garden5
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Growing strawberries from seed?

OK, I know this isn't the time of year to be asking this, but has anyone tried growing strawberry plants from seed? Apps, I think you have mentioned that you've tried this recently.

Looking at all of the seeds in just one fruit, it looks like it would be a great way to get a huge patch of strawberries for practically nothing.

What do you think?
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applestar
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I've had volunteer wild strawberries pop up in unexpected places (thank you birds), but I was only awakened to the possibility of growing cultivated strawberries from the seeds on the fruits when I read a blog about a little boy who basically saved the outer seed layer from his strawberry and asked to plant it. His mother laid the strip of strawberry seeds on the surface of a pot of seed starting soil, lightly covered with finely sifted soil, and waited... and the strawberry seeds germinated, much to her surprise. Her little boy was delighted. I would post the link, but I no longer have it.

So yes, I when I found a super ripe strawberry with red mature seeds instead of the usual green ones on a store-bought strawberry, I saved a few and scattered them around on the surface of the pot that the coffee seedling had been transplanted in since it's in a pot that is larger that is strictly necessary.

To my delight, one of the strawberry seeds germinated. True leaves were distinctively strawberry, in miniature. :D (I always let germinating plants grow out to true leaves until I can ID them, even in containers, even when didn't plant them intentionally. :wink: Two winters ago, I ended up with a nice pink wax begonia that grew all summer. :() Last winter, I tried growing wax begonias from seed -- germination was miserable and none of them survived. :roll:)

If you look around, they do sell commercial strawberry seeds -- but limited to only one or two varieties, and they're described as "fruits first season" -- So others don't?

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Looking at all of the seeds in just one fruit, it looks like it would be a great way to get a huge patch of strawberries for practically nothing.
I have never grown strawberries from seed. Strawberries send out so many runners, it is not hard to soon get a very large strawberry patch for almost nothing, if that is your goal. Seeds may work, but it will take much longer.

As with any fruit grown from seed, you may get a variety of characteristics. Not saying this is a bad thing, but something you need to be aware of. I am sure this is how new varieties are discovered. When you find a particular plant that is what you like, reproduce it with runners to keep the genetic strain.
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I suspect that this IS "the time of year to be asking this" since strawberries probably germinate at very low temperatures and can be grown for months indoors before planting out. They may well be like violets and such . . . but, I'm partly, just guessing.

Growing slpine strawberries seemed like a good idea one year, so I bought some seed. They must have had close to 100% germination and were easy-peasy! I moved the little plants into some 6-packs to grow out in the greenhouse.

They were set out with some applemint against a fence with morning sun. DW was less than impressed when they set fruit and I found no easy way to harvest the tiny things - nor, much use for a tablespoon of strawberries at a time. After about 10 years now, they are still out there but . . . invading the lawn!

Modern varieties of strawberries must be clones so wouldn't that mean that their seeds would produce a real mix of plants, as Jal suggests? This may be why the varieties one can grow from seed is so limited. Johnny's has seed for a larger-than-alpine variety.

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I used to have Alpine strawberries -- bought as plants. They were tiny fruits and they were clump forming. I wasn't impressed with the fruits which were mushy.

Even so, I probably would still have them except that my MIL decided to "help" while she was visiting, and yanked them out and left them in the sun when she was "weeding" the flowerbed. :roll: By the time I realized, they were long wilted and did not recover.

But almost around the same time, some birds started growing wild strawberries (Fragaria virginiana) around the Japanese maple trees in the front yard. They spread by runners. Their fruits are about the same size as the Alpines, but much more flavorful when fully ripe. Soft, but not mealy mushy.

I ordered and planted 75 cultivated strawberries thinking my kids would also want the larger strawberries MIL always gets for them at the farmer's market. Sweet Charlie, Tristar, and Stark's Red Giant. They have repeatedly told me that the Wild strawberries taste better. Maybe I'll try planting some of the classic Market Stand strawberries like Earliglow or Jewel or Sparkle. I think Annapolis is another one. I'm also considering Seascape (that Eric/DD recommended) now that I see Johnny's has them in their catalog.

It IS easier to propagate strawberries by runners you know. It's almost the other way around. You're constantly trying to minimize their spread. :lol:

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I have also tried growing alpine strawberries from seed. They are very easy to germinate and get started. The fruit is so tiny, and the plants don't make many at a time; I expect you would need hundreds of plants just to have enough at one time. These types do not have runners.

I don't know how well a commercial type would work from seeds though. I haven't tried it.

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soil
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i prefer to get masses of strawberry plants from runners, but seeds work too. i find strawberry seeds like semi sandy soil.
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Wow, thanks for the input, everyone.

Digits, I'll bet you are right about this being the time to start them from seed. They probably need to grow at least 6 to 8 weeks before frost in order to be ready to fruit in spring.

I'm sure you all are right about it being much easier and free to propagate them by runners. The only problem is I haven't got any runners :lol:. I found a strawberry plant growing in a clump of flowers I had so I moved it to the garden. I took care of it all year. It produced a lot of runners, got very large, but did not give up one berry :?. I don't want to propagate this one :roll:.

It seems to be that the general consensus here is that if you save seen from a commercial one, you will get all kinds of plants. How do you figure that?

Since there are only a few commercial varieties, I'm sure that the growers are growing them in huge fields of the same variety, which would make the odds of cross-pollination very low.

Hmm, perhaps many varieties are hybrids, in which case the seeds would give mixed results.
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garden5
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I did some researching and it turns out that hybridization is the reason why you cannot propagate just any strawberry plant from seed, especially the ones at the store (which are surely hybrids). You would be better off buying the seeds that you know will have the proper genetics.

[url=https://www.strawberry-recipes.com/strawberry-seeds.html]Here[/url] is the article.

It says that wild strawberries produce flowers that are male and female (maybe even entire plants that are male or female, the article wasn't clear). This is probably why my wild one never gave berries :idea:.

Commercial strawberries, it says, bred to be self-pollinating, but the seeds don't breed true. This all makes me conclude that it's better for me not to be such a cheapskate and just purchase some good, self-pollinating plants and clone them over a year or two.

I do take issue with one statement that was made in the article: "Inventive gardeners don't have to give up on the idea of growing strawberries from strawberry seeds, though. When a gardener plants the grains of several different strawberry varieties, the flowers will cross-pollinate and make a new kind of strawberry, one that does look and taste as good as the parent varieties. By experimenting with different combinations, gardeners can create new strawberries with all of the qualities they are looking for."

This makes it sound simpler than it is, and it almost makes it sound like the cross will affect the first year fruit. If you wanted to create some new varieties, you would have to deliberately cross plants, harvest the berry, then grow it out and observer the results. Even then, you'd probably still have to propagate the cross by runners, so why not just skip all the effort and just get the cultivated varieties to begin with (unless, of course, you do want to try creating your own varieties or the kind you want is possible to grow from seed)?

Yeah, I know I kind of just defeated the purpose of my creating this post :lol: :roll:.

I can't find the site, but I did read where one method of growing them was to just cut off a piece of skin and plant it (and the seeds) right in the garden! However. I've noticed that many sources say to chill them, so this may best be done in the late fall before the winter.

A better method is to put some berries in a blender with some water, run it a few times, and then the seeds will drain to the bottom.

Well, this is it for my strawberry rant......for now :wink:.
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jal_ut
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OK, come on over and I will give you a bucketful of strawberry plants.
Better wait until March though, they are under snow.
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Thanks for the invite, Jal. What kinds do you grow? What do you think of them?
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This is the first year I have grown strawberries - Alpines. They require stratification (freezing) for good germination, at least IME. For those who say the berries are small, they are. But I found out, from taste tests, that one little berry packs more flavor than two of those large ones you find at a store.

Interestingly, I was browsing a seed catalog today (Park Seed) and they sell a "strawberry bush" for lack of a better term. The picture showed it growing upright, 3-5 feet, and it was loaded with full-size berries. Of course, I don't believe this is the average for the novice grower but the plants seemed relatively inexpensive so I'm thinking about trying some next year.

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James, you mean the plants come back in spring? Or were you just kidding?
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Strawberries return every year. I planted 1 row of strawberries about 30 years ago. It was a lot of work keeping the grass out of that row. The variety I planted did not make berries until the second year. They will make berries for many years I am not sure if there is a limit to how long they live but my grandmother use to say the older the plants get the less berries they make. I think maybe the older they get the more depleted, hard and compact the soil become maybe that is why they produce fewer berries. If you add gymson to your soil it helps all plants it looses the soil an allows the roots to spread far and wide. Scrap pieces of sheet rock from a construction site is a good free source of gymson.

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We had a small strawberry business for extra money, about 1 1/2 acres. Things may have changed by now, but we planted the first year and pinched off the blossoms so the plants would grow well and get established, Second, third years, maybe 4th was production. Then replant, due to the decrease in yields as time went on. We rotated strawberry patches so we always had one in production.
We still do this in our small, for us only, garden.

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Lilly, that sounds like it would a really great business (if you can keep from eating your profits). I don't mean to be nosy, but was it profitable? I've often considered doing something similar to this.

What types did you grow? June bearing, ever bearing, or day-neutrals?
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Thanks, Gary. I really thought that in snow country, everything has to be new for spring planting.
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Garden 5---It was a nice family business, just for xtras. It paid for a vacation 8) plus some others. Not enough to live on.

We planted May-June bearing plants, Each year was different due to weather; some years the "season" was a week and sometimes it was a month or more.
One variety I remember was Midway, which seemd to be our favorite. :) I'm not even sure that variety is still out there. Can't remember the other 2 right now.

Also, different locations produced differently. There's a1/4 acre section right out front that overflowed each year it was in production.
There was another section on the other side of the house that was so-so.
So soil is important.

I enjoyed talking to custormers, taking orders, etc. It was fun. All you can do is try and see what happens. A strawberry bush sounds like a great idea ! :idea:

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Thanks for the reply, Lily.

It does like it would be fun. I kind of figured that it wouldn't be enough for a living, but it's good to know that it did produce some income. How did you sell them, from your home or a farmer's market. Did you need any special licenses?

Oh, and I'm definitely going to look into that strawberry bush, though things like these sometimes turn out to be gimmicks.
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lily51
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We sold them from home, by call in orders (ad in local paper), stop ins and some pick your own. We had teenagers help pick @ $.25 per quart.
We probably made about $1000 per quarter acre. Just a guess.
There were no farmer's markets then, but that could be a place to sell today.
We did not need a lisence, but of course, times have changed and places are different. You would have to check your local laws.
Best of luck!

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Wow, thanks for your specifics, Lily. I'll bet that your customers were sad to see you go out of business. At .25 per quart, you were giving them a real bargain! There more than twice that these days.

Like you say, laws are varying and changing, so it is always best to get current advice from your area.

OK, to bring this thread back on-topic, [url=https://www.stokeseeds.com/category.aspx?CategoryID=136&Name=Strawberry]Here[/url] are some strawberry seeds. Although the selection is small, they look like quality varieties. There's even an F1 variety. I guess we can surmise that there are some good varieties you can start from see, just not as many as when ordering bare-roots and they are a little harder to find.
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lily51
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We didn't sell at $.25 per quart, we paid the teenagers to pick them for that. sold them for $1.25 per quart! :? sorry for the confusion ! :)

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garden5, Pikan with pink flowers sounds interesting. They introduced pink-flowering strawberry some years ago called Pink Panda. The fruit turned out to be tasteless and it quickly got demoted to "ornamental" strawberry status. I've seen it now and then in spring, but stayed clear of it.

This one sounds like it might be worth trying. 8)

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garden5 wrote:
Oh, and I'm definitely going to look into that strawberry bush, though things like these sometimes turn out to be gimmicks.
Here's what Park Seed replied to me:

The strawberries will produce little to no strawberries the first year; it's the second year for the good crop. They would survive outdoors in zone 5 for winter. They probably can be grown hydroponically, but you would want to make sure from either a google search or checking with your county extension agent first. Yes, they will grow in the ground or pots.

I'm leaning toward Ozark Beauty as my everbearing - every site that sells them say they are the best of their offerings, plus they are suppose to produce a decent crop the first year. Winona sounds like an interesting Junebearing - it's suppose to be a good producer and has a hint of peach flavor!

Mike

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Is [url=https://www.parkseed.com/gardening/PD/42009/]this[/url] what you are talking about? If it is, it's unfortunately nothing more than a bag you hang up and grow strawberry plants in. Too bad, a strawberry bush is nice idea.
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wordwiz
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Unfortunately, yes! I wish it would have been a bush also!

Mike

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