Over the course of the years, I have had several people ask me this question, or a version of it: “If you plant a strawberry top, will it grow a strawberry?” This year, however, I have received a noticeable increase in the number of curious questioners hoping to make good on the part of the strawberry most commonly used as a grip while the rest of the fruit is gnawed in happy contentment. After all, the little bit of white flesh left under the calyx and stem isn’t good for much other than, perhaps, making a bit of strawberry water. I don’t know why the curiosity has spiked, but it is a valid question. Since curious minds want to know…
So, Will a Strawberry Top Grow a Strawberry If You Plant It?
In a word, no. It won’t. I think the popularity of fresh pineapples and the spread of information has led to this question being asked more and more often. Since you can take the spiky part of a pineapple and plant it and watch a new pineapple plant grow from the top, doesn’t it beg the question of the existence of other fruits with such talents? Unfortunately, pineapples are in the minority. Strawberries are quite unique, but they can’t propagate in the same way that a pineapple can.
The calyx and vegetative material that sits atop the humble strawberry like a fancy cap is not good for much, other than to attach the strawberry to the plant that is feeding and maturing it. If the top of the strawberry is cut off and planted, it will rot within days. Strawberry plants can’t propagate, but they can multiple in a number of ways. They can grow from seeds; they can reproduce by clonal runners; and they can reproduce by rhizomal division of the crown.