The Q&A Archives: Potted Strawberry Plant

Question: My potted strawberry plant has some dried out, dead leaves and stems, should they be removed? They were already dead when I brought the plant inside for the winter, also should I be adding fertilizer to the soil? Now or in the spring?

Answer: To overwinter successfully, strawberries should be kept cool enough to chill them (about 35 degrees is good) and slow their growth; and they should be watered just enough to keep them from drying out completely. These plants should show some signs of life such as new leaves and flower buds at the crown so be careful not to damage them when cleaning away the old debris. Go ahead and remove any dried up or dead leaves or stems, and be sure the pot is located in a cool, bright location. Begin moving the pot outdoors on mild days so the plants can "wake up" naturally with the season. You will still have to protect the pot from freezing temperatures, but the plants will benefit from being in the sunshine. Early spring is a good time to fertilize compost or a seaweed based fertilizer, or with a houseplant fertilizer intended for flowering plants. In mid spring you could switch to a slow release formulation. You might also consider replacing or refreshing the potting soil since strawberries are very heavy feeders.

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