3 Main Types of Strawberries
Strawberries are a highly nutritious fruit, beloved for their bright red color, delicious flavor, and juicy texture. Enjoy them fresh as a snack, or use them to make smoothies or jams. They also play well with flavors like chocolate, cream cheese, and nuts, especially when baked into cakes or pies!
Their sweet and slightly acidic flavor makes them irresistible in a vast number of uses — yet homegrown strawberries plucked fresh off the vine are the best tasting. Consider growing your own strawberries in your home garden for the largest, sweetest strawberries! This guide to the main types of strawberries will help you choose which kind is best for your garden.
What Is A Strawberry?
Easy to cultivate and adaptable to many climates, strawberries make an eye-catching addition to any type of garden. But what is a strawberry in more technical terms? Despite its name, the strawberry is not actually a berry but an ‘accessory aggregate’ fruit. This means that each small seed found on the surface of the fruit is an ovary containing a single seed. Strawberries are also a type of “multiple fruit,” meaning they don’t belong to just one species but rather are a hybrid fruit of the Fragaria genus. Also, strawberries are a type of low-growing perennial in many climates, perfect to use as ground cover.
Differences Between Types of Strawberries
The three main types of strawberries are June-bearing, ever-bearing, and day-neutral. In order to pick the right type of strawberry for your gardening purposes, it’s crucial to understand the differences between them first. Each strawberry category varies by the amount of fruit production, hardiness, size, flavor, light sensitivity, disease resistance, and runner output. However, the primary differentiating factor is the time of bearing. As we take a more detailed look at each of the three main types of strawberries, we’ll also note a couple of recommended varieties.
As the name suggests, June-bearing strawberries typically bear fruit during a two- to three-week period around the month of June, give or take, depending on your zone. This timing is due to their greater light sensitivity, as they prefer the shorter days of sunlight at the beginning of the spring season.
June-bearing varieties will thus produce one crop in spring and generally fall silent for the rest of the summer. However, the crop tends to be high both in volume and size – you’ll harvest a vast amount of very large strawberries. For this reason, June-bearing varieties could be a good option for those wanting a single large crop with which to make fruit preserves.
If you’re interested in planting June-bearing strawberries, the Sparkle variety will steer you right. They are considered relatively easy to grow and are thus a solid choice for beginners. Not only this but they are also known to be a somewhat sweeter and brighter variety than most. This type of strawberry is one of the best for processing into jams, jellies, and pie filling. Plus, it produces a high number of runners – many of which you’ll have to cut back – but it ensures a massive crop.
Unlike their June-bearing cousins, ever-bearing strawberry plants produce multiple crops across the summer. Generally, they fruit three times: in early summer, midsummer, and late summer. This difference is due to the fact that ever-bearing strawberries love lots of sunlight. They typically start blooming during the longest days of the year, when they are receiving up to 12 hours of daylight.
The berries will be smaller than the June-bearing varieties, but your crop will be much more spread out. Ever-bearing strawberries could be the right choice for those wanting to cook with and snack on fresh fruit throughout the spring and summer seasons.
One highly recommended variety of ever-bearing strawberries is the Ozark Beauty. These plants produce some especially large, red, and sweet strawberries for an ever-bearing variety. In addition, they’re known to be much hardier than other varieties in the ever-bearing category. Their cold resistance allows them to fruit in plentiful numbers from early spring through the summer and into autumn up until the first frost. If you live in a colder climate or love the idea of such a long harvest season, Ozark Beauty strawberries may be for you!
Last but not least, day-neutral strawberries are an interesting combination of the other two. This type thrives well during both the long and short days of spring and summer. Their sunlight requirement covers a much wider part of the spectrum. As a result, sunlight sensitivity is less relevant to their output.
Similar to ever-bearing strawberries, day-neutral varieties generally fruit three times in early, mid, and late summer. They also tend to be much hardier than either of the other two main types. For these reasons, day-neutral strawberries make an excellent choice for beginners or gardeners living in a more unpredictable climate.
Regarding day-neutral varieties, the Seascape strawberry is one to highlight. Its adaptability to northern climates, which generally have a shorter and cooler warm season, makes it stand out from other varieties. Seascape strawberry plants produce a lower yield than June-bearing or ever-bearing varieties. Still, they are more productive than other day-neutral varieties. What they may lack in yield is made up for in flavor. Their large, firm berries are some of the best-tasting ones of any kind. Seascape strawberries are a fantastic all-around option and should be a top contender for gardeners in zones 4 to 7.
While June-bearing strawberries produce abundant crops in the spring, ever-bearing strawberries produce multiple crops throughout the summer and fall. Meanwhile, day-neutral varieties are unique for their heat tolerance and extended season, though yields may not be as large. By understanding how each variety differs in planting and care requirements, you can determine which type of strawberry best suits your gardening style and goals. Finally, you can look forward to strawberries sweeter than anything you’ll find at a store, plus fruit preserves to last all winter!