Strawberries are a sweet, healthy treat filled with vitamins C and K, but buying fresh fruit from the store quickly becomes expensive. Strawberries from the store may also have been subject to the use of chemicals. For cheap and truly organic strawberries, nothing beats growing strawberries indoors by yourself!
However, strawberries, like most plants, have a limited growing season. If you grow them outdoors, you will only enjoy fresh fruit for a few months a year. Luckily there is an easy solution: growing strawberries indoors! Strawberries thrive surprisingly well indoors. Keep reading for everything you need to know about starting your indoor strawberry garden!
Gathering Supplies for Growing Strawberries Indoors
Before you can even think about eating the juicy fruits of your labor, you will need to gather some supplies to start your indoor strawberry garden. Here is what you must consider when creating a setup for indoor strawberry growing.
- Seeds or baby strawberry plants
- Potting mix
- Organic fertilizer
- Sunny Spot or artificial light source
Should I Get Seeds or Transplants to Grow Strawberries?
The first thing you will need for your strawberry growing adventure is the strawberry itself. You can get you strawberry plants in a few different ways:
Growing plants from seeds is the most traditional way of growing anything. However, this method will take longer.
Starting from seed, it will be 4 to 6 months before your strawberry plants produce fruit. Seeds will be the easiest strawberry starting method to find, but there is a chance your seeds will fail to sprout.
Transplants require extra work and can be harder to find, but they produce fruit faster. A transplanted strawberry plant purchased from a nursery will bear fruit in 4 to 6 weeks, far quicker than seeds. Going the transplant route also lets you see what you buy and pick a disease-free healthy plant.
If you happen to have outdoor strawberries or know someone who already has some, you can get your necessary strawberries for free. Strawberries can be grown for the runners that adult plants put off. Cut a runner from a larger plant, and plant it close to the original. Once new growth begins, the runner can be transplanted and treated like a new plant.
Choose the Right Strawberry Variety to Plant Indoors
There are many strawberry varieties, and picking the right types to plant indoors can make a world of difference in your growing experience. For indoor growing, you want to select strawberry types that produce a compact plant and are day-neutral.
The less room your strawberry needs, the more you can plant. Picking a short compact variety will ensure your strawberry is happy with life in a container. You should also stay up to date with your pruning to ensure that your plants do not try to spread.
Day-neutral strawberry plants do not care about how many hours of light they receive. They are far more likely to produce fruit indoors than other strawberry varieties.
One particularly popular type of strawberry fruit for growing indoors is the Alpine Strawberry. Alpine strawberries grow in a short compact plant and function better than most strawberries in limited sunlight – it is a great choice for beginner gardeners.
Whatever variety you select, Alpine strawberries or else, make sure you look at the packaging for information on the preferred light, size, and flavor of the berries and more useful information. Catering specifically to the strawberry type you plant is the best way to ensure success.
What Containers To Pick for Growing Strawberry Plants Indoors?
Strawberry plants have shallow roots, which means you can plant them in just about anything at least five inches deep. Whatever container you use should also have good drainage to prevent waterlogged plants.
Besides drainage and 5 inches of depth, the other consideration for containers is how many strawberries you want to plant.
Ensure your plants have plenty of room, as overcrowded strawberries will not grow as well and will be more susceptible to disease. While shallow containers are fine, you may want to opt for wider containers to give your berries plenty of room.
Also, make sure that your container has drainage. Most planters should come with drainage, but you will need to add them yourself if you are doing a recycled pot or if you are using a peat pot without drainage holes.
What Type of Soil Do Strawberries Like?
Strawberries need potting mix with a pH range of 5.3 to 6.5, which is slightly acidic, to grow strawberries indoors. The soil must also be well-draining, meaning loam or loose potting soil is a good choice. When starting from seed, you cannot go wrong with a seed-starting potting soil mix.
Stay away from tightly packed soil, as this will not drain well. For most soil mixes, you will also want to do a bit of prep to add extra nutrients before planting, which we will discuss in a later section.
Step by Step: How to plant strawberry seeds indoors?
Once you have all the needed supplies, it is time to plant your strawberries! Here is a step-by-step guide to getting your strawberry plants established.
Step 1: Chose An Ideal Location For Your Strawberry Plants
Pick a sunny warm place such as a sunny windowsill. Before strawberries sprout, they need around 8 hours of sunlight to encourage sprouting.
Ensure the location has at least a foot of overhead room to encourage growth, and make sure that your plants have at least some room to spread.
If your indoor space is limited, you could consider using a hanging baskets.
Step 2: Prepare The Seeds
- If your seeds say ready to plant on the package, you may not need to do anything, but most seeds need to be germinated.
- To germinate strawberry seeds, you should freeze them for a month. Seeds germinate better this way as it makes them think they have experienced winter and will be ready to sprout.
- If you are getting your seeds from a strawberry, you must dry the fruit, scrape off the seeds, and then dry the seeds using paper towels. Once they are hard and dry, seeds gathered directly from fruit are typically ready to plant.
Step 3: Fill the container with soil
Once your seeds are ready, it is time to prepare your soil. Place the soil in your containers and water it. Keep the soil moist but not muddy. When planting strawberries from seed, you will want to fill the container with soil until it is about an inch from the top.
Read this guide if you want to grow strawberries hydroponically or if you are not sure if you should use soil or hydroponics to grow strawberries..
Step 4: Plant The Seeds
Place your seeds 1/2 inch deep in the soil. Plant one or two seeds every 18 inches, then cover them with a thin layer of dirt. Once planted, water your seeds well. Place your containers in a sunny area.
Your sprouts should appear in around 2 to 3 weeks!
Caring For Established Strawberry Plants Growing Indoors
Once your seeds have sprouted, they still need plenty of tender, loving care! Here is what you need to know to care for your indoor growing and mature strawberry plant.
How Much Water Do Strawberries Need?
Strawberries can be temperamental when it comes to their watering. For first-time growers, you will probably need to check your strawberries daily for water.
Stick a finger about an inch into the soil of your plant. If the top soil dry an inch down, your strawberries should be watered.
How Many Hours of Light Do Strawberries Need Indoors?
Once your strawberries have sprouted, strawberry plants need at least 6 hours of full sunlight a day. If you use a window as a sunlight source, rotate your strawberry plants indoors every couple of weeks to ensure even growth.
If you do not have a location that can provide 6 hours of sunlight a day for your strawberries at home, you will need artificial light for growing strawberries indoors.
Keeping your strawberries fertilized properly is key to producing big and tasty fruit. Once they begin to show fruit, you should step up your fertilizing to improve your berries’ overall quality.
Nitrogen is a particular nutrient you may need to monitor in your fertilizer. Strawberries need nitrogen, but they cannot tolerate an excess of it. Do not use heavy nitrogen fertilizers on your strawberries.
Do You Need to Pollinate Your Strawberries?
One of the tricky things about growing fruit indoors is the lack of natural pollinators, namely bees. Because there are no other creatures to do the job for you, you will need to pollinate them yourself if you want a healthy plant.
Hand pollinating strawberries requires the use of a makeup brush or cotton swab. You want to mix the pollen on the flower’s outer part with the pollen on the inside. You should do this whenever a new strawberry flowers appears on your plant.
Here is a great video that really provides great information on growing strawberries indoors:
Harvesting Indoor Strawberries
If your planting and care are successful, your strawberry plants will eventually bear fruit. Here is what you need to know about harvesting your success!
When to Harvest Strawberries?
Strawberries go through very obvious color changes as they ripen. They will begin green, then turn white, and finally, a bright red.
You want to harvest your berries when they are plump and radiant red. Do not let your berries continue to ripen until they get squishy. Overripe strawberries tend to rot much faster.
Harvesting strawberries is a relatively simple procedure. Simply pluck them from the plant with a gentle touch to avoid damaging the plant. You can also use scissors. The length of time it will take to harvest will depend on the number of plants and yield. It could take anywhere from five to twenty minutes for an indoor garden.
How to Harvest Strawberry Seeds?
If you have a successful harvest, you may want to take advantage and gather some seeds to grow more plants. To harvest seeds, you should only need one strawberry as they have a ton of seeds.
Dry your selected strawberry. Then brush the seeds off and wash them. Then dry your seeds using paper towels.
Wrap the seeds in paper towels and store them in a dry place. Continue checking your seeds and rotating the paper towels until they are completely dry. Once they are dry, your seeds are ready to go!
Pre-Made Kits for Growing Strawberries Indoors
Maybe all of this has excited you about growing your strawberries, but you still feel overwhelmed with everything you need to get and do. Luckily, smart garden products can help you get everything you need to grow strawberries indoors in a snap.
The Click and Grow 9 is one of the best gardening kits you can buy to grow strawberries. According to them, plants grown using the Smart Gardens and Wall Farms use 95% less water, contain up to 600% more vitamins, and grow 30% faster than plants grown with current agricultural methods.
It automatically waters and provides timed light to your plants. It also provides nutrients and oxygen straight to your plant’s roots. All you have to do is buy their pre-seeded strawberry pods.
Check out our in-depth review for Click and Grow Smart Garden 9.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Grow Strawberries Indoors Year-Round?
You can grow strawberries indoors all year round! With the right care, you can have a healthy strawberry plant indoors taking up a permanent space in your home.
It is important to note that while the plant may be alive all year, most strawberry plants will not bear fruit constantly. How often your plant fruits depends on the variety. For example, ever-bearing strawberries bear fruit two times a year and sometimes more.
What are the best strawberries for growing indoors?
Day-neutral berries are the best for planting indoors as they produce fruit periodically during the growing season. They do not produce a large harvest at once, like ever-bearing, but instead, continuously make a smaller amount of berries.
How long does it take for indoor strawberries to grow?
Like all fruit and vegetables, it takes time for a plant to bear fruit. It must flower, then fruit, and the fruit must then ripen. Growing strawberries indoors can give you a longer growing season, but remember that the fruit will still come in cycles. You can have fresh strawberries all year, just not every day.
Should I Buy Fertilizer for My Strawberries?
Generally, buying fertilizer is the right decision for strawberries.
They will soak up any extra nutrients you provide for better fruit. I use only an organic fertilizer that is safe for fruits and fertilize my plants every two weeks.
What are the Pest Control Problems with Indoor Strawberries?
Indoor plants face fewer pest problems than outdoor gardens for obvious reasons, but this does not mean your strawberries will be completely free from harmful pests. You do need to keep an eye on them to check for things like mites or aphids and tream with organic pest solution.
Strawberries are one of the few fruits that you can grow strawberries indoors because of their shallow roots and relatively small size. They are also one of the worst offenders in terms of using chemicals on mass-grown strawberries that you buy from the store. Feel good about what your family eats, and add a cool project to your home with an indoor strawberry garden!