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Although strawberries are resistant to cold, severe frost can damage them considerably. The Fragaria, as the strawberry is botanically called, is basically perennial and not difficult to overwinter if you pay attention to a few points. Above all, you should take into account differences between the varieties so that the plant survives the winter. The location also plays an important role during the winter, because you should take special precautions with strawberries in the raised bed.


The preparation for the cold season begins months in advance. Many strawberry varieties form offshoots that are ideal for creating a new strawberry bed. However, these offshoots must be transplanted in good time. They should be well rooted by autumn, otherwise the ground frost can seriously damage the plants.
This also applies when buying new plants. You should plant the last strawberries in late summer. If it is unavoidable that strawberry plants are added at a later date, you should never overwinter them outdoors. There is usually not enough time for them to take root before the first ground frost. In this case you should not overwinter the strawberries in the garden, but simply in the pot in the cool basement. You can plant them out again in the frost-free spring.

Remove runners

There is nothing to prevent strawberry varieties with tasty fruits in particular being removed via runners. The first foothills form around the time the fruit ripens. Basically, almost every strawberry variety forms offshoots, which, however, cost the plant a lot of energy. As soon as the first offshoots are rooted, you should mark them. You should consistently remove all other foothills. In this way, the plants can already gather enough strength for the winter during the summer.

The last pruning of the foothills takes place around the beginning of October. Especially with the last pruning of the season, you should make sure that this is done cleanly. Sharp pruning shears are ideal for this, with which you can remove the offshoots as close to the plant as possible.

remove leaves

While the runners are constantly removed so that the plants have sufficient strength to overwinter, it is sufficient to only remove the leaves in the winter late autumn to remove. The leaves must be removed to prevent fungal diseases. Only remove the larger leaves, the heart must remain unharmed. The heart leaves must not be damaged when removing the foothills. Especially the delicate leaves in the middle of the Fragaria are very sensitive and larger injuries usually lead to the death of the plants.

notice: When planting the strawberries, you should also make sure that the heart is above the ground. Because if you insert the heart too deeply, fungal diseases can develop, which leads to the death of the plant.

If the strawberries are in the garden bed and you have a bit of courage, you can also mow over the strawberries with the lawn mower at the highest level. Exactly the leaves that are cut off by hand are mown. However, gardeners should start about a week earlier with this measure, since the remains of the stems still have to dry off.

Characteristics typical of the variety

There are now many varieties of strawberries. The most common varieties bear once or twice a year. There is also the monthly strawberry, which bears small fruits similar to wild strawberries for almost the entire season. Monthly strawberries hardly form any runners and you should not cut the foliage either. They hibernate unchanged in the garden and you can remove dead leaves at the latest in spring.

Last fertilizer application

Irrespective of the variety, the last application of fertilizer takes place in early autumn. Basically, you should no longer use liquid fertilizer at this point, but only long-term fertilizer. Suitable fertilizers are:

  • compost
  • horn shavings
  • Solid fertilizers such as cattle or horse manure

The fertilizer is gently worked into the soil around the plants without damaging the roots of the plants too much. In addition, some sand can be worked into the soil. Both the loosening of the soil and the sand ensure good ventilation and prevent waterlogging from forming quickly, which can lead to rot or fungal infections in strawberries.

mulch soil

Ground frost is one of the factors that can make strawberries difficult to grow in the garden. Therefore, you should mulch the soil around the plants well. The mulch layer takes on several tasks at the same time. It protects the soil from frost to a limited extent, but also from drying out too quickly.
Under no circumstances should you use the leaves of the strawberry as mulch material, as this can promote fungal infections. If the leaves are cut back with the lawn mower for the winter, they should also be completely removed.
The following materials are suitable for mulching the strawberries:

  • straw
  • dried grass clippings
  • leaves
  • wood wool
  • bark mulch

Compared to mulching against weeds, the mulch layer as protection in winter may only be a few centimeters. In addition, the mulch material should not lie directly against the plant so that the air can circulate. This prevents the plant itself from staying wet for an unnecessarily long time, which can lead to fungal infections.

notice: If you want to use bark mulch to cover the soil, it should be neither too coarse nor too fine. Very coarse bark mulch does not protect the soil enough, while very fine bark mulch prevents air circulation. Therefore, sawdust is not suitable as a mulch material for strawberries.

allow air circulation

You can also cover the strawberry plants in the garden bed with fleece. Especially at very low temperatures, this cover can offer limited protection. However, the fleece should not be stretched tightly over the plants, but only laid loosely over them. If the cover is too tight, moisture often remains in the heart. This promotes rot and leads to the death of the plant. You should only fix the fleece at the corners and with a very long garden bed you can attach additional brackets so that the cover does not blow.

watering in winter

When the garden is dormant in winter, it is usually not watered. This usually also applies to strawberry plants, with the exception that they should be watered moderately in winters with very little precipitation. In this case, only water selectively around the plants during a frost-free period. Avoid getting the heart wet if possible, as this can lead to fungal infections, especially when temperatures are very mild.

Additional protection in the raised bed

Strawberry plants are also very productive in raised beds. Monthly strawberries in particular are popular for planting in raised beds because they do not form runners. The preparations for wintering are the same as for plants in the garden bed. However, the raised bed is more at risk of frost because it offers more surface to attack due to its height of the cold. It becomes particularly problematic when frost threatens the deep roots of the Fragaria, which can definitely be the case in raised beds.

If you want to overwinter strawberry plants in the raised bed, you should protect the raised bed yourself. A styrofoam sheathing is ideal for this. The panels are attached to the raised bed in autumn. They can be fixed with cords or slats. In this way, the polystyrene can be quickly installed and removed again, since additional insulation is not necessary in summer.

tip: Additional protection with a styrofoam sheath also helps to protect the roots of strawberry plants that overwinter in the pot from frost.

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