Germinating Strawberry Seeds: A Quick and Rewarding Process

To gardeners, what is more satisfying than growing delicious, sweet strawberries? Picking a warm, sun-ripened strawberry that you grew from seed is an incredible feeling. In this article, we will share our technique for germinating strawberry seeds in as little as 5 days!

Strawberry seedling sprouting

Of course, germination results may vary based on factors such as seed age, planting conditions, and strawberry variety. Let’s get started!

When is the Best Time to Plant Strawberry Seeds?

Before you plant, it’s important to choose the right time. If you want to harvest strawberries in the first year, you need to plant your seeds very early indoors.

In general, it is recommended to plant strawberry seeds at least 10-12 weeks before your average last frost date. This gives the plants time to grow strong indoors and extends their growing season.

After growing indoors for a couple of months, your strawberry plants will have a big head start. Many types of strawberries will even fruit in the same year they were planted.

Can I Use Seeds from a Store-Bought Strawberry?

While it may seem tempting to use seeds from a store-bought strawberry, we don’t recommend it. Here are a couple of reasons why:

  1. Store-bought strawberries have poor flavor. The best tasting strawberry varieties are not typically found in stores. Store-bought strawberries are often bred for a longer shelf life and larger size, compromising their flavor.
  2. Store-bought varieties are hybrids. Most store-bought strawberries come from hybrid plants, meaning the seeds saved from them will not grow true to the original plants.

Instead, we recommend finding a well-reviewed day-neutral strawberry variety from a reputable seed seller, such as Tims Family Farm. In this article, we will focus on the ‘Elan’ strawberry, a great candidate for growing in containers.

Read:  Florida Strawberry U-Pick Farms and Orchards

Strawberry seeds in hand

How to Germinate Strawberry Seeds Fast

With your planting date set and seeds in hand, you just need a few more supplies to germinate your strawberry seeds. Here is a list of what you’ll need:

  • Strawberry seeds
  • Seed cell trays
  • Seed starting soil (or regular potting mix)
  • Spray bottle with water
  • Propagation tray and humidity dome

Optional supplies:

  • Seed heating mat
  • Plant labels

Supplies for planting strawberry seeds

Now that you have your supplies ready, let’s get started with the germination process!

How long does it take for strawberry seeds to sprout?

After planting your seeds, it’s time to wait! On average, strawberry seeds take between 1-2 weeks to sprout, but they may germinate in as little as 5 days. To help speed up the process, here are some tips:

  • Keep the seeds warm.
  • Provide light from a bright window or LED grow lights.
  • Never let the seeds dry out.

Strawberry seed sprout

Please note that older seeds may take longer to sprout, and colder temperatures can also slow down germination. To achieve the best results, keep the seeds in a warm spot with plenty of light.

Do Strawberry Seeds Need Cold Stratification?

Cold stratification refers to exposing seeds to cold and wet conditions for several weeks or months. While some cold-hardy plant varieties require cold stratification to initiate germination, most strawberry seeds will germinate without it. However, if your seed packet explicitly recommends cold stratification, you should follow the instructions.

To cold stratify strawberry seeds, follow the planting directions mentioned earlier, but instead of moving the seeds to a warm spot, put them in the refrigerator. Make sure to cover them with plastic wrap to keep the seeds moist. After at least 2 weeks, transfer the seeds to a warm room with plenty of light to sprout.

Read:  How to Determine the Quality of Strawberries

My Strawberry Seed Is Stuck! What Should I Do?

It’s not uncommon for strawberry seedlings to sprout with the seed coat still stuck on top, preventing the leaves from opening up. This usually happens due to low humidity. Here’s how you can help the seedling shed the seed coat:

  1. Moisten the seed with water and let it sit for about 10 minutes to soften the seed coat.
  2. Gently squeeze the sides of the seed using your fingers or tweezers to open it up. Avoid pulling the seedling upwards, as it is fragile and can easily tear.

Strawberry seed stuck on seedling

Please note that removing the seed coat is a delicate task, and if done improperly, it may harm the seedling. Be patient, and in most cases, the seedling will shed the seed coat on its own.

How Long Does it Take to Grow Strawberries from Seed?

Strawberry plants are perennial, meaning they overwinter outdoors and come back each spring. When grown from seed, some varieties will bear fruit in their first growing season, while others may not produce fruit until the second year. On average, when planted from seed, strawberry plants take about 4 months to produce their first fruits.

What to Do After Strawberry Seeds Sprout

After your seeds have sprouted, it’s important to provide them with enough light. LED grow lights are ideal, but if you use a sunny window, make sure it faces south.

As strawberry seedlings are tiny, they grow slowly in their first few weeks and gain momentum as the leaves become larger. When watering, avoid watering from the top and instead water from the bottom.

Read:  How to Grow Strawberries

Tiny strawberry seedling

If your soil lacks nutrients, you can start fertilizing at 1/4 strength about 2 weeks after sprouting. This will help the plants develop strong root systems.

FAQs

Q: Do strawberry plants need full sun?
A: Yes, strawberries thrive in full sun, ideally receiving at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day.

Q: Can I plant strawberry seeds directly in the garden?
A: While it is possible to plant strawberry seeds directly in the garden, it is more common to start them indoors and transplant them when they are strong enough.

Q: How often should I water strawberry seedlings?
A: Water your strawberry seedlings when the top inch of soil feels dry, making sure not to overwater.

Conclusion

Growing strawberries from seed is a rewarding experience. By following the germination technique we shared, you can enjoy the process of watching your strawberry seeds sprout and grow into bountiful plants. The next stages of growth include transplanting, flowering, and eventually harvesting your homegrown strawberries. Happy planting!

Note: For more information and to purchase high-quality seeds, visit Tims Family Farm.