How To Overwinter Strawberries In Containers
George Weigel Strawberries can be grown and overwintered in containers. Q: I bought some strawberry plants in the spring and stuck them in long containers for the season. They grew very well. Do I have to put them in the ground or will they be OK in the containers over winter? Should I put them in the basement or another protected area? A: You don’t have to plant strawberries in the ground.

  1. They do very well in containers and even hanging baskets, provided you keep them watered and fertilized.
  2. If you’ve got space for in-ground growing, go ahead and plant the strawberries now, as soon as you can before the ground freezes.
  3. Then mulch with a few inches of straw or leaves and check them a few times over winter to make sure freezing and thawing hasn’t forced them up.

If so, tamp them back down, water and add more straw or leaves. Option 2 is to just keep the strawberries in the container over winter and plant them in the ground next spring. Or figure on growing them in containers for good if you don’t have space in the ground.

Container-grown strawberries benefit from a little winter protection. One of the best ways is to place the container in a bigger container and then insulate the space between with leaves or straw. You can also place the container on the ground next to a heated wall and ideally out of the winter wind. Insulate the exposed sides of the container with mulch, leaves or straw.

Or just bury the container. The surrounding soil will insulate the roots over winter. Then dig up and hose down the container next spring. Yet another option is to take the container into an unheated shed or garage for winter. Don’t worry about lack of light.

  1. The plants will be dormant and don’t need light in winter.
  2. You’ll probably have to add just a little water every few weeks to keep the roots from getting too dry.
  3. Outside, melting snow and occasional cold rains usually keep the roots damp enough over winter without you having to water them.
  4. The only winter storage method I wouldn’t recommend is taking the container inside a heated room and trying to grow them as a houseplant.

That’s fine for some tropicals that grow year round in their native habitat, but strawberries need that cold dormancy of winter to help trigger a new round of fruiting. If you purchase a product or register for an account through one of the links on our site, we may receive compensation.

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What to do with the strawberries in the containers for the winter?

Winterizing Strawberry Plants Protecting strawberry plants from winter’s cold temperatures is vital to ensure a crop of juicy berries next year. Winterizing strawberry plants isn’t difficult or expensive. It’s actually an easy chore on your garden to-do list.

Learn tips for winterizing strawberry plants. By the time fall frosts arrive, strawberry plants have already set buds for next spring’s flowers. Temperatures below 15° F can damage those new buds and diminish your berry crop next year. This is why it’s vital to winterize strawberry plants and protect them from cold winter air.

Another reason to protect plants is that, when soil repeatedly freezes and thaws, it tends to push plants up. This process is called heaving and puts plants at risk in several ways. First, it can expose plant crowns to drying air, freezing air temperatures and hungry critters looking for a winter meal.

Second, heaving can break roots, allowing them to be lifted completely out of soil. Either results in plant damage or death. Winterizing strawberry plants helps prevent heaving. Winterizing strawberry plants simply involves heaping mulch over plants so they’re not exposed to cold winter air. The trick is knowing when to apply the mulch.

You want to cover plants when they’re fully dormant. Cover too soon, and plants may fail to harden off, which means they’ll definitely be damaged by cold air. A too-soon mulch also risks rotting plant crowns. It’s safe to apply winterizing mulch to strawberry plants when the top one-half inch of soil has frozen and daytime temperatures stay consistently in the 20s.

In mild winter areas, apply mulch once soil temperatures hit 40° F for three days in a row. Definitely winterize strawberry plants before temperatures dip below 20° F. Precise timing varies depending on region. Fine-tune the timing with a call to your local extension office. To winterize strawberry plants, heap a loose mulch over plants to a depth of 3 to 5 inches.

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Use a material that won’t compact heavily. Good choices include straw, clean hay, bark chips, chopped cornstalks or cobs, evergreen branches or pine straw. Materials like leaves or grass clippings aren’t a good choice because they tend to mat. After mulch settles, it should still provide a 2- to 3-inch depth for best protection.

  • Using a frost blanket to winterize strawberry plants is another great choice because it allows light to reach plants, which results in more flower buds being formed.
  • The tricky part is that plants experience faster flower development in spring, which means they’ll be at greater risk for cold damage if you fail to protect plants when a late-season frost is predicted.

To winterize strawberry plants in a pyramid, apply mulch 6 to 8 inches deep. Wrap large strawberry pots or barrels with burlap and/or bubble wrap and stuff the top opening with straw 6 to 8 inches deep. Move strawberry jars into an unheated garage for winter.

How do you keep strawberries from freezing in the winter?

Row covers – In addition to irrigation, fabric and plastic row covers may also be used to protect strawberry plants from frost and freeze events in the spring. Frost damage can still occur in places where the row cover is directly touching the blossoms.

The type and weight of the row cover fabric affect how well it protects the plants against frost. A row cover weighing 0.6 ounces per square yard can increase the temperature underneath by 2-3 degrees. Double-layer plastic can increase the inside temperature by up to 10 degrees. Apply row covers the afternoon before freezing temperatures are expected in order to trap in heat.

Reviewed in 2021

Can you freeze strawberries in glass containers?

You can freeze strawberries or any food in mason jars as long as you don’t fill the jar all the way. Wash, dry with paper towels and trim. You can choose to sugar your berries at this point. I don’t add sugar, because I only freeze berries I pick myself and I know they are sweet. You can always decide to sweeten later. I smash the strawberries and put in wide mouth half pint or pint mason jars and fill only 3/4 of the way. It’s important to leave that inch at the top so the jar doesn’t bust. You do not need any special jars to freeze food. I’ve been freezing food like this for almost two years and have never had any problems. We were lucky enough to have a friend who owns a farm who has a friend who owns a huge strawberry patch. We were allowed to pick as much as we could and I think we at a few quarts of sweetness right on the site. We were so grateful for this experience. Notice no one else was around, because this was not a public picking site. When ready to use, the smashed strawberries can be used for desserts, yogurt, strawberry ice cream, sauces (which is why I don’t sugar in advance) simple syrups, strawberry sangria, strawberry cupcakes, strawberry pancakes, or any other strawberry idea you may have. What’s your favorite way to use crushed strawberries?

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What can I do with empty strawberry containers?

Once you are finished with your delicious strawberries, you can save the container and use it to store small items such as toys, markers, and more. The berry containers are the perfect size to store these items inside of a toy box, on a shelf, or wherever you want to store them!

Is it better to freeze strawberries whole?

Is it better to freeze strawberries whole or sliced? – You can technically do either, but it’s a good idea to slice or at least halve the strawberries before you freeze them so they are easier to work with when you eventually use them. And no matter what you do, be sure to remove the green stems before freezing.

Do strawberries need to be in an airtight container?

Should strawberries be stored in an airtight container? – It depends. If your berries are whole, storing them in an airtight container could actually cause them to mold quicker due to trapped moisture. The best way to store a bunch of whole berries is to loosely place them—in a single layer if possible—in an open container lined with paper towels.

A berry bowl or colander works great for this because it lets air circulate around the berries! The paper towels absorb moisture to keep the berries nice and dry. Sliced or hulled strawberries, however, are different. Once they’ve been cut into, strawberries should always be stored in an airtight container to keep the flesh from drying out and bacteria from growing.

Berries don’t last nearly as long once sliced so it’s best to keep them whole as long as possible.

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