Why are My Strawberry Plants Dying?

Last Updated on December 7, 2022 by admin

The reason for strawberries dying are due to a nutritional deficiency in the soil or frost damage, drought stress or crown rot caused by inadequate watering, which causes the leaves to shrink and then turn brown. The leaves of strawberry become yellow and then die after over irrigation as well as crown rot.

Continue reading to find out the exact reason that causes the strawberry plant to die, and how you can revive them or stop the same thing from occurring…

It is crucial to remember that strawberries have a shorter lifespan of about 6 years . They tend to decrease after 2 years of production of fruit and the health plants.

Strawberry Plants dying after planting (Brown Leaves)

There are a variety of reasons strawberry plants are disappearing shortly after they were planted.

  • The strawberry plant that is planted too deep increases the chance of drought.
  • If you plant your strawberries too deeply in the soil could cause crown root rot.
  • Do not water your strawberry plants regularly enough, as this is when they are the most susceptible to drought.

The signs of a poorly well-watered strawberry plant that is suffering from drought stress include brown, green leaves, wilted foliage and shriveled fruits.

The strawberry plants need to be watered regularly as is necessary to ensure that the soil remains damp while the roots establish within the soil.

The generous amount of watering encourages roots to expand, which improves the plants resistance to drought.

A light watering can cause that the top layer of soil become damp, but the water doesnt penetrate the soil into the strawberry plants, where it is needed which causes the leaves to turn brown and shrivel, then become brown.

The effects of drought can be detrimental to the strawberry plants in pots in particular.

Pots are smaller in capacity to hold soil and dont hold the same amount of water. If the pot is placed in full sunlight, the soil is likely to dry out faster so you need to regularly water your pots.

Pots of water as often as you need to ensure that the soil remains dry. You can test the soils moisture using your fingers or with a water meter that analyzes the soils moisture content.

The strawberry plant can generally be able to recover from stress caused by drought when you alter your water management practices, but this is contingent on how long the strawberry plant has been deficient in sufficient water.

To reduce the chance of drought as as possible the strawberries should be planted in soil which has been amended by compost leaf mold, leaf mold or decayed manure since these substances aid in preserving water.

In the scorching days of Summer , it is probable to be that the plant needs regular watering to supply water for the fruits development when it is faced with scorching sun and hot temperatures.

It is important to note that strawberry plants should be planted in the spring to allow the roots to grow in the soil without the summer heat taking moisture away off the leaves prior to when the roots are able to absorb enough water.

If you plant during the summer make sure to ensure that you water your strawberry plants regularly to keep them from becoming brown and dying.

Strawberry Plants Dying from Crown Rot

One of the most common causes of a dying strawberry plant is crown rot.

This occurs when the crown (the point where the stems meet at the ground) gets planted to deep in the soil, and is constantly in contact with moist compost.

The roots need constant watering, but the growth above the surface prefers to be on the dry side in order to prevent disease.

The chance of developing the rot of the crown is increased when irrigation of the strawberry plants over due to the excessively humid and moist microclimate promotes the growth of the spread of the disease.

The crown root slows the development that your plant produces. It also alters the color of the crown, typically with yellow or brown leaves, depending on the stage of infection.

If your strawberry plant is suffering from crown decay or root rot, it dies and must be removed. Dont plant other strawberry plants together because the fungus responsible could live within the soil, and spread to new plants.

Apply a fungicide to the soil to avoid reinfection by other plants.

Prevention is the key, so ensure that you water your strawberry plants from the bottom instead of overhead to avoid creating the conditions that can cause the illness.

The strawberry plants that are placed at the correct depth in soil that drains well have a lower chance of developing crown rot.

Plant the strawberries 18 inches apart to guarantee adequate air circulation to minimize the chance of developing an unforgiving microclimate that can cause the growth of crown rot.

Strawberry Leaves Turning Yellow and Drooping

If the leaves of your strawberry plants have begun to turn yellow and are wilting, it is an indication of stress caused by excessive moisture around the roots.

The soil for strawberry plants needs to be well-draining. When the root system is placed in constant damp soil, this results in the leaves turning yellow and creates conditions that lead to the fungal disease known as root decay that can result in the plant dying back.

The leaves of strawberry turn yellow due to:

  • slow draining soils. Strawberries that are planted in soils with heavy clay like clay hold excessive amounts of water and are more likely to be affected by the yellowing of leaves and root rot. Strawberries require a porous and light soil that permits adequate drainage. This is accomplished by amending the soil using many organic materials like compost leaf mold, leaf mold or decayed manure since these substances are able to retain moisture, but let excess water be drained away from the roots that is the ideal equilibrium for healthy strawberries.
  • Pots that do not have drainage holes in their base. The strawberry plants should be planted in pots that have drainage holes at the bottom to ensure that water excess can drain away. Certain decorative pots dont have drainage holes, which results in the water pooling and the soil to get saturated, causing the leaves to change color to yellow.
  • Doing too much watering to the strawberries. The strawberries prefer soil that is moist, however if you are watering them daily using a soaker hose, then the excess water doesnt get the chance to drain from the roots , which can cause root rot. A well-drained soil that is full of compost reduces the dangers of over-watering because its structure allows excess water to drain away and than pool within the root. Make sure to water the strawberries as often as you need in order to ensure that the soil remains moist, but not too boggy.

If the soil is well-drained and supplemented by compost, and watering to ensure that the soil is not over saturated, and using suitable containers and pots, the plant has the chance of regaining its brown appearance.

But strawberries that have been in boggy soil for prolonged periods of time are more likely to be affected by root rot, and should must be removed to stop the spread of the disease.

Strawberry Plants Turning Yellow and not Growing

If your strawberry plants appear colored yellow, despite the best practices for watering the most likely reason is a deficiency of nutrients in your soil, which is typically the case in stony or sandy soil which does not hold a lot of nutrients.

The strawberry plants are a major food source during the spring and summer when the leaves are growing and they are forming fruits. They require a fertile and rich soil to ensure good growth.

The yellowing of leaves and the stunted growth is an indication of stress caused by poor soil.

To avoid yellow leaves, it is essential to plant your strawberries in soil which has been amended with compost, well-rotted manure, or leaf mold since these substances have a great balanced nutrition and provide the ideal level of moisture needed to allow strawberry plants to flourish.

The soil must be amended to an average depth of 10 inches prior to planting.

If your strawberry plants are that are slow to grow and have green leaves that are yellow, suggest moving them into containers or pots as it makes it easier to manage the soil profile to meet strawberry requirements.

Give strawberry plants fertilizers with an excessive amount of potash (such in a feed for tomatoes) during the spring and Summer months every two weeks to promote good fruit production and prevent the leaves from turning yellow.

Strawberries Dying due to Frost Damage

Damage from frosts strawberries leaves, causing them to curl up, change color brown, or even black, depending on the degree of frost.

The strawberry plants are usually destroyed by frosts that are late in the spring because they havent been given the chance to adjust to the outside, particularly when they were planted in a greenhouse at an nursery prior to being sold and then planted within your backyard.

If you find only slight frost damage to the strawberry plant, with just one or two leaves affected, its possible that the plant will repopulate by cutting back the damaged plant and shield it from further forsts.

But preventing damage in the beginning should be the first priority because a sudden frost could wipe out a whole landscape of strawberries.

If you are growing strawberries, its recommended to purchase horticultural fleece in advance so that you are able to protect them in the event that the forecast calls for frost. You can also cultivate strawberries in a greenhouse home or poly tunnel in order to shield the plants from frost.

Fungal Diseases

The strawberry plant is susceptible to fungal diseases like gray mould and mildew powdery that can be found on their leaves.

The appearance of grey mold is evident on decaying areas of the plant when it is in humid conditions, such as older leaves or flowers that have grey or fuzzy appearance, causing the plant to turn brown and then die again.

Powdery Mildew is a white fungus that slows strawberry plants growth and cause the strawberry leaves to shrink and curled.

For more details on gray mould and powdery mildew, check out these articles written by the RHS.

Strawberry Plants only Live for 6 years.

The individual strawberry plant has a relatively small lifespan of about six years, or less. the most fruit being harvested in the first and second year even under the best conditions.

After the second year , strawberry plants lose their production and may die in the end, usually due to soil fungus that transforms the leaves to brown.

Dont be concerned when your plants die after a few years, because it is the normal cycle of the strawberry plant.

Key Takeaways:

  • Dying Strawberry plants usually occurs because of a lack of water. If the soil isnt always moist while strawberries roots are growing, the leaves are unable to retain enough water, which results in the leaves to turn brown and wilt, resulting in the dying of the strawberry plant.
  • The leaves of strawberries become yellow because of root rot as well as nutrient deficiency in the soil.
  • The effects of frost damage in spring may cause the foliage to turn black or brown and result in the plant dying back.
  • Strawberry plants live only for 6 years, and they may die because of the fugal disease gray mildew and powdery mold.


Went from an inexperienced gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. I cover anything from general indoor plant guides and lawn care, to succulents and flowers. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)