How to Grow Strawberries from Strawberry Seeds

Strawberry seeds are so plentiful that they can be bothersome. I know people who refuse to eat even the juiciest, ripest strawberries because they don't like having the seeds stuck between their teeth. There's not much you can do to remove them, either--they're all over!

Because strawberry seeds are so plentiful, it can seem strange that more people don't grow their own strawberries from seeds. It seems easy enough to scrape off a few seeds and then wait for them to grow. When people try to plant strawberry seeds, though, they're usually disappointed. Either the seeds don't grow at all, or the strawberries the seeds produce don't look or taste anything like the strawberries they came from.

To understand how to grow strawberries from seeds, it's important to know a little bit about plant biology. In the wild, strawberries are usually dioecious, which means that they can be either male or female. In order to grow strawberries, pollen from the male plants must fertilize the female plants. Strawberry growers, though, have developed plants that are monoecious, and can self-pollinate. These plants grow strawberries that taste great, but their seeds don't produce clones of the parent plants.

Inventive gardeners don't have to give up on the idea of growing strawberries from strawberry seeds, though. When a gardener plants the grains of several different strawberry varieties, the flowers will cross-pollinate and make a new kind of strawberry, one that does look and taste as good as the parent varieties. By experimenting with different combinations, gardeners can create new strawberries with all of the qualities they are looking for.

The steps for growing strawberries from grains are easy enough that even beginning gardeners can start growing their own hybrid berries.

* Some strawberry seeds, including alpine strawberries, need to be cold-treated before planting. Wrap the seeds and put them in the freezer for about a month. Let them warm up slowly.

* Germinate strawberry seeds by placing them under a thin layer of soil and keeping them moist.

* When the plants get their second set of true leaves, thin them out, leaving three to four inches between plants. Or, replant them into separate containers.

* Once the plants are big enough to plant in the garden, remember to introduce them to the outdoors gradually. Start by setting them outside for a few hours in the afternoon, adding an hour or two each day.

* Transplant your plants into your garden. Pinch off the first flowers so that your plants will develop strong roots.

* Enjoy!

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