How to Grow Strawberries Indoors: The Ultimate Guide

how to grow strawberries indoors

Do you love strawberries but live in an area with cold winters?  You’re probably wondering how to grow strawberries indoors year round. There is good news! You don’t have to go without America’s favorite berry!  Growing strawberries indoors is a popular hobby for people who live in colder climates, but of course you can grow them indoors, simply for convenience and space–sake, no matter what your climate is like. 

Growing strawberries indoors is also a great way to extend your growing season.  Learning how to grow strawberries indoors can seem daunting at first, but it’s actually very simple and fun to do! 

Strawberry plant ready to be potted.

Strawberry Varieties

There are several varieties of strawberry plants, but only one type of strawberry plant is going to be best for indoor growing.

According to this article from the University of Minnesota Extension, the best kind of strawberries for containers are the day-neutral strawberry plants, such as the alpine strawberry.

Day-neutral varieties are the best for indoor gardening because they don’t require much sun.  

Alpine strawberries are a day-neutral variety and grow very well indoors.  It will produce fruit as long as temperatures allow.  For indoor growing, that’s perfect!

The alpine strawberry is also a much better size for growing indoors and tends to require less sunlight than other strawberry varieties.

An added bonus with day-neutral strawberries is that they will produce fruit within the first year of planting, unlike traditional June-bearing strawberries.

how to grow strawberries indoors.
Strawberries growing in a pot.

How to Grow Strawberries in Pots

Strawberries can be grown in pots easily, thanks to their shallow root system. One of the benefits of growing strawberries in pots indoors is that you can move them around according to the sun’s position. 

You can usually purchase starter plants from your local nursery.  

Because strawberries have shallow roots, they don’t need a very deep pot to grow successfully.  A strawberry’s root system will usually take up the first 6 inches of whatever container it is grown in.

A popular way to grow strawberries indoors is in a vertical container like this one.

You can also find other indoor strawberry planters at your local nursery.

how to grow strawberries indoors.
Strawberries growing in a pot.

How to Grow Strawberries Indoors from Seeds

Growing strawberries from seeds is possible, and with a few tips and tricks, it will go smoothly. You can grab a packet of strawberry seeds on Amazon HERE. 

1 | Put your strawberry seeds in an airtight container and place in your freezer for 4 weeks.  This will simulate winter for the seeds and will help them to germinate faster.

2 | Choose small baskets (or other containers) with drainage holes in the bottom and fill them with potting soil that has been enriched with composted manure or organic fertilizer. Make sure the soil is loose and well-drained

3 | Plant two seeds per container about an inch deep and cover them up gently with dirt.

4 | Keep them watered well until they start sprouting out of the dirt- which should take 1-2 weeks.

5 | Once the plants are about four inches tall, pinch off all but one of their leaves on each plant.

6 | Once they’re six inches high, thin them out to three or four inches apart so that new growth can get enough light and air circulation.

how to grow strawberries indoors.
Strawberry seed sprouting.

How to Care for Strawberries in Pots

After you place your new plant (either your strawberry seedlings, or a purchased strawberry plant) in a pot, it’s time to make sure your strawberries will thrive!

Caring for indoor plants is a little bit different than having an outdoor garden and an indoor strawberry plant takes a little extra TLC.  

SUN

Strawberries need at least six hours of direct sunlight per day in order to thrive. If you don’t live in a sunny area, you may need to use artificial lighting.

SOIL

Strawberries like sandy soils that are rich in organic material.  It’s best to amend the potting mix with compost or organic matter before planting, as strawberries prefer a slightly acidic soil pH of around six. You can also add peat moss in with your soil for the perfect mix.

how to grow strawberries indoors
Newly harvested strawberries.

SIZE OF POT

Strawberries need to be planted about 12-18 inches apart, so it’s best to use a pot that is at least 12 inches across.  Make sure your pot has good drainage for optimal plant health.

You can also use a hanging basket to grow strawberries.  

WATER

Strawberries do not like really soggy dirt and don’t need much water.  A general rule of thumb is to water your plant about 2 times per week, making sure the dirt only stays damp.  Water your plant when the top inch of dirt feels dry. 

ROOM TEMPERATURE

Strawberries aren’t really picky about their temperature, but somewhere between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit will usually keep them healthy.  

how to grow strawberries indoors.
Strawberry seedlings.

How Long Does it Take for a Strawberry Plant to Bear Fruit? 

It usually takes about 3 months for a strawberry plant to begin producing fruit. You can usually plan on harvesting fruit about 4-6 weeks after the plant has blossomed.

how to grow strawberries indoors.
Blossom on strawberry plant.

How Do I Know When a Strawberry is Ripe?

The best way to know how much longer you have to wait before harvesting your strawberries is by how healthy they look. If they are dark green and leafy, they are probably ready. 

Ripe strawberries are about ¾ of the way red, with some green still left on the berry.  

how to grow strawberries indoors.
Blossom on strawberry plant. Not ready to harvest.

Growing Strawberries Indoors With LED Lights

If you don’t have a consistently sunny windowsill to grow your indoor strawberry plants in, you will need to use a growing light.

The best type of grow light for strawberries is an LED light.  LED lights can be put closer to the plant than other grow lights because they don’t emit as much heat.  However, you still have to take care not to place the LED light too close so it doesn’t dry out your plant. 

When grown in an outdoor garden, a strawberry plant needs about six hours of sunlight everyday.  Strawberry light requirements for indoor plants is 16-17 hours of artificial light per day.  

In addition to the LED light, you will need a fan to cool the plant as well.  If your LED lights don’t have a cooling system, you can simply place a fan near the plant to keep it cool enough.

You can use a timer to make the light schedule more convenient.  

You will need to provide not only plenty of light but also nutrients to your plants in order to produce delicious fruit.

how to grow strawberries indoors.
Strawberries growing under lights.

How to Harvest Strawberries

When choosing when to harvest your strawberries, you want to make sure you do it at the peak of their ripeness. This will ensure they taste better and last longer in storage before going bad.

You can check how ripe your berries are by gently twisting them with one hand while holding on tightly with the other (just like picking apples). If most berries come off easily, then they’re ready; if not, leave them out for a few more days until they’re ripe enough.

Final Thoughts on How to Grow Strawberries Indoors

Whether you’re new to gardening, or a seasoned green thumb, growing strawberries indoors is a fun way to ensure you have delicious berries all year long.

With time, patience and research, you will have your own strawberry garden in the comfort of your own home.

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