Feeding strawberries: tips on when and how to fertilise strawberry plants


As a horticulture student I mainly studied crops and cultivation techniques. It fascinates me how many diverse plants can grow from small, nearly identical seeds.

Favourite fruit: blueberries, grapes, raspberries, pears
Favourite vegetables: mushrooms, peppers, kohlrabi, onions, garlic

To grow and to produce as much fruit as possible, strawberries need nutrients. Learn all about which fertilisers to use and when to feed strawberries to increase your harvest.

fertilising strawberry seedlings
Spring is a good time to feed strawberry plants [Photo: zlikovec/ Shutterstock.com]

You cannot beat the lovely, sweet flavour of strawberries (Fragaria) grown in your very own garden. Providing your strawberries with the nutrients they require is the key to a successful harvest of large, juicy berries. Read on for all of our tips on which fertiliser to use as well as when and how often to feed your strawberry plants.

When to feed strawberries?

It is best to feed strawberry plants for the first time when planting them, using a slow-release fertiliser or mature compost. Unlike many other garden crops, strawberry plants are not fertilised in spring because they will have already produced flowers by then. In fact, strawberry plants form their flowers in the previous year, which why the feeding time is different. If you are growing your strawberry plants as perennials, fertilise them immediately after harvesting. This is the only time single-bearing strawberry varieties need fertilising whereas everbearing varieties may be given small amounts of fertiliser at regular intervals throughout the year.

fertilising strawberries before planting
Fertilise strawberries for the first time when planting [Photo: Vikentiy Elizarov/ Shutterstock.com]

Tip: The strawberry, which was originally native to the forest, prefers slightly acidic and humus-rich soil, which is why it likes a mulch layer of straw or grass cuttings. As it takes a long time to decompose, apply the mulch once the soil has had time to warm up and renew it from time to time.

Summary: When to feed strawberries?

  • Apply slow-release fertiliser to the soil when planting
  • Fertilise after harvesting
  • Everbearing strawberries: apply small amounts of fertiliser throughout the year
  • Mulch layer of straw or grass cuttings

Which fertiliser is best for strawberries?

Strawberries are little picky when it comes to their nutrient requirements. The high salt content of mineral fertilisers and household compost, for example, can harm the plant. For abundant flowering and a high fruit yield, we recommend using natural fertilisers such as leaf humus, bark compost, horn shavings or a plant-based slow-release fertiliser like our Plantura Tomato Food.

Tomato Food, 1.5kg
Tomato Food, 1.5kg
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  • Perfect for tomatoes, chillies, courgettes, cucumber & more
  • For healthy plants & an abundant tomato harvest
  • Long-lasting fertiliser that is free from animal products - child & pet friendly

Feeding strawberries naturally

Natural fertilisers such as leaf humus or bark compost encourage soil life and improve soil structure over time. They have proven to be particularly effective for feeding strawberries in autumn. Natural slow-release fertilisers or horn manure are also suitable for feeding strawberries.

Using tomato feed for strawberries is also an option. Our Plantura Tomato Food, which supplies tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) and potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) with all the nutrients they need, is a great choice for strawberries too. It consists primarily of organic plant matter that is slowly decomposed by soil microorganisms. Its high potassium and phosphorus content helps strawberry plants to flower and produce fruit. Its nitrogen content encourages plant growth and leaf formation.

strawberries flowering
Nutrients such as potassium and phosphorus help strawberries grow and flower [Photo: dobryj/ Shutterstock.com]

To help you supply your strawberries with the ideal amount of nutrients, we have prepared a fertilisation guide for you to follow:

Summary: When and how much to feed your strawberries

  1. Before planting: work 60 – 110 g/m² (5 – 9 tablespoons) of our Plantura Tomato Food into the topsoil
  2. Water the soil and plants to activate the fertiliser granules
  3. In the autumn following the harvest and in spring, give each plant 40 – 70 g of fertiliser (3 – 5 heaped tablespoons)

Feeding strawberries with liquid fertilisers

Liquid fertilisers are also suitable for strawberries. They are a handy and easy option for fertilising strawberries that are grown in pots on the balcony or patio. Since liquid fertilisers are fast-acting, they can also be used if your strawberry plants are showing signs of deficiency. For example, our Plantura Liquid Tomato Food is an organic liquid fertiliser that can be applied simply by watering and does not need to be worked into the soil.

Feeding strawberries with liquid fertiliser
Liquid fertiliser can be applied when watering the strawberry plant [Photo: Iryna Inshyna/ Shutterstock.com]

Feeding strawberries with horn shavings

Horn shavings are classified as organic fertilisers and are commonly used in organic farming. They are high in nitrogen and are made from cattle horns and hooves. However, because strawberries require a lot of potassium, horn shavings or horn meal are not ideal for providing them with all of the nutrients they require. As a result, only use in combination with other fertilisers.

Feeding strawberries with coffee grounds

Using coffee grounds as a fertiliser is becoming increasingly popular, which is not surprising given that most of us can simply use the coffee we already have at home. Because coffee grounds are slightly acidic, they are ideal for strawberries and other plants that prefer a slightly acidic soil. Although coffee grounds are high in nitrogen, they should not be used as the only fertiliser for strawberries, as they contain hardly any other nutrients.

fertilising strawberries with coffee grounds
Coffee grounds are a nice occasional treat for strawberry plants [Photo: Monthira/ Shutterstock.com]

Feeding strawberries with minerals such as blue granular fertiliser

Blue granular fertiliser is a type of mineral fertiliser. It is very high in nutrient salts, which plants can absorb directly from the soil. However, if the fertiliser dosage is exceeded, these nutrient salts can have a negative impact on both plant roots and the environment. Although mineral fertilisers are very fast-acting, they also have a higher risk of leaching. As a result, we only recommend using organic or primarily organic fertilisers. They conserve natural resources and require much less energy to be produced. They are also considerably safer to use and promote soil health by adding organic matter to the soil.

Now that you know exactly how to feed your strawberries, it is time to learn how to pick and store strawberries after you have had a bumper crop.

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