Growing Strawberries (from seeds)

Fragaria : Rosaceae / the rose family

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
              S S S    

(Best months for growing Strawberries (from seeds) in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

  • S = Plant undercover in seed trays
  • Start inside in pots or trays after chilling seeds.. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 50°F and 68°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 12 - 39 inches apart
  • Harvest in approximately 1 years. Seedlings need to grow for about a year before fruiting. Remove first flowers. .
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Better in a bed on their own to allow good sun and air circulation
  • Avoid growing close to: If you are using rotation beds then avoid putting strawberries where you have grown tomatoes, potatoes, peppers or eggplant
  • Ripening fruit
  • Strawberry plants

Alpine strawberries are the easiest to grow from seed. They produce tiny, triangular fruit with an intense flavour.

Chill the seeds, in a closed jar or plastic box, 2 - 4 weeks in a home freezer. Allow to return to room temperature in the closed container before sowing.

Sow seeds thinly on seed raising mix/compost. Cover with a thin layer of compost and water in. Keep under cover, either in a greenhouse or indoors near a window. Germination takes 2 to 8 weeks. Plant out into small pots to grow on when 3 leaves have appeared. Then transplant to garden when well grown. After about a year the strawberries will form low-growing leafy plants,between 12 - 15cm (about 6 inches) high and will spread to about 50 - 100cm (20 - 40 inches). They have five petalled flowers, usually white or sometimes pink. The flowers are followed by delicious red fruits which have their seeds on the outside. Later in the season, the plants send out runners like thin stems across the garden. They will take root to form new plants.

Protect your plants with some sort of netting or bird scarer or you will lose most of your crop. Strawberries like well drained soil with plenty of humus. To prepare your bed, dig in some compost before planting and possibly use a liquid fertiliser during the growing season. Well fed strawberries taste better. To protect the fruit from moulds use some form of mulch around the plants. Straw, pine needles, or black plastic are all suitable. Mulch will also help suppress weeds.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Strawberries (from seeds)

Strawberries can be used in any dessert needing soft fruit or berries. Summer pudding with raspberries and blackberries or boysenberries, mousse, trifle, dipped in melted chocolate or just with cream.
Sprinkle a bowl of strawberries with balsamic vinegar and a little sugar to enhance the flavour and colour.
Straight from the garden, warmed by the sun is best.

Your comments and tips

26 Feb 22, Dayna (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I carefully took some seeds from a strawberry I purchased at a market. I never grown before but thought, I'll give it ago. The seeds are so tiny that I really didn't bury them, just placed on the top of the soil and gave a light water, this allowed the seed to move down into the soil, but not too deep. From memory it took about 5-6 weeks for anything to show. I thought, this is not working but decided to leave them alone, keep putting them on the window sill in the sun & kept them moist. Eventually a tiny little green stem appeared, yeah!. They were very slow to grow at first, but as soon as they have a few leaves on them there growing sped up, I put out side for an hour a day then back onto the window sill. I just re-potted all 8 plants into larger pots using just potting soil and sheep pellets. I've just put them outside in the full sun and will keep them moist. Hopefully they will continue to grow ready to be planted out onto our new property up north, at the end of this year. Gardening can be experimental and so rewarding, not to mention therapeutic, just have fun and try anything as you might just get lucky. I can't believe I've waiting this long to grow strawberries. All I can say is just give it ago, and with strawberries, just be patient.
20 Mar 22, Jody Thomas (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
I found a load of self sown strawberry plants (not runners) growing in my garden the year after I planted my heritage strawberry plants. They bushed up well but the leaves were smaller than a regular strawberry plant. They had tons of tiny, skinny strawberries; the taste was pleasant but more pungent than a regular strawberry but the texture was pulpy. I still scoff them whilst working in the garden. I would be inclined to make jam etc from them as they wouldn't be flash in a dessert...however, if its all you have they are still a good (if different) flavour and I am sure they have a good nutrient profile as they are very dark red and they are free!
05 Mar 22, Gretchen Brown (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Hi , loved reading your strawberry growing journey . I’m interested to know how you got the seeds ready to plant . Did you extract them from the strawberry with tweezers ? They’re so tiny . Did you dry them ? I would love you to talk me through the process . Thanks v much
30 Apr 22, Cate (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Gretchen, I used a veggie knife to slice a thin layer of the strawberry - like peeling an apple - which gave me the skin with seeds attached. Put these on a paper towel and leave in a warm sunny place (I used a shelf in my greenhouse) for a few days. When the fleshy layer has dried, you can just hold it over a container and push the seeds off. Then put them in an envelope or plastic bag (sealed), and then in a paper bag or some other light-blocking method. Put in the fridge for 4 weeks. After that, remove the package from the fridge, and leave unopened on the bench for 24 hours (this is important). Then you can sow them.
26 May 17, Maurice (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Where can I purchase strawberry seeds and peppermint geranium seeds or plants from Thank you
29 May 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Yates have a small runnerless Alpine strawberry available. You may find some on the internet under 'heritage seeds'. Most people buy runners because they be bought in quantity, are virus free and yield within the first season.
04 Dec 15, Arnd Reimann (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hello, I live in Oxford Canterbury NZ. I start my garden and looking for seeds for Strawberries, Rasberries and Currants for the next season. Can you help me or tell me where I can get These seeds? I hope you can help me. Kind regards Arnd Reimann
02 Feb 17, Karen (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Re strawberries, I've always heard that growing from seeds can be very challenging. I would recommend getting some plants and let them grow runners to build up your collection. I started with 10 plants 18mths ago and now have heaps and heaps of them. I contacted the growers Zealandia (www.zealandia.co.nz) to discuss what variety would be best to grow in my climate. They were very helpful. No experience with Raspberries and Currants.

Hi , loved reading your strawberry growing journey . I’m interested to know how you got the seeds ready to plant . Did you extract them from the strawberry with tweezers ? They’re so tiny . Did you dry them ? I would love you to talk me through the process . Thanks v much

- Gretchen Brown

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. GardenGrow is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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