The ultimate guide to growing strawberries indoors

Strawberries are perhaps the easiest fruit to start growing indoors. Whether you grow your strawberry plants from seeds or purchase plants, there are a few important tips for growing strawberries indoors.

Strawberries growing indoors require a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight or 12 hours under an LED plant light. Plants can be started from strawberry seeds or purchased as potted plants. Use a potting mix of mainly peat moss/coconut coir with added perlite. Pollination of indoor strawberry blossoms is often incomplete unless each flower is hand-pollinated.

Homegrown strawberries can pack substantially more flavor than your average store-bought berry. There’s nothing like a sweet and juicy homegrown snack fresh from your windowsill. Read on to learn how to grow strawberries indoors.

Fresh indoor strawberries in a metal colander on a marble countertop with a white peony
The ultimate guide to growing strawberries indoors

Supplies for growing strawberries indoors

There are two main options for gathering supplies for your indoor strawberry garden: buy a pre-made kit or get the supplies separately. Most kits are only available with strawberry seeds (not grown plants). My favorite way to grow strawberries indoors is with Click and Grow Strawberries.

Supplies often need to be purchased separately for strawberry plants that already have leaves and blossoms (but you’ll get strawberries sooner!).

Supply list

  • Strawberry seeds or baby plants
  • Potting soil (organic if possible)
  • Growing container (get strawberry planter ideas)
  • Clean water: Filtered or non-chlorinated water
  • Watering can (or a beaker, pyrex wet measuring cup, gravy boat, et cetera)
  • Light! Find a sunny window and add an LED plant light if possible.
  • Paintbrush, makeup brush, camera lens brush, or cotton swab.

Here is a video I made showing how to plant an easy-to-grow baby potted strawberry plant in a container:

Growing from seeds vs. baby plants

Seeds for growing your own strawberry plants are usually cheaper than buying baby plants. That said, seeds are more difficult to grow and take longer to produce fruit. Plants tend to be more expensive but yield quickly (with potted plants being more expensive and closer to harvest than bare-root plants).

How to grow strawberry plants indoors in the kitchen

How to plant strawberry seeds indoors

  1. Buy ready-to-plant seeds, or 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.
  2. Add the potting soil into the growing container and moisten it with filtered water. Add enough water so that the soil clumps together, but not enough water that it turns into mud.
  3. After slowly thawing the seeds, plant them in room-temperature soil. Due to your clever freezer trick, they’ll think it’s spring. Yay! 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.
  4. Water the newly-planted seeds lightly. Saturate the soil, but don’t use such a sharp stream of water that the soil erodes. Strawberry seeds require gentle watering :)
  5. Place the seeded container in a location that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight daily.
  6. Water the seeds every two or three days if the soil becomes dry. Watering consistently is vital while the seed germinates and produces the first sprout. Keeping the soil moist and warm will produce the best conditions for seed germination.
Growing strawberries indoors
The ultimate guide to growing strawberries indoors

NOTE: If things go badly for some reason…say your baby seedlings dry out and die…you can ALWAYS just start again with fresh seeds, order some live bare root strawberry plants, or pick up a few potted strawberry seedlings. No big deal.

Growing plants from snipped runners or baby strawberry plants will yield berries much faster than growing your plants from seeds! We’re talking 5-6 weeks for a baby strawberry plant that isn’t flowering at all yet….to 5-6 months for strawberry plants grown at home from seeds.

How to grow strawberries indoors
The ultimate guide to growing strawberries indoors

Growing strawberries by planting baby plants from the garden center

  1. 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.
  2. Hand-pollinate each flower as they appear using a paintbrush or cotton swab. Mix the pollen from the outer ring of the flower’s center to the very center 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’ centers.
  3. 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.
  4. Harvest when the berries are a bright red color. Finally, enjoy all your hard work growing strawberries indoors!
  5. Fertilize the plants regularly with a quality organic fertilizer.
How to grow strawberries from seeds
The ultimate guide to growing strawberries indoors

FAQs

How many hours of light do strawberries need when grown indoors?

Strawberries grown indoors do best with a daily minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight or 12 hours of artificial light from a high-quality plant light. Six hours of natural sunlight is possible only in homes with great sun exposure and can be nearly impossible to achieve during northern winters.

If you don’t have a bright, sunny window for your strawberry plants, provide artificial extra light with an LED plant light. Set the plant light on for 12 hours (daytime) and then off for 12 hours (nighttime). Some plant lights even come with built-in timers and automatic switches.

How long does it take to grow strawberries indoors?

Strawberries that are grown indoors from seeds typically yield ripe strawberries 5-6 months after the seeds germinate. For quicker results, purchase strawberry seedling plants.

Seedling plants may already have blossoms or immature strawberries growing on them when you purchase them (see photo below). While the blossoms usually take 4-6 weeks to yield ripe strawberries, the already-growing berries may be almost ready. With a well-selected plant, you can be harvesting berries within a much shorter time span.

How much water do strawberries need?

Strawberry plants don’t need too much water, but they do appreciate deep watering now and then. Established indoor strawberries like infrequent deep watering but do not like to sit around in waterlogged soil.

Once your own strawberry plant is established, it’s beneficial to let the soil dry out for a day or two before you water it again. Don’t keep the plant overly moist all the time. Read more about how to grow strawberries.

When should you fertilize strawberry plants growing in pots?

Applying a high-quality organic fertilizer is key to healthy indoor strawberries. Using a generic organic fertilizer, fertilize strawberries every month with light feeding. Pre-mixed organic fertilizers can be applied according to package instructions.

Do strawberry plants grow well in containers?

Strawberries make excellent container plants due to their compact size and hardy roots. You can grow them in anything from a strawberry pot to hanging baskets. Here are some container ideas for growing strawberries.

Containers and planters for indoor strawberries should always have a drain hole, similar to container herb gardens. A little bit of perlite in the potting mix won’t hurt either!

Can you grow strawberries hydroponically?

It is certainly possible to grow hydroponic strawberries using a hydroponic indoor planter like an AeroGarden. Hydroponic strawberries are grown in an inert growing medium and fed with a nutrient-rich solution.

Container gardening instructions for how to grow strawberries from seeds
The ultimate guide to growing strawberries indoors

Resources

References

More strawberry articles

Looking for more information about growing delicious strawberries? Here are some of the best varieties, plus tips for growing them.

Mary Jane Duford
Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane Duford is a gardening expert and founder of Home for the Harvest. She's also an engineer and certified permaculture garden designer. Mary Jane has been featured by publications such as Real Simple, Mother Earth News, Homes & Gardens, Heirloom Gardener, and Family Handyman.