Growing strawberries indoors is a very rewarding container gardening project! Here’s everything you need to learn how to grow strawberries indoors.
How To Grow Strawberries Indoors
Homegrown strawberries can pack substantially more flavour than your average store-bought berry. Fresh local strawberries are a summer crop in our area, so we miss them dearly all winter. Here’s how to grow strawberries indoors so you can enjoy them all year!
Supplies For Growing Strawberries Indoors
- Strawberry Seeds: The variety of your choice will do when growing strawberries from seed, but I prefer the tiny alpine varieties, which produce all year. Sea scape strawberries are nice for a larger strawberry.
- Fresh seeds from a ripe organic strawberry will also work. Just cut up the strawberry into small pieces and follow the steps below.
- If growing strawberries from seed seems like too much work, try growing them from existing plants. Packs of baby strawberry plants are available online, called plugs or bare root strawberries. They are shipped in a dormant state (similar to buying bare-root trees) and are easy to grow (easier than starting from seed).
- Organic Potting Soil: Seed-starting soil is best as it holds the right amount of moisture while also feeding the baby plants. The soil should drain well.
- Plant Container or Strawberry Pot: 4L /1 gallon or larger, with a drain hole
- Water: Filtered or non-chlorinated water is best
- Watering Can (Optional) – I love this metallic haws indoor watering can
- Paint Brush, Makeup Brush, or Cotton Swab (Optional)
- Freezer (Optional)
- Light! I like this compact LED plant light if the indoor strawberries aren’t getting enough direct sunlight
Steps to Grow Strawberries Indoors
- Freeze the seeds for a month. This will trick the seeds into thinking they have experienced winter. Follow any special freezing instructions printed on your seed packet. Fresh strawberry seeds taken from a ripe strawberry may not require freezing.
- If you don’t want to wait a whole month, try using baby strawberry plants instead of seeds.
- Add soil into the growing container and moisten it with the filtered water. Add enough water so that the soil clumps together, but not enough water that it turns to mud.
- After slowly thawing the seeds, plant them in room-temperature soil. Due to your clever freezer trick, they’ll think it’s spring. Follow the planting instructions on the seed packet closely when growing strawberries indoors. Take care not to plant the tiny seeds any deeper than recommended. The seeds are so tiny that it’s sometimes easier just to place the seeds on top of the soil, and then dust the seeded surface with a bit of extra soil.
- Water the newly-planted seeds lightly. Saturate the soil, but don’t use such a sharp stream of water that the soil erodes. Growing strawberries from seed requires gentle watering :)
- Place the seeded container in a location that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight per day.
- Water the seeds every two or three days if the soil is becoming dry. Watering consistently is very important while the seed germinates and produces the first sprout. Keeping the soil moist and warm will produce the best conditions for seed germination.
Caring for Established Strawberries
- Reduce watering once the plants are established. Grown strawberry plants do like water, but do not like to sit around in waterlogged soil. Once the plant is established, it’s beneficial to let the soil dry out for a day or two before you water it again.
- Hand-pollinate each flower as they appear using a paintbrush or cotton swab. Mix the pollen from the outer ring of flower’s centre to the very centre of the same flower. This will mix the outer male portion of the flower with the inner female portion. Alternatively, two flowers can be rubbed together to transfer the pollen between the male and female parts of the flowers’ centres.
- Trim off or replant any runners that are escaping your container. If you are using an alpine variety, the plant will not produce many runners at all.
- Harvest when the berries are a bright red colour. Finally enjoy all your hard work growing strawberries indoors!
- Fertilize the plants regularly with a quality organic fertilizer (read more about organic gardening here).
Growing Strawberries Indoors
Outdoor strawberries have unobstructed access to sunlight, natural humidity, and pollination from insects. As the bees can’t reach your indoor plants, you’ll need to pollinate the strawberry flowers yourself in order to get consistent, healthy fruit. Other than that complication, just find a nice sunny windowsill where they will get direct sunlight for at least 4-6 hours and make sure to water them when the soil is dry (the strawberry planter will feel lighter than usual).
If you don’t have a bright southern-facing window available, supplement with artificial light such as a fluorescent tube light or compact LED plant light. To get really fancy you could use a full-size plant light, but for a few strawberry plants, the fluorescent tube or compact LED light should do the trick to grow strawberries indoors.
When I started growing strawberries indoors, I did so because I hadn’t had local fresh fruit all winter! Strawberries actually do grow wild up north in Canada, but since the growing season is so short, I had to get creative to enjoy them year-round. Growing strawberries indoors, either from bare root strawberries or growing strawberries from seed, is certainly a worthwhile indoor gardening project.
Growing strawberries indoors slightly different than growing strawberries out in the kitchen garden. Gardeners who are familiar with growing strawberries from seed will appreciate that it’s often easier to start strawberry seeds in controlled indoor conditions than out in the elements. Once the seeds grow into seedlings (or if plants are purchased as bare root strawberries), strawberries are generally easier to grow outdoors than inside.
Growing Strawberries in Containers
Strawberries make excellent container plants due to their compact size and hardy roots. Containers and planters for indoor strawberries should always have a drain hole, similar to container herb gardens.
How Much Water Do Strawberries Need?
Not much, but they do appreciate a deep watering now and then. Established indoor strawberries like infrequent deep watering, but do not like to sit around in waterlogged soil. Once the strawberry plant is established, it’s beneficial to let the soil dry out for a day or two before you water it again.
When to Fertilize Strawberries
high-quality organic fertilizer is key to healthy indoor strawberries. If using a generic organic fertilizer that’s high in nitrogen, fertilize strawberries every month with a light feeding. Pre-mixed nitrogen rich organic fertilizers can be applied according to package instructions. I use this organic fertilizer on my indoor strawberries.
It is possible to grow hydroponic strawberries using a hydroponic strawberry planter. Hydroponic strawberries are grown in an inert growing medium and fed with a nutrient-rich solution. I prefer to grow organic strawberries in potting soil because I haven’t found a reliable organic hydroponic nutrient solution (aquaponics aside, most hydroponic solutions are chemical-based). Read more about hydroponic strawberries here.
Printable Instructions: How to Grow Strawberries Indoors
Since there is lots to remember about how to grow strawberries indoors, grab your printable copy of the instructions using the form below. Print them out and keep them next to your indoor strawberries!
Printable Strawberry Instructions
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Do you grow strawberries indoors during the winter? Have you tried growing strawberries from seed? What about growing other yummy things indoors like microgreens?