. If you use two layers of polyethylene, leave some air space between them for extra insulation. Once outdoor temperatures fall below 25 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit (-4 to -1 degrees Celsius), the plants inside the frame can be covered with a thermal blanket to prevent further freezing and to protect next year’s fruiting buds. This kind of protection is adequate down to about – 5 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 degrees Celsius). It’s important to remove the thermal blanket from the plants during warmups to keep moisture from accumulating on the plants.
During periods of warmer weather, use a soil thermometer to check the temperature of the pots. If soil temperature is consistently above 40 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius), remove the thermal blanket. On the other hand, if the soil temperature falls to 15 degrees Fahrenheit (about -10 degrees Celsius), then you will need to place a heater inside the hut.
Let your strawberry plants warm up gradually in the spring
As long as there is still a risk of cold weather, you don’t want your strawberry plants putting on heavy new growth. Make sure they start growing slowly in early spring by gradually removing cover in February and March, leaving them some cold protection in early April before returning them to growing season conditions in May. As plants are putting on new foliage, check them frequently for fungal infections and treat as needed.
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.
How to Overwinter Hydroponic Strawberry Plants
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?
Answer to: Overwintering Hydroponic Strawberry Plants?
Let me start off with a few quick comments before answering your question, as other readers may benefit from the information. So, strawberry plants are much more cold-tolerant than many other popular garden plants. Once a good frost hits, most tomatoes, melons, and just about everything else is going to bite the dust. Strawberries, however, are more resilient. While any flowers in full bloom will likely end up damaged or dead, a few mild nights aren’t enough to make the plants go dormant, much less kill them (as you’ve experienced!). Even frosts don’t put the kibosh on the hardy little fellows. Once the temperatures drop down into the low twenties or upper teens, depending on the varieties you have planted, they will go dormant. It isn’t until they go dormant (i.e. look dead). That they should be moved into your planned overwintering hydroponic strawberry plants area. So, fret not. Your plants will go dormant at some point as the temperatures decline. When they do, you can then overwinter them.
As far as production goes, you should get better production from the older plants for about two years. The root systems are larger, and the plants more capable of producing fruit. After two years, however, the older plants will likely start to decline in vigor. While healthy plants can continue to produce well up to age 4, they often begin to decline before then. So, to be on the safe side, you should switch out plants no later than year 3 for younger specimens.
Overwintering hydroponic strawberry plants is more difficult than overwintering traditionally-grown plants due to their exposure. Water isn’t a good insulator and will freeze solid in cold temperatures. Your plan of overwintering hydroponic strawberry plants in sand can work. If you keep the strawberries in their hydroponic net pots and overwinter these pots with the roots hanging out, you can successfully keep them alive in a box of sand in the garage. You do, however, need to make sure that the roots are completely covered in the sand, and that the sand doesn’t dry out. As long as the sand remains damp and your temperature doesn’t reach arctic cold levels in your garage, they should make it. Also, make sure you use sterile sand when you are overwintering hydroponic strawberry plants. Otherwise, you can have all sorts of pathogens in it that may transfer to and kill your plants during their stay in the Hotel Silica.
What If You Only Have to Deal With Occasional Outbreaks of Cold Weather?
If really cold weather isn’t common at your location, you may want to maintain your strawberry plants in containers that are constantly thawed rather than constantly frozen. Heated greenhouse with roll-up sides give you the ability to keep plants from freezing all winter, but also to keep them from growing too quickly by opening the sides of the greenhouse when temperatures are cool but not cold. The objective in this setup is to keep plants at 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) or less until spring.
A heated greenhouse with roll-up sides gives you the ability to gradually introduce your plants to warmer weather and to keep them from accumulating moisture that attracts fungal diseases.
What Can You Do If Your Strawberry has Frosted?
If your strawberry patch got a little too cold and may have damage as a result, it’s time to take emergency measures to save them. While many plants are hardy enough to survive, it’s important to warm them up.
For cold-shocked plants, one of the best things you can do, is to water them. Water helps plants recover from stress and the trauma of the cold snap. When watering, apply around an inch of new water to your garden. It’s even better if you can water with lukewarm water, as it will help thaw the soil if it’s still frozen or extremely cool.
Why does water work? When plants are frozen, the water within them is removed. Without that moisture, they are dehydrated. Rehydrate your plants, and you should see them perk back up.
Another important step is to make sure not to prune a plant that has been cold shocked. Pruning can stress a plant, so wait until your plant begins to grow to assess which parts may have died and if you need to prune anything at all. Until then, you can remove dead leaves and dried leaves from the plant, since they are no longer supporting photosynthesis.
What About Cold Weather Growing for Strawberry Plants in Towers?
Strawberry towers are designed for single-season growth. There is too much surface area exposed to cold air to make overwintering practical, unless you live in an exceptionally warm-winter climate.
But What If I Want Fresh Strawberries All Winter Long?
We have written about greenhouse production of strawberries. But if you just want a few strawberries, you can grow your strawberry plants in a cold frame.
Overwintering Strawberries: Conclusion
Hopefully, 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!
Fall Strawberry Plants
Strawberry Plants and Cold Injury
Winterizing Strawberry Plants
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
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!
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.
Start here! Good luck!
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.
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!
How do you winterize strawberries in the winter inside a greenhouse.
Thank you in advance
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!
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!
Yes, as long as the soil stays slightly moist so the roots don’t dry out, that sounds like an acceptable plan! Good luck!
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.
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!
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!
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.
It sounds like you have a good plan. Light isn’t necessary during the dormancy phase. Good luck!
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?
The answer to your inquiry is here. Good luck!
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?
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!
Should you prune the plant at all. It is in a container ?
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!
I have limited growing area, and need to reuse last years plot.
What fertiliser or nutrient do I need to acquire a crop please
See the growing strawberries page for help there! Good luck!
I did not know that I should pinch the flowers off during the first year. Is this A concern? ?
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!
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!
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!
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?
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!
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?
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!
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?
It might, but the tarp may trap moisture which could facilitate fungal infection and damage or kill your plants. Good luck!
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!!
-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!
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
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!
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.
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!
I am trying to keep my plants that I have grown in hanging baskets how do I winterize them.
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!
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?
In the absence of light, it might be. However, with light coming through windows, they would likely not stay dormant. I’m sorry!
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
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!
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.
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!
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?
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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?
No, you need not worry. If your temperatures have been mild, they will do just fine. Good luck!
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…???
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!
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!
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!
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?
As long as the temperatures didn’t drop enough to cause cold injury, they will be fine. Good luck!
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?
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!
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
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!
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?
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!
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.
Anytime you dig up plants, it stresses them. You would be better off leaving appropriately spaced plants. Also, you may want to see this information on transplanting strawberries. Good luck!
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?
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!
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.
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!
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?
See the video on this page for an example of how to handle and transplant strawberry runners. Good luck!
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?
Reviewing the information on the Growing Strawberries reference page should help! Be sure not to let you plants’ roots dry out over the winter. Good luck!
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
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!
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?
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!
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
The information here should get you going in the right direction. Good luck!
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.
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!
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?
If they will be outside and exposed to the elements, yes. Good luck!
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?
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!
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.
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!
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.
Go ahead and remove all the brown and dead leaves as soon as possible. See this link for help growing strawberries. Good luck!
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!
Great! Good luck!
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).
Once the plants go dormant when the temperature drops, the wilted/dead vegetative matter should be removed prior to mulching. Good luck!
Do i water my container plants before putting in garage and during the winter in the garage? In my sunroom now.
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!
pamelal l poehling
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!
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?
Either one is ok, just be sure to mulch them well if they will be in the ground. Straw is easiest. Good luck!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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?
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!
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!
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!
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?
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!
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?
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!
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>
Yes, if you root the daughter plants now, they should survive the winter with appropriate care. Good luck!
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.
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!
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?
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!
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?
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!
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.
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!
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?
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!
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?
If the three don’t start putting out leaflets in the next week, I’d replace them. More than likely, they are dead. Sorry!
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!
Those dried and dead leaves should be pruned off. Good luck!
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?
You can grow them in planters, but you do have to give them a bit of extra protection. I’d recommend heavily mulching them. Good luck!
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?
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!
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.
Start here: Growing Strawberries. Also, the Strawberry Renovation and Mulching Strawberries with Straw pages may be of benefit. Good luck!
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!
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!
Someone told me to mow down this year’s strawberry plants in the fall. Will this kill them?
See here: Mowing Strawberry Plants. Good luck!
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
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!