Strawberries are a hugely popular crop, commonly propagated from an existing plant by splitting the crown or via runners. A slightly more uncommon method sees growers use their own strawberries to grow more strawberries by harvesting and utilizing the seeds contained around the sides of the berry.
If you want to know how to grow strawberries from a strawberry, it is a process that involves harvesting, drying, and cold-storing the seeds before sowing them to grow into new strawberry plants.
Learning how to grow strawberries gives you all the tools to maintain these perennial plants that can supply you with fruit for many years. Once you have varieties of plants you like, then it is simple to grow more of the plants using your homegrown strawberries.
Can you grow strawberries from a strawberry?
There are four main ways to propagate, grow, and plant strawberries. Along with buying plants, existing crowns can be split, new plants can be grown from runners, or plants can be grown from seed. It is via that last method that makes strawberries suitable to be grown from another strawberry.
Strawberries are a simple crop to grow from seed and, while strawberry seeds are commonly available, if you have a plant that produces berries that you adore – then why not consider growing more of that exact type by harvesting and using the seeds from it. It can be a simple method of getting more plants for your kitchen garden or backyard for free.
Dick Zondag, garden doctor for Jung Seed, advises on how you identify and can potentially get the seeds off a strawberry. He says: ‘The fruit is named an achene or “False Fruit”. There are many seeds embedded in a fleshy receptacle. There are lots of seeds contained on one fruit. You can get the seeds by drying the fruits. Let the fruits ripen completely so the seeds are viable.’
The berry itself is the part that swells up and turns juicy and red, the tiny white dots all around the outside are called achenes. Each achene is its own fruit that contains a single strawberry seed that can be harvested and planted to grow into new plants to provide a harvest of strawberries.
How to grow strawberries from a strawberry
Mary Jane Duford is a gardening expert and founder of the gardening blog Home for the Harvest. She advises that you pick the ‘healthiest-looking ripe strawberries’ to get seeds from and has an 8-point method to go from picking a ripe strawberry to growing new plants from the seeds you harvested off it.
- Gently mash the strawberry up or put them in a blender at a very low setting.
- Strain the strawberry pulp through a sieve and then rinse the seeds under the tap.
- Place the seeds on a coffee filter, paper towel, or wax paper to dry for 1-2 weeks.
- Strawberry seeds need to be cold-stratified in order to germinate properly during the following spring. A common way to do this is by placing the seeds in the fridge or freezer for 4-6 weeks. You can stratify the seeds alone in a sealed plastic bag or sprinkle them on a small bed of growing medium and put the whole thing inside a plastic bag in the fridge.
- Take the sealed bag out of the fridge after 4-6 weeks. Allow the sealed bag to come to room temperature for a few hours before opening it.
- Plant your strawberry seeds in seed-starting trays using a sterile seed-starting mix - such as the Back to the Roots Natural and Organic 3-in-1 Seed Starting Mix available at Walmart. The seeds don’t need to be covered with soil, as they are quite small.
- Because they are so small, it makes sense to water them with a mister rather than a traditional watering can.
- Cover the seeds with a germination dome or clear plastic wrap for 2-4 weeks while they germinate. Keep the soil moist and remove the cover once sprouts are visible. An example of pots with germination domes for propagation is the MIXC Plant Nursery Pots with Humidity Dome available at Amazon
It can take around a month for strawberries seeds to germinate and you can grow them on to then plant out in your yard, or container garden as you can very successfully grow strawberries in pots. You are not likely to get any fruits off the plants in their first year. That first year sees them get established and grow into strong and healthy plants. It usually takes until the second year to get a first harvest of strawberries off a plant grown from seed.
An alternative to mashing the strawberry up and straining it to get the seeds is to thinly slice the strawberry and dry it out. This can then either be cold-stratified to be planted indoors or planted outdoors – gently covered under a small layer of soil to try and hide it from birds or bugs who may want to eat it – to over-winter outside and then hopefully the seeds will germinate come the spring.
Mary Jane Duford is a gardening expert and founder of the gardening blog Home for the Harvest. Mary Jane is a Master Gardener-in-Training and a certified permaculture garden designer. Her gardening blog is visited by millions of readers each year, from the USA, UK, Canada, and around the world.
Can you grow strawberries from a strawberry top?
With many vegetables and fruits you can regrow them from scraps, this includes growing avocados, lettuce, and onions. Strawberries are not a fruit that can be re-grown, as if you cut off a strawberry top and plant it in compost then it would rot rather than sprout roots and grow. The only way that strawberries can grow from a strawberry itself is to propagate new plants from the seed harvested from a ripe strawberry.
Can you grow strawberries from store-bought strawberries?
It is possible to grow strawberries from store-bought strawberries, however it is not a recommended way to get new plants. It is possible to get the seed from a strawberry bought from a store or market and propagate a new plant from it as outlined above. However, there are a couple of potential problems you could face.
One is that store-bought strawberries could have been treated with chemicals that could affect any growth. It is the same with many other crops, for example you should not grow garlic from grocery store garlic as the bulbs have been treated with chemicals to prevent them sprouting.
The other issue comes from the fact that you do not know exactly the type of strawberry you could potentially be growing. Mary Jane Duford warns: ‘Most grocery store strawberries are modern hybrid varieties. The seeds may not germinate and if they do, will not grow into plants that produce berries of the same variety. It can be a fun experiment for kids but likely won’t produce productive plants.’
Buying strawberries from local farms or farmers markets means you could potentially find out more information about the strawberries from the growers themselves if you want to try getting the seeds from those fruits. You would also know those strawberries are suited for your climate, as many strawberries sold in stores are produced in California or Florida and may not be suited to your zone. You want to know that the plants you are growing will be happy in your climate and give you a good harvest when it is time to pick strawberries.
Knowing how to grow strawberries from a strawberry gives you a simple and budget-friendly way to get plants. Strawberries are so versatile and can be grown in the ground, in raised beds or containers – and did you know you can even grow strawberries indoors – that it pays to have many plants. This is especially true if it is one of the strawberry varieties you really love and want more of.
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Drew’s passion for gardening started with growing vegetables and salad in raised beds in a small urban terrace garden. He has gone on to work as a professional gardener in historic gardens across the UK and also specialise as a kitchen gardener growing vegetables, fruit, herbs, and cut flowers. That passion for growing extends to being an allotmenteer, garden blogger, and producing how-to gardening guides for websites. Drew was shortlisted in the New Talent of the Year award at the 2023 Garden Media Guild Awards.
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