In field trials in Scotland, defoliated plants of the strawberry cultivars ‘Cambridge Favourite’ and ‘Royal Sovereign’ usually initiated fewer inflorescences than untreated plants. By contrast, defoliation of ‘Talisman’ and ‘Redgauntlet’ in mid August increased inflorescence initiation, although it did so less when performed in either late July or early September. These results suggest that the leaves can have a dual role and may control inflorescence initiation through both promotive and inhibitory systems.