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5.6.10

How to Pollinate Strawberry Plants

Strawberries are self-fertile. Strawberry plants will pollinate themselves, but they usually need the assistance of wind or pollinators, such as bees, to do the work of transferring the pollen from the stamens, the male parts of the flowers, to the stigma, the female part of the flower. Once you can identify the stamen you'll be on your way to learning how to pollinate your strawberry plants.

This year has seen a dramatic decrease in honeybees visiting my ornamental garden, which is causing me to worry about the vegetables and herbs I'm growing that rely on pollinators like bees on the balcony garden. My strawberry plants began to bloom in the container garden and the lack of bees has meant that I've had a lot of strawberry blooms to go waste. They've opened and withered without setting fruit, until I stepped in and act as the pollinator.

how to pollinate strawberry plants. Strawberry flower


Strawberry flowers are about in inch in diameter with five white petals and a yellow center that contains the reproductive parts of the flower. The stamens are the male parts of the flower. They're comprised of a filament and an anther. The filament is the stem that holds up the pollen sack known as the anther.


To pollinate the strawberry flower we just need to transfer the pollen from the stamens to the center. You can dab a small paint brush on the pollen and transfer it that way. Since my strawberry plants are being grown close together in containers I can usually just rub two of the flowers together in the morning to transfer the pollen.

pollinating strawberry flowers on a strawberry plant


By the next morning the white petals have begun to fade and fall off and the sepals start to curl inward.

how to pollinate strawberry flowers


This is a sign that the flower has been pollinated and the aggregate fruit is beginning to form.

growing strawberries in an urban garden


Here you can observe two of the strawberry fruits forming, the smaller one is at about three days and the larger one at about seven days after being pollinated. Not long now until I'm eating my own delicious homegrown strawberries. If you've never grown strawberries before I highly recommend you plant some of them in your garden.

Being an urban farmer is hard work, you even end up doing the work of bees.

10 comments:

  1. Just bought a strawberry plant today- this was very informative! I have seen some bees this year, but not alot lately :/
    Hoping next year to try a strawberry patch.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm sorry about the lack of bees. There seem to be less of them in our garden too so far this year. Homegrown strawberries are so delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  3. No lack of honeybees or any other pollinators, and no lack of wind either, but I found this to be fascinating all the same!

    We've had two pickings from our strawberry patch so far. I LOVE strawberries!

    ReplyDelete
  4. If it is becoming a real problem you should look into mason bees. Some interesting differences between mason and honey bees; mason bees are native, better polinators, and less agressive. You can buy them through organic supply stores. One online source is Peaceful Valley. Heres a link if you curious.

    http://groworganic.com/search.html?pCommand=DoSearch&pMode=Search&sText=mason%20bees&sCategory=catalog

    ReplyDelete
  5. I just realized something: I don't have strawberries any more because the area where they were growing is now too shady. I wonder whether Coleman's (local cheap good nursery/market) still has some plants. If the bees let me down, I can take care of beesiness myself!

    ReplyDelete
  6. thanks for the pollinating tip! So far no trouble in my garden but it's best to be prepared...

    ReplyDelete
  7. Tannawings,

    Good luck with your strawberry plant and hope you get that patch, although they're easy to grow in pots too.

    Garden Girl,

    Right? I'm wishing I had grown more of them from seed so I could have even more. Maybe I'll break down and buy some more to add as the season wears on.

    Kylee,

    You're lucky on multiple fronts. :0)

    Nathan,

    I thought about buying some mason bees because they're my favorite, but the price for them is kinda crazy. Although, I have thought about building a bee box so that the native bees that come around on their own will stay around longer.

    Monica,
    Get yourself some plants!

    Mary,
    You're welcomed. Yeah, knowing how to pollinate is always a good thing. Even if you just do it for fun.

    ReplyDelete
  8. In Richmond, BC, Canada i seem to have at least a dozen different kinds of bees and wasps. If you are short in your area, I'd suggest trying to improve the environment for them - put bee houses up and plant things like Bee Balm (monardo) and other flowers around and throughout your garden.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you for a wonderful post! I am also a balcony gardener and this year I've been having tons of trouble with my strawberries. My tomatoes and cucumbers all go from blossom to fruit, but the strawberry flowers end up as black numbs after the petals fall off - they never go to fruit. For the last week I've been trying to pollinate the flowers with an artist's brush but you know, none of my flowers have the pronounced stamen part shown in your pictures. I have an everbearing plant so would it be pollinated differently? Looking forward to reading more of your site!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Dang, this may have just saved my plants from being fruitless, sir. I was wondering when the polinators may come to my plants, but with so few (6 only, and 2 are small) of mine, and so many other large flowers around my apartments (hundreds of apartment-planted plants with flowers), there isn't any wonder they haven't found my tiny strawberry flowers to pollinate! Read this article and pollinated 4 flowers right after, hopefully that did the trick. Thank you for the guide, I owe you one!

    ReplyDelete

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