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Wintering the strawberry tree - tips for location & protection

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The strawberry tree is a real eye-catcher in the garden, especially in winter. But the cold can damage the sea cherry considerably. Find out under what conditions the strawberry tree should be wintered here.

© Andrea Geiss - Fotolia.com

The strawberry tree provides exotic flair in our gardens and proves to be extremely robust. But in winter the plants need our help. The strawberry trees distributed in Europe are not hardy. However, early frosts or late frosts do not harm them and some types of frosts should withstand up to - 15 degrees. Nevertheless, you should not take any risks, because the disappointment is all the greater later when the strawberry tree dies during the first small frost.

You can now find out what should be considered during wintering.

The strawberry tree in winter

Many trees appear bare, dreary and bleak in the cold season. Not the strawberry tree. Its real heyday begins in late summer, when other plants have already faded. Then the little bell flowers appear. The strawberry-like fruit ripened in November and remains an eye-catcher over the winter. The trees are more robust than you might think, they grow at altitudes of more than 3,000 meters and are known for rough winds and cold. Nevertheless, strawberry trees are not completely hardy with us. In some regions, however, it may be possible to cultivate the strawberry tree outdoors all year round.

Wintering the strawberry tree in the garden - important facts

If you want to try to leave the strawberry tree in the garden all year round, you should consider various factors. In order to weigh up the pros and cons, you should first ask yourself the following questions.

  • What location can I offer the plant?
  • Where do I live?
  • How old is my plant

❖ The right location

The winter location should be protected in any case. For example, a house wall that heats up during the day and gives off heat at night is an advantage. This point should definitely be considered when planting the strawberry tree, because the plants do not like to be transplanted at all.

A sunny location is optimal for the plants. They also thrive in partial shade, but then bloom less abundantly. In the shade, the plant remains in its growth and shows itself lazy. In winter, shady spots cool down too quickly and the strawberry tree has little chance of surviving the cold season outdoors.

❖ residential area

The area in which they live is also very important for positive wintering. Even if the winters have been rather mild in recent years, there is no guarantee for the coming years. Even though it is assumed that some varieties can tolerate frost down to - 15 degrees, the temperatures in many regions can also fall below this. If you want to be on the safe side, you should be smart about the winter hardiness zone of your place of residence.

Hardiness zone - what is it?

The winter hardiness zones are determined on the basis of the coldest annual temperature measured on average. This zoning is the same internationally and was published by the United States Department of Agriculture. Only zones 6 to 8 are relevant for Germany. Zones 1 to 5 and 9 to 12 do not occur in our latitudes.

So look at the planting instructions and compare them with the values ​​on site. Since the individual microclimate also plays a role, it is possible in many places to cultivate the strawberry tree in Zone 7a, for example, even though Zone 6a is actually specified.

Hardiness zones and their requirements

Hardiness Zoneconditions
Zone 6Protection in the event of bald frost is necessary
Zone 7Winter protection from leaves or brushwood necessary
Zone 8Wintering as bright and cool as possible in the house

Climatically favored locations:

  • Rhine Valley
  • Bodenseeraum
  • Moselle
  • Saale

❖ Age of the tree

The age of the strawberry tree is also decisive for wintering outdoors. Young plants are more sensitive than older specimens. Therefore strawberry trees should spend their first years as a container plant and should only be placed on a balcony or terrace in summer. Container plants hibernate brightly and coolly in the house, ideally in the winter garden.

From around the age of five, you can venture outdoors in climatically favorable regions. The planting should only take place in May when night frosts can no longer be expected. The plants should slowly get used to their new environment. Winter protection is also not an issue with older plants.

" Tip: The leaves and stem are particularly vulnerable to frost and should be specially protected. Leaves, brushwood and garden fleece are suitable for this.

Wintering strawberry tree safely

If you want to be on the safe side, hibernate your strawberry tree in the house. Even grown plants and younger plants are particularly susceptible to frost and would probably be damaged. Those who own a winter garden have found the ideal way to spend the winter. But even in the unheated stairwell or a bright basement room, the strawberry tree is in good hands in the cold season.

" Tip: Strawberry trees in the winter quarters are not fertilized and only watered so much that the soil does not dry out completely.

What happens in spring

When the winter comes to an end, the strawberry tree is slowly getting used to the changed location conditions. Around the end of February, the plants get more water again and on sunny days in March the little tree can already spend the noon hours on the terrace again. Then you should start slowly with the annual care measures.

Where to put potted plants?

Even in regions with favorable climates, it is not recommended to overwinter the strawberry tree in a bucket outdoors. Container plants are far more exposed to cold and frost than plants cultivated outdoors. The space available in the bucket is limited. It can quickly happen that the planter completely freezes over and the plant dies, since the roots can no longer provide themselves with sufficient moisture and nutrients. If the planter is placed on a wooden or styrofoam base, quick freezing can be prevented. Leaves, brushwood, garden fleece or special foils also protect against the cold. The strawberry tree is best kept in the conservatory or in the bright, cool stairwell.

" Note: Light night frosts in autumn or late frosts in spring generally do not harm the strawberry trees.

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