Overwatered strawberries face problems such as root rot, yellow leaves, fungal infections, flagging leaves, stunted growth, leaves turning brown, and in serious cases, death may result.

Overwatered Strawberries

You should act quickly once any of the above signs are visible because the strawberry plants stand a better chance for survival when cared for correctly. 

To avoid any future watering issues, it’s important to follow the recommended care nuggets for growing strawberries.

Continue reading this article to learn more about the tips to nurse your strawberry plant back to a healthy one!

Why Is the Strawberry Plant Appearing To Be Overwatered?

Overwatering strawberry plants is usually due to watering too frequently, few or no drainage holes, poor soil mix, overhead watering, and weather changes. Overwatered strawberries tend to yield less or even smaller fruits, producing few runners and their lifespan is shortened.  

Strawberry leaves help you in identifying issues related to either over- or under-watering, for instance, leaves turn brown or yellow when exposed to too much water. Keep in mind to always check on your plant’s performance so that you can easily detect any irregularities and save your strawberry from dying.

– Watering Too Frequently

Regularly watering your strawberry plant is crucial. However, if you do not follow the specifications, the strawberries are more likely to become overwatered.

Watering strawberry plants daily results in the building up of excessive moisture content. This suffocates the plant roots due to lack of air circulation, a scenario that causes rot. 

Please, take note that overwatering your strawberries encourages disease and fungal growth. That further causes the health of your plants to deteriorate.

The strawberry plants should receive at least one inch of water at most, twice per week so that the plant has adequate moisture it needs. Note that strawberry plants have varying water intake as seasons change. The same applies when your plant is in different stages of growth, such as flowering or fruiting.

– Few or no Drainage Holes

If you grow strawberries in a pot or container with few drainage holes, the plant might be exposed to overwatering. When you water strawberries that are growing in a pot with few drainage holes, the water will be stagnant as there will be no room for excess water to escape.

If the roots of your strawberry plants turn black, it means they have been exposed to too much water for a prolonged period of time.

Causes of Overwatered Strawberries

Furthermore, pots with few or no drainage holes cause salts to build up presenting an environment that is unhealthy for your strawberry plant. The salt build-up is indicated when the leaves edges start turning brown or the soil surface displays a whitish crust.

– Using a Poor Potting Mix

Strawberries grow well in a potting mix that allows roots to dry out between waterings. If you use potting mix such as regular soil, which holds water rather than draining away, the probability that overwatering will occur is high. 

Overwatering makes it difficult for the roots of your strawberry plants to absorb resources such as nitrogen, which is why the leaves start turning yellow. Strawberries do prefer moist soils but do not tolerate soggy ones.

If your plant is exposed to overwatering for a long stretch of time, root rot may occur. Furthermore, the roots of the plants turn black, which is a sign of root failure.

This symptom can be accompanied by flagging strawberry leaves, which are a strong signal for you to stop watering. Also, note that green or white mold on the soil surface is a clear indication that the strawberries are being overwatered.

– Weather Changes

Overwatering is likely to happen when you continue watering even when it rains. When your strawberry plant is exposed to heavy rainfall, do check the soil before you water it. Please note that most overwatered strawberry plants collapse because the stems and leaves become droopy and heavy.

Please, note that during heavy rainfall, waterlogged soils should be avoided to prevent the spread of the fungal infections that cause leaf scorch. The fungus that causes leaf scorch is called Diplocarpon earliana.

The strawberries with leaf scorch impact the quality of the plant but in serious cases, it affects the fruit yields. Leaf scorch is usually identified by red, yellow, or purple spots on the leaves or any other part of the strawberry plant.

Strawberry leaf scorch could be treated using some home remedies, such as applying Neem oil after, say, after every two weeks. More frequent removal of infected debris and leaves will also help.


Interventions for Saving Your Overwatered Strawberry Plant

Once you have diagnosed that overwatering is the problem with your strawberries, immediate action is required to prevent further damage. Overwatered strawberry plants can be redeemed starting with the most crucial step, which is stopping watering and assessing the extent of the damage.

If the remaining roots are viable, you can revive your strawberries back to full health. The following nuggets could further aid in reviving your strawberry plants.

– Check and Prune the Roots

You should consider uprooting your strawberry plant and allowing the strawberry roots to dry at least for two days.  You should look out for any indications of decaying roots as they display a brown color.

Trim off any damaged or dead roots with sterilized shears as they cannot be salvaged.  We recommend that you also trim off any damaged stems or roots.

Solutions of Overwatered Strawberries

You should sterilize the shears with isopropyl alcohol to prevent the spreading of disease and bacteria to the same roots that you are trying to save. Be sure to avoid damaging the healthy roots and leaves as you prune off the affected ones.

Once any damaged or decaying roots have been trimmed successfully, consider applying a rooting hormone to the remaining ones. This helps the strawberry plant in developing new and healthier roots. Allow the rooting hormone to dry for less than an hour before repotting your strawberry plant.

– Use the Correct Soil Mix

Strawberry plants require a well-draining and well-aerated soil mix. They tend to thrive well in moist soil but not in a soggy one. Using well-draining soil allows water to penetrate the soil and reach the full parts of the plant without keeping the water pooled on the surface. A well-aerated soil mix provides the strawberry plant with adequate oxygen.

You should consider adding mulch on top of overwatered strawberries if you are growing them directly in the ground. Mulching will aid the overwatered strawberries to regulate moisture levels. This is because mulch absorbs and releases any excess water gradually.

If you decide to mulch, consider using dry straw or sugar cane. The layer of mulch should be at least three inches. Also, be sure to add organic matter to the soil to improve water retention and drainage.

– Repot the Strawberry Plant

Repotting your strawberries is an effective way to revive the plant if the roots have been moderately exposed to root rot. Please, take note that repotting should not be done when the strawberry plant is flowering or fruiting as the blooms could be damaged. You should gently slide the strawberry roots from the pot and dispose of any loose potting mix.

Examine the roots and check for dead, damaged, or decaying roots that need to be removed with a pruning shear that is sterilized. Once this is done, drain any water that is stagnant onto the drainage tray and wash the tray thoroughly with soapy water, prior to rinsing well using tap water.

Remember to check for debris that could be blocking the holes and do remove them. After all this, pour a fresh, well-draining mix that’s adequate to fill up the pot and water to test the drainage hole’s efficiency.

Place the roots inside the pot and cover with a potting mix. Thereafter, place the strawberry plant in a shaded area to reduce evatransportation.

The strawberry plant should start recovering after at least a week or more, so abide by the recommended requirements for watering. Once your strawberries have been repotted successfully expose the plant to adequate direct sunlight.

– Adjust Your Watering Schedule

Water strawberries differently, depending on the seasons. During the winter season, you should reduce the frequency of watering and only water when the soil is dry.

It’s crucial to test the soil before watering because looks can be deceiving. Rather use the finger test method to determine if the soil is dry or wet and then decide if you should water your strawberry plant

You could also invest in a moisture meter and place it in the soil, about an inch away from the stem. The moisture meter lets you know if the soil is dry, moist, or wet and you can take the necessary action thereafter. 

During the summer or growing season watering the strawberry plants twice per week is what we recommend. In winter when there is no or little fruit production, you should water the plants after every 10 days.

Avoid watering during the night as the moisture tends to be a breeding ground for diseases. You should water strawberries in the mornings so that the plant can absorb water before it can evaporate. Avoid watering the plant’s leaves to avoid the development of fungal infections.

– Adapt to Weather Changes

If overwatering was caused by heavy rainfall, you should consider providing the strawberry plant with cover. In this case, the strawberry plants are potted and relocated to a spot that protects them from the rain.

Once it’s no longer raining, feel free to uncover your plants and expose them to full direct sunlight. Even the potted strawberry plants should also be exposed to sunlight so that any excess water evaporates quickly.

– Using a Container With Adequate Drainage Holes

If your container does not have enough drainage holes do change it or create more holes. Efficient drainage holes are essential in preventing overwatering because they allow the excess water to freely escape from the pot.

– Add Fertilizer

Overwatering causes the soil to lose most of its essential nutrients, oxygen, and minerals which are crucial for the strawberry plants to thrive.

You should consider adding fertilizer to help your plant to recover from overwatering. To add back those lost essential nutrients, you should use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer or liquid fertilizer.

When you use liquid fertlilizers, consider applying them on the same day that you scheduled to water your plants.

This is because liquid fertlizers increase the moisture of the potting mis, so adding them separately could have similar effects to a session of light watering. When these two care procedures are done at the same time, the excess water is d\raibed once and the soil gets enough time to dry before the next watering.

Save Overwatered Strawberries

Frequently Asked Questions

Plant care for strawberries is easy, but mismanagement could deprive the plant of its full performance. Growers of this delicious fruit have encountered some problems when caring for the plant. Let’s quickly look at some of the questions they often ask.

– How Often Should Strawberries in Pots Be Watered?

This depends on quite different factors such as weather, level of sun exposure, or soil mix type.  Water strawberries twice per week.

During summer, increase the frequency to at least three times per week. You should water the strawberry plant when the soil’s top inch feels dry and be sure that the soil is not soggy.

– Why Are My Strawberries Turning Yellow and Dying?

In some cases, your strawberry plant could be dying or turning yellow because the soil is of poor quality. Under such circumstances, you will need to transplant the plants using new soil, preferably the one that is mixed with compost to give your plant the much-needed nutrients. 

Another case could simply be because the plant is dying off due to its natural time, usually in cases where you had them for more than six years.

Strawberries are easy-to-grow plants however when they suddenly turn yellow and you have dying plants in your garden it is very worrying and confusing. The key step you need to do first is observing other characteristics that the plant is displaying so that you are more capable to revive your strawberry plant effectively.


Overwatering is a common problem that is reversible when detected early. However, if you ignore the signs, you might end up with a dying strawberry in your back garden. Let’s quickly look at these tips so that they are always at your fingertips.

  • Overwatered strawberry symptoms include yellowing leaves, root rot, wilting, and soggy soil.
  • Overwatering is caused by using containers or pots with few drainage holes, watering too frequently, using the overhead watering method, and not monitoring or adapting to weather changes.
  • Pruning off dead or damaged roots and leaves should be done only using a sterilized shear to avoid spreading.
  • Overwatering causes pest infestation, poor yield, and fungal infestations.

Knowing when or how to water strawberries in pots is important to prevent any watering issues. Consider following this guide to revive your strawberries and enjoy their delicious fruit!


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