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How to Grow Strawberries Indoors (Step-by-step Guide)

Most successful strawberry growers plant their strawberry plants in the ground in an outdoor bed. However, if you have a lack of yard space, but still want to grow strawberries, you’ll be happy to know that you can do so indoors. Read on through this article to learn how to grow strawberries indoors, plus some advice on growing bare root strawberries.

How to grow strawberries indoors

Give Your Strawberry Plants Enough Light

Providing enough light for your strawberry plants will be one of the most significant hurdles you face when growing indoors. Strawberries love to receive several hours of direct sunlight each day, and indoors locations rarely provide the amount of light they need.

If you can find a large window that lets in sunlight for six hours or more per day, you should place your strawberry plants near it. More light will often work even better, leading to a more vigorous plant and plenty of berries for you to harvest.

Conversely, if you cannot find a window that receives that much light, you can use a grow light instead. There are many different grow light products on the market today, many of which will serve your strawberry plants well. If you use a grow light, it is best to leave it on for about 12 hours per day, which will provide the light your plants need to grow their best.

Prepare the Soil for Your Strawberry Plants

Following sunlight, soil conditions are the next most important influence over the health of your strawberry plants. Whether you grow your plants indoors or outdoors, the soil should be rich with organic nutrients and have great drainage. Soil acidity also matters for strawberries and a pH that falls between 5.8 and 6.2 is the best you can provide.

In outdoor growing locations, you’ll need to amend the soil before you put a new plant in the ground. However, when growing indoors, you’ll have much more control over the soil quality since you’ll be filling a container with the soil of your choice rather than working with existing ground soil.

Take advantage of this fact and fill your container with the best soil you can find. In many cases, a sandy loam soil will have both the nutrients and the drainage capabilities that a strawberry plant loves.

Choose an Excellent Container for Your Strawberries

We just mentioned how important the soil you put in your container is. Now it is time to consider the container itself. Despite what you might expect, the characteristics of your container will play a major role in your strawberry plant’s development.

Mainly, your container will impact your soil’s ability to drain. Some containers, typically those made of hard plastics or clay, can make it somewhat difficult for water to drain. However, other containers, like fabric grow bags, have permeable materials that allow water to drain freely.

A strawberry plant will thrive much more in a container with good drainage than one without as these plants do not appreciate any standing water or water logging. The container should also have adequate width. While strawberry plants don’t have deep roots, their roots do need to spread horizontally, which your container should accommodate.

Select the Ideal Strawberry Variety for Growing Indoors

There are several types of strawberry varieties that you can grow in your garden. However, one stands out among the rest as the best type to grow indoors.

Alpine strawberries are the best strawberries to use for indoor gardening because of their growing characteristics. For instance, the overall plant size of alpine strawberries is smaller than that of other strawberry plants. Alpine strawberries also tend to do better in the lower light conditions that are likely present in your home.

Alpine strawberries go by the botanical name Fragaria vesca but can come in several different varieties. Take time to study a few of these varieties before you settle on which one you’ll grow in your home.

How to Plant a Strawberry Plant in a Container

The way you plant your strawberries is nothing to overlook. Proper planting technique ensures that your plant will get off to a good start and have the best chance of remaining healthy over the long run. There are two main ways to plant strawberry plants, which we’ll reveal in the two sections below.

Planting Bare Root Strawberry Plants

The first planting style you can use is planting bare root strawberry plants. There is a lot that goes into planting and caring for bare root plants, but we have decided to include a brief overview of the planting process. Here are the steps you should follow:

  • Soak your plant’s roots in distilled water for about 5 hours before planting
  • Root prune your plant so that you remove about a third of the root system’s length
  • Dig a hole deep enough that the plant’s crown is at the soil’s surface and wide enough that the roots can lay flat and spread
  • Backfill with water and organically rich soil
  • Cover the area with mulch

After you plant a bare root strawberry, you’ll need to continue watering it every day for a while. However, if planting bare root plants is not your preference, you can always start with strawberry seeds instead.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: All You Need to Know about How to Plant Bare Root Strawberries

How to Grow Strawberries Indoors from Seeds

Planting strawberry seeds is entirely different from planting bare root plants. When you start with strawberry seeds, you should first plant them in a small tray, where they can germinate. Before you start, you can soften your seeds by soaking them in water for a few hours before you plant.

Start by sowing the seeds in a tray over a moist potting mix. Then sprinkle more potting soil over the seeds so that they are barely covered. Once the seeds are covered, you should place the tray under a grow light. After a few weeks, the seeds will germinate and start to sprout above the soil.

After several weeks, your germinated strawberry seeds should have noticeable stems. Once the stems have a few leaves on them, you can transplant them to a larger container, where they can continue the rest of their life cycle.

Set Up a Complete Strawberry Care Routine

Planting your strawberries correctly is not enough to ensure that you have an ample harvest. Instead, you’ll need to create a sufficient care routine as well. The next few sections will give you an idea of what that routine should include.

Watering

While your new strawberry plants are establishing themselves, you’ll want to give them water every day. Each time you water them, you should give about one to two inches. After your plants have exhibited healthy growth that indicates successful establishment, you can reduce your watering.

Throughout the growing season, you should monitor the soil moisture. When the first inch or so of soil becomes dry, you should add water, since strawberries typically have shallow root systems.

Fertilization

Strawberry plants will grow best when they receive the right kind of organic fertilizer in the right quantity and at the right time. Organic fertilizer that is rich in nitrogen, such as urea, is one of the best substances you can use. However, an organic fertilizer that has a balance of nutrients will work too.

The best time to apply your organic fertilizer is in the spring as this will give your plants plenty of energy to grow throughout the season. You may also want to provide a second dose of organic fertilizer in the fall. See: Tomato Tone vs. Garden Tone: Which One Is Better?

Pruning

Pruning is not always a make-or-break factor when growing strawberries, but it can be beneficial. If you want to prune your plants, you should do so in the late winter. February is often the best month.

When pruning, focus on removing any part of the plant that shows disease or damage. Make your pruning cut near the crown of the plant and always make sure that you use pruning shears that are sterile and sharp.

Harvesting

If you managed to plant and care for your strawberries correctly, you should receive a healthy harvest. If you chose alpine strawberries, as most indoor growers should, you could expect to see a continuous harvest from June through October.

Remember that strawberries do not ripen off the vine, so you should wait until they are entirely red before you remove them. When it comes time, you can remove individual strawberries by simply picking them off the plant with your fingers.

FAQs about How to Grow Strawberries Indoors

With the popularity of growing fruit and vegetables indoors, strawberries are a popular choice for many gardeners. Strawberries are relatively easy to grow indoors, and they provide a sweet treat that can be enjoyed fresh from the plant. Here are answers to some commonly asked questions on how to grow strawberries indoors:

How long does it take to grow strawberries indoors?

It takes about 3-4 weeks for strawberries to germinate and then another 6-8 weeks for them to produce fruit.

When to start strawberries indoors?

The best time to start strawberries indoors is about 2-4 weeks before the last frost date in your area.

What kind of soil do strawberries need?

Strawberries need well-draining, sandy soil that is rich in organic matter.

How often should I water my indoor strawberry plants?

You should water your indoor strawberry plants about once a week, or when the soil feels dry to the touch.

What pests or diseases do indoor strawberry plants commonly experience?

Aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies are common pests that attack indoor strawberry plants. As for diseases, verticillium wilt and gray mold are two of the most common.

Can you grow strawberries on a windowsill?

Yes, you can grow strawberries on a windowsill as long as it is a south-facing window.

Final Thoughts on How to Grow Strawberries Indoors

Growing strawberries indoors comes with some degree of difficulty. However, if you follow the advice in the article above, you’ll be well prepared to overcome those challenges and grow healthy strawberry plants.

Interested in growing bare root strawberries? Make sure to choose one of these three bare root strawberry varieties for the best results:

  • June-Bearing Strawberries – Produces a single large strawberry harvest in the months of June and July
  • Ever-Bearing Strawberries – Produces two harvests during each growing season, one harvest arrives in early summer and the other arrives in early fall

Go see the other recommended variety to grow, plus everything else you need to know about planting bare root strawberries.

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