Clear Mountain Garden Treasures
 

Clear Mountain Garden TreasuresCulture and Germination - Alpine Strawberry

Alpine Strawberry

Fruit
Family Rosaceae
Name Fragaria vesca
Common Name Alpine Strawberry

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This species strawberry produces fragrant white fruits for most of the year. The leaves, flower and fruit resemble those of the common strawberry, abeit smaller. As the fruit is white, birds do not usually take it. The ripe fruit has an almost intoxicating flavour, that is immediately apparent as you walk past the plant.

Culture

This strawberry does not produce many runners and propagation is usually by splitting established plants (which should be done once every two years), or by seed. It is smaller and has compact growth, and is very suitable for growing in containers. A 150mm pot should be sufficient.

The best time to divide a plant is early spring, right after the danger of frost has passsed, but before the weather becomes too warm. Using only the strong outer growths, each division should only have one crown with a few leaves and roots. Plant these in 50mm pots, water well, and place in a bright sheltered spot out of the direct sun. Once established, the divisions can be either planted into the ground or else potted up. Most will start to flower and fruit in summer.

Seed should be sown in the autumn and allowed to over winter in the open. This cold period is necessary to break down chemical germination inhibitors inside the seeds. They will then sprout when the warm weather arrives in the spring. Most seedlings will even flower and fruit in their first year!

Water well in the hotter days and feed with a balanced fertiliser. In the spring, feed once with superphosphate, around 1/2 teaspoon per plant, mixed into the mix or soil. This encourages good root growth, necessary for growths later in the season.

The berries are smaller than regular red strawberries and should be picked when the seeds have turned from green to a browny colour.


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