You can grow strawberries indoors all year round and avoid many of the problems that growing strawberries outdoors can bring. Strawberries are very weather-dependent. Growing them indoors gives you complete control. Indoors, you can determine the type of climate that strawberries need.
So, let’s look at growing strawberries indoors and look at some of the benefits and potential obstacles that come with doing this.
The growing of anything indoors or outdoors, is never without its challenges. Growing strawberries indoors is no exception. Everyone likes the smell and taste that comes with strawberries so it’s well worth giving them a go.
You have to look at the usual considerations before you start to grow strawberries indoors. You need to think about where you’re going to grow them, the temperature has to be favourable and constant.The biggest consideration for growing strawberries successfully indoors is providing enough light.
When you choose a location for growing strawberries indoors you don’t need to be too fussy. They can actually be grown anywhere. They can be grown near sunny windows or on a wall.
you can be very creative when you grow strawberries indoors. There are some very effective vertical growing systems which can generate quite spectacular displays when it comes to growing strawberries.
Strawberries require a warm and dry climate which you can provide when you grow them indoors. Room temperature will be good enough but you need to be looking for 70°F to 75°F.
However strawberries will survive in cooler temperatures. When they grow in the wild they will generate new growth in the early part of spring and they can often continue growing late into the autumn.
Can you grow strawberries indoors?
When strawberries are grown outside they can cope with lower temperatures. The strawberry plant is quite strong when grown in outdoor locations which means they should perform well when grown indoors.
The main thing is to make sure that the strawberries grown indoors are kept warm long enough for the fruit to form. As you would expect strawberries are more likely to form when there are long days of good quality sunlight. It is possible for strawberries to grow in the shade but this shouldn’t be a problem when growing strawberries indoors because it’s always possible to provide artificial light using either LEDs or fluorescent light.
Using artificial light for growing strawberries indoors you have full control. you can decide how much light they have and make sure that they get enough. Put this together with maintaining the right temperature you will create the best conditions possible needed to produce a good crop of strawberries.
When you grow strawberries indoors you will need to pollinate them.
When strawberries are grown outdoors they will never need help with pollination. There will always be plenty of insects flying around that will do the pollinating naturally.
Growing strawberries indoors will require some intervention, involving hand pollinating. Pollinating by hand is not a difficult thing to do. You need to when it’s the right time to do this. You need to be looking out for when the flowers are fully open.
Pollinating strawberries requires a gentle touch with a very fine soft brush. You need to investigate the flower to see where the pollen needs to go.
The male part of the flower is the stamen and the female part is the pistil. The trick is to be able to brush pollen from the stamen and get it onto the pistil.
You need to perform this task going from flower to flower. To get the best chance of producing a good crop of strawberries you need to pollinate the flowers everyday. Some people have more success growing strawberries by going over the flowers with a brush twice over. This helps to make certain that the maximum amount of strawberries are grown.
An indicator that the flower has been pollinated is that the petals will start to fall off and you will see the green part in the middle of the flower called the sepal. It’s this part on the flowers that are soon to become strawberries.
When your strawberry plants have reached this stage all you have to do is to wait for the crop of strawberries to arrive.
What variety of strawberries should I grow
The general recommendation is to go for strawberries that are in the ‘day-neutral’ category. These tend to be smaller plants but produce lots of strawberries and don’t grow many strawberry runners. They will also produce strawberries in the first year of growing.The ‘day neutral’ types of strawberries tend to produce less fruit but carry on producing for longer.
One particular variety of ‘day-neutral’ strawberries appears to be a favourite. These are the alpine strawberries. The alpine strawberries look like wild strawberries. The ‘day neutral’ variety of strawberries tend to produce fruits throughout the year.
To get the best results it’s important to keep temperatures under control. In the summer months you need to keep the temperature below 104°F. During the winter months you need to maintain a temperature that’s above 59°F.
Can you grow strawberries indoors?
The alpine strawberries require very little space. It’s quite possible to manage 10 to 20 alpine strawberries without too much effort. Pollinating this number of strawberries should be quite easy to do and when they start to produce fruits you should have strawberries available almost everyday.
Another variety is the ‘ever bearing’ strawberries but they tend not to fruit all year long.
Growing systems for producing strawberries
You can grow strawberries indoors using a number of methods. There are a number of advantages to growing strawberries indoors that make use of the nature of the plant.
Strawberries can be grown close together. It doesn’t affect them too much If they are dense but you can expect to get a better crop of strawberries if you give them a bit of space.
Some people have considerable success by growing strawberries hydroponically. This is a very simple system and requires very little attention after you have set everything up.
There are lots of plants that can be grown hydroponically. This is where the roots of the plant are exposed to just water and there’s no soil involved. The water that’s used to irrigate the roots is constantly monitored to make sure or that the level of nutrients is what the plant needs.
This has been found to be very effective when growing strawberries.
See: Indoor farms for fresh salad, to find out more about growing plants indoors using hydroponics.
Another system that’s quite popular when growing strawberries indoors is the vertical approach. If you want to stay with convention and grow strawberries in soil, a vertical growing system would be ideal as it takes up less space to be able to grow a lot of strawberries.
A vertical growing system indoors would require artificial light either from LED lights or fluorescent tubes. Placing a vertical growing system near a window may not provide enough light for all the plants on the structure.
There are vertical growing systems which can be automated to provide regular watering. These systems can be quite expensive but it really depends on how much you like your strawberries.
If you prefer a more basic way of growing strawberries you can grow them in a window space using just basic containers or plant pots.To make the best use of windowsill space, use rectangular containers.
Soil for growing strawberries
If growing strawberries in soil is your preferred thing, you need to consider the type of soil that you will be using. This is mainly about the level of acidity of the soil. Strawberries tend to perform better in acidic soil.
It would be worthwhile testing the soil that you intend to use for growing strawberries, for the acid level. You need to see a reading of between 5.5 and 7.0 on the pH scale.
Strawberries need the usual nutrients that most plants need to perform well. Most people have a lot of success when they incorporate well-made compost into the soil that they use for growing strawberries. Compost is more useful at improving the soil structure than anything else. A well-made compost will not have any nitrates left in it but there will be some available potash and phosphates.
Can you grow strawberries indoors?
If you are serious about producing a meaningful quantity of strawberries, you may have to be prepared to use chemical fertilizers.
You need to look for a fertilizer that has a balance of nitrates, potash and phosphates that’s tailored for growing strawberries. Modern chemical fertilisers will release nutrients over a period ranging from 4 to 6 months. This would work well when used in conjunction with compost or any other organic fertilisers.
If you want to grow strawberries in a small area it may be worth considering buying soil that has been sterilised and an artificial fertilizer to go with it.
The best part about growing strawberries is the harvest
The reward you get for all your attention to providing the right soil conditions, regular watering and light, is that you get to harvest some really fruity strawberries. All of this can be done indoors.
Depending on how extensive your strawberry growing operation is, it is quite possible that you could be picking strawberries, grown indoors, almost everyday. The good news is that strawberries can be consumed straight away.
The best advice is to ‘don’t be in too much of a hurry when picking strawberries’. It’s usually better to leave them for an extra day rather than pick them before they are fully ripe. One advantage of growing strawberries indoors is that you are less likely to have problems with mould. The climate in your house will be consistently dryer than the atmosphere outside.
Pests that want your strawberries
There are plenty of takers when it comes to things trying to get to your strawberries. When you grow strawberries outdoors there will be the usual suspects, including birds and mice. You shouldn’t have any problems of this nature when you grow strawberries indoors.
You may have pets that take an interest in the fruity taste of strawberries for example there are reports of people who have parrots which, when released, may be tempted to go straight to your strawberries for a sampling session.
If you grow strawberries indoors or outdoors you need to inspect the strawberries that you harvest and check for invasive nematodes. You need to cut open freshly picked strawberries to check for anything that may be living inside.
It is possible that you may find pests like the spotted millipede inside the strawberry fruit. They won’t be noticeable from the outside. You have to cut a strawberry open to find them. This sort of problem can be avoided if you use sterilised soil for growing strawberries.
A modern way of growing strawberries indoors
You can take the growing of strawberries indoors to a new level if you use one of the modern growing systems that’s available. These are known as indoor Gardens or Grow farms.They are designed to provide everything that a plant needs to grow efficiently and be productive.
There are many plants that modern Grow-farms can grow, strawberries is one of them. A modern indoor garden provides sufficient artificial light that will generate production.There is no soil involved.The roots of each plant have access to a constant supply of water that has been enriched with nutrients.