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I bought some strawberry plants from Homebase and kept them inside until the weather improved slightly (perhaps Homebase isn't the best garden centre to buy plants in the UK, I don't know).

Then, I hardened them off in a cold frame before planting in a hanging bed (made from felt).

While they were in the cold frame, they developed a strange white, humid film over the leaves, almost like a fine, wet mould.

Then, immediately after planting, they developed severe markings on the leaves. A dark red, almost purple blotching, and they don't seem to be doing very well.

Can anyone advise me on what is wrong and whether it can be fixed?

Strawberry Leaves

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This is probably common spot of strawberry. I think this infection may have happened because you were too kind to the plants in the cold frame where they did not get enough ventilation. Here in Canada where it can get well below freezing under the snow for months over winter the plants come back with only a little straw covering.

At this point keep the plants well ventilated, no protection, and if leaves show a lot of spotting pull them off but leave some foliage to ensure the plant keeps growing. Goal is to get clean fresh leaves and eventually pull off all the spotty ones.

If you really need to put plants in a cold frame in humid conditions look for a variety that is resistant to common spot.

  • Hi Colin, thanks, I really appreciate your help. I'm new to this so didn't think about buying a resistant variety, I'll do that next year, but I'm too late for new plants now so control is my only option. Do you think I should try a fungicide as well or just stick to removing the spotty leaves (I’ve already started doing that). Also, when I winter them, should I cut off all the foliage first? Or just allow the foliage to die naturally and cover the plants with straw? I know some people mow their strawberries. – GGx - Reinstate Monica Cellio Jun 18 at 15:05
  • Once in the fresh freely circulating air I'm sure it will clear up without the need for fungicides. As for mowing, make a note to review the state of the foliage right after fruiting and assess at that time. – Colin Beckingham Jun 18 at 16:37
  • Thanks Colin, glad I don't have to use fungicides, it's the whole point of growing at home to avoid chemicals. – GGx - Reinstate Monica Cellio Jun 18 at 16:43

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