Strawberry Leaves with Brown Tips | 6 Causes Plus Easy Solutions

Strawberry plants can develop brown leaf tips if there is a rapid change in weather, if the plant has lots of old leaves, if it is not getting enough light or is getting too much fertilizer. Strawberry plants can be saved if they are repotted into fresh soil, old leaves are trimmed off and they are watered regularly.

This article will explore the top 6 reasons why strawberry leaves develop brown tips, how to solve each one and tips on saving your plant.

6 Causes of brown leaf tips on strawberries

Here are the top reasons why strawberry leaves can get turn brown on the tips and how to solve each one.

1. Rapid changes in weather

Strawberry plants can be affected by rapid or extreme changes in weather conditions. When the temperature changes rapidly from cold to hot or hot to cold it can shock the plant. The plant can channel water down to the rhizome away from leaf tips causing them to go brown.

Sudden increases in temperature can cause the leaves to turn brown on the tips. This will not harm the plant if it is given enough water. These damaged leaves can be trimmed off to tidy up the plant or left on. The green areas will still photosynthesize and create food for the plant.

2. Old leaves

Strawberry plants with old leaves can develop brown leaf tips. These old leaves will be closer to the base of the plant and will be gradually replaced by new leaves grown from the center or crown of the plant.

Old leaves around the base of the plant can be trimmed off with sharp, clean secateurs and placed in your compost bin. The plant will quickly replace them with new leaves if it is getting enough water and nutrients.

3. Too much fertilizer

Too much fertilizer, particularly for potted strawberry plants can cause the leaf edges to turn brown. To much of the main nutrients including nitrogen, potassium or phosphorus can cause leaf edges to burn or go brown.

Use natural fertilizers like pelleted chicken manure for outdoor plants and apply slow release fertilizers sparingly for indoor plants. You can add an all-purpose fertilizer to indoor strawberries twice per year in spring and fall and they will be happy.

4. Not enough light

Indoor strawberry plants can struggle to get enough light and can develop brown leaf tips. Their leaves will start to turn yellow and then brown on the edges if the problem continues. The brown color can spread throughout the leaf but can be easily solved by giving the plant more UV light.

Move indoor strawberry plants closer to a window that gets morning sunlight. If you do not have enough light indoors, add a grow light to keep them happy. Strawberry plants can be moved outdoors in spring. Move them into the light gradually so that their leaves are not burnt by sudden sun. They can then be moved into full sun gradually ready to produce flowers and fruit over spring and summer.

5. Salty or chlorinated water

Plants that are watered by ‘hard’ treated water can develop brown leaf tips. Some water source can contain lots of salt, chlorine or other substances that can build up in the leaves over time. This can particularly affect small, potted strawberry plants that are not getting any rainfall.

If you suspect your water is highly salty or chlorinated the plants will benefit from being watered with distilled or rainwater. You can move indoor plants out into a rain shower or buy distilled water from the store.

To remove the excess chlorine from the water, fill a bucket with your tap water and leave it outdoors for 24 hours. Lots of the chlorine will naturally break down and evaporate reducing the amount in the water.

Repot the plant into fresh potting soil or plant it out into your garden bed. This will give it fresh rainwater and help to reduce the salt content of the soil.

6. Too much water

Overwatering can cause the leaf tips of strawberry plants to turn brown. Overwatering by hand or irrigation or leaving pots sitting in water or trays can cause the roots to become damaged. Strawberries grown in heavy clay soil are more likely to suffer from overwatering as clay will trap water around their roots for longer.

We have been getting lots of heavy rain over fall and my strawberry leaves are turning brown on the tips. This one also has some bites from snails or slugs.

Before planting strawberries into heavy clay soil improve it first with aged cow manure and compost. New runners can be dug out and the soil improved in spring. You can then replant them into the free draining soil.

Avoid overwatering strawberries by only watering them when the soil starts to fee dry 2 inches down. Deep water the plant every 2-3 days over summer to keep them happy.

How to save a strawberry plant with brown leaf tips

Here are a few easy tips to save a strawberry plant with brown leaf tips and edges. These tips can help to refresh your plant, grow healthier crowns and to get more flowers and strawberries.

1. Trim off old leaves

Use sharp, clean secateurs to remove any old leaves. They will usually start from the base of the plant with fresh new leaves appearing from the center. Removing old leaves will allow more sunlight to reach the new leaves and the plant will recover quickly.

2. Repot plants into fresh potting soil

Potted strawberries with brown leaf tips will benefit from being moved into a new pot with fresh potting soil. Buy a good quality all-purpose potting soil and gently remove the old soil. Water the plant in well and keep it moist for the first week after replanting.

3. Water the plant regularly

Watering strawberries regularly particularly over summer is essential. For those living in dry climate strawberries will need to be watered every 2-3 days over summer to keep them growing well and reduce the chance of brown leaf tips.

4. Move strawberries into more light

Move indoor strawberries into a position that gets more sunlight. A bright window or a UV grow light will help the plants to photosynthesize well, keeping their leaves green.

5. Use a mild organic fertilizer

Use pelleted chicken manure on strawberry plants in spring and again in fall to give them enough nitrogen to grow new leaves. Indoor plant will benefit from a slow release plant food that is low odor.

5. Mulch the plants well

Surround strawberry plants with straw, hay or bark mulch to keep the moisture in the soil for longer. This will help to improve the soil over time and reduce competition from weeds. Add a 2-3 inch layer around the plant root zone but keep it away from the crown to avoid rot.

Strawberry Leaves with Brown Tips | Summary

Strawberry plants are easy to care and can recover quickly from brown leaf tips if the problem is corrected. Get the watering, sunlight and soil right and strawberry plants will reward you with a great crop, beautiful flowers and deep green leaves. They will send out runners and create new plants which can double your crop size over a year.

For more tips for growing great strawberries, check out this video.

Happy growing.