Pineberries are actually a type of strawberries, but their name comes from their pine-apple flavor. They have white flesh and red seeds, which is a ‘reverted look’ of the regular strawberries.
Pineberries are a new star in the green market for the time being, but they are actually just an “improved version” of the original South-American strawberry, highlighting its pineapple flavor.
Stop being wary of GMOs: neither the flavor nor the color of the pineberry comes from genetic modification. The genus Fragaria chiloensis (the South-American strawberry, native to the Chile region), were always white in color with just a touch of the lightest pink hue.
Probably the best way to get started with pineberries is get real pineberry starts. But don’t get misled by people selling pineberry seed. Better yet, ignore the black and blue strawberry seeds! You can’t start pineberry plants from these seeds.
The pineberry is a traditionally-created cross between 2 distinctly-different types of strawberries, or the so-called hybrid type, which can never truly reproduce from seed. Perhaps on a rare occasion, but one cannot count on it.
Growing pineberries from seed will give you an assorted lot. The majority of your seedlings will be the U.S. native Fragaria virginiana type, and the Chilean strawberry, Fragaria chiloensis type.
The fruits in the image above are white alpine strawberries, Frageria vesca var. albocarpa, and they look like pineberries, but, in fact, are not real pineberries. Do you see their white seeds?
They are also much smaller fruits, and look to be about the size of a dime when ripe. The variety known as Anablanca falls into the F. vesca type. One advantage of this white berry bearing type is that it will produce fruit in partial sun outdoors, meaning that you can get a harvest with less than full sun power. But, as with all crops grown indoors, the stronger the light, the heavier your harvest will be.
Indeed, true pineberry fruits are larger, they are about the size of a U.S. quarter coin, but there are 3 different pineberry varieties.
The one known as White D has a bit larger fruit than the other two varieties, named White and White Carolina.
You can get pineberry plants from mail-order seed houses in both the UK and the U.S. Stock is generally available for fall season shipping, so at the moment is the perfect time to secure your initial ‘mother plants.’
Because these plants are still a novelty to the gardening world, you might think that the price of 3 bare-root starter plants is ridiculous. Part of this higher pricing is due to the plant’s novelty, but the price is not that bad considering you will be able to start new plants ‘by the boatload’ once your first crop begins shooting out runners.
In fact, unless you commit some ‘inexcusable grower’s sin’ in the eyes of these rugged plants – you will never have to put in another money for successive pineberry crop harvests. So, it is really an affordable investment in fresh deliciousness for many upcoming years.
Growing pineberries – The strawberries that taste like pineapple
Pineberries are ever-bearing strawberries. This reads that you will have an almost continuous supply of this refreshing fruit. However, it has been noted that they will stop bearing if the heat index soars.
So, if you’re going to grow them outdoors, it is something to conscious of, as is the need to mulch the crowns with straw or grass clippings for winter to protect them from excessively low temperatures.
For indoors pineberry growing, you can use traditional pot-growing methods, but be sure they have good drainage as all strawberry plants are notorious for root and crown rot in conditions that are too wet them. If you discover belatedly that you have mistaken in gauging the potting mix’s drainage capacities, you might still be able to save the crop.
Once I ordered strawberry starts, but they arrived long before it was safe to plant them outdoors. So, they got forgotten in the back of the refrigerator, and by the time I found them they were rotting and growing mold.
However, I decided to plant them anyway… And guess what – they still grew! So, when planting, even the biggest mistakes are correctable.
You can use both hydroponic and aeroponic methods to grow strawberries, so pineberries are the perfect crop for a tower or a vertical garden. They are low-growing plants whose fruits hang down, making them a great choice for growing overhead too. They will prefer cooler room temperatures, so keep the environment at about 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit).
You need your soil pH at 6.0-6.5, and an EC of 2-3 ms. Give the plants 5-6 inches spacing – they will suffocate when crowded. They also need 10-12 hours of daylight and low humidity. And keep in mind that runners root well right after fruiting.
If it happens that you miss out on the shipping season, most of these places will have offer-able new stock for spring. So, you can place your order in mid-winter as well to secure your pineberry plants before they sell out again. The bad news is that finding them in huge supply won’t be possible for years, hence the price they “direct” in the markets will remain high for a pint of these berries.
Remember: Pineberries are not rare fruits. They are just in short supply for the time being.
SHARE IT PLEASE WITH ANYONE INTERESTED IN GROWING THESE BERRIES