White Strawberry Plants: Tips For Growing White Strawberries
There’s a new berry in town. Okay, it’s not really new but it certainly may be unfamiliar to many of us. We’re talking the white strawberry plants. Yes, I said white. Most of us think of luscious, juicy red strawberries, but these berries are white. Now that I’ve piqued your interest, let’s learn about growing white strawberries and what types of white strawberries are available.
Types of White Strawberries
Probably one of the more commonly grown, the white alpine strawberry is one of several varieties of white strawberries. Before we get into that, let’s get a little background on white strawberries in general.
While there are several varieties of white strawberry, they are hybrids and don’t grow true from seed. There are two strawberry species, Alpine (Fragaria vesca) and Beach (Fragaria chiloensis), that are true white strawberries. F. vesca is native to Europe and F. chiloensis is a wild species native to Chile. So why are they white if they are strawberries?
Red strawberries begin as small white flowers that turn into pea-sized green berries. As they grow, they first turn white and then, as they mature, begin to take on a pink and finally a red color when completely ripe. The red in the berries is a protein called Fra a1. White strawberries are simply lacking in this protein, but for all intents and purposes retain the essential look of a strawberry, including the flavor and the aroma, and can be used in much the same ways as their red counterpart.
Many people have allergies to red strawberries, but what about a white strawberry allergy. Because white strawberries lack the protein that results in pigment and which is responsible for strawberry allergies, it is likely that a person with such allergies can eat white strawberries. That said, anyone with an allergy to strawberries should err on the side of caution and test this theory out under medical supervision.
White Strawberry Varieties
Both alpine and beach strawberries are wild species. Among the white alpine strawberry (member of the species Fragaria vesca) varieties, you’ll find:
- Pineapple Crush
- White Delight
- White Giant
- White Solemacher
- White Soul
White beach strawberries (member of the species Fragaria chiloensis) are also referred to as coastal strawberries, wild Chilean strawberries, and South American strawberries. Beach strawberries were cross bred to result in today’s familiar red strawberry varieties.
Hybrids of the white strawberry include the white pineberries (Fragaria x ananassa). If these ripen in the sun, however, they turn a pinkish hue; therefore, anyone with strawberry allergies should not consume them! The flavor of these berries is a unique blend of pineapple and strawberry. Pineberries originate in South America and were brought to France. They are now enjoying resurgence in popularity and popping up all over, but with limited availability in the United States. Another Fragaria x ananassa hybrid, Keoki is similar to pineberry but without the pineapple note.
The hybrid varieties tend to be sweeter than the true species but all the white strawberry varieties have similar notes of pineapple, green leaves, caramel and grapes.
White Strawberry Growing
White strawberries are easy perennial plants to grow either in the garden or in containers. You should plant them in an area that is sheltered from potential late spring frosts and in an area of about 6 hours of sunlight. Plants can be started indoors as seed or purchased as transplants. Transplant in the spring or fall when the minimum outdoor soil temperature is 60 degrees F. (15 C.).
All strawberries are heavy feeders, especially of phosphorus and potassium. They enjoy well-drained, loamy soil and should be fertilized as necessary. Plant the transplants until the root is completely covered with soil and the crown is just above the soil line. Water them in well and continue to maintain a consistent source of irrigation, about 1 inch a week and ideally with a drip irrigation system to keep the water off the leaves and fruit, which can foster fungus and disease.
White strawberries can be grown in USDA zones 4-10 and will attain a height of between 6-8 inches tall by 10-12 inches across. Happy white strawberry growing!
Berried Treasure ® White Strawberry Fragaria ananassa
The optimum amount of sun or shade each plant needs to thrive: Full Sun (6+ hours), Part Sun (4-6 hours), Full Shade (up to 4 hours).
3 to 10, depending on variety winter mulching is recommended in zones 3 and 4.
Low mounding, bushy, vining habit, 6 to 16 inches tall and 12 to 24 inches wide runners can extend to 40 inches long.
Color and characteristics:
The leaves are three-lobed, green, with toothed edges. Small flowers are usually white, though sometimes red or pink, with yellow pistils and stamens. Berries are most often red, but also occur in colors of orange-red, yellow, or white. Fruit is sweet and flavorful.
Depends on the variety with proper care, most strawberries produce for 3 to 4 years. New plants are produced through vining runners.
All parts of the strawberry plant are safe for pets. If your pet enjoys the taste of the fruit, limit intake so they don’t ingest too much sugar.
Learn more about the different types of strawberries.
How to grow Pineberries – White strawberries with a citrus kick
How to grow white strawberries, also known as ‘pineberries’. They’re similar to ordinary strawberries but white to blush-pink, and they have a citrusy kick.
This is the third year that I’ve grown white strawberries, made famous in Britain as the ‘Pineberries’ sold at Marks & Spencer. When they were first introduced you couldn’t beg, borrow, or steal plants and everyone wanted to grow them. Pineberries, Fragaria x ananassa, are special in that they grow in much the same way as ordinary strawberries except they produce small white berries instead of red. The berries also have a slightly citrusy flavor which is why they’re said to taste like a combination of strawberry and pineapple.
Getting Pineberry Plants
To get started I recommend that you get a hold of bare-root plants or even better, plants created from runners. I got mine from a friend since pineberries, like strawberry plants, freely throw out runners that create baby plants.
If you see Pineberry seeds for sale do not buy them. Pineberries cannot be grown true from their seeds because they’re a hybrid. If you try to grow from seeds, you’ll probably end up with an ordinary red strawberry plant. You can purchase pineberry plants both in the USA and UK
Pineberries grow well in both the garden and in pots
You’ll be happy to know that pineberries grow well in open ground as well as in containers. I have them growing in my allotment garden and in this DIY Strawberry Pallet Planter at home. Further tips on growing them include:
- Plant into rich soil that’s been supplemented with garden compost and/or composted manure
- Plant no deeper than the top of the crown
- Keep well watered
- Mulch with straw or egg crates when the berries begin to form
- Take precautions against slugs
- Net the plants when the berries are forming to protect against birds and other animals
- Feed the plants with a top dressing of composted manure in winter or early spring
- Plants should be most productive their first three years. Afterwards, replace them with new ones.
A few more tips
You might have heard that one of the benefits of growing these white-skinned berries is that animals don’t think that they’re ripe and won’t eat them. This is only partially true since slugs are a big problem. Keeping the plants mulched and removing any rotten berries helps to minimize this. Try to reduce the slug population around your plants by using beer traps, organic slug pellets, or picking them off manually.
- Pineberries are ripe when the skin changes from green-white to a slightly creamy white
- If left on the plant, the skin will mature into a light pink blush
- Pineberries look best in food when used with another more colorful berry
- Berries may not appear on the plant in the first year.
- Birds may peck at the fruit so take precautions against them by netting your plants.
- Enviromesh will also keep many insects off your plants but don’t put it on until you’re sure the flowers are pollinated.
Establishment — Middle and South Georgia — Annual Hill System
In middle and south Georgia (and during normal winters in north Georgia), strawberry plants can be set in the fall and harvested the next spring. This reduces the danger of diseases destroying your crop. The Chandler and Camarosa varieties are by far the best for the hill system, but other varieties will produce mediocre to fair results. In north Georgia, the Chandler variety is normally more productive than the Camarosa. Contact your county extension office if you cannot find plants at a local nursery.
Set plants 12 inches apart in the row and 12 inches apart between rows on beds that contain two rows. The beds should be 6 inches high at the shoulder and 8 inches high in the center and 26 inches wide. Provide an aisle 22 inches wide between beds as a place to walk.
Before making the beds, broadcast fertilizer over the plots. Spade or disk in 3 pounds of 10-10-10 premium grade fertilizer (contains micronutrients) per 100 square feet of bed. In the spring, if plants appear to need fertilizer, a pinch of ammonium nitrate can be dropped by each plant.
Figure 4. Cross section of bed construction for annual hill system. Note the drip irrigation tube under the plastic. This allows the bed to be watered without wetting the fruit or foliage.
Best results are usually obtained by mulching the bed with black plastic, although pine straw and straw can also be used. Place a drip irrigation tube under the plastic. Apply the plastic before planting. Be sure the bed is well formed, firm, fertilized and very moist. See Figure 4.
Set plants from September 15 to November 1 in south and middle Georgia (usually early October is the best time). Freshly dug plants are planted and watered intensively for the first week after planting. Potted plants can also be used and require less watering to establish. If the planting is anthracnose disease free, it may live for several years and be managed as a matted row system.
Cut holes in the plastic to allow some of the runners to peg down. The original mother plants will develop many side branches called branched crowns. If these are left for a second year, there will be many very small fruit. If you wish to try to carry over these mother plants, clip off most or all of the side branches (branch crowns) during late fall.
How do day-neutrals compare to June-bearing strawberries in terms of yield and flavor?
Day-neutral strawberries typically produce more berries than June-bearing strawberries. University of Minnesota research published in 2016 found that six day-neutral varieties yielded consistently higher than June-bearing strawberries over the season, and added 14 weeks of production.
Growers of day-neutrals may expect between one-half to one pound of fruit per plant over the whole season. However, lower yields can occur, particularly for gardeners new to this crop.
In terms of flavor, each variety is different. Fortunately, there are many tasty options for day-neutral varieties. In comparisons of day-neutral varieties suited for Minnesota, data from the UMN West Central Research and Outreach Center found that on average, they were just as sweet or sweeter than June-bearing strawberries.
Strawberry types explained
Confused by the different strawberry types? We explain the difference between early, mid and late-season varieties, everbearers and alpines.
Published: Friday, 17 May, 2019 at 11:34 am
You can buy strawberries all year round in supermarkets but, even in season, they’re expensive and rarely taste as good as home-grown fruits.
You can buy strawberries as pot-grown plants, as mail-order runners, or you can grow them from seed. Find out all you need to know about growing strawberries in our Strawberry Grow Guide.
There are several different types of strawberry – early and late varieties, everbearers, remontants or perpetuals, and alpines. Grow a mix of types and you can enjoy delicious strawberries for several months in summer, avoiding a glut. You can buy collections – a selected mix of plants – online or by mail order.
Read on for more information about the different strawberry types.
Early, mid-season and late-season varieties
Early summer fruiting varieties fruit from mid-June to early July mid-summer fruiters from late June to mid-July and late varieties crop throughout July. Choose a mix of all three and be you’ll pick strawberries for many weeks.
Early: ‘Honeoye’ has a sweet flavour ‘Christine’ produces large, sweet berries. ‘Gariguette’ has long, elongated fruits and a wonderful flavour.
‘Cambridge Favourite’ has a good flavour ‘Sonata’ is weather resistant ‘Hapil’ does well on drier soils ‘Manille’ is an aromatic French variety ‘Elsanta’ is a heavy cropper.
Late-season: ‘Florence’ has dark, sweet fruit and is disease-resistant ‘Fenella’ stands up well to heavy rain ‘Symphony’ was bred in Scotland and does well in the north of the UK.
Also known as remontant or perpetual strawberries, these deliver crops in small, irregular bursts all summer, stopped only by the frosts in autumn. You’ll get regular handfuls for your breakfast cereal from a small plot.
‘Flamenco’ was bred in the UK and has sweet fruits with good flavour ‘Malling Opal’ produces lots of fruits ‘Mara des Bois’ has the flavour of an alpine strawberry but the size of a traditional strawberry and fruits from mid-August to mid-October.
The tiny fruits of alpine (or wild) strawberries have a great flavour. These small, tough plants thrive in semi-shade and make useful ground cover below other crops or at the edge of a border. They produce fruit from spring to autumn. They’re often sold alongside herb plants or can you can grow them from seed.
Choose ‘Fraise des Bois’ for flavour ‘Alexandria’ is runner-free.
How to get the best strawberry crop
To get the best crops, take care of your plants. In pots, use an equal-parts mix of multi-purpose compost and John Innes No.3. Add well rotted manure or compost to beds and use a plant food such as liquid tomato fertiliser. Lay straw or a strawberry mat under the fruits to keep them clean. October is a good time for planting, so they can produce a good root system while it’s cool and damp.