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How to grow Pineberries – White strawberries with a citrus kick

How to grow white strawberries, also known as ‘pineberries’. They’re similar to ordinary strawberries but white to blush-pink, and they have a citrusy kick.

This is the third year that I’ve grown white strawberries, made famous in Britain as the ‘Pineberries’ sold at Marks & Spencer. When they were first introduced you couldn’t beg, borrow, or steal plants and everyone wanted to grow them. Pineberries, Fragaria x ananassa, are special in that they grow in much the same way as ordinary strawberries except they produce small white berries instead of red. The berries also have a slightly citrusy flavor which is why they’re said to taste like a combination of strawberry and pineapple.

How to grow white strawberries, also known as 'Pineberries'

Getting Pineberry Plants

To get started I recommend that you get a hold of bare-root plants or even better, plants created from runners. I got mine from a friend since pineberries, like strawberry plants, freely throw out runners that create baby plants.

If you see Pineberry seeds for sale do not buy them. Pineberries cannot be grown true from their seeds because they’re a hybrid. If you try to grow from seeds, you’ll probably end up with an ordinary red strawberry plant. You can purchase pineberry plants both in the USA and UK

Pineberries grow well in both the garden and in pots

You’ll be happy to know that pineberries grow well in open ground as well as in containers. I have them growing in my allotment garden and in this DIY Strawberry Pallet Planter at home. Further tips on growing them include:

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  • Plant into rich soil that’s been supplemented with garden compost and/or composted manure
  • Plant no deeper than the top of the crown
  • Keep well watered
  • Mulch with straw or egg crates when the berries begin to form
  • Take precautions against slugs
  • Net the plants when the berries are forming to protect against birds and other animals
  • Feed the plants with a top dressing of composted manure in winter or early spring
  • Plants should be most productive their first three years. Afterwards, replace them with new ones.
How to grow white strawberries, also known as 'Pineberries'
Slug damage

A few more 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.

    • Pineberries are 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
    • Pineberries look best in food when used with another more colorful berry
    • Berries may not appear on the plant in the first year.
    • Birds may peck at the fruit so take precautions against them by netting your plants.
    • Enviromesh will also keep many insects off your plants but don’t put it on until you’re sure the flowers are pollinated.

How to grow white strawberries, also known as 'Pineberries'

30 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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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