Strawberry seeds

Strawberry seeds grow inside small hard yellow shells that dot the outer surface of strawberries. The seeds grow best after they’ve experienced the cold temperatures of winter and can then germinate in a sunny, moist location with well-drained soil.

Most varieties of strawberries we know today are hybrids whose seeds will not grow into plants that produce fruit of the same variety as the parent plant. Many strawberry seeds sold in packets are alpine strawberries or newer day-neutral types (often with red or pink flowers).

Buying strawberry seeds to grow

Although strawberry seeds are fairly easy to grow, the seeds are not always sold in many stores. They can be hard to come across at a supermarket or a local grocery store. There are different places to buy strawberry seeds, depending on the type of seed you may be looking for.

Here are some wonderful strawberry seeds for sale to try growing at home:

  • ‘Hot Pink Berri Basket’ Strawberry Seeds
  • ‘Mignonette’ Alpine Strawberry Seeds
  • ‘Fresca’ Strawberry Seeds
  • ‘Yellow Wonder’ Alpine Strawberry Seeds
  • ‘Rose Berries Galore’ Strawberry Seeds
  • ‘Elan’ Strawberry Seeds
  • ‘Tarpan’ Strawberry Seeds
  • ‘Berry Pop Haruhi’ Strawberry Seeds
  • ‘Berry Pop Sakura’ Strawberry Seeds

Most strawberry varieties that are sold as seeds are species strawberries like Alpine Strawberries or day-neutral varieties (such as Seascape). This is because larger hybrid strawberries do not grow true-to-seed. Many nurseries and garden supply stores will sell strawberry seeds.

Pink strawberry flower
Pink strawberry flower – many of the larger berry varieties available to grow from seed have red or pink flowers.
Strawberries up close showing seeds on the outside
Strawberry seeds are housed inside the hard yellow shells that sit atop the strawberry “fruit”. There is one seed inside each little yellow “achene” (hard shell, actually a type of fruit).
Strawberry - why are the seeds on the outside
Those yellow spots are actually a dry hull-like shell “fruit” called an achene. Each hard little yellow shell contains a single strawberry seed.

Why are strawberry seeds on the outside?

Unlike many other plants, strawberry seeds grow on the outside of the fruit that we eat. Strawberries have over 200 seeds on the outside of each fruit. Wondering why strawberry seeds are on the outside of the strawberry is a common question.

The “seeds” you are seeing on the outside of the strawberry are actually the true botanical “fruit” of the strawberry plant. These little yellow dots are each a single type of fruit known as achene. Each achene is a hard, dry shell type of tiny fruit with a single strawberry seed inside of it. So in reality, strawberry seeds are not “outside” their fruit – instead, they are each “inside” a tiny individual shell-like fruit that acts as a seed protector.

The red yummy part of the strawberry is actually not the true botanical “fruit” of the strawberry plant. What we eat is the base that supports the ovaries of the plant. Each ovary develops into an achene shell, housing a single strawberry seed.

How to germinate strawberry seeds

When it comes to growing strawberry seeds, the hardest part is getting the seeds to germinate. The germinating process is complicated for many people who have never done it before. Strawberry seeds are perennial and will grow back each year. Giving your seeds a good start will be worth it in the long run. Certain steps need to be followed to grow your plant. A bonus to growing strawberry seeds yourself is that you can plant several different varieties of seeds without issue.

In order to grow strawberries properly, here are some steps to follow for great growth:

  1. Place the seeds in a sealed envelope or ziplock bag. Once you place it in a bag the seeds will need to be placed in your refrigerator for four weeks. Storing the seeds at a freezing temperature will help the seeds germinate properly.
  2. After one month, take the sealed bag out, but do not open it. Let it come to room temperature while sealed. This should only take a few hours.
  3. Once your seeds are at room temperature, you are ready to plant the seeds. The seeds will also need to be kept indoors for several weeks because they are tender and sensitive. After several weeks, they will be ready to be moved outdoors.

Take the seeds out of the bag and move them to small trays or containers. Before doing this, pour seed-raising soil into the containers. Plant the seeds a half-inch deep into the sterile starting mix. Make sure to press the seeds into the surface, but do not cover them with soil. The seeds are very small and need to be planted near the surface. There can be three to four strawberry seeds placed in each container. Gently sprinkle the seeds and press down lightly so they get some moisture from the soil.

The seeds need some light in order to germinate, and this process will take several weeks. After you place your seeds in a container, cover them in plastic wrap and place them next to a window seal. Keep the soil moist, and ensure your seeds get plenty of sunlight each day.

After a few weeks, you will be ready to plant. Once the seeds are two to three inches tall, they are ready to plant in your garden. To prepare for planting, harden off the seeds by exposing them to sunlight outside. To harden your plants off, place them in protected areas in half-hour increments and slowly increase the time the plant spends outside. After this process is finished, you can transport the seeds into the garden.

New strawberry plant seedling in the ground

How to plant strawberry seeds

Strawberries can grow outside, in a field, or in baskets and containers. The most common place to see a strawberry plant growing is in a garden. A healthy plant should produce a quart of strawberries each year and 30 plants produce enough for a small family. When they are being planted, it is important to consider planting the strawberries away from trees because they may make the growing area too shady and the large roots may interrupt growth.

When you are ready to plant your seeds outdoors, make sure your garden is well prepared. It is important to have well-drained soil to fertilize the plant. Before planting, measure out the holes that give enough space for your plant, and make sure to dig them large enough for your roots. The holes should be placed 14 inches apart in rows that are 30 inches apart. Planting at the correct depth is important as well because if the plant is too deep, it will rot, and if it is too shallow, it may dry out and die.

When you plant your seeds, it is important to fertilize the plants throughout the growing season during spring and summer. Some people recommend fertilizing in the early spring and then every few weeks throughout the growing season. The plant can be watered weekly to stay moist and get about one inch of water each week. Keep the plant moist, but make sure it is not soaking wet. Keep in mind that if it rains often, you do not need to worry about watering the plant.

Strawberries can be grown in every state, but they need the right type of soil to grow correctly. When picking the soil, consider acidic soil with a range of 5.5 to 6.5. In addition, make sure it is fertile and well-drained. The plant will need eight hours of full sun each day, but ten or more is best. It will last a lifespan of five to six years and will need full sun to grow.

When to plant strawberry seeds

It is important to plant your seeds in the right season. When you are ready to plant your strawberry seeds, plant them as soon as the ground can be worked. The soil needs to be dry and free from snow or rough weather conditions to plant the strawberry seeds. The best time to plant your seeds is spring or summer. March and April are usually great times to plant. You also want to plant before the weather gets too hot during the middle of the summer.

If you plant in the spring, you will not need to worry about any weather conditions. It is also important to consider when they will be ready to harvest. If you plant earlier, your strawberries will be ready to harvest earlier in the season. You will want to start early because you will be planting indoors first, so you won’t need to worry about frost.

Avoid planting strawberries outside in the winter or early spring when it is still cold and wet. If you plant during the right weather conditions, you will have the best results for your strawberry plants.

Wild strawberry seeds for garden
Here are some wild strawberry seed capsules. I planted them in my click and grow smart garden on april 25th.

How long does it take to grow strawberries from seed?

Strawberry plants grown from seed will take many months to mature from tiny seedlings into mature flowering plants. Small-fruited everbearing and day-neutral types like Alpine Strawberries (Fragaria vesca) and Wild Strawberries (Fragaria virginiana) may grow fruit as early as 3-4 months after planting the seeds, particularly if they are started in the winter (January) and grown indoors until after the last spring frost.

Strawberries take about a month to grow from a flower into a ripe berry. Berries can take longer to mature in cold temperatures or if nutrients or moisture are lacking.

June-bearing strawberries (such as Honeoye, Jewel and Chandler) typically are not grown from seed, as most are hybrids that don’t grow true to seed. That said, some woodland strawberries are June-bearing and do grow true from seed. These plants will not bear fruit in their first year. Blossoms bud in the crown of the plant in the autumn after the seeds sprout and don’t blossom until the flowering spring. It will be over a year before seed-grown June-bearers grow strawberry fruits.

Strawberry seedling plants
Here are the strawberry plants grown from seed, shown three weeks after planting (on may 17th).
Growing strawberries from seed in a click and grow - jun 25
Here are the strawberry plants that were grown from seed, shown two months after planting (picture taken on june 25).

How to save strawberry seeds

Here are the steps to a common method of saving your own strawberry seeds:

  1. First, pick the best and ripest strawberries you can find.
  2. Once you pick them, place them with a large quart of water in a blender, and blend your berries on the lowest setting. Alternatively, gently mash them with a spoon.
  3. After you blend the strawberries, rinse the seeds to remove juice and pulp.
  4. Place the seeds on a paper towel and let them dry out. use another paper towel to help dry them out.
  5. Then transfer the seeds to a new paper towel and allow them to dry out for a few days. The paper towel will soak up the moisture.
  6. Once your seeds are dry, store them in a container that is airtight.

Remember that most large garden strawberries are hybrids, and the seeds saved from them will not grow into the same variety of strawberries as the berry that the seeds collected. This is why most seeds sold by seed companies are alpine strawberries, which do tend to grow true-to-seed.

Strawberry plants growing in the garden

How long until strawberry seeds sprout?

Seeds usually began to sprout in one to six weeks. This is much longer than some other types of seeds, so you will have to be patient!

In order for seeds to sprout, they need sunlight and moisture. If seeds are growing where it is cold, they will not sprout. The average temperature for seeds is 65 to 75 degrees during germination.

Strawberry seeds need cold stratification in order to sprout properly. Cold stratification means that the strawberry seeds need to be placed somewhere cold for a period of time. The time it takes for seeds to sprout depends on the placement of the seeds and the condition they are in.

Mary Jane Duford
Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane Duford is a quintessential Canadian gardener. An engineer by trade, she tends to an ever-expanding collection of plants. In her world, laughter blooms as freely as her flowers, and every plant is raised with a dash of Canadian grit.

Mary Jane is a certified Master Gardener and also holds a Permaculture Design Certificate. She's also a proud mom of three, teaching her little sprouts the crucial difference between a garden friend and foe.

When she's not playing in the dirt, Mary Jane revels in her love for Taylor Swift, Gilmore Girls, ice hockey, and the surprisingly soothing sounds of bluegrass covers of classic hip-hop songs. She invites you to join her garden party, a place where you can share in the joy of growing and where every day is a new opportunity to find the perfect spot for yet another plant.

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