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Everbearing, pink flowering ornamental Strawberry

The history of pink and red flowering ornamental strawberries

The pink flowering ornamental strawberries have come a long way. They originated about 40 years ago from an experimental cross between a pink flowering Potentilla variety and a strawberry; with Pink Panda, the first breakthrough came as a perennial (the berries had not really been noticed yet) and for the past 25 years, the Dutch company ABZ Breeding has done a fantastic job developing pink and red flowering ornamental strawberries. The big challenge in breeding pink and red blossoming gourmet strawberries is this: How do we bring the quality to the fruits? You just have to tell the truth: the quality was influenced from the first day by the Potentilla; the berries tasted like nothing, and in many varieties up until the recent present the fertility has also left much to be desired due to the fact that only a few flowers developed normally to fruits…Right here, at the fertility and the quality of the fruits, is exactly where Lubera® breeding steps in.

The goals when breeding ornamental strawberries at Lubera®

What are we trying to achieve at Lubera® when breeding Double Pleasures® ornamental strawberries? Even more fun, even more pleasure in breeding, which regularly degenerates into strawberry eating orgies? Yes, all of that! Essentially, however, the breeding of ornamental strawberries with gourmet fruits is aimed at the following goals:

1. More flavour. It is our goal to breed Double Pleasures® that are in no way inferior to our best home garden varieties such as Parfum® Eternal Love (Ewigi Liebi) or Parfum® Schweizerherz. Here we are on the right track, but the goal will not be reached for a while yet. While we are currently bringing the first varieties with good fruits to the market (well, ok, for the first time you have the feeling of harvesting berries from ornamental strawberries and eating them), we will already be tasting the fruits of the next two breeding generations and have found out that the progress will lead to an exceptionally good fruit quality. Lubera® also has the advantage that for more than 10 years we have been orienting our strawberry breeding to an exceptionally good fruit quality and to robustness in the home garden. In addition, old varieties and the European wild strawberries were bred in, which now simplifies and accelerates the improvement of quality in the Double Pleasures® ornamental strawberries.

2. More robust plants: While intensive crop protection is used when growing commercial strawberries, this is neither desirable nor possible in the garden. Home garden varieties simply have to be so robust that they can bring their maximum output and quality only with good cultivation measures and without having to spray the plants. We’ve been improving the strawberry’s robustness in our strawberry breeding for 15 years, and have laid a solid foundation on which we make the ornamental strawberries robust and undemanding garden plants.

3. More intensive and longer lasting flowering with a full yield at the same time. Many existing ornamental varieties only produce a few fully developed fruits in comparison to the fullness of the flowers, which we would like to improve. The flowering should be even more intense, even more persistent, but the yield should also get bigger.

4. The strawberry blossoms still have great potential; they can still get more beautiful. We goal is to produce semi-double flowers, attractively twisted single petals that are similar a pinwheel and we would like to have plants with flowers that are darker in the centre…

5. In midsummer, many of the existing ornamental varieties tend to give up and then recover only in autumn; the everbearing character can thus be improved. Either way, we breed only day-neutral, continuous flowering and everbearing gourmet strawberries for the Double Pleasures® series. One does not want the double pleasures only once, but preferably again and again.

Everbearing ornamental strawberries with gourmet fruits: which breeding methods do we use?

All Lubera® varieties come from classic combination breeding, meaning that they are vegetatively propagated and are not F1 hybrids. For the end consumer, above all, this has the not to be overestimated advantage that the breeding takes place exclusively under field conditions (and without crop protection) and thus a selection for resistance and plant health is constantly provided for, something which often comes short when breeding F1 hybrids in the greenhouse. The result of Lubera’s Double Pleasures® ornamental and gourmet strawberries is this: extremely robust varieties that continue to blossom with healthy leaves throughout the summer and also produce sweet fruits. Because that is of course also the claim: to be able to finally offer good fruit in addition to the beautiful and extremely intense pink flowers!

Most pink and red flowering ornamental strawberry varieties on the market to date are F1 hybrids, meaning they are propagated by seed and, in breeding, they have been produced in a very laborious process that initially establishes inbred lines that are then crossed with each other in order to obtain uniform seed. We have decided not to use this breeding method which by the way is also used in many tomato varieties. Instead, we try to achieve as diverse a seedling population as possible by crossing flower varieties with extremely good fruit varieties from our existing strawberry breeding programme, from which we then select the best individual plants, propagate them vegetatively, test them and then finally introduce them to the market.

In our opinion, this breeding method allows for more diversity and allows the entire breeding, selection and testing processes to be carried out in the field (without any crop protection), which supports the selection of healthy and extremely robust plants. On the other hand, hybrid breeding of seed-propagated F1 varieties is largely dependent on working in the greenhouse and under controlled conditions, which is not beneficial to plant health in the longer term. In our method, our variety candidates have been in the field since the young plant stage for 6-8 years; there the plants that are insufficiently robust and not healthy enough are reliably identified and will not be selected.

Planting and using the Double Pleasures® strawberries in the garden

From what has been said, it is clear that we breed our varieties also and especially for the garden; not only are they beautiful in hanging baskets when they come out of the nursery greenhouse, but they are (after a decade of breeding) accustomed to the open sky and the different weather conditions under field conditions.

The first two varieties are quite similar regarding their habit and use, as is the case with the upright and hanging types of pelargonium:

Double Pleasures® hanging Pink Wonder® is the perfect variety for hanging baskets, even for larger planters, where waterfall-like growth over a wall or similar structure is desired. The runners (stolons) that form start to bloom immediately. And even before the runners develop to their full length, the very long and vigorous flower stalks are already created, which then bend under the weight of the ripening fruits, opulently over the pot’s edge. Of course, the standing Pink Wonder variant can also be used as a ground cover or as a climbing strawberry. The latter, of course, only if the runners are regularly tied to a framework.

Double Pleasure® standing Pink Wonder is the finer version of the opulent hanging Pink Wonder; it is upright, but also grows more subtle and is suitable for the planting of smaller pots, for balcony boxes, for bed plantings and for small fruit hedges around a bed, etc.

When can Double Pleasures® be planted?

We offer our new ornamental strawberries with gourmet fruits as super strong plants in 12 cm pots. As such, they can actually be planted out all year round. In particular, the entire spring is ideal as a planting time; the initial advantage with the large pot helps the plant to grow and also to develop the first impressive flowers and fruits at the same time. We recommend being cautious when planting in the hottest period of summer in June; however from August to late autumn, the prospects for freshly planted Double Pleasures® are again excellent.

Fertilising Double Pleasures®

If you look at the overall performance of these everbearing ornamental strawberries with gourmet fruits, the performance requires some respect: always blooming, parallel fruiting, but also producing fresh flowers again – all of that requires a lot of energy. So it makes sense to fertilise these strawberries a bit better than conventional strawberry varieties. Whether planted in a pot or container you can work perfectly with slow-release fertiliser, whereby about 30 grams of long-term fertiliser (Frutilizer® Seasonal Fertiliser Plus) should be applied per 5 L of soil volume. Especially for the second half of the season, it may make sense to water the plant just like a balcony plant during the flowering period every two weeks with Frutilizer® Instant Bloom, a mineral salt fertiliser that is dissolved in water, simply to help the plant out with its strenuous job.

When planting in garden beds, we recommend using Frutilizer Compound Fertiliser Plus with an organic soil improver: in March, slightly mix in 100 g per m²; repeat in June/July with approx. 75 g.

Remove the first flowers from climbing and hanging strawberries

If you plant Double Pleasures® as a climbing or hanging strawberry, these plants immediately develop gigantic, very impressive flower stalks when they are planted in the spring. But due to the plant’s concentration on the flowers and fruits, the formation of runners starts late. So, if you want to get as close as possible to a hanging or climbing strawberry with runners that are as long as possible, it is helpful to remove the first set of flowers before they bloom, forcing the plant to form runners even faster.

How long can Double Pleasures® be used in the garden?

Basically, Double Pleasures® are also normal strawberries; as such they have a perennial character and can theoretically be grown in the garden for years. But you also have to visualise the high-performance character of the Double Pleasures® ornamental strawberries, which simply produce even more intense flowers and fruits than well-known everbearing varieties. As a result, the crown, the heart of the plant gets wider, its strength is distributed more and more to the flowers, fruits, leaves and runners, and of course the quality of the flowers and fruits then eventually decreases.

When grown in pots or containers, we recommend that you enjoy the plants for two seasons, that is, the planting season after the strawberries have been planted in the spring and then for another year. In the late winter of the first year, remove all of the runners and all of the old leaves, fertilise the plant (30 grams of slow-release fertiliser per 5 L of soil volume) and let nature’s miracle start again. In the second year, you can easily root some runners and thus gain more young plants, with which you can cross the crop for another two years. Then we recommend starting with new, virus-free plants from the nursery simply because they are much more vital and they allow you to be more successful during the growing season.

Long-term ground cover plants with everbearing Double Pleasures® strawberries

In the case of area plantings, of course, the aim is to enable longer-term growth. We recommend using a well laid out fertiliser a bit above the normal level, and to apply the fertiliser twice a year, i.e. in early spring and again in June/July. When using Frutilizer Compound Fertiliser Plus with the organic soil improver, we recommend applying 100 g per m² in the spring and another 75 g in June. If the strawberry plants weaken in the hottest period in June, they can also be systematically cut back, mulched and then fertilised. Healthy, fresh growth with many flowers will very quickly be the result. Also in the spring, all of the old runners (if they are not already rooted) and all of the old leaves should be removed. It is important that you ensure that the planting is rejuvenated by fresh, rooted runners, so that ultimately every two to three years, new plants are available. Well-positioned runners can simply be pushed a bit into the ground, and lo and behold, already two to four weeks later, a firmly rooted and self-nourishing plant has formed.

After five to eight years, the crop is very dense and the plants often start to weaken a bit. If you would like to continue to let them grow, we recommend that you systematically dig out and dispose of the oldest and widest plants in order to additionally renew the planting. In the resulting gap and planting holes fill a mixture of potting soil and garden soil from other garden areas where no strawberries have grown yet. This way, a strawberry bed can be kept vital for more than 10 years.

Strawberry ‘Pink Panda’

View this plant in a garden

Category:

Alpines and Rock Gardens

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Foliage:

Herbaceous

Foliage Color:

Unknown – Tell us

Height:

under 6 in. (15 cm)

Spacing:

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 °C (-30 °F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 °C (-25 °F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 °C (-20 °F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 °C (-15 °F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 °C (-10 °F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 °C (-5 °F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 °C (0 °F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 °C (5 °F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers

Danger:

Unknown – Tell us

Bloom Color:

Pink

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown – Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown – Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Patent expired

Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

Regional

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Alameda, California

Magalia, California

Clifton, Colorado

Pembroke, Massachusetts

Hopkins, Minnesota

Brooklyn, New York

Croton On Hudson, New York

Bend, Oregon

Corvallis, Oregon

Beaufort, South Carolina

San Antonio, Texas

CHIMACUM, Washington

Stanwood, Washington

show all

Pink Panda Strawberry flowers

Pink Panda Strawberry flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height: 6 inches

Spread: 18 inches

Sunlight:

Hardiness Zone: 3a

Other Names: Ornamental Strawberry

Ornamental Features

Pink Panda Strawberry has masses of beautiful hot pink daisy flowers with lemon yellow eyes along the stems from late spring to early summer, which are most effective when planted in groupings. It features an abundance of magnificent red berries from late spring to early fall. Its round compound leaves remain green in colour throughout the season.

Landscape Attributes

Pink Panda Strawberry is an open herbaceous perennial with a ground-hugging habit of growth. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other garden plants with less refined foliage.

This is a high maintenance plant that will require regular care and upkeep, and should not require much pruning, except when necessary, such as to remove dieback. It is a good choice for attracting birds to your yard, but is not particularly attractive to deer who tend to leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Spreading

Pink Panda Strawberry is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Border Edging
  • General Garden Use
  • Groundcover
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Pink Panda Strawberry will grow to be only 6 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 18 inches. It grows at a fast rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 10 years. This is a self-pollinating variety, so it doesn’t require a second plant nearby to set fruit.

This plant does best in full sun to partial shade. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. It is particular about its soil conditions, with a strong preference for rich, alkaline soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in both summer and winter to conserve soil moisture and protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America. It can be propagated by division; however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation.

Pink Panda Strawberry is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. Because of its spreading habit of growth, it is ideally suited for use as a ‘spiller’ in the ‘spiller-thriller-filler’ container combination; plant it near the edges where it can spill gracefully over the pot. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden. Be aware that in our climate, most plants cannot be expected to survive the winter if left in containers outdoors, and this plant is no exception. Contact our store for more information on how to protect it over the winter months.

Fragaria x ananassa ‘Pink Panda’ (Ornamental strawberry ‘Pink Panda’)

Botanical name

Fragaria x ananassa ‘Pink Panda’

Other names

Ornamental strawberry ‘Pink Panda’, Fragaria ‘Pink Panda’

Genus

Fragaria Fragaria

Variety or Cultivar

‘Pink Panda’ _ ‘Pink Panda’ is an ornamental groundcover with bright pink flowers with a yellow centre.

Foliage

Deciduous

Habit

Spreading

Awards

RHS AGM (Award of Garden Merit)

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Colour

Flower

Pink in Summer

Dark-green in Spring; Dark-green in Summer; Pale-yellow in Autumn

How to care

Watch out for

Pests

It is best to rotate crops to avoid pest and disease problems.

Specific pests

Aphids , Glasshouse red spider mite , Vine weevil , Woodlice

Specific diseases

Grey mould

General care

Pruning

If strawberries are planted in late summer, remove the flowers in the first year to encourage fruiting next year. After harvesting, remove old leaves with hand shears. Leave the crown and new leaves untouched to allow sunlight into the centre of the plant

Propagation

Peg down runners growing over the soil surface in summer. Leave attached to the mother plant until autumn. (5 runners at most) Cut new plants from the mother plant and plant out.

Propagation methods

Runners

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Where to grow

Fragaria x ananassa ‘Pink Panda’ (Ornamental strawberry ‘Pink Panda’) will reach a height of 0.5m and a spread of 0.5m after 1-2 years.

Suggested uses

Architectural, Cake decoration, Containers, Cottage/Informal, Flavouring food and drinks, Low Maintenance, Wildlife

Cultivation

Plant outdoors in summer for a crop the following summer. Plant the crown at soil level in fertile, moist but well-drained soil in full sun in a sheltered spot. Plant in rows with 30-45cm between plants and 75cm between rows. Or plant in a growing bag.

Soil type

Loamy, Sandy

Soil drainage

Moist but well-drained, Well-drained

Soil pH

Neutral

Light

Full Sun

Aspect

South, East, West

Exposure

Sheltered

UK hardiness Note: We are working to update our ratings. Thanks for your patience.

Hardy (H4)

USDA zones

Zone 8, Zone 7, Zone 6, Zone 5, Zone 4

Defra’s Risk register #1

Plant name

Fragaria x ananassa ‘Pink Panda’ (Ornamental strawberry ‘Pink Panda’)

Common pest name

grape ground pearl

Scientific pest name

Margarodes vitis

Type

Insect

Current status in UK

Absent

Likelihood to spread to UK (1 is very low – 5 is very high)

Impact (1 is very low – 5 is very high)

General biosecurity comments

Main pathway; Vitis spp. plants for planting; already prohibited. However; further consideration of other pathways is required.

Defra’s Risk register #2

Fragaria x ananassa ‘Pink Panda’ (Ornamental strawberry ‘Pink Panda’)

Xiphinema bakeri

Nematode

Absent

Nematode pest; could potentially affect trees and other species if introduced but many pathways regulated. No evidence of interceptions or findings to date.

Defra’s Risk register #3

Fragaria x ananassa ‘Pink Panda’ (Ornamental strawberry ‘Pink Panda’)

Australian grapevine yellows; Australian lucerne yellows; Australian yellows of grapevine

Candidatus Phytoplasma australiense’

Phytoplasma

Absent

Phytoplasma present in Australia and New Zealand which could be damaging to grapevine and strawberry production; in particular; if introduced to the UK. EU regulations help to mitigate the risk of entry.

About this section

Our plants are under greater threat than ever before. There is increasing movement of plants and other material traded from an increasing variety of sources. This increases the chances of exotic pests arriving with imported goods and travellers, as well as by natural means. Shoot is working with Defra to help members to do their part in preventing the introduction and spread of invasive risks.

Traveling or importing plants? Please read “Don’t risk it” advice here

Suspected outbreak?

Date updated: 7th March 2019 For more information visit: https://planthealthportal.defra.gov.uk/

Strawberry flowers are the means by which strawberry plants ultimately produce fruit. But, they are tremendously intricate. The basics of strawberry flowers will be briefly discussed here, including how they grow from strawberry plants and what to do with them (and when).

Origins of Strawberry Flowers

Strawberry flowers have an interesting life. Different types of strawberry plants produce them at different times. But, since the June-bearing strawberry has captured the hearts and minds of most gardeners who plant strawberry plants, its flowers will be the focus of this post.

June-bearing strawberries produce a single crop of strawberries over two to three weeks during the late spring or early summer (sometimes earlier), usually around June (see the Strawberry Varieties page for more details). Like most fruit, strawberries come from the delicate flowers that each strawberry plant produces. However, the small strawberry flowers that strut their stuff in the spring begin their life much earlier.

Strawberry flowers originate in the crowns of strawberry plants. Many months before the flowers emerge an grow upward, they begin their life as tiny flower buds within a strawberry plant. This bud formation is critical for next year’s crop and occurs after the harvest is completed. After harvest and renovation (see the Growing Strawberries page for more details), the flower buds begin to form toward the end of summer or early fall.

In order for the strawberry flowers to be generated as strawberry flower buds, the plant needs to continue to be well-tended. If water is not adequate during the period of strawberry flower bud formation, fewer buds will form. Consequently, the following spring’s harvest will be significantly reduced. If the strawberry plants are well-tended, the strawberry flower buds should form, go dormant during the winter, and then burst forth again in the spring. And, the more flowers there are, the more fruit you can harvest!

What Do You Do with Strawberry Flowers?

For June-bearing strawberries, special attention should be paid to the strawberry plant’s flowers. Generally, if you order strawberry plants online, they will be shipped to you in the spring. Once received, they should be planted as soon as possible. But, if they were bare-root strawberry plants or strawberry crowns only, it is going to take them some time to establish themselves.

The plants don’t realize this of course, and will try to produce strawberries by sending forth their flowers. This is not good for the plants or the harvest. The already-weakened plants need all the energy they can muster to take root and make a new home. If they expend the energy on berry production, they will not establish themselves well. This can compromise the plant’s future production as well. Additionally, since the just-shipped plants are weak anyway, they have less energy to devote to strawberry production. This results in smaller, puny strawberries in the same year you order and plant new strawberry plants.

The solution is to pinch off or cut off all flowers from every new strawberry plant for the first growing season, allowing the strawberry plants to root and grow without distraction. Simply check the plants once a week and remove any flowers you find. Most June-bearing strawberries will be completely done producing flowers sometime in July (usually early July). Although not specifically addressing day-neutral or everbearing strawberry varieties here, new plants of each of those types should have their blossoms removed until early July also. However, after July, any strawberry flowers that bloom can be left to develop into strawberries.

Strawberry Flower Variability

Strawberry flowers are not all identical. Different varieties have different numbers of petals and relative positions of their strawberry flowers. Some hybrid strawberry plants even have flowers that are pink or other colors. However, all strawberries have flowers. Most strawberry flowers will have 6 petals, but anywhere from 5 to 8 petals on a strawberry flower is not uncommon.

There is also variability among strawberry plants when it comes to the position of the strawberry flowers in relation to the foliage. It is very common for the level of the strawberry flower to be even with the foliage or exposed by protruding past the foliage. It is relatively uncommon for the flowers to be below leaf level. Of course, once the heavy strawberries begin to form and ripen, their weight pulls them to closer to the ground.

Protecting Strawberry Flowers

The flowers of strawberries need particular attention during two time periods. First, they need extra care during the formation of strawberry flower buds. As mentioned above, the strawberry plants need an attentive gardener to ensure that conditions are optimal for bud formation. Good care during strawberry flower bud formation yields better harvests the next year.

Strawberry flowers also need protection in the spring. Strawberry flowers are rather delicate and can succumb to frosts. So, special attention should be given to the weather forecast so that the strawberry plants and flowers can be protected from the cold.

Strawberry Flowers: Conclusion

The strawberry flower is a small wonder that turns into a wonderful delight by June. Without strawberry flowers, there would be no strawberries, so be sure to care for yours! You’ll reap the benefits of your vigilance. For more information on strawberry plants, visit the Strawberry Plant page.

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