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I have a healthy, fruit-producing 'Elan' strawberry plant that created six runner plants this year. It's now November and I want to overwinter all seven pots. I plan to put them in the cellar (we live in a flat in Bavaria, Germany). I have read online that I should wait until the temperature has dropped to around freezing for several nights in a row before I move them to the cellar. However, nowhere can I find out if the leaves should still be green or not.

It's now about 0°C outside, but my plant still has mostly green leaves and even some fruit buds, and I don't want to kill it by moving it to somewhere with no light.

So, my question is, when overwintering potted strawberries in a cellar/garage, is it OK to move them when the leaves are still mostly green?

Runner plants - still with green leaves Main plant - still with green leaves and fruit

  • why do you wan to move them in the cellar at all. Is it you are trying to protect the pots from cracking. What is the lowest temp it get there in winter. Are you grow a particular strawberry that is not hardy to your coldest temp? Strawberries are quite hard to well well below 0°C, many will even survive -40°c. – GardenGems Nov 23 '19 at 20:38
  • @GardenGems I have added the strawberry type now - 'Elan'. I can't find much information on what winter temperature they can survive when planted in pots. – Tempest16 Nov 24 '19 at 9:54
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Here in Canada where strawberries overwinter completely frozen for months between fall and spring the leaves left at the end of the year are stripped off before the mulch of straw is applied. The reason for this is that as some of the most vulnerable tissues on the plant they are susceptible to fungal infection and if left on the crown they can carry over disease from one year to the next. If your storage is above zero for an extended period the leaves, if left on, might just rot off anyway in the dark.

The main goal is to produce a sturdy crown with a deep and healthy root system capable of producing new green leaves early in the following spring. It may seem like you are helping the plant get started the following year by leaving leaves attached but they are best snipped off and disposed of. Keep the plants in storage as consistently cool, as cold, as you can; I have heard of people storing pots in a deep box of dry peat but cannot speak to its effectiveness, but it seems like good insulation that would even out fluctuations in temperature.

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  • I have added two photos to my question. From looking at them, do you think now is the time to snip the leaves off both the main plant and the runner plants? Should I also snip off the fruit? – Tempest16 Nov 24 '19 at 9:56
  • Snip all fruiting stems, leave plants as they are to go to -10 to ensure that they get the idea that winter is here (they clearly don't realize that yet) and then snip leaves before you bring them in, if it goes below -10 in your area otherwise leave out. Clean up the parent now if you intend to keep it. – Colin Beckingham Nov 24 '19 at 11:04

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