Growing White Strawberries

Familiar and yet a little different...

I have a fondness for growing things that aren't the usual color that people expect, and that's one of the things that led me to grow white strawberries. They tend to be much smaller than regular, red strawberries but pack as much delicious flavor and a stunning amount of yummy aroma into the teeny berries.

This type of strawberry also has the benefit of being non-invasive. It doesn't reproduce by putting out runners, and instead propagates from seeds on berries that drop off the larger plants. This means I don't have berries anywhere except where I planted them, and they stay put. That's great because we already are battling the blackberry canes that are trying to invade our yard by coming under and through the fence to our neighbors.

The third thing I liked about these white strawberries is that they are ever-bearing, which means they produce fruit all summer, going until the first frost hits in the fall. They don't ever put out a ton of fruit, but you do get little snack amounts regularly all through the growing season. Now,that I have been growing these for several years, I am more skilled, and can maintain more plants at larger sizes, which also makes more berries.

White strawberries in pots

Berries growing and ripening on the plant.  These are often staggered, showing different ages and stages of fruit.
Berries growing and ripening on the plant. These are often staggered, showing different ages and stages of fruit. | Source

White Strawberries... really?

Just like how carrots weren't originally orange until humans cultivated them to be that way, strawberries in the wild weren't red in color. Again it took human farmers to breed them to be the bright, cherry red fruits most people are now familiar with. They also tend to be commercially grown to make them as large as possible.

However, red color and large size aren't necessary for a delicious strawberry. One benefit of the white berries is that backyard critters (birds and squirrels) for the most part do not recognize when the fruit has become ripe, as they are conditioned to fruits that change color. You do get a bit of a color shift with white strawberries when they ripen: the fruit will goes from a light green with green seeds all over it to being more yellow or cream-colored with brown seeds on it.


Harvest will be lots of little portions

Ever-bearing white strawberries produce small amounts all summer instead of one big crop so you get handfuls of them semi-randomly.
Ever-bearing white strawberries produce small amounts all summer instead of one big crop so you get handfuls of them semi-randomly. | Source

Starting berries from seed

White Soul Alpine Strawberry 30 Seeds - Fragaria
White Soul Alpine Strawberry 30 Seeds - Fragaria

Getting started growing white strawberries can be tricky. These are a more rare varietal, and you may not have anyone in your area already growing these to make starts, which is how a lot of folks get their first berry plants.

Ordering live plants online can be risky and expensive, so I recommend people try seeds as their first attempt or to see if they want to get more serious.

Plants started from seed can take a bit longer to get to fruiting stage so you may not get berries your first year if you have a shorter growing season.

 

Berry Patch

May strawberries are leafing out
May strawberries are leafing out | Source
June shows flowers forming
June shows flowers forming | Source
Berries in July
Berries in July | Source

Freezing Strawberries

One of the drawbacks of growing white strawberries is that since they are ever-bearing, it's hard to get a significant quantity saved up to eat or make something from them. One of the best ways to get around this is to freeze the strawberries. This allows you to pick them as they ripen, but preserve them so that you get enough for a dessert course, or to make a small amount of jam.

Wash and drain the freshly-picked strawberries. These berries tend to leave behind their top leaves, so you don't have to hull them like red strawberries. They can then be chilled for about an hour in the refrigerator (which makes them freeze faster) and then popped into the freezer. Or you can do what is called a "dry pack," where you sprinkle them lightly with sugar and then freeze them. The sugaring will help them keep their color and protect them against freezer burn.

Freeze them on a small plate or in a dish, and once frozen, transfer them to a plastic freezer bag or container that can be sealed tightly. Keep doing this as you harvest all summer and in the fall you'll have a whole crop of white strawberries ready for eating, cooking or making jam.


Growing Alpine Strawberries

In Ground or In Pots

It's easy to grow white strawberries either in the ground (after all, they don't take over) or you can do them more traditionally in pots. These plants do like it sunny, so that is a good consideration to take into account when you decide how you want to grow them.

If you grow them in the ground, you have to make sure they will get adequate water, but drain well enough to not be soggy. If planted in a bed with other plants, you have to Be mindful of companion planting as there are some things like brassicas (broccoli, cabbage, kale) which will hurt your berry production if they are grown next to strawberries.

In pots you need to make sure they are large enough to accommodate the plants as they grow during the season. If you start with baby plants, they can be five or six times larger by the end of the season.


Overwintering Your Berry Plants

Strawberries can stay in the ground over the winter, but to survive they do much better if you give them a little help. Part of the reason they have the name "strawberry" is due to the fact that the plants really benefit from being mulched (buried in) straw for the winter months.

Once you get your first fall frost, your white strawberries are going to stop producing fruit. If any fruit is left on the plant at that time, it tends to be either really underdeveloped or it gets frost damage. I pick those fruits off the bushes and bury them in the ground nearby. These often seed new plants in the spring, so make sure to leave some room for development.

To mulch your berry plants, get some nice clean hay (straw), or a good pile of leaves from your trees and bury the plants well. You want a nice heap that won't wash away in rain and which will keep off the snow. Come springtime, you uncover the plants (and put the mulch in the compost pile) and they'll start putting out new leaves again.


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How Do Your Strawberries Grow? 43 comments

relache profile image

relache 20 months ago from Seattle, WA Author

That could be true. Where I live in the Pacific Northwest region of the U.S., we are cool and damp, and don't grow a lot of the veggies that need a lot of concentrated heat.


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 20 months ago from Home Sweet Home

i don't think so malaysia weather could grow any strawberries at all, sigh!


Arachnea profile image

Arachnea 2 years ago from Texas USA

Yes, thank you, Relache. I realize I probably have to buy new seeds. I do want to stop in here again and reread once I do.


relache profile image

relache 2 years ago from Seattle, WA Author

I never ate them until a friend of mine grew them. They are interesting.


DealForALiving profile image

DealForALiving 2 years ago from Earth

Ditto for me in not hearing about white strawberries until now. I can't wait to try one


relache profile image

relache 2 years ago from Seattle, WA Author

Arachnea, you'll want to save those until spring, but note that seeds often expire within two years from when they were harvested, so they may not be viable by next year.


Arachnea profile image

Arachnea 2 years ago from Texas USA

I got seeds for this strawberry variety a year or so ago but never got to plant them. I will revisit this when I do. Very useful info.


colorfulone profile image

colorfulone 2 years ago from Minnesota

I learned a lot from this article, and thank you for that. Never heard of "White Strawberries", and it is interesting how "strawberries" got their name. My mouth is watering.


relache profile image

relache 2 years ago from Seattle, WA Author

We added some red to the yard, so now we can confirm the squirrels especially go after red and ignore the white.


carter06 profile image

carter06 2 years ago from Cronulla NSW

Hi relache, thanks so much for this info..had heard about white strawberries before but vaguely..I have some sweet wild ones growing and am keen to add some white ones to the garden..great hub..Cheers


relache profile image

relache 2 years ago from Seattle, WA Author

Peg, I struggled with my berries until I opted last year to dig them up, pot them and overwinter the pots as a group. They were in such great shape when I uncovered them in the spring, I left them that way, and this year they all got moved to the front yard in their pots for better light (I took on more hand watering with the move), and I've got great berries this year.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

These strawberries look interesting as an alternative to the red ones. My relatives in Florida operated commercial strawberry farms so we always had a good supply. I like the idea that mulching the plants can preserve them for the next season. I do the same thing when harvesting my container blueberries. Only a handful ripen daily so I freeze them for later use.


LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 3 years ago from Australia

Will do, thanks!


relache profile image

relache 3 years ago from Seattle, WA Author

There are white berries that do make runners. I found this out quite recently. Just keep asking at all your local plant nurseries and you should be able to find some.


LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 3 years ago from Australia

I have grown alpine strawberries before, but they were red. Now that I know they come in yellow and white, I will try to track some down. I confess I find the runners very convenient because I like to grow strawberries beneath some of my fruit trees, but the idea of white strawberries is very appealing. I'm hoping I can find some here in Australia.

Thanks for the hub. Voted up.


relache profile image

relache 3 years ago from Seattle, WA Author

Make sure the strawberries are in an area that drains well, that will help prevent over-watering as they do need plenty of moisture to fruit well.


Rusticliving profile image

Rusticliving 3 years ago from California

I am very happy that I found this hub. First off, I have never heard of white strawberries. I have also had issues growing my red strawberries in the past. One of my problems is over watering them and the critters :( I think I will try growing them in my container garden this spring. Nicely done! voted up and shared.

Lisa


Bldg an Architect profile image

Bldg an Architect 4 years ago

I've never heard of white stawberries. I imagine they would be quite stunning in a salad or fruit tray. It's amazing that they have as much flavor as red ones. I'm really eager to get my hands on some!


relache profile image

relache 5 years ago from Seattle, WA Author

Ingenira, did you actually read my Hub when you left your coment? Seeds are for sale right here.


Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 5 years ago

Wow, white strawberry ! I wonder where you could get the seeds to plant it.

I love to plant fruit trees at home, I have jackfruit tree and Mango tree.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

Hi relache, white strawberries, wow I shall have to check these out, like you I enjoy growing the unusual, many thanks.


relache profile image

relache 5 years ago from Seattle, WA Author

DIYweddingplanner, white strawberries are "ever-bearing" which means they have a long season and make small amounts of berries the whole time. The only way to know how they do would be to try growing some.


DIYweddingplanner profile image

DIYweddingplanner 5 years ago from South Carolina, USA

I've never heard of white strawberries. Although red grow here well for a very short season, I wonder how whites would do?


Traqqer profile image

Traqqer 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Didn't realize white strawberries existed. Thanks for sharing.


viking305 profile image

viking305 6 years ago from Ireland

never heaqrd of white strawberries before either but they sound deliciuos. Great advantage too of the birds leaving them alone lol


kitchenaid101 profile image

kitchenaid101 6 years ago

I wonder how they would do here in the Philippines where they can grow all year rounds?


Varenya profile image

Varenya 6 years ago

Thanks for sharing! I've heard about white strawberries, but I've never grown them, very interesting!


ocbill profile image

ocbill 6 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

growing your own fruit is the best. the oranges, lemons, peaches ahhh, you can't beat that unless you have mango trees though.


relache profile image

relache 6 years ago from Seattle, WA Author

Ever-bearing strawberries produce fewer berries at once instead a a big crop in a shoot amount of time. You only get a few at a time, but they produce fruit for longer than regular ones.


peacefulparadox 6 years ago

How come they don't sell white strawberries in the grocery stores? Is it less profitable and harder to grow?


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

Ah, interesting, the white strawberries. They look so cool! You know, I know what you mean about battling the blackberry canes. We had the same problem back home with raspberry canes. They wanted to take over! And they have mean thorns when you're trying to get rid of them. So it's nice that these particular berries are POLITE and STAY PUT!


relache profile image

relache 6 years ago from Seattle, WA Author

The winter conditions you are describing are pretty much what I get here in Seattle, so go for it!


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 6 years ago from Oakley, CA

Very interesting! Goes right along with my 'learn something new everyday' motto!

Indeed, I did not realize that strawberries were originally white.

As far as over-wintering, we live in a part of northern California that does not get snow, except a rare, freak event maybe as much as a whole inch (that does not stick) once very 5 years or so. We do get cold snaps that hover around the freeze point a few times over winter, but normally, no snow. Would you use the same overwinter mulching principle, I wonder?

Great info--voted up!


Deborah Demander profile image

Deborah Demander 6 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

I've seen white strawberries in the mountains, so maybe they can even grow in Wyoming!

Namaste.


talfonso profile image

talfonso 6 years ago from Tampa Bay, FL

Wow - I have not heard of white Strawberries before, but they seem good to me. I hope it gets features at the Strawberry Festival!


Mason88 profile image

Mason88 6 years ago from London

Wow, sounds great, white strawberries eh? The wonders of nature.


relache profile image

relache 6 years ago from Seattle, WA Author

SaMcNutt, I think the flavor is like strawberry concentrate. Some white varietals are said to have flavors like pineapple.


Laura45 profile image

Laura45 6 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

Thanks for this information. My husband loves to plant tomatoes in the summer, and possibly next summer we will try the white strawberries. Rated Up and Useful.


SaMcNutt profile image

SaMcNutt 6 years ago from Englewood, CO

Is the flavor really similar to the red variety?


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 6 years ago from Minnesota

I love this fun hub. Its fun, useful and I learned a lot. I had no idea strawberries are red because of how farmers bred them. I think the thought of a white strawberry is intriguing. thx for this info. rated up and useful.


Sweetsusieg profile image

Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

Thanks for the new info, I love Strawberries and will be sure to look for these next year!


lakeerieartists profile image

lakeerieartists 6 years ago from Cleveland, OH

relache, I always learn so much interesting stuff from reading your hubs. For instance, I didn't even know that white strawberries existed. I had regular red strawberries in my own garden a couple of years ago, and they took over which I didn't realize would happen.

We eventually tore them out and changed over to a flower garden. I will have to see if we can get white strawberries around here.


Teddletonmr profile image

Teddletonmr 6 years ago from Midwest USA

Thanks for the great hub, I had not heard of white strawberrys before. hub up and useful...

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