You can grow strawberries from seeds from a strawberry or from an existing plant. It’s generally easier, however, to grow strawberries from plants, because you don’t have to put effort into preparing the seeds and sowing them in hopes they germinate. As a result, you often have more success planting an existing plant.
One challenge associated with growing strawberries from seeds is choosing the right strawberries. Although it might be tempting to select strawberries from a particularly great tasting batch, if they were purchased from a local farmer’s market or grocery store, it’s unlikely you will produce a plant with fruit of the same form and taste. Commercial growers often produce a self-pollinating variety of strawberry that was derived to ensure consistent quality fruit and reliable crop size. The downside to using this strawberry type is it might not replicate the traits of its parents in the new plant and thus the strawberries probably won’t taste the same. If possible, select a strawberry from a home garden or wild strawberry patch.
Ripe vs. Unripe Strawberry
Don’t plant seeds from unripe or nearly ripe strawberries, which are less likely to germinate and grow into healthy plants. Only use seeds from ripe strawberries and make certain that you plant viable seeds. Test seeds first. Viable seeds sink when placed in water; the others float.
Before you can plant strawberry seeds, you must separate the seeds from the pulp. Place 1 cup of water and about a pint of strawberries in your blender. Turn it on for about three to five seconds. Let the mixture stand for about one minute or so to allow time for the viable seeds to sink; the other seeds will float along with the pulp. Slowly drain the water from the blender so that only the viable seeds are left inside. Spoon out the remaining seeds, rinse and place them on a paper towel to thoroughly dry. Once dry, the seeds are ready for planting, unless you chose a variety that requires a cold treatment, such as Alpine strawberries. If a cold treatment is necessary, place the seeds, wrapped in a paper towel and then sealed in a tight-fitting container, in the freezer for two to four weeks to simulate winter conditions. Remove the seeds and let them acclimate to room temperature before planting. The process helps speed up germination for certain varieties.
Use the same care in selecting an existing plant for propagating that you would use in choosing the strawberry variety you want to plant. Base your selection on fruit quality and taste, disease resistance and production. In addition, choose an Alpine or heirloom rather than a hybrid variety if possible. Hybrid varieties produced from strawberry seeds don’t always develop fruit of comparable form.
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