How Long does it Take to Grow Strawberries – The strawberry or strawberry is a hybrid plant which naturally emerged in France during the 18th century, resulting from the crossing of two wild species originating from the American continent, one being the species Fraga would be virginiana and the other the species Fraga would Chilean chiloensis). Thanks to the size of its fruits and plant productivity, this hybrid has become the world’s most cultivated strawberry.
The strawberry, in reality, is a pseudocarp, i.e. an accessory fruit or a false fruit, since the strawberry is the result of the tissue growth of the receptacle containing the ovaries of the flower. The real fruits of a strawberry are the so-called “strawberry Seeds”, which are fruits of type achene (a type of dried fruit), and that contains a single seed each. Each flower has many ovaries and each one generates, when fertilized, an achene.
The strawberry is a perennial short-life plant that usually reaches 10 to 30 cm high. Their leaves are trifoliate, i.e., each leaf features three leaflets, like a clover, and are also edible, especially when the leaves are younger. The entire plant can be used for medicinal purposes.
Cultivars can be found that grow well in various temperature ranges. Some can be cultivated in warmer regions, but always needed a period of low temperatures during the winter. Ideally, the temperature does not exceed 22 °c during the fruition. Moreover, it is considered that sunny days and cold nights lead to the production of the best strawberries.
In temperate, subtropical or tropical altitude regions, strawberry can be cultivated with relative ease. In regions where the temperature is not low during winter, strawberry seedlings can be placed in a refrigerated environment at approximately 4 °c for 15 to 20 days, before being planted.
Most strawberry cultivars are sensitive to photoperiod, i.e. the number of light hours in one day. Among these, there are long-day cultivars and short-day cultivars. Long-day cultivars are suitable for high-latitude regions, where the duration of daylight varies considerably during the year. There are cultivars that are not sensitive to photoperiod. It is important to choose cultivars suitable for your region.
The strawberry needs good luminosity to grow well, with at least a few hours of direct sunlight daily. In warmer regions, the strawberry can be shaded during the hottest hours of the day. However, when cultivated without direct sunlight at least for a few hours a day, the strawberry tends to produce few strawberries.
The soil must be well drained, fertile and rich in organic matter. The optimal pH of the soil is between 5.5 and 6.5.
It must be irrigated in order to keep the soil moist, but without getting soaked.
The strawberry is usually planted from the end of summer to the end of autumn, depending on the climate of the region (earlier in cooler regions and later in warmer regions). The cultivators of long days, cultivated in temperate climate regions, are also planted in the spring.
The strawberry is planted through seedlings originating from the Stolon (or stolons) of the strawberry. The Estolho or estolão is a creeping stem that eventually grows by launching roots and shoots, thereby giving rise to new plants. Buy seedlings from suppliers at the beginning of the plantation and in the following years get seedlings from the stolon of these plants. Cut the Stolon for the removal of the seedlings when they are well developed, cutting in half the length between the shoots (the seedlings) in each stolon. Some horticulturalists await the seedlings strawberry before separating them from the plant-mother, others cut so the sprouts in the Stolon have 3 to 5 sheets. The spacing can be 20 to 35 cm between the plants.
The strawberry can also be propagated from seeds, but this method is little used since seedlings originating from seeds hardly have the characteristics of progenitor plants. Moreover, seedlings arising from seeds take much longer to grow and begin to fruit. Seed propagation is most commonly used by people interested in obtaining new varieties of strawberry.
Being a small and relatively shallow roots plant, the strawberry can be easily cultivated in vases and overalls. Strawberry is also widely cultivated in hydroponic systems.
In flower beds, it is necessary to cover the soil with dead coverage or with an opaque plastic with holes for the strawberry, to help control the invasive plants and to prevent the strawberries from being in direct contact with the soil. There are studies that show that strawberries grown in soil with dead coverage have the higher concentration of sugar, flavonoids, and anthocyanins, compared to those cultivated in soil covered with black plastic.
Strawberries must be harvested when they are ripe, daily or every two days. Harvest by cutting the stem without touching the strawberry.
The gooseberry bushes are perennial plants, but they produce well only for two or three years. Thus, replace the plants every two or three years (some horticulturalists substitute the plants every year).
If new seedlings are not necessary, cut the stolon so they start to emerge to induce the plant to produce more strawberries.