White Soul Strawberries

Our white strawberry variety, White Soul, began its journey on Aug 29 2015.  Their taste profile was described as “intensely sweet” and “vanilla” !

True white strawberries belonged to 2 groups only  – (Gardening Know How dot com)

  1. Alpine (Fragaria Vesca, originated in Europe)
  2. Beach (Fragaria Chiloensis, originated in Chile, also known as South American or coastal strawberries)

Both the alpine and beach strawberries are wild species.

White strawberries are white because they lacked the protein FRA a1 which made red strawberries red. People who are allergic to red strawberries have no problems eating white strawberries because of the absence of this protein.

I found  reading on white strawberries simply fascinating and wanted to grow them myself and hopefully , sample the fruits of my labor soon! 🙂

After waiting 6 months for the seeds, my White Soul finally arrived and they were frozen overnight for direct sowing on moist soil on August 23 2015.

Germination time was very fast, only 6 days.

Germinated White Soul Strawberry seeds

August 29 2015 – White Soul strawberries has germinated !

Experiment 2 – Wanted to test if seeds frozen for over a month will improve its germination time, in the second batch.

White Soul Strawberry seeds germinated

Oct 21 2015 – White Soul germinated in 5 days (start Oct 16) after freezing seeds for over a month.

Conclusion – It made only one day difference in germination rate for seeds frozen overnight or one month.

Example of a white variety of strawberry sold in Isetan on January 8 2016. Fifteen pieces of gourmet white strawberries from Japan cost Singapore dollars almost $200!

Photo : Joyce Ho, January 8, in Isetan (Japanese Supermarket)

Photo : Joyce Ho

Common varieties of Wild Alpine White strawberries are the following –

  1. Krem
  2. Pineapple Crush
  3. White Delight
  4. White Giant
  5. White Solemacher
  6. White Soul

White Strawberries’ common taste profile are pineapple and strawberry with some variants of vanilla, rose, grapes and caramel (!!) depending on the strains. These are definitely worth growing! 🙂 From our first harvest experience, we knew fresh home grown strawberries to be intensely flavorful and sweet, growing these varieties would be akin to growing a plant full of multi-flavored jelly beans!!!

As it was not stated on the Isetan White strawberries, one cannot tell if its the true wild or hybrid white strawberries. A much well known and sought after white hybrid variety is Pineberry (white flesh, red seeds), a cross between Fragaria and Ananassa varieties. This cannot be grown from seeds, as Pineberry is a cultivated hybrid, thus please do not buy pineberry seeds online.

My observations on White Soul –  

  1. Seedlings were very small.
White Soul strawberry babies

September 18 2015 -White Soul strawberries seedlings were 20 days old

2. Roots are frail and delicate, not easy to transplant.

Growing White Soul strawberries from seeds

Oct 20 2015 – White Soul strawberries are 52 days old

It would be very difficult to transplant them if I had no prior experience growing strawberries!

White Soul strawberries roots

Oct 25 2015 – Look how delicate the White Soul strawberry seedling and roots are!

Most of the white soul strawberries seedlings were transplanted into its individual bottles. I really do not want to transplant them too often!

White Soul strawberry seedling in individual pot

Oct 25 2015 – Painstaking work to transplant these White strawberries into individual pots!

3. Seedlings had low survival rate, more than half my 50 seedlings died after transplant 🙁

White Soul strawberry seedlings died

Nov 2015 – Dying White Soul strawberry seedlings

4.  For those that survived, they grew very slowly 🙂

White Soul Strawberry seedling

Nov 10 2015 – 3 months old White Soul strawberries are small compared to other strawberry varieties!

5. Hardier plants from the 4th month. Survival rate is very good from this point.

White Soul strawberry seedling at 4th month

January 7 2016 – White Soul seedling are slightly over 4 months old

White Soul Strawberry at 18 weeks old

Jan 18 2016 – White Soul strawberry seedling is 4 inches tall!

White Soul strawberry crown

January 28 2016 – White Soul strawberry seedling had an emerging crown

White Soul strawberry developing a crown

Jan 28 2016 – Most varieties of strawberries developed a crown by the 4th month

Growing White Soul strawberries indoors

Jan 28 2016 – White Soul strawberries are growing taller

Growing White Soul Strawberry

March 5 2016 – Almost 8 months and no flowers yet! 🙁

Grow White strawberries

March 6 2016 – Cupped leaves on this white strawberry plant. Cannot figure out the ‘why’ yet. Grown in grow bag with loose coco peat soil and compost.

March 10 2016 – First flower bud 🙂

White strawberry from seed

After 8 long months, finally the first white strawberry ‘s flower bud appeared!

Growing white strawberry

March 12 2016 – White strawberry’s flower

Self pollinating strawberry flowers

March 18 2016 – Human bee Summer pollinating strawberry flower again 🙂

White Strawberries

First set of flowers did not made it!

White strawberries

April 10 2016 – More tiny flowers and fruits !

Outdoor Trials – Bright Corridor

Even though this variety thrived in USA Zone 4 – 8, I wanted to see how they grow in our natural environment without air-conditioning. Thus 10 plants in 3 batches were planted in my 60L compost pot in my bright corridor.

From this pioneer batch, only one survived today (March 8 2016), however I learned how to adjust the pot environment to enable them to survive in Singapore without air-conditioning! 🙂

Outdoor Trial began on January 18 2016.

White Soul strawberries tested in outdoors trials

Jan 18 2016 – First batch of 3 months old White Soul strawberry seedlings grown outdoors

White Souls in a 60L corridor compost pot, Jan 18 2016

White Souls in a 60L corridor compost pot, Jan 18 2016

Ice and ice bottles to cool soil where air-conditioning is not available

Ice and ice bottles to cool soil where air-conditioning is not available

white strawberry

Sole surviving white strawberry in corridor pot, finally learned how to grow them without air-con!

As the weather became warmer in Singapore, more adjustments were made in our corridor pots 🙂

Tropical care for strawberry plants

March 18 2016 – Frost arrived in our corridor strawberry pots

May 2016 – Corridor trails without air-conditioning, sun, and shelter from rain, were a total failure. All 30 plants died ! White Soul strawberries seem to need air-conditioning and a cooler climate/environment to thrive. Luckily for our studies, Regina Fok, who is based in USA, will germinate her seeds to help us test this theory.

White Strawberries

April 6 2016 – White Strawberries in air-conditioned library where I read and wrote blog’s posts!

After the post of Hydroponics Strawberries was written, I decided to experiment with half hydroponic/half soil method on the white strawberries. This was more a pragmatic decision rather than a zest to experiment with hydroponics! 🙂 The roots of some plants had already outgrew their pots and transplanting flowering white strawberries was too risky. White Strawberries as we already learned during the seedlings stage, did not like to move! :

White Strawberries

Roots finding purchase outside my pot!

Net the bottom of the pot to prevent more soil erosion and the pot is sitting on an old steamer’s tray instead of resting fully in the nutrients solution. I needed to see how these plants react to the nutrients solution first before I changed them over totally!

White Strawberries

April 2 2016 -Testing pot of soil based white strawberries on nutrients solutions

White Strawberries

April 4 2016 – White pot of soil based flowering white strawberries and fully hydroponics from soil based (cups) survived! Air pump added for aeration in the tray as well.

I am not ambitious for this variety. I knew with my limited resources (example: cannot afford to keep the air chilled all day long) , I cannot grow them as well as they could be as  they were a Zone 4 – 8 variety! Likely they needed the chill factor to thrive.

But,hey! They did survive to flower and I can only hope to see ONE fruit to make my day! More of course, would be better but lets just keep our fingers crossed! 🙂

Comparative data from USA Regina Fok will collect data on white soul’s journey in cooler USA zone for us 🙂 Thank you, Regina!!

Grow white strawberries from seeds

April 8 2016 – About 9 days to germinate and almost all seeds are viable. (Same as Singapore based data)

White Soul strawberries from seeds

May 21 2016 – Regina Fok’s white soul strawberries are 2 months old. Small seedlings (same as our Singapore based data)

 

White Soul Strawberry Summary –

  1. Perennial plant
  2. Heavy feeder, need Phosphorous and Potassium like most strawberries
  3. Minimum 6 hours light, prefers shade over full sun
  4. Minimum soil temperature is 15 degree Celsius
  5. Well drained loamy soil
  6. Moderate watering, preferred drip irrigation
  7. Temperature not above 29 degree Celsius (not suitable to be grown outdoors in our tropical heat)
  8. Mature plants are 6 – 8 inches tall, Width 10 – 12 inches across
  9. Suitable for USA zone 4 – 8 (For reference, Singapore is Zone 14 – 15). That’s why, this variety is very challenging with my limited resources! 🙁

 

As there is not much information available on white soul strawberries in our tropical zone, we are hoping to record more data as we grow them in our blog. 🙂

White strawberries are a challenge to grow in tropical zone, but if we don’t at least try to cultivate them here, there is no chance to taste these great tasting fruits!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “White Soul Strawberries

  1. WHOAA!! white strawberry from japan available in SG? that’s rare. you should (oh no, you must) take the seeds. have you ever try to grow garden strawberry (fragaria x ananassa) from seeds before?

    • HI,

      White Soul was not successful. This variety was from the States. We succeeded with the Heirloom Pineapple strawberries, yellow color. And yes, seeds from them are viable. Their seedlings are acclimatized to SG weather. We are hopeful that this new generation will begin Singapore’s alpine strawberries gardening. Yes, last year we grown and harvested red strawberries variety.

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