I frequently get questions about whether it’s best to plant strawberries indoors our outdoors. If you live in a hot climate then planting indoors is a strong possibility, especially if they will grow in a temperature controlled environment. Strawberries are cool season plants. They will survive in hot temperatures with proper care, but they are best grown cool. Cool here is defined as between 50 and 75F.
Here are some considerations for growing strawberries indoors:
- Strawberries generally don’t pollinate well indoors. Outdoors there are breezes and insects that aid pollination. Indoors they can be hand pollinated. I have found that use of an oscillating fan on low helps. Another aid is to use a device that vibrates like an electric toothbrush. Touching the toothbrush to the flower stalk daily will help.
- Before deciding to plant strawberries indoors consider where they came from. If they were grown outdoors and you are bringing them in, you likely will be bringing in insects. Some insects survive in the “nooks and crannies” of the plant like the leaf axils. In a sense, you are unleashing them indoors. It may take time for them to build up enough numbers to cause damage but the damage shows up sometimes quicker than one can react. Many times the populations are so large and there is so much damage that it can be nearly impossible to control.
- Plants don’t dry out quickly indoors, especially in winter. Soil that is wet for long periods of time in cool conditions is a recipe for root diseases. Most strawberries are susceptible to root rots unless the breeder has selected for resistance. Some of the garden hybrids have some resistance. Alpine strawberries have no resistance since they are open pollinated varieties that have been selected through the years.
- If you are not equipped to isolate plants from other plants already in the home, the newly introduced strawberries may become a new favorite food of the pests you already have indoors.