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Sex Life of Strawberries

by | May 14, 2019 | Bugs & Buggers, Food, GARDENING, Greenhouse | 0 comments

Are you wishing for pretty and tasty strawberries in your garden? If so, you need bugs and wind and maybe a little luck. Improperly pollinated strawberries have crooked or only half-formed berries. In other words the kind of berries you don’t see at the store.

Properly formed strawberries, grown in your garden or greenhouse, are the target and the goal. How can you reach this goal? Encourage pollinators and help the berries along.

Strawberries are starting to bloom in the greenhouse and outside. Good thing is they are easily pollinated by wind, bugs and beetles. They won’t need bees alone to set fruit.


Fruit are ripening up evenly in my greenhouse with only a few  lumpy-bumpy shapes – the way  they get when they are only partially pollinated. I guess we have enough bugs crawling in and around them to keep the flowers evenly pollinated. When a berry is only partially pollinated it is crooked or lopsided – like the one on the left.

I am growing strawberries in my greenhouse and I was wondering if they would grow properly. And the answer is YES! The beetles, already living in my greenhouse, as well as the occasional fly and wasp really help me out. Occasionally I use a paint brush and transfer pollen from one flower to the other and sometimes I get a distorted berry. But overall I am happy with the sex life of my berries. They are doing their job attracting pollinators and I am doing my job of eating them, dividing the plants and sharing them with friends.

The first berries picked indoors were not as evenly pollinated as they are now but the shininess indicates they are nutrient dense and good for me. Yummy.


Flowers with plenty of pollen like the annual alyssum attract beneficial bugs who in turn pollinate the berries. Built in pest control and even pollination…. a perfect pairing.


New Varieties:

I received a package of five Pineberries in the mail from T & T seeds earlier this month and the plants were pale yellow and scrawny. I immediately potted them up and within a few days the plants are greening up. These are supposed to have white fruit and red seeds and taste like pineapple. I knew I needed them as soon as I saw them offered for sale. Not available in Canada until the last  few years so this is an exciting new taste for me (available 2010 in the US according to Wikipedia)

Delizz Grown From Seed

Last spring I ordered seed of the new-to-me Delizz Strawberry from William Dam Seeds. The seed was very tiny, it arrived late and it was slow to germinate. By fall, I wondered if the plants were still too small to plant outside so I left some in the greenhouse and overwintered them there. These few plants produced super early berries on April 28 this year. The leaves are so large compared to the leaves of my other varieties like Tristar, Eversweet and Hecker day neutral berries. Delizz have continued to bloom so I will be watching them and doing taste tests later in the summer when the other berries produce fruit. Meanwhile I started the rest of the seed packet I had ordered last year and will see how those manage in grow bags (root pouches) outdoors like my other strawberries.

The leaves on the Delizz strawberry, started from seed and planted both in my greenhouse and now outside are huge compared to all my other varieties.

Berries Outdoors:

If the climate is up and down with cold and hot spells the insects might not be as regular as you wish they were. This is why, in early summer, the fruit is often a bit misshapen on homegrown berries. Not to worry. As the mild weather returns, the berries will once again even out and look more like store-bought berries (just in case that is what you want.)

But as gardeners we know the truth of it. The better the sex life of strawberries, the better the berries. So draw in the bugs, help out your plants where needed and in turn you can eat the most luscious, delicious fruits in the ‘hood.



PS Do you have questions about Gardening? Join in the conversation on my facebook live event every Monday by clicking right HERE.


 Donna Balzer is the Brand Ambassador for BCGreenhouse Builders and she has two greenhouses in her big backyard.

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