Strawberries are overwintered differently depending on the species and variety. Whether they are grown outdoors or in pots also matters. Here you can read how to best get strawberries through the winter.
Successfully overwinter strawberries is not difficult. Basically, you should know that it is the strawberry species that dictates how to properly bring the fruit through the winter. Namely, a distinction is made between once-bearing and twice-bearing (bloom a second time) strawberries, as well as everbearing European strawberries. All types of strawberries are perennial and are grown in our country both outdoors and in pots or tubs on balconies and terraces.
How to winter outdoor strawberries?
Once and twice bearing strawberry varieties, as their name suggests, produce fruit once or twice a year and can be harvested in the first year of planting. These strawberries, which are mainly cultivated outdoors, are frost-hardy and, as a rule, do not require special help for wintering. However, from the second year of standing there are special post-harvest care procedures that need to be done before winter.
It is necessary to clean up the plants, removing older leaves and layer. This will prevent fungal diseases from spreading under the foliage of the plants. Radical pruning has also proven to be effective, in which you mow down the strawberries with a lawn mower, that is set at the highest level, or use garden shears to cut off all side branches and runners, but without hurting the heart of the plants. Then cover the strawberries with mature compost. The plants will grow through this nourishing layer and sprout abundant fruit again the following year.
However, if a particularly long and harsh winter with bare frosts or permanently winter-wet soil is on the horizon, a light winter protection will not hurt strawberries outdoors. For this purpose, apply a light brushwood cover, but it should be removed as soon as possible when the weather improves. Then the earth can warm up more easily.
How to winter strawberries in pots on the balcony and terrace?
Everbearing strawberries, also known as European strawberries, produce fruit until October. They are particularly suitable for strawberry culture in larger pots or tubs, which can be placed on the balcony or terrace in a full-sun location. The reason for large planters is that this allows the strawberries to hang freely and not rest on the soil. This would favor fungal diseases. Hanging strawberries have proved particularly suitable as varieties for balconies and terraces.
After harvesting, cut back all runners so that the plants will bear fruit again next year. To safely overwinter strawberries in pots and containers, you should then place them in a warm location. Ideally, a place close to a house wall, where the strawberries are protected from both rain and wind. Under the planter put an insulating pad, so that the cold does not get from the ground to the roots. Sheets of Styrofoam, Styrodur, or wood are very suitable for this purpose.
The plants themselves are covered with some brushwood or straw. However, do not overdo it. A little air supply will keep the plants healthy and prevent diseases and infections. Water the strawberries throughout the winter only on frost-free days and very moderately. If there is a prolonged period of heavy permafrost, put the strawberries in the garage or in an unheated greenhouse for safety until temperatures rise again.
After two to three years, wintering these strawberries is no longer worth it, because the everbearing varieties then hardly yield.