Pineberries don’t come from pine trees, they’re actually pineapple flavored strawberries!
Other than their unique flavor, these little fruits have the distinctive appearance of a white to light pink skin and dark pink seeds.
Although these berries are reminiscent of the naturally-occurring Alpine strawberry (which has green or white seeds), pineberries are produced by the crossbreeding of the North American native Fragaria virginiana, and the Chilean strawberry, Fragaria chiloensis. The Chilean variety is the ancestor of the strawberry we all know and love (1).
Also called Fragaria x ananassa, pineberries aren’t genetically modified in a lab (2). Instead, they’re the result of the cross-pollination of different strawberry varieties. In fact, in order for pineberries to bear fruit, they have to be cross-pollinated with North American berries. It took 6 years for Dutch farmers to select and cultivate these plants before they developed the perfect variety.
Other than being paler, the berries are a bunch smaller in size and the plants also yield less fruit. They can be hard to find at the grocery store, so you may have to grow them at home.
How To Grow Your Own
As a hybrid plant, pineberry shrubs don’t always turn out right when grown straight from the seed, so it’s best to buy the full plant or the roots from a reputable gardener (3). There will be a list of gardeners at the end of this post.
When looking for pineberry plants, opt for varieties such as ‘White D,’ ‘White Carolina’ and ‘White Pineberry’. Just a warning, though, purple pineberry is a variety of cannabis, so make not to buy it by mistake!
Here’re a few tips on how to grow them at home :
- At first, keep your plant in its original pot. Strawberries require soil of a certain acidity, so it’s best to let them perk up and readjust to their new environment for their first season after purchase.
- Pineberries tend to thrive in USDA zones 4-8, but you can grow them in greenhouses in other zones as long as they’re protected from extreme temperatures. They actually prefer partial sun, so make sure to keep them in an area that receives either morning or afternoon light. Full sun isn’t bad, but it’ll give the fruit a bluish-pink hue.
- Like most berries, pineberries are prone to fungus, so keep them in a well-draining pot and use natural fungicides as needed. They can also be grown using hydroponic and aeroponic methods.
- The plants typically bear fruit for 5 weeks from early May to mid-June. For best results, keep one regular strawberry plant for every 4 pineberries to ensure proper pollination.
The plants are a bit expensive to purchase compared to conventional strawberries, but you can divide them up as they get stronger. They’ll also produce shoots that can eventually lead to new plants.
If you’re really interested in growing them at home, find out more information here.
If you live in North America, you can buy pineberry plants here:
- Hirt’s Gardens
- Direct Gardening
- Nourse Farms
- Burgess Seed & Plant Co.
- Park Seed Co.
- Territorial Seed Co.
- Kelly Nurseries
- Exciting Gardens
- Hartmann’s Plant Co.
- Stark Bros.