Of all the fruits, strawberries are among the easiest to grow and are a good choice to grow as container plants. Winterizing your potted strawberry plants will keep them happy year after year.
Pots used to grow strawberries are usually made of terra cotta; the reddish-orange pots we all know so well. Both ‘regular’ terra cotta pots and those made specifically for strawberries or small succulents will work just fine. The reason for using terra cotta is that it’s highly porous which allows for well-drained soil. You can purchase strawberry pots at your local home and garden centers or online at places like Amazon. Another popular choice for a container gardener is a wire hanging basket lined with coconut fiber or moss.
Strawberries are perennial plants — they go through a period of dormancy in the winter and return in early spring ready to go again for another growing season. With a minimal amount of preparation for getting them through cold temperatures, your strawberry plants in pots can be as productive as in-ground plants. The amount of winterizing required depends on what planting zone you live in.
Virtually every planting zone is conducive for growing strawberry plants at least a few months out of the year. If you don’t know what zone you live in, go to PlantMaps.com to find out. Those living in zones 2-7 have long winter months and colder temperatures which will require winterizing your potted strawberries. Those living in zone 8 or higher can rest easy because no extra attention is necessary.
Winter care for strawberry pots in parts of the country with cold winters can be accomplished by putting the pots in a cool garage or cellar. You can also remove the plants from the pot and plant them in plastic pots. For best results plant those pots in the ground in your garden beds, up to the top rim of the pots (leaving the top of the plants exposed). Of course this needs to be done before the ground freezes. The plants should then be covered over with a loose layer of clean straw.
For warmer zones or areas with mild winters that don’t experience extended periods of temperatures below freezing, simply place the plants under the deck, on a covered porch or any protected area to provide coverage from winter precipitation and winter wind. If you have an extended period of cold weather with below freezing temperatures, it’s a good idea to bring them into your garage or cellar.
Those living in the warmest climates — where berries are produced commercially — simply removing unwanted runners from the plants to promote healthier growth of the mother plant and watering them less frequently is sufficient.
That’s about all there is to winterizing your potted strawberry plants. Honest. Homegrown strawberries make a great container crop for the following reasons. They:
1. Have shallow roots
2. Are low-maintenance plants
3. Produce small fruits that don’t require a lot of room
4. Have a vine-like quality that allows them to grow and produce outside the container
5. Naturally propagate runners that can be rooted quickly and easily into more pots
Ever-bearing strawberries (those which produce berries in the spring and late summer) are usually the best for growing in pots. Some of the more popular varieties of everbearing strawberries are Calypso, Alpine, Arapahoe and Alexandria.
When buying your plants, make sure you purchase healthy plants with nice green foliage, few if any runners and plants whose root crowns are firm but fleshy feeling. Plants can be purchased at your local home and garden centers, or from fellow gardeners in your area who have plants to spare. Any of these reputable seed and plant catalogs are also excellent sources for quality plants that come with limited guarantees: Henry Fields, Gurney, Jung, Burpee, Park Seeds and Harris Seeds.
Growing strawberry plants in pots is a fun, economical, delicious and easy way to introduce you or your children to gardening and healthy eating.
i live in rochester, ny. will put my potted strawberry plants in my garage for the winter. do i need to water them?
I found this info via google:
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.
Aneisha Samuels says
Yes once or twice per month. Don’t over water. I live in Albany New York
Geoffrey Underwood says
Do the plants need to be “pruned” ie., cut back the runners before placing them in garage for winter?
randy q says
We live in Wisconsin, grew a strawberry plant in a hanging basket can we bring it in our basement for the winter? The temp. is usually in the low 60’s. If so should we water it from time to time or put it near a window? We only got a few strawberries this year but we’re hoping for more next year.
Alice DeWall says
I also live in a cold climate (Minnesota) If I bring my plants in to the basement, do I water it occasionally and does it have to be kept in the dark?
I live where we have winter, so I’ll have to put it my garage which is also cold.. so do I water the plant when they are in the garage and if so how often?
Alice DeWall says
What do I do to keep my potted strawberry plant over winter? I live in Minnesota where it can get below zero
I live in Leitchfield ky. I have strawberries planted in wooden boxes. How do I winterize them?
Does anyone monitor this page? Questions from three writers about winter watering seem to have gone unanswered. I think many would like to see the author’s recommendation!
The author already stated how much to water. The answer hasnt changed no matter where in the midwest these people are from.
Jack Rooney says
I mulch a good two or more inches over the whole garden for the winter in spring move mulch away from plants app one inch never had a problem with over winter plants
I have many hanging baskets of strawberries. So easy to grow this way & through watering & full sunlight in summer I have been lucky enough to have an ‘abundance ‘ of berrys. What will happen in winter ? this I would like to know ! but I do live on the east coast of “Australia”.
I have wild strawberries and their roots are very long is that normal or would that be different from commercial ones?
Just mccombe says
Do I need to prune strawberry plant if so how far do you prune back please
Ms Tony Love says
To get them to grow bigger cut the runners; the long single vines that grow out from the main plant.
When you want more you can let a few runners establish themselves they will root and grow new plants.
You can also trim a few of the leaves back now and then but not alot of them. If it’s the first year that they’ve been planted some people recommend clipping all the flowers. Supposedly it will make it produce more fruit the second year but never tried it personally.
I have 2 strawberry plants in plastic pots that sit in an elevated bed around the trunk of a tree. The runners have planted themselves in the ground around the pots, so I can’t move the pots inside for the winter (zone 5) without breaking the runners. How would you suggest that I winterize these plants?
C D Boise says
just cut the runner and take the pot inside, make sure to cover the rooted runner plants as noted above
The runners actually take away from the growth of the potted plant as it puts it’s energy into creating new shoots, so if you are not going to be using those new shoots to plant more pots, it is best to cut them off early so that energy goes into producing fruit on the existing plant.
Marki knopp says
I have a strawberry plant in a large pot. It is still blooming and bearing fruit. I brought inside, can I keep it going in my house all winter or should I put it outside and let it freeze over the winter? Will it still come back? I live in the mountains in Colorado. It’s cold and snowy here.
Just leave it outside and let nature take care of it. If u want u can add wood chips or mulch around the plant. Do not cover the crown n leaves. Strawberry plant need chill hours so keepin them outisde n having them covered with snow help them to achieve their hours. They will definitely come back.
Debbee Owens says
I live in Oklahoma. I have june bearing strawberry plants in three clay pots. What should I do to winterize them.
put your clay pots in big pots or container and put straw between them . do not leave your clay pots outside they will break, you can even put your pot against the house on the south side. put lots of straw or leaves on top of the strawberries. they will survived the winter.
Hi! When can I bring my strawberries back out of the garage we are still expecting overnight temperature around -10 for a few weeks yet?
Last year I had bought two container pots with strawberry plants. I live in Minnesota and didn’t know what to do with them in winter. I left them outside in the cold weather. It looks like that they are died. What should I do buy new plants to put in them or wait to see if they come back. I know now that next time I will bring them in garage. Any reply will be very appreciated..
I live in an apartment, so there is no garage or Basement to put my potted strawberry plant over the freezing cold winter months (WI).
Where would be a good place to put it, so that I can take it out again next spring??
Also, when is a good time to bring it back out?
Lisa Marie Wurtz says
I live in zone 7 and put my container strawberries in plastic bins covered with straw for the winter. I opened them 2x over the winter to toss in some snow. Now that I opened them again, the straw is moldy. Can I remove the straw and replace it with clean straw? Should I not cover it with the lid? We are still in danger of more snow / frost (although we have not had much this winter). I’m not sure and I hope I didn’t kill all of my plants!!! Any info from an experienced gardener would be appreciated!!!
Thanks in advance–
I think it is best to have air circulation like in a cardboard box not air tight. Need some ventilation or it will rot. You can check them to see if they are still firm and cut off any mush. Get rid of the moldy straw. I plan to put mine together in a corner of the house and cover with leaves and an old blanket to keep leaves in place. Actually leaves may be enough.
Debbie Haas says
I live in Wisconsin. Going to put strawberry potted plant in garage. Do I have to cut off the remaining leaves etc on plant before hand?
Here’s another good site with “Mr. Strawberry” actually answering questions. I’ve learned some good info.
Alan LeBlanc says
Hello. I live on the third floor of a high rise building in downtown Toronto. I grew my strawberry plants in a square galvanized tub with excellent results. As for winterizing them, I was planning to put orchid mulch for them and leave them on the balcony as they are exposed to precipitation. Will this be ok?
Lynn A. Hagedorn (M.D.) says
I live in Florida, Zone 10. Am considering storing my bare roots in a zip lock bag in the freezer for the summer. Have you ever heard of doing that?