Strawberries are one of the more hardy fruits you can plant; but they still benefit from winterizing if you want to be sure of a full crop come spring, especially if you are living in zones below zone 7. If you live in zones 8 and higher they will often not need any help at all to survive the winter. Overwintered strawberries tend to bloom in early spring, letting you get a jump on the growing season. Being perennial, strawberries are built to survive cold weather, however, they do not have the woody bark some other perennials do so they need a little bit of help in cold temperatures so they don’t die or suffer injuries.
The way you overwinter your strawberries will depend on how you grow strawberries. Potted strawberry plants and those in hanging baskets are the easiest to overwinter. Winterizing strawberry plants in strawberry pots simply means moving them to an unheated garage. Once the crowns have browned and shriveled and the plants have entered dormancy it’s time to move them. This means that it has been below freezing for several nights in a row. First, clean up the crowns by snipping off any browned leaves to prevent them from rotting over the winter. Then, just move the pots inside against the house if possible for the ambient heat it provides if you live in a very cold location. However, if the garage doesn’t get below around 28 degrees Fahrenheit you’ll have no problem putting the pots anywhere in the garage, or even in an unheated shed.
For strawberries in the ground, or in a raised bed, winterizing strawberry plants is only slightly more involved. Plants in the ground will need a layer of insulating material to keep them warm. Straw or leaves work perfectly for this purpose.
It is important not to let the plants completely dry out. You want to keep the soil moisture level just slightly damp. A layer of straw will help with this for in-ground plants. Potted plants will have to be checked and watered about once a week.
By following these tips your plants will be bearing strawberries again come spring, and you’ll be sharing all of the sweet treats you made with them by early summer!