The white strawberry is a very old variety. Smaller in size than its big red sisters, it is appreciated for its subtle flavor reminiscent of pineapple, hence the fact that we find a horticultural variety called strawberry Pineapple. Rare, expensive and original, this strawberry deserves a place in the garden, both in the ground and in a pot.
White strawberry: where does it come from?
Receptacle of the flower, the pinkish white fleshy part is not the fruit of the strawberry plant. Just like red strawberries, the real fruits are the akenesi.e. the tens of petits grains that can be seen on the surface of the strawberries. This is the reason why strawberries are among the ” fake fruit », as is also the case with raspberries, for example. Botanically, the fleshy part that we eat, whether red or white, is in fact an extension of the hypertrophied peduncle of the flower, namely the gynophore.
Anyway, the white strawberry is a variety to cultivate without hesitation because it is sweet, juicy, with the good taste of pineapple and to say the least original, considered among the most precious. Still quite rare on our shelves – the majority of white strawberries being exported – this pineapple strawberry ivory color sprinkled withred achenes deserves its place on summer menus. Unfortunately, it does not yet appeal to many consumers, convinced that it is the result of genetic mutations when this is not the case.
The white strawberry, super fleshy and fragrant, comes from the Chilean plateaus: it is really delicious, and let us know that it is a “real” variety, very old since it dates from the 18th century, and which has indeed almost disappeared. It prevents that Fragaria chiloensis is one of the species at the origin of the strawberries we eat today.
Growing white strawberries or pineapple strawberries
Very expensive because encore rare, the white strawberry deserves to be grown in the garden among the varieties of red strawberries, why not? The only condition to obtain fruit is to cultivate two strawberry plantsnext to each other, in order to allow the pollination. This presents some difficulty for growers who prefer to grow other types of strawberries. This explains the rarity of the product.
Other particularities to take into account: the white strawberry spoils very quickly after harvest and a plant of pineapple strawberry plant produces about five times less than the red varieties of the Mara des Bois, Gariguette, Charlotte, Ciflorette or Darselect type. In terms of purchase price, you have to pay between 8 and 10 times more than to afford red strawberries of the common variety.
However, if not for the benefits, home gardeners can grow white strawberries in their gardens, knowing that they provide twice as much vitamin C per 100 g as citrus fruits! To produce your own pineapple strawberries, you just have to respect the following points.
We advise to plant this strawberry plant at the beginning of autumn to allow it to properly develop its root system before winter. It will be all the more vigorous to withstand the cold of the off season. in manure or compost. This rare strawberry plant is hardy, so not very sensitive to frost between the beginning of autumn and the end of winter, but the risks of late frosts in the months of April and May can harm flowering, and consequently , have a considerable impact on fruit production. To succeed in your crops, it is better to buy your plants in a garden center, from the crossing of Fragaria chiloensis et Fragaria virginiana.
It’s important to prepare the ground at least 4 weeks before planting by digging to remove stones, eliminate weeds and spread organic matter to fertilize the soil as it should, knowing that strawberries like acid soils and sunny exposures.
To plant your white strawberries, you must respect the following points:
- Plant between March and April or during the fall,
- Create mounds in line, 20 to 25 cm high and at least 40 cm wide,
- Space the feet 40 cm apart and the mounded rows 70 cm apart.
If the soil in the garden retains too much water and/or is very calcareous, it is better to opt for a culture of white strawberries or pineapple strawberries in a pot in a compost for strawberries.
Caring for pineapple strawberries or white strawberries
Growing strawberries is relatively easy.
Care must be taken to maintain a certain humidity in the soil, but without excess. Watering can be more numerous during the summer, when it is particularly hot or when there is a drought, but the soil should never be soggy.
A contribution ofspecial strawberry fertilizer is required during the season.
We recommend installing a mulching at the foot of strawberries as soon as possible because it has several advantages. This reduces watering (therefore water consumption) since mulching slows down the process of water evaporation and maintains a certain humidity in the soil. Weeding sessions are also reduced, a mulch considerably slowing down the development of weeds. Finally, thanks to the mulch, the strawberries are not in direct contact with the soil. They get less dirty but are less damaged too.
It is necessary that remove stolons which develop during cultivation because they unnecessarily exhaust the feet. It’s exactly the same thing with very early flower stalks, that is to say those that develop within 4 weeks of planting the strawberries. Of course, the flowers that appear later must be saved in order to harvest strawberries.
Pests and diseases
The horticultural variety Strawberry “Pineapple” is very disease resistant. However, it is preferable to space the plants sufficiently apart to minimize the risk of maladies cryptogamiques such as botrytis or gray rot in particular. To avoid this, ensure that the air circulates well between the strawberry plants but also in the heart of each plant, and the foliage is not wet during watering. It is better to invest in a microporous hose for example or simply water at the neck. It also avoids overdosing fertilizer rich in nitrogen.
In the event of a well-established disease, all the affected leaves are removed and then burned, then the strawberries can be sprayed with a field horsetail decoction dosed at 200 g of dried horsetail for 10 liters of boiling water after infusion for 30 minutes then dilution of the filtered product at the rate of one volume for 5 volumes of water.
The preventive fight against cryptogamic diseases of strawberries involves spraying Bordeaux mixture between April and the end of May.
Harvest white strawberries or pineapple strawberries
For pineapple strawberries planted in March-April, the harvest takes place in June. When the strawberries are well formed and their flesh is colored dew and that the seeds (fruit) are red, it’s time to pick them. Green strawberries should be left standing since they are not yet ripe enough to harvest. To be able to taste white strawberries with a very fragrant flavor, it is very important to pick them early in the morning.
Once the harvest is complete, when autumn begins to set in, it is essential to remove the suckers as well as all the stems and dry leaves. Sometimes at this time of year strawberry leaves show purple spots. All you have to do is spray a copper product on your rows of strawberries.
Photo credit: Cristian Nitti