Can you really get more strawberries by planting your store-bought ones? Gardening experts dispel the myths
Using seeds from store-bought strawberries is often promoted as an easy hack for growing more strawberries quicker, but does this actually work?
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This gardening hack is all over the internet: get a couple of your juicy, large strawberries you bought at a store, scrape off the seeds, plant them in some soil, and you'll get more juicy, large strawberries in as little as a month.
Is this a shortcut to learning how to grow strawberries we all need to try, or is it just too good to be true? Here are the common myths around this strawberry growing method that you need to be aware of.
1. Myth one: your strawberries will regrow as big as the store-bought ones
This is untrue: if anything, you will get much smaller strawberries using this method. This is because most strawberries you'll buy at a grocery store are hybrid varieties. Michael DeRose, a gardening expert from Thepoolgardener (opens in new tab), said: 'The problem with growing strawberries from seeds gathered off strawberry fruits from the store is that the seeds of hybrid varieties produce inconsistent results. They will produce strawberry plants with a wide range of genetics – a lot of them undesirable, such as small or tart tasting strawberries or low yields.'
If you do use them as part of your small vegetable garden ideas, be prepared for smaller fruit, and less of it.
2. You strawberries will grow quicker
Again, this is false. Promises online that growing strawberries from store-bought berries will result in more berries in just a month simply can't happen. Gardener and blogger Suzy Blodgett (opens in new tab) explains: 'Growing strawberries from seed takes a long time, and generally the seeds need to be stratified (go through a cold phase) for several weeks before they should be planted and sprouted. This can be done by putting the
seeds in the fridge or freezer for at least 3 weeks before planting.'
In fact, for quicker results, Suzy recommends bypassing seeds altogether: 'The best (and quickest) way to grow strawberries at home would be to
purchase bare root plants from a nursery, which would cut down on months of
time and babying strawberry seeds.'
3. You can grow organic strawberries from store-bought ones
Again, this is untrue – unless the strawberries you've bought are certified organic. Not only are strawberries sprayed with pesticides bad for your health, but they also give poorer results if you use them to grow strawberries at home. Suzy explains: 'Depending on where the strawberries come from, they may have been
sprayed with a chemical to prevent the seeds from sprouting; this would
hamper attempts to grow new plants from the seeds. Purchasing locally
grown, organic strawberries would help to reduce this risk.'
Even strawberries grown organically may not do so well in your kitchen garden ideas, according to Harry Williams, founder of GrowReporter.com (opens in new tab): 'Despite the claims of being organic, there is still no assurance that it will grow in your yard. Also you are not sure what are the processes the manufacturer did just to produce an organic product. These factors will affect the growth of your strawberries.'
So, if you want to grow strawberries as part of an organic gardening plan, get some plug plants for a reputable local plant nursery that doesn't use pesticides – and just enjoy eating the ones you bought at the store.
Anna writes about interior design and gardening. Her work has appeared in Homes & Gardens, Livingetc, and many other publications. She is an experienced outdoor and indoor gardener and has a passion for growing roses and Japanese maples in her outside space.
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