HOW TO COLLECT AND PREPARE STRAWBERRY SEED FOR PROPAGATION




Perhaps the simplest way to grow strawberries from seed is to plant one of the matured, dried off fruits.This can either be planted directly into the ground or preferably potted on into John Innes seed compost with a light covering of compost or horticultural grit on top.

However, the best way to grow strawberry from seed is to do a little research first to find out which is your favourite variety or varieties. There is good reason for this because - as with many cultivated varieties – any seedlings produced will be the product of cross pollination (natural hybridization) and the resulting progeny will not grow true to type. Put simply, if your seedlings are at the very least a hybrid of your favourite chosen varieties then – once they fruit - you can select which plants suit your taste most and discard any of those which don't. Alternatively, only grow seeds from species strawberries and known to grow true from seed or choose F1 hybrid seed. Click here to find out What is an F1 Hybrid?

When the fruits are fully ripe – you can tell this as they will be mushy and well past their best for eating - remove 4-5 healthy berries and place them in a blender together with a litre of water. Set the blender to its lowest speed and allow to run for 10 seconds or so.

Once the mix has settled remove any floating seeds as these won’t be viable. Pour the remaining mixture into a sieve and rinse the pulp through until you have mostly seeds left. These seeds can now be lightly sown onto a seed tray filled with John Innes ‘seed and potting’ compost. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of compost and gently water.

Transfer the seed tray to a cold, greenhouse or even a well lit room to germinate and this should take anywhere between 2 and 8 weeks. Once germinated the seedlings can be gently lifted and potted on into 9 cm pots. Come the following autumn they should be ready to transplant outside ready for fruiting the following year.

If you don’t have the use of a blender try these other methods for seed extraction. The first is to allow the fruit to dry naturally outside over the summer period and then when ready, rub it with your fingers allowing the seeds to fall into a suitable container. The other is to press the mature fruit pulp gently through a sieve, and then wash the seeds clear of any remaining pulp while they are still in the sieve. Although you will not get the separation of viable and non-viable seeds it doesn’t stop you from sowing them.

If you intend to store the seeds then they must be allowed to dry thoroughly. You can tell when they are dry as they will no longer stick to each other and will move easily within their container. When they are ready, place them into a labelled envelope and keep them in a cool dry place until they are ready for sowing.

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