How to Prepare New Strawberry Plants for Planting Out in Spring

Overview

Strawberries provide a fruit crop suitable for even small home gardens. Whether you purchase plants or grow them yourself from seed, the young plants must be set out in the garden properly to avoid shock and death. Strawberries are frost tolerant once established, but young plants can easily succumb to a spring frost. They also "Hardening off" is a process that accustoms the strawberries to outdoor conditions and helps you avoid much of the damage that would otherwise afflict the plants.

Step 1

Set the strawberry plants outside in a protected area, such as on a porch. Start the process on a warm, still day. Leave the plants outside for three hours, then bring them back indoors.

Step 2

Place the strawberries outside each day, adding two hours to the time spent outside. Gradually move them out of the protected area each day as you increase the time the plants spend outside.

Step 3

Set the plants out for at least seven days prior to transplanting or up to two weeks if you are able. Stop the process if cold weather or storms occur, and resume once the weather clears up again.

Step 4

Stop all fertilization during the hardening period. Water less frequently, about half as much as you were watering previously, while hardening off the strawberries.

Step 5

Transplant the strawberries to the garden on an overcast day. Lift the plants from the pots and trim away any damaged roots with a pair of shears before planting them in the bed.

Tips and Warnings

  • Too much direct sunlight before the strawberries are used to outdoor conditions causes the plants to become sunburned. This can lead to slow growth or death.

Things You'll Need

  • Shears

References

  • Washington State University Extension: Hardening Off Transplants
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Strawberries for the Home Gardener
Keywords: planting out strawberries, hardening off strawberries, strawberry transplants

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.