True strawberry-lovers know just how difficult it can be to find good strawberries off-season. Outside of the summer months, store-bought strawberries don’t have the same flavor and juicy texture as those picked during their peak.
If you’re looking to enjoy your favorite fruit year-round and flex your green thumb, why not try growing strawberry plants indoors as a houseplant? By growing strawberries indoors, you can have greater control over the cultivation process, reduce the chance of berry-ruining pests, and enjoy multiple harvests each year.
In this guide to growing strawberries indoors, we’ll highlight all the tips and tricks you need to know to grow strawberries indoors successfully.
Growing strawberries indoors Guide
When growing strawberries indoors, it’s essential to create an environment where your strawberry plant can thrive. Before getting started, ask an experienced grower at your local garden center for assistance. By choosing the right pot, soil, grow lights, and fertilizer for your strawberry plants, you significantly increase your chances of success of growing strawberries indoors.
Choose the Correct Variety
Strawberries come in two varieties: June-bearing and ever-bearing. When growing strawberries indoors, opt for strawberry varieties that are ever-bearing, such as Albion, Portola, and San Andreas. While ever-bearing varieties are more suitable for year-round production, you’ll still need to create the right humidity level and provide ample light, water, and nutrients to produce sizable yields.
Alpine strawberries or known as wild strawberries, produce small and flavorful strawberries. Alpine strawberry is a great strawberry variety to grow indoor because:
- They can tolerate harsh conditions and can produce well in part sunlight.
- They remain compact and grow best for small or limited space.
Strawberry plants don’t have a very deep root system, so they can be planted in a variety of containers. You may want to use hanging baskets, pots, window boxes, or vertical containers that save space because of their sprawling vines. Alternatively, you could place a strawberry planter on a windowsill or shelf and allow the vines to spread freely.
Use the Right Soil and Fertilizer
Strawberry plants prefer slightly acidic potting soil but can grow strawberries in neutral oil. Strawberry plants grow best in soil with a pH level between 6.0 to 6.5, but they can survive in pH levels ranging from 5.5 to 7.0.
Strawberry plants also require ample nutrients from fertilizer, peat moss, or compost. Be sure your fertilizer includes nitrogen, which helps build healthy leaves, and phosphorus, which helps with flowering and fruit-bearing. Liquid fertilizer such as 20-20-20 is a great option. Remember, whichever brand you choose, make sure there is enough nitrogen to grow strawberries.
Like all garden plants, the key to successfully grow strawberry plants indoors is to make sure you provide enough sunlight. Strawberry plants require at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. Ideally, strawberries need 12-14 hours of sun exposure. Unless you’ve placed your strawberries in an extremely sunny window, you’ll probably need supplemental plant lighting.
An LED grows light can provide your strawberry plants with the perfect amount of light and support healthy growth.
To grow strawberries indoors, they will need consistent watering in order to produce juicy berries and sizable harvests. The plants usually need to be watered daily during the growing season and every other day (or once the top inch is dry) afterward.
While strawberries are a water-loving plant, you can overwater them. Make sure to use a planter with adequate drainage to avoid root rot and disease. If you can’t keep a watchful eye on your indoor strawberry plants, opt for a light that features a built-in timer.
Hand Pollinate Your Plants
Strawberry plants that are grown outside are naturally pollinated, but indoor plants require hand pollination. While hand pollination may sound like a complicated and time-consuming process, it’s surprisingly simple!
Your strawberry flowers are ready for pollination when their petals have fully opened. The pistil (the plant’s female reproductive parts) should be somewhat yellow-green, while its stamen (the plant’s male reproductive parts) should be brown. These colors vary from plant to plant, so you’ll want to research the specific variety you’re growing.
To hand pollinate your plants, you’ll need a small, soft makeup brush or paintbrush. Gently brush the pollen from the stamen to the pistil. Be sure to pollinate every flower, covering the entire pistil. You may want to repeat the process again to ensure each was done successfully.
You’ll know the flower was successfully pollinated when the white petals begin to die, leaving behind the surrounding green leaves (called the sepal) where the strawberry will soon grow.
Avoid Diseases and Tip Burn
Tip burn is a calcium deficiency that occurs on strawberry plants grown at low humidity levels. Because their leaves continually release water vapor into the air, dry conditions can cause the leaves to appear burned around the edges.
If you grow strawberries indoors, you likely won’t have any problems with bacterial and fungal diseases. But do keep your eyes out for mites and aphids.
Growing in multiple small containers instead of one large container prevents infestations from ruining your entire crop. The key to avoiding disease and pests is to maintain a clean growing space and avoid overwatering.
Harvest as Soon as Ripe
Harvesting your strawberries as soon as they ripen encourages your plant to keep producing fruits. You’ll know strawberries are ripe when they are bright red from top to bottom. Strawberries that have green or yellow towards the ends won’t taste as sweet as those that are entirely red. It’s important to note that strawberries do not continue to ripen after they are picked.
Use an Indoor Strawberry Growing Kit
There’s no shame in needing a little help to grow strawberries indoors. If you want to try growing strawberries indoors but don’t have the greenest thumb, try using an indoor strawberry growing kit. These kits set you up for success by providing a planter, seeds, soil, and step-by-step instructions. More advanced sets come with an LED grow light and pre-planted seed pods that can insert directly into the growing container.