What care do strawberry plants need

Fertilizing strawberries: instructions & care tips

In order for strawberries to thrive as productively as possible, they need nutrients. We show which fertilizers are suitable and when they should be fertilized at all.

The nutritional needs of strawberries (Fragaria) is not very high and many garden soils are supplied with sufficient and balanced nutrients anyway. In order to maintain the health of the plants, it is nevertheless advisable to support the strawberries in their development with appropriate fertilization. Then nothing stands in the way of a rich harvest of sweet, red fruits.

The correct fertilization of strawberries has to be learned, after all, both a deficiency and an excess of nutrients are not optimal. In this article we will explain when, how and with what best to fertilize your strawberries.

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Strawberries: when to fertilize?

Strawberries are best fertilized when they are planted and then every year in autumn and spring. You can go on like this for about two to three years. After that, the stock should be rejuvenated, as the plants wear less and less with age. Also plant the existing strawberry patch with other crops for a few years. In the case of rose plants (Rosaceae), which also includes strawberries, so-called soil fatigue can occur in the long term.

Just before or during planting, adding compost will help the plants to grow successfully. If you don't have your own compost heap in the garden, it is best to use organic slow-release fertilizers such as our Plantura organic tomato fertilizer. This is particularly gentle on your strawberries, the soil and the animals in the garden.

After the harvest in autumn (September), when the strawberry plants are in bloom for the next year, you should provide them with sufficient nutrients again. A small amount of fertilizer and the additional watering with diluted nettle manure promote the plant in its development. Another application of fertilizer in spring (April) supports the strawberry plant in successful fruit formation. In addition, the plant, which originally lived in the forest, loves slightly acidic soil, which is why it is happy about a mulch layer made of grass clippings, straw or pine needles. You should renew these from time to time due to the slow decomposition.

Summary: when to fertilize strawberries?

  • When planting: work in compost or organic slow release fertilizer
  • Smaller fertilizers for flower formation in autumn (September)
  • Fertilization to support fruit formation in spring (April)
  • Mulch layer made of grass clippings, straw or pine needles

Strawberries with what and how much fertilize?

Strawberries are not very demanding in terms of nutrients. Classic organic fertilizers such as compost, composted manure or organic commercial fertilizers are therefore completely sufficient for abundant blossoms and fruit formation. We will explain to you the best way to proceed and what other options are available to you for fertilizing your strawberries.

Organically fertilize strawberries

Organic fertilizers such as manure or compost promote soil life and improve the soil structure sustainably. They have proven particularly useful for fertilizing strawberries in autumn. They are already partially decomposed over the winter and thus offer the plants good starting conditions in spring. If you do not have your own compost heap, you can also fall back on organic slow release fertilizers from the trade. These have many advantages when fertilizing strawberries, for example:

  • Long-term supply of nutrients to the strawberry plants through slow decomposition with the help of microorganisms from the soil
  • Promotion of active soil life and long-term improvement of the soil structure
  • Gentle for the plants, the soil and the environment by not using chemicals

Our Plantura organic tomato fertilizer, which also optimally supplies tomatoes and potatoes, is ideal for fertilizing your strawberries. It mainly consists of organic, plant-based raw materials that are slowly broken down by the microorganisms in the soil. The high proportion of potassium and phosphorus supports your plant in blooming and fruiting. The nitrogen contained also promotes plant growth and leaf formation.

So that you supply your strawberries with the optimal amount of nutrients, we have prepared detailed fertilization instructions for you below:

Primarily organic long-term fertilization: Instructions and dosage quantities for strawberries

  1. Before planting: Work 60 - 110 g / m² (5 to 9 tablespoons) of our Plantura organic tomato fertilizer into the top soil layers
  2. Water the soil and the freshly placed plants well so that the granules can dissolve
  3. In autumn after harvest and in spring fertilize 40 - 70 g per plant (3 to 5 heaped tablespoons)
Plantura organic tomato fertilizer

tip: If you already have our Plantura organic universal fertilizer at home, you can also use it wonderfully for fertilizing strawberries.

Fertilize strawberries with horn shavings

Horn shavings are an organic fertilizer and are often used in organic farming. They are made from the horns and hooves of cattle and are very nitrogenous. Since strawberries mainly need a lot of potassium, horn shavings or horn meal are only partially suitable for their nutrient supply. Therefore, they should only be used - if at all - during spring fertilization and in combination with other organic fertilizers.

Fertilize strawberries with coffee grounds

The use of coffee grounds as fertilizer is becoming increasingly popular. No wonder, after all, almost all of us already have this at home. Coffee grounds are slightly acidic, which is why they are ideally suited for strawberries and other berries, which all prefer a slightly acidic soil (pH value of 6). The content of nutrients in coffee grounds is not very high, however, and it is also very nitrogenous. Therefore it is not suitable as the sole fertilizer for strawberries.

We therefore recommend anyone who has a compost to put only small amounts of coffee grounds directly on the strawberries. You can then use the rest of the coffee grounds to enrich your compost. Ultimately, the composted coffee grounds with the compost also benefit the strawberries. If you don't have a compost, you can work slightly larger amounts of coffee grounds directly into the soil of the strawberries. In addition, you should provide the plants with an organic commercial fertilizer - such as our Plantura organic tomato fertilizer. Of course, you then use a slightly lower amount than recommended on the package.

Fertilize strawberries minerally with blue grain and Co.

Blue grain, liquid fertilizers and the like are among the mineral compound fertilizers. These contain very high concentrations of nutrient salts, which the plants can absorb directly from the soil solution. However, strawberries do not have particularly high nutritional requirements. Therefore, if they are over-fertilized, they react more with undesirably strong foliage than with more fruit. In addition, over-fertilization can lead to the leaching of nutrients into deeper soil layers and to contamination of the groundwater. For this reason, organic fertilizers, with their slow release of nutrients, are much more suitable for strawberries than mineral fertilizers.

Summary: what to fertilize strawberries with?

  • Compost or manure are suitable for autumn fertilization
  • Long-term organic fertilizers ensure a long-term supply of nutrients in spring
  • Horn shavings and mineral fertilizers are only suitable to a limited extent
  • Coffee grounds are best mixed with compost or organic slow release fertilizer

Tip from the professional: Strawberries that are under drought stress cannot absorb nutrients because they are no longer or only barely accessible to the roots. You should therefore ensure that there is sufficient water supply during and after fertilization.

Proper fertilization is an essential part of strawberry care, but not the only thing to consider when planting strawberries. We have therefore put together 10 additional tips for a successful strawberry harvest.

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Sabine

I am currently studying agricultural and food economics at BOKU in Vienna. Gardening is a lot of fun for me and it certainly takes up most of my free time. A few years ago, my interest in herbs was aroused, which is why I completed my training to become a certified herbalist in 2018.
Favorite fruits: apples, cherries
Favorite vegetables: potatoes, fennel