How to grow Pineberries – White Strawberries with a Citrus Kick

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Tips and tricks for how to grow pineberries including where to source them, cultivation tips, and harvesting. Pineberries are white to blush-pink berries similar to standard red strawberries in flavor but with a citrusy kick. They’re also easy to grow and very prolific!

I’ve grown white strawberries, also known as pineberries Fragaria x ananassa, for many years now. It’s a white strawberry cultivar that grows in much the same way as regular red strawberries but with some major differences. The main ones being they can be more prolific, more competitive, and produce small to medium-sized white berries instead of red. The berries also have a slightly citrusy flavor which some say is like a combination of strawberry and pineapple flavor — hence the name pineberry. There are some things that you should know before you start planting them though. Both positive things and things to watch out for. The following are my tips for how to grow pineberries including where to source them, harvesting, and the best ways I’ve found to use them in food.

Growing pineberries is much like growing strawberries, and if you’ve done that, then it will be a breeze. If you’ve not grown strawberries before, don’t sweat it, since they’re one of the easiest fruits to grow. Once you have your plants established, you can also keep propagating new plants from runners. That means that even if you begin with just one pineberry plant, you can be assured of dozens, or hundreds, more to fill the garden over the years to come.

cultivation tips, and harvesting. Pineberries are white to blush-pink berries similar to standard red strawberries in flavor but with a citrusy kick #gardening #vegetablegarden #foodgarden

Pineberry Origins

Though pineberries were discovered in South America, they were further bred in the Netherlands and released as a commercial fruit in the UK and Europe around 2010. I remember seeing them for the first time in Marks and Spencer — it’s not often that you see a new fruit or vegetable at the grocery store! At first, the berries appear to be unripe fruit due to their color, but unlike unripe strawberries, pineberries have bright red seeds rather than green. The flesh is soft and sweet too and I for one got that pineapple strawberry experience in my first bite. To others, it tastes like a less-sweet garden strawberry with a citrus kick.

Pineberries are not a GMO but rather the result of cross-pollination. It’s a hybrid of two species of strawberry: the beach strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis) from Chile and the wild strawberry (Fragaria virginiana) which grows across North America. One specific breeding between the two produced pineberry plants with delicious white strawberries. Just like with other hybrids, though, the seeds from pineberries will not necessarily produce plants with white strawberries. That’s why you must grow pineberries from plants, rather than from seeds.

How to grow pineberries in the garden or containers
A lush ripe pineberry ready to be enjoyed

Start Pineberries from Plants, not Seeds

When pineberries were first introduced to the market you couldn’t beg, borrow, or steal plants and everyone wanted to grow them. These days, they’re much easier to find and a perfect addition to your berry garden. However, as per the info above, if you want to grow pineberries, you’ll need to begin with plants, not seeds.

If you spot pineberry seeds for sale on Amazon or somewhere else please do not buy them. Even if they were harvested from actual pineberries, there’s little chance that the plants they grow into will produce white strawberries. And yes, that means that seeds harvested from pineberries bought at farmer’s markets won’t grow into pineberry plants either.

Bare-root strawberry plants arrive without any soil around their roots

My own massive patch came from six plants that a friend gave me back in 2013. He’d tried growing them in his polytunnel but said that they hadn’t produced any berries for him (more on that later). This is the best way to get pineberry plants! So, if you know someone who has them, I recommend that you ask them for a few. They’ll more than likely give you a dozen for free since pineberries produce A LOT of runners every year. You could also offer to do a plant or seed swap with them.

If you don’t know anyone who grows them, then you will need to order them from a plant nursery. The least expensive way is to order bare-root plants in winter. If you can’t find them as bare-root, then they also come as potted plants but will be a bit more expensive. Either way, they’re usually sold singly or as sets of five to ten. I’d start with just a few though. You won’t need many since they’ll produce more plants through runners than you’ll ever need.

Pineberries are ripe when the seeds are bright red
Pineberries begin ripening at the same time as June bearing strawberries

Get Pineberry Plants

Most garden centers are unlikely to stock pineberry plants even though they’re growing in popularity. To get them, you will probably need to order them from a specialist nursery or trusted sources who grow them already. There are quite a few varieties out there now too including Snow White, White Dream, White Carolina, White Pine, White Albino, Wonderful, Natural Albino, and White D. The first two are the types you’ll find more in Europe and the others in North America. Sometimes plants will be simply called Pineberry without a variety name.

Another thing to keep in mind is that there are white alpine strawberry varieties out there too. These are not pineberries, but small wild strawberries that are white when ripe. The berries are tiny, the seeds will be yellow when ripe, and they have very little flesh and too many seeds. I’ve not tried them but I doubt that they are sweet.

Trusted sources to get pineberries include Hirts Garden Store (USA) who sell on Amazon and Thompson & Morgan, J. Parkers, or Crocus in the UK. Again, ensure that you’re buying plants, not seeds, and always read the reviews.

Tips and tricks for how to grow pineberries and ways to eat them. Pineberries are white to blush-pink berries similar to your standard red strawberries in flavor but with a citrusy kick.
Pineberries are ripe when all of the seeds are red

How to Grow Pineberries

Once you have your plants or bare-root plants, it’s time to get them planted. With bare-root plants that arrive in winter, follow the instructions I give at the beginning of this video. If the roots seem a little dry, you can also soak them for ten to fifteen minutes before potting them up or planting them out. You can plant potted plants at any time of the year, providing that the ground isn’t frozen and/or covered in snow.

You’ll be pleased to know that pineberries grow well in open ground as well as in containers. They grow a little too happy in the garden, in my opinion, and this winter I removed every plant, both strawberry and pineberry, from my existing strawberry patch. That’s because the pineberries swallowed up all of the other strawberry plants and not a single plant produced red berries last year! Considering this, I recommend growing strawberries and pineberries apart.

Because pineberries are so vigorous, I also recommend that you grow pineberries in containers. You could grow them in a cute terracotta strawberry pot, in a Strawberry Pallet Planter, or in other containers like the GreenStalk vertical planter. In general, grow pineberries just as you would new red strawberry plantings:

  • Needs a position in full sun
  • Plant into rich soil that’s been supplemented with compost
  • Plant no deeper than the top of the crown
  • Keep well watered
  • Mulch with straw when the berries begin to form
  • Take precautions against slugs
  • Net the plants when the berries are forming to protect against birds
  • Feed the plants with a top dressing of composted manure in autumn to early spring
Grow pineberries under netting to protect them from birds and animals
For years I’ve grown pineberries in this bed with netting protecting them in summer

Pineberry Cultivation Tips

You might have heard that one of the benefits of growing these white-skinned berries is that animals don’t think that they’re ripe and won’t eat them. This is only partially true since slugs are a big problem. Keeping the plants mulched and removing any rotten berries helps to minimize this. Try to reduce the slug population around your plants by using beer traps, organic slug pellets, or picking them off manually.

One thing that I’ve noticed with my pineberries is that they do not produce berries in their first year. My friend who gave me his plants gave up on his just as they were about to produce a massive harvest! From their second year onwards they have produced many more berries than I could ever have time to pick. Also, though traditional red strawberries are most productive in their first few years and need replacing afterward, pineberries seem to be productive for many more years than that.

Pineberries are also prolific berry producers since they’re an overbearing strawberry type. That means that they can continuously produce berries as long as they get warm sunshine (not too hot), regular watering, and there are insects around to pollinate the flowers. Berries all summer long is not a bad thing.

cultivation tips, and harvesting. Pineberries are white to blush-pink berries similar to standard red strawberries in flavor but with a citrusy kick #gardening #vegetablegarden #foodgarden
Ripe pineberries are white but have bright red seeds

When are Pineberries Ripe?

It’s initially a little difficult to know exactly when they’re ripe though since the berries are white when unripe AND ripe. The white begins as greeny-white and ripens to a creamy white. The best way to know when pineberries are ripe is to look at the seeds on the berry. When they’re bright red, the berry is ripe. The flesh is soft to the touch at this point too, and if you leave the berries on the plant long enough, and in the sun, the white flesh will turn light pink.

Harvesting the berries can be a bit more tedious than with strawberries since the fruit are so much smaller. However, there can be loads more berries, so the numbers make up for the bulk. My patch could easily produce a large mixing bowl full of berries every couple of weeks in peak pineberry season.

  • They’re ripe when the skin changes from green-white to a slightly creamy white
  • If left on the plant, the skin will mature into a light pink blush
  • Berries may not appear on the plant in the first year.
  • As soon as berries form, tuck straw or another material under them to protect them from slugs and rot
The plants inside the strawberry pallet planter are pineberries and alpine strawberries

When Pineberries Sneak In

Hilarious story. When planting the strawberry pallet planter for my book, A Woman’s Garden (photo above), I mistakenly planted it with new pineberry plants, rather than the Mara des Bois strawberries I planned for. I couldn’t figure out why they never produced berries that summer and had to rely on a bit of red from the couple of alpine strawberries for this photo. A year later I realized what happened when they finally ripened. Blasted pineberries snuck into my book! I realized too late since they tend to begin producing in their second year.

A Year in the Life of Pineberries

A year in the life of a pineberry in my garden begins in spring when plants that have overwintered begin to form new leaves. By May they’ll have also bloomed with small white-petaled flowers that my honeybees love! They need insect pollination so make sure that any netting or positioning allows them in. Once berries form, I’ll tuck straw or sometimes paper egg crates under the berries to keep them off the ground. I also net them to keep them safe from wildlife.

Tips and tricks for how to grow pineberries and ways to eat them. Pineberries are white to blush-pink berries similar to your standard red strawberries in flavor but with a citrusy kick.
Harvest of ‘Mara des Bois’ strawberries and pineberries

Pineberries begin ripening in June, around the same time as other strawberries, but unlike June bearers, they’ll keep flowering and producing berries in flushes several times over the summer. My climate is a mild one though with plenty of rain and gentle sunshine.

Towards the middle to end of summer, pineberries start sending out runners. These are long green stems that will take root in the soil, mulch, on landscaping fabric, and especially mature woodchip paths. Once firmly rooted, you can snip the connecting stem and grow these on as new plants! Give them to your friends or increase your berry patch. The runners can quickly colonize a bed though so try to remove the new plants (if only to compost them) each year by early autumn.

In autumn and/or late winter I mulch pineberries with a half-inch layer of compost, making sure to not cover any part of the plant. If I’ve not managed to clear all of the runners off and it’s an absolute mess (it happens!) I’ll also spend an hour or so tidying the strawberry bed. Mulching with the compost comes after that job.

Over time my strawberry patch produced more pineberries and fewer red strawberries

Harvesting and Eating Pineberries

I know some who consider pineberries a novelty, rather than a main crop. I too nearly ripped out my entire patch last year before I realized that they have some really great attributes. They’re dependable, produce a lot of berries, and produce a continuous harvest over the summer. However, once you have them harvested, you need to use or preserve pineberries very quickly. They don’t last as long as strawberries and will begin to brown and mold over before you know it.

Freezing is the best way to preserve them in my opinion! I don’t wash freshly picked berries from my garden and simply pull the calyx (the green leafy bit) off and place them on a freezer-paper-lined baking tray. Six hours in the freezer and you can take them off the tray and store them in a container or ziplock bag.

You can also use pineberries in preserves, though I’d recommend mixing them with other more colorful berries. I’ve tried making strawberry jam with pineberries on their own before and, though it tasted delicious, it was a pale-colored jam that wasn’t very appetizing. That light color can be really helpful though since sometimes you might want strawberry flavor but without a pink or red color. For example, you can cook them with bananas in quick oats for a delicious and non-pink bowl of porridge. Pancakes are another of my favorite ways to have them!

Eat pineberries in all the dishes that you would ordinary strawberries. Better yet, mix pineberries with strawberries
Pineberries and cream with red Mara des Bois strawberries

More Berry Gardening Inspiration

I have a lot of berries growing in the garden and LOVE the dependable sweet harvests that they give me each year. Here are more of my tips for filling your growing space with perennial fruit and berries too:

37 Comments

  1. I planted pine berries from barefoot and it has multiplied from the runners. After 2 years it finally grew white strawberries but it is so small. It s size of a pea. Do you think it’ll grow bigger ? Or that is the size it.I might have to throw away these plants. I’m trying to have it cross pollinate with my red strawberries so the fruit is bigger. But I have no success.

    1. Hi Kay, pineberries are smaller than ordinary strawberries in general but if your berries are pea-sized something else is going on. I suspect that they’re not growing in the right conditions (underwatered/low nutrients) or are not being properly pollinated by insects. Also, cross-pollination doesn’t work in the way that you’re thinking. Think of cross-pollination as sex — the fruits of the effort are only realized in the children! In the case of strawberries that would mean the plants grown from the seeds of berries that have been cross-pollinated.

  2. I was given some random runners from a fellow plot holder at our South London allotments and they turned out to be Pineberries – I have only just discovered what they are! I always just called them ‘the really tasty white ones’. After a few years of experimenting I just wanted to say that they are definitely more prolific if there’s some normal strawberries about and ones I have in raised beds rot less. These are my all-time favourite strawberries though. So hardy, long season and birds seem to miss them because they’re white – and the taste is exquisite!

  3. Awesome article. I got 6 bare root plants last year from Urban Farmer. 5 survived. I let the runners go and spread across my patch with runners producing runners producing runners it made it 8 feet. Plants this year look great so far. Seeing lots of blossoms. I also purchased seeds for White alpine berries. 10 seeds, 4 grew, only one survived. Picked off blossoms last year but will let it go this year and try to get some runners set for next year. Just to compare types.

  4. I wasn’t aware that pine berries were hybrids. I purchased 200 seeds from CZGrain on Amazon. Good germination but difficult to bring to adult plant. I’m down to 35 plants seven inches tall with one plant having flowers right now in December. I brought them in for their first winter. Plan on planting them outdoors come Spring.
    Can you give a list of reputable sellers where I can purchase actual pine berry plants from runners? I promised my granddaughter we’d grow pine berry plants. She loves my home grown strawberries. Thanks, Harley

    1. Unfortunately, Amazon sellers of seeds are usually pretty dubious. I’d try googling for pineberry plants then ring whichever company is selling them to confirm that they’re legit and that you’re getting what you’re looking for. I’m in Britain and can recommend places here, but not in other regions.

  5. I purchased some bare root pineberries about 3 years ago. However I had them in small 8″ containers and most died in our hot, Southern summer. I had two left last summer which I transplanted into some big tire planters. I included lots of compost and good clean soil. This spring the plants have gone crazy and completely taken over the tire! They are easily a foot tall. Lots of flowers at first but after a month, there’s virtually no flowers now and no fruit but the plants are sending runners everywhere. How do I get them to flower and fruit?

    1. Hard to say. They could have had a burst of growth and activity and then got stressed. They could also have produced a lot of flowers but you have a shortage of bees in your area and they weren’t pollinated. Part of the fun (and challenge!) in gardening is trying to read your exact plants in your exact garden and try to work out why they are or aren’t happy. Also, I’d highly recommend not growing any food crops in old tires. They’re not food safe and can increase the temperature of the soil around plants. Not good at all in a hot climate like yours.

      1. Hi, I have about 50 or so Pineberry plants that I grew from one berry, so it can be done! They produce copiously in the ground. Everyday I get a handful or so. Zone 8.

        1. Hi Russ, pineberries are hybrid plants, meaning that though you can grow plants from the seeds, the plants are unlikely to produce white pineberries. It’s the same story with other F1 hybrids, and the reason that we don’t save seeds from any of the others types either. The offspring of hybrid plants revert back to the grandparents’ genes, which can be very unlike the parent plant.

  6. Hello,
    I would like to know is it true that I bought Ebay Pineberry seeds and put small pot soil and got grow and I read feedback saying when put seed in and grow and said it will et start fruit in few years is that correct Lovelygreens ? Thank you .

      1. Hello lovelygreens oh yes it show white color pineberry I bought from eBay and it got fall off like brown and I reply to eBay and told me and other people too said it has to wait few years to get better fruit from those seeds grow take few years right or wrong just wondering thank you for reply .. Justin

  7. How do we prepare pineberries grown in a pot for winter? Do we leave them outside though the winter or leave them in the basement?

    1. It depends on your climate. In places with mild winters, they could stay outside year-round. If you get colder climates — freezing and/or snow — move them into a greenhouse, porch, or another place that’s protected. It must still have a little light though so a basement probably wouldn’t be ideal.

  8. Hi I bought bareroot pineberry and put soil and it grew fast plus got flower coming out BUT some pineberry coming out fruit small white and a week later become light brown or feel very soft like bad one. I had to pull out why bad fruit even smaller I didn’t overfeed water I feel inside soil it’s light wet not DRY what did I do wrong ??

    1. Hi Brett, pineberries need to be picked and eaten pretty quickly or they have a tendency to rot on the plant. It’s even more the case if you’ve had rain or cool weather around that time too. You’ve not done anything wrong, but just try to pick them before they have a chance to go off.

      1. Thanks for reply I did picked and throw out not eaten its very small not even ripe yet I supposed it must be cool weather and what kind soil should I put those pineberry ?

          1. Garden soil on its own is not nutrient-rich enough for growing vegetables or fruit. Plants need compost and the best way to apply it is as a layer spread on top of the soil (not dug in). An inch thick layer is perfect.

            1. So I had to do over take out and put only compost itself correct ? I am sorry I am not very smart to read thank you :) Brett

              1. OH Also when I put seeds and I read people saying it will get fruit start in 3 years ?? I just got fruit coming out but still coming bad I supposed wait 3 years to get better fruit ??? Brett

              2. Just spread a thin layer of garden compost over the soil at all times and around all of your fruit and veg. In this case, spread it around the plants that are already in the soil.

                1. I just took off and replace black velvet mushroom compost in it and it has Nutrients what you mention so bought those and replace it.

                  I hope I am doing good am I ?? I wish put attach picture here but you not have attach on my garden with greenhouse .. Let me know am I doing ok ?? Thank you again ..

                  1. Thank you one more which is best to leave on greenhouse during full sun or put backyard with my patio on shelf like 5 hrs full sun light or either both ok ?? That’s my final and thank you again .. Brett

                  2. Most strawberry plants, including pineberries, need at least eight hours of full sun per day so neither location will be ideal. I’d recommend that you look into berries and crops that don’t need as much sun. For example, alpine strawberries.

    1. Cross-pollination (of any plant) is only a worry if you want to collect seeds from fruit to grow new plants. In that case, the fruit of those NEW plants would be affected and the plants that grow from them would be a cross between the parents. Cross-pollination never affects how the fruit comes out on the original plant though.

  9. My pine berry plant is producing red strawberries… what happened? Was I sold a regular strawberry plant under false pretenses? Did some kind of cross pollination occur?

    1. I think you’ve got an ordinary red type as pineberry plants will always produce pineberries. There are a lot of disreputable sellers out there so be wary.

  10. I have never grown strawberries before until I saw some Pineberries on offer from a garden centre. I purchased some, & after a few weeks, I have flowers already. How do I tell, if they have been pollinated, so that I can protect them from birds & slugs by covering them in mesh. Thank you.

  11. Hi. I am desperately looking for pineberry bare roots to start my own pineberry garden. But I live in South Africa. Could you please advise how I can get some here.

    Kind regards, Wessel.

    1. I’d recommend speaking with a specialist nursery in your area. If they’re not yet readily available, a professional may be able to order some for you. Sorry, I can’t be of further help.

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