White strawberries that taste like pineapple
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 slight citrusy flavour which is why they’re said to taste like a combination of strawberry and pineapple.
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.
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:
- 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.
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 colourful 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.