Strawberries are easy to recognize, but there are many misconceptions about how they exactly grow. Do strawberries grow on trees, bushes, or vines? This guide attempts to clarify the identity of the strawberry plant to help gardeners know what to expect.
There are several fruits that grow on trees: oranges, apples, coconuts, and mangoes, to name a few. However, strawberries are not part of the list. The erroneous belief that strawberries grow on trees might be caused in part by the existence of the strawberry tree or Arbutus unedo.
You see, the strawberry tree doesn’t actually grow any of the strawberries you’re familiar with. These do develop small red fruits, but the berries are similar to the real strawberries in color alone. If you spot these trees—particularly in USDA hardiness zones 8 to 11—it’d be best to look closely.
Perhaps strawberries are grown on bushes if not on trees. After all, they grow above the ground. But unlike bushes such as oakleaf hydrangea and rhododendron, a strawberry plant doesn’t have woody stems that remain upright. So it technically isn’t a bush.
Still, it’s not wrong to state that strawberry bushes exist. The issue is that these are similar to the so-called strawberry trees in that they do not bear strawberries. Instead, the strawberry bush or Euonymus americanus grows five-lobed crimson red fruits about 0.75 inches in diameter in fall.
While it’s true that you can find strawberries on trellises, they do not grow on vines. What they have are runners — stems that develop horizontally and grow buds on their end tips. In time, these buds grow into new strawberry plants.
Furthermore, the growth pattern of strawberry plants differs from real vine plants like wisteria and bougainvillea. Strawberries only develop long stems for reproductive purposes while vines do so on a regular basis.
So what do strawberries grow on? Most of them have runners — not vines, bushes, or trees. Some varieties of strawberries develop longer runners than others, which is why gardeners utilize trellises so that they grow vertically instead of spreading around the garden.
Runners typically grow after a month. At this point, you should arrange them already using trellises and garden tape. If you want more strawberries, let the runners grow and develop buds. Otherwise, you can always cut them down if they are already affecting other plants.
By now you’ve learned that it’s not correct to say that strawberries grow on vines. So what are they? They fit the classification of a forb, which is a flowering plant characterized by its non-woody stems. Because forbs do not have enough woody tissue, they are relatively shorter than bushes or shrubs.
There are a lot of hybrid strawberries and cultivars, but the most common species is the Fragaria x ananassa or the garden strawberry. Moreover, there are three types of strawberry plants: day-neutral, ever-bearing, and June-bearing strawberries.
The first type consistently grows its fruits, runners, and end-tip buds when it’s between 35 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, ever-bearing strawberry plants develop their buds during summer and autumn. Those that grow in summer bear fruit in autumn and vice-versa.
Third, the June-bearing varieties are highly sensitive to the length of the day. Their buds develop during fall while the flowers and fruits grow in spring. Only when summer arrives will the runners form as well. But while they require a year to harvest, the quantity more than makes up for it.
All in all, we hope this guide helped you understand how exactly strawberry plants grow and reproduce. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to send us a comment.