Juicy, sweet, and ripe with flavor. Strawberries are always better when they are homegrown. However, many gardeners plant their strawberry seeds with the hope of an abundant yield of strawberries, only to be disappointed by a plant with few to no flowers and, therefore, no strawberries.
So why do many strawberry plants fail to produce flowers? The main cause of strawberry plants not flowering is that they are too young. Strawberry plants are perennial, so in the first year, they will put much of their energy into root and leaf development rather than the actual fruits. Come the 2nd year of growth, and your plant should start developing strawberries.
If your strawberry plant is past its first year of growth, there is likely another reason for its lack of flowers. Many other factors can affect your strawberry plant’s lack of flowers.
Start with the environment you are growing your strawberries. It is true, they can grow most anywhere, but strawberries prefer specific conditions if they are to flower correctly. For instance, strawberries like well-drained organic soil.
The ultimate soil pH levels that encourage the healthy growth of strawberry plants range between 5.5 and 7.0. Combined with cool nights and warm days, your strawberries will grow well and produce juicy, plum strawberries.
On the other hand, if the climatic conditions are too hot, your strawberry plant will not produce many flowers and berries. Also, if it is too cold, any growing blossoms will be damaged. This means that you will harvest little to no fruit.
Another environmental factor that you should consider when growing your strawberry plants is water. Too much or too little water will affect the growth of leaves and after that the production of fruits.
Strawberries consume water from the few top inches of the soil. This region tends to dry up very fast. Therefore, feed your strawberry plants with sufficient water throughout the growing season. But, do not feed the plants too much water since it can cause the roots of the plants to rot.
This fungal disease is the second reason your Strawberry plants may not be flowering. The fungus, Botryis cinerea, infects the fruit and the flowers of your plant, reducing your yields significantly. That is why gray mold is considered the most damaging disease for a strawberry plant.
The fungus is prevalent during blooming and harvesting periods when there are prolonged cool and wet weather conditions. You can identify gray mold by looking at your plant blossoms: they will turn brown and then die.
The berries will also experience soft and light brown rot. As the infection continues to spread, the decay becomes firm and dark brown. Soon, the berry will be covered with gray and dusty powder, signifying the spores of the fungus.
Within two days, your berries will be destroyed. Usually, the spores of the fungi spread in winter by wind or water. It is important to note that the fungus can survive on decaying vegetation. Therefore, your healthy plants can be infected easily throughout the season.
To treat and manage the spread of gray mold, start by removing the infected plants. This will slow down the infection progress. Do this frequently at the fruit-bearing stage. Also, improve the circulation of air around your strawberry plants.
Make sure that your plants are spaced widely. Then prune your leaves to increase airflow and to allow your vegetation to dry fast. During the spring season, avoid applying the nitrogen fertilizer to your plants.
To remove any fruit that is damaged, conduct your harvests regularly. You can also use fungicides at 10 percent bloom and full bloom. In wet seasons, reapply the fungicides after 7 to ten days. This will help to mitigate the spread of the fungus.
Just like with water, too little or too much fertilizer is harmful to the health of your strawberry plants. Your strawberries require sufficient nutrients if they are to grow exceptionally.
That is why adding compost and other organic materials to increase nutrient content in the soil benefits the growth of strawberry plants. But, when you add too much fertilizer to the soil, you are adding excess nitrogen as well.
Excess nitrogen content will cause your strawberry plants to grow tall and skinny. The plant foliage will also grow in excess. But, you will have little to no flowers blooming.
Therefore, if you notice that your strawberry plants are big, but they have no flowers, reduce the amount of nitrogen fertilizer you are using. You can add some phosphorus to the soil to combat the excess nitrogen content.
Strawberry Bud Weevils
Your strawberry plants might not be flowering because of the Strawberry Bud Weevils. These are small beetles that have red-brown bodies. They are one of the most destructive strawberry pests.
The Strawberry Bud Weevil is also called the strawberry clipper because it tends to clip off the buds of your flowers and feed on them. Usually, the beetles appear towards the end of April when the temperatures are approaching sixty degrees Fahrenheit.
Hence, they become prevalent between May and June. The Strawberry Bud Weevils start by infesting the plants that have early fruit bud developments. Female weevils lay eggs in the buds. Within three to four weeks, the eggs are usually mature, and adult weevils emerge.
Strawberries grown adjacent to woodlots are likely to be affected since these are the weevil’s hibernation spots. In case of infection, spray some insecticide on your plants. Make the first application once you see the weevils and reapply after ten days.
Keep this up until the conditions improve. As a preventative measure, you can place mulch and full canopy beds around your strawberry plants. This will discourage the Strawberry Bud Weevils from getting to your plants.
Also known as the tarnished plant bug, Lygus Bugs are destructive insects that will stop your Strawberry plants from flowering. You will know Lygus Bugs because of their brown or green color with yellow markings.
They are also about a quarter-inch long. Every year, the insects produce at least three generations of bugs. Lygus Bugs hide during the winter season in debris and plants, and they become prevalent in spring. These insects are notorious for damaging fruit orchards.
Once they are in your garden, they will feed on your strawberry buds, destroying the blossoms in the process. They also feed on the strawberries themselves. As a result, your strawberry plant is left with deformed berries. This is known as catfacing.
To control the spread of Lygus Bugs, buy insecticides and spray early in the morning. This is the time when the bugs are not very active. Reapply the insecticides after two or three days. You can also use white sticky traps to get rid of the bugs.
Make the white traps by coating a ten-inch square of white material with petroleum jelly or tanglefoot. Place the traps adjacent to the strawberry plants or two and a half inches above the ground in your garden.
Since the Lygus Bugs are attracted to the white traps, you can use them to monitor the population of insects on your strawberry plants. This will also help you to determine if it is time to use a spray insecticide.
Why are my Strawberry plant leaves turning red?
Your strawberry plant leaves may be turning red as a result of red stele disease. The red stele is a fungal disease. It occurs in late winter and spring. The disease thrives in overly wet conditions and poorly draining soil. Grow resistant strawberry plant varieties to combat the disease.
Factors such as over-fertilization, inconsistent irrigation, microscopic soil nematodes, and frost damage contribute to the emergence of black root rot. Improved cultural conditions will prevent the occurrence of the disease.
Why are my Strawberry plant are leaves turning brown?
Your strawberry plant leaves might be turning brown because of verticillium wilt, leaf spot, leaf scorch, and leaf blight diseases. Verticillium wilt is a disease that occurs mostly in late spring because it thrives with heat and light.
Leaf spot and leaf blight are fungal diseases. They thrive in wet conditions. Therefore, do not splash water on your strawberry plants. To ensure your strawberry plant leaves do not turn brown, either buy disease-resistant plant varieties or grow your strawberry plants at the ultimate wet and dry conditions.
Why are my Strawberries so small?
The type and age of the strawberry plant, as well as nutrient deficiency and disease, will produce small berry fruits. There are three types of berries, with each having different characteristics. Hence, each type will produce berries of different sizes.
The more your strawberry plant ages, the smaller the size of the berries it will produce. This usually happens after 3 to 4 years. Also, if your plant lacks nutrients like sunlight, water, and fertilizer, stress will occur during the fruit development stage leading to small-sized fruits.
Lastly, as shown above, strawberries are susceptible to various bacterial and fungal diseases. Pest infections can also affect the size of the berries your plant produces. Treat any sign of infection to ensure you harvest berries of suitable proportions.