Strawberry: White Soul (Fragaria Vesca)
White strawberries you say? Yes that is correct! White Soul (Fragaria Vesca) Strawberries are a hardy perennial that is an excellent ground cover which will keep your soil shaded. Growing up to 6” in height, this beauty produces a continuous harvest of creamy white strawberries that not only taste sweet, but surprisingly like a pineapple! Unlike other strawberry varieties, White Soul does not spread through runners so keeping it contained is a breeze.
Start Indoors & Transplant Outdoors
Harvesting & Storage
Also Known As: Woodland Strawberry 'White Soul', Alpine strawberry 'White Soul', Wild strawberry 'White Soul', Wild white strawberry 'White Soul'
Native Range: France
Ease of Growing: Easy
Grown as: Perennial
Maturity (Bloom): May to August
Hardiness: Hardy. Strawberries are hardy during the Winter and can withstand frost. It is important to plant your berries in a place that is sheltered from Spring frosts, as strawberries become very tender once they blossom.
Crops: Spring Transplant, Fall Transplant
Growing Season: Short, Long
Cultivar Type: Early
Growing Conditions: Cold, Cool, Warm, Hot. Strawberries love sunshine. They will tolerate moderate shade, but they produce significantly better when they are planted in an area that receives full daytime sun. Plants will tolerate frost, but should be protected before.
Outdoor Growing Temp: 55°F - 85°F
Min Outdoor Soil Temp: 60°F
Start Indoors: Yes
Start Outdoors: No
Light: Sun: min. 6 hours daily (Cool, Warm, Hot). Strawberries must have full sun (at least 6 hours daily) for maximum productivity and best flavor. They will tolerate some shade, but productivity will suffer. Part shade (Warm, Hot). In hot climates, strawberries will benefit from afternoon shade.
Water: Moderate. Strawberries must have a steady supply of water at all times, but especially during flowering and fruiting. Water is also very important in fall when next year's flower buds are developing. If they are dry at this time it can affect the following year's crop. The plants should receive at least 1" of water per week, though of course the exact quantity needed will depend upon the growing conditions. Drip irrigation works best as it keeps leaves and fruit dry, which reduces the potential for serious fungus and disease problems.
Feeder: Heavy. Strawberries are fairly hungry plants and should be given plenty of nutrients (especially phosphorus and potassium) for maximum fruit production.
Suitability: Tolerates light frost, Tolerates hard frost, Needs summer shade.
Small Gardens?: Yes
Containers?: Yes. Strawberries are an excellent candidate for container growing, and will thrive in almost any size container so long as it drains well. Fill the container with a good, loamy potting mix and add fertilizer as necessary. Plant the strawberries so that the root is fully covered and the crown is just above the soil line.
Attracts beneficial insects?: Yes
Plant Height: 6-8"
Sow Depth: 1/8"
Hardiness Zone: 4-10
Compost (Nitrogen), 3 inches, 1 time: Strawberries are perennial plants so you have to fertilize them heavily before planting; you won’t be able to incorporate anything else into the soil for a while. Spread a 3" layer of compost or aged manure on the ground and fork it to a depth of 10” (if your soil is heavy you may want to single dig). Be careful to remove any perennial weeds you come across in the process (this is important).
Soil temp for germination: optimal 60°F to 70°F
Replant: When your Strawberry plants have several sets of leaves, transplant them 3" apart into a deeper container or individual pots so roots have room to develop. Be careful not to break the delicate roots of the seedlings.
Harden Off: When seedlings are 3" tall, gradually acclimate them to outdoor conditions by placing them outdoors for longer periods of time each day for at least a week
Each plant will go in its own individual hole, which should be just a little bigger than the spread of the roots. The roots should be separated and spread out around the hole (you can make a little cone of soil at the bottom of the hole and spread the roots over this). Never plant with the roots in one matted clump.
It is very important that the plants are planted at the same depth they were grown. This means keeping the crown of the plant level with the soil surface. If it is too deep it may rot, if too high it may dry out.
After planting you should firm the soil and give the plants a healthy watering.
Cold, Cool, Warm, Hot: Strawberries love sunshine. They will tolerate moderate shade, but they produce significantly better when they are planted in an area that receives full daytime sun. Plants will tolerate frost, but should be protected before.
When outdoor temp: 55°F to 85°F, optimal temp 65°F to 75°F
When min soil temp: 60°F
Spacing: 12"-24". 1 plants per sq ft.
Water Needs: Moderate. Strawberries must have a steady supply of water at all times, but especially during flowering and fruiting. Water is also very important in fall when next year's flower buds are developing. If they are dry at this time it can affect the following year's crop. The plants should receive at least 1" of water per week, though of course the exact quantity needed will depend upon the growing conditions. Drip irrigation works best as it keeps leaves and fruit dry, which reduces the potential for serious fungus and disease problems.
Fertilizer Needs: Heavy. Strawberries are fairly hungry plants and should be given plenty of nutrients (especially phosphorus and potassium) for maximum fruit production.
Protecting: Mulch, 4 inches, 1 time. In areas with severe winters you may want to protect your dormant plants (and their precious flower buds) by covering with a thick covering (4" minimum) of loose (straw, hay or pine needle) mulch. Wait until it gets really cold (below 20˚ F) before applying and remove in early spring so the soil can warm up. When applying mulch, make sure to leave 1' of space around the strawberry crowns to prevent damping.
Side Dressing: Mulch, 3 inches, 1 time. Mulch is very helpful when growing strawberries since it suppresses weeds, conserves moisture, keeps the soil cool and supplies nutrients, but also keeps the fruit from contacting with the soil (which can increase the chances of it rotting). A 3" layer of straw is the most common mulch (not hay which is full of weed seeds), but Pine needles also work well (and help to keep the soil acidic). When applying mulch, make sure to leave 1" of space around the strawberry crowns to prevent damping. Mulch can sometimes be detrimental to growing strawberries in areas with lots of slugs and snails since it provides a perfect habitat for them.
Thinning: 1 time a month. Once the plants have established themselves they will start to produce runners. This is good because they will increase the number of fruiting plants and will fill in the bed completely. The first runners of the year will grow into good sized plants by the end of the summer and produce fruit the following spring. You can direct the runners to any suitable vacant spot and let them root (there is no need to detach them from the mother plant). Don’t let any more than 5 plants per sq ft get established though as they will get too crowded and start to compete with each other. Start pinching out excess runners ruthlessly (or allow them to root themselves and then remove them). Don’t worry about overdoing it as they tend to produce runners whenever conditions suit them (they can always produce more).
Watering: Water, 0.5 inches, 2 times a week. Strawberries must have a steady supply of water at all times, but especially during flowering and fruit production. Water is also very important in fall when next years flower buds are developing (if they are dry at this time it can affect the following years crop). The plants should receive at least I” of water per week, though of course the exact quantity needed will depend upon the growing conditions. It is especially important to provide adequate water during the fruit-forming stage. Drip irrigation works best as it keeps leaves and fruit dry, which reduces the potential for serious fungus diseases problems. If this isn't possible you should water your plants in the morning, allowing the leaves plenty of time to dry before nightfall.
Weeding: every 4 weeks. Keeping weeds from competing with your strawberry plants is very important since weeds can reduce fruit production in future years. The newly planted bed will be quite sparse initially and all that bare soil will be an invitation to weeds. It is very important that you weed regularly at this time. Once the plants get going they will cover the soil pretty thoroughly and weeds become less of a problem (though you should still weed occasionally). The best way to minimize weed problems is to use mulch.
The beneficial antioxidants in the berries start to break down after a couple of days. Ideally they should be eaten immediately.
It is best not to wash organically grown strawberries before storing. If you do choose to wash your berries, make sure they are completely dry before storing in the refrigerator.
Storage Req: Refrigerator
Storage Temp: 35-40°F
Storage Length: 0-4 days
Strawberries can be turned into jam or canned whole, although the latter is not the preferred method.
Storage Req: Canning
Storage Temp: °F
Storage Length: days
Strawberries will last anywhere from 8 -12 months when frozen. Wash and dry your strawberries before freezing and place in a freezer bag. They turn to mush when defrosted, but are still good for smoothies, etc.
Storage Req: Freezer
Storage Temp: 0-32°F
Storage Length: 180-360 days
Instead, most gardeners propagate plants by either plant division or starting daughter plants from the runners off the mother plant.
Sweet berries with a hint of pineapple.
Fruit: raw, cooked or made into preserves. Sweet and succulent. An exquisite flavor but the fruits are usually very small and fiddly, though they can be up to 10mm in diameter. Rich in iron and potassium, the fruit is an excellent addition to the diet of people suffering from anemia.
Young leaves: raw or cooked. Added to salads or used as a potherb. The fresh or dried leaves are used as a tea substitute. A delicious drink, it is ideal for children.
Root: The root has been used as a coffee substitute in India.
Known Hazards: None known