Quinault Strawberries (Fragaria X Ananassa Quinault), or everbearing strawberries, are a cultivar of strawberry that has been created to produce not one, but two harvests per season. Developed by Washington State University, this type of strawberry cultivar provides large, ripe fruit and may be considered an evergreen in frost-free regions.
Easy to grow and care for, Quinault strawberries are a great addition to any allotment or kitchen garden, with this type a particular favorite thanks to the abundance of fruit it provides. Nothing beats the taste of freshly picked strawberries from the garden – a true taste of summer!
These strawberry plants are best grown from young seedlings in wide rows in raised beds where they can spread out, but they may also be grown in pots. Each plant can produce up to 200 strawberries per year, so you don’t need many plants to grow a huge crop.
How to Grow Quinault Strawberries
Everbearing strawberries are best grown from small plants. When choosing them, look for the ones sold in peat pots that can be planted out in their entirety, rather than using bare root strawberries, which will be more fragile in their infancy. Look for infant plants with no signs of flowers just yet, but with strong, wide crowns. Read on for in-depth tips and step-by-step instructions.
What conditions do you need to grow Quinault Strawberries?
One of the great benefits of this strawberry is just how easy it is to grow. It is a record-breaker for size, taste, and plant growth and the most disease-free of all the strawberry plants.
Quinault strawberries flourish and do best in full sun. They can tolerate a small amount of partial shade, but they need the warmth of the sun to ripen the fruit fully, so choose your planting out spot with care. Your strawberries need rich, well-drained soil with a pH of between 5.5 – 6.8 and regular fertilization, preferably using liquid fertilizer, designed specifically for berries and red fruits.
Quinault strawberries are best grown from young plants rather than from seed, as seed quality can be unreliable, so you may see better results using plants sold by your garden center.
When should you plant Quinault Strawberries?
Plant your everbearing strawberry outdoors in raised beds or in containers as early as possible in spring, once any risk of frost has passed. If you are planting in a container, follow the same guidance, making sure to choose a sunny spot in your garden.
Step-by-step instructions for growing Quinault Strawberries
Let’s get started:
Step 1: Preparation
Prepare raised beds for planting, with a dry fertilizer added and worked through (around 1.5 lb fertilizer per 10 ft of planting bed, then another 1/2 lb scattered on top).
Step 2: Planting
Soak the peat pots in water for around 10 minutes, prior to planting then plant your strawberry plants 12″ (1ft) apart in rows that are spaced 24″ (2ft) apart, in raised beds or containers. Plant each plant at a depth where only the very crown of each plant is protruding from the soil: this helps to encourage a strong root system. The plants will grow to a height of around 8″ – 10″. They can also be trailed upwards on canes if grown in containers. (Allow 1-2 plants, per medium-large size container).
Remember: wait until spring when the risk of frost has passed. Everbearing strawberries are vulnerable to frost just like any other variety.
Step 3: Care
Water your young plants daily until they are established, using a fine mist or gentle sprinkle. They are young and tender, and need to be treated with care in their early days; building strong roots is key to successful growth. Once they are established, they can be watered weekly in early to mid spring and through Fall, but ensure that the soil is well saturated with each watering. As the weather heats up through late Spring into Summer, increase watering frequency to 2-3 times each week.
Once established, consider mulching to help the soil retain water as the roots don’t like to be left dry. You may also want to feed your everbearing strawberry regularly with liquid fertilizer through the flowering and fruit stages.
Keep an eye out for slugs and snails, who all love a strawberry! Although the Quinault strawberry is one of the most pest-resistant varieties, the fruit will still attract them. If you have a lot of birds in your garden, you may also want to cover your strawberry plants with netting to deter them from enjoying your berries. Weed your strawberries regularly to ensure all the nutrients of the soil are focused on your plants.
Step 4: Harvesting
Your strawberries will start to flower in late spring, and a unique feature of the Quinault strawberry, once established, is that it will produce a first harvest early summer, and then a second in late summer. Pick ripe berries off your plants in the morning, and only when ripe – these will not ripen off the plant as other plants do.
Other Growing Tips
Get the best results possible by following these other tips:
- In the first year of growing, sacrifice your first harvest of berries by pinching off flowers to help focus the plant’s energies on developing a strong root system.
- To ensure an abundance of fruits, be sure to pinch off the flowers for the first two months that they appear each year, as a way to promote a greater and longer harvest.
- If you are keeping your strawberries as an evergreen, depending on where you live, they will need mulching and possibly blanketing over winter to protect them from the risk of frost.
Quinault Strawberry Uses
Of course, strawberries of any size are great eaten as they come, but the Quinault variety is particularly great for this, given their size and natural sweetness. The berries can also be dehydrated and used dried in cooking and, of course, are perfect for making jam! They also work really well when frozen to be used in home baking or in smoothies.
Strawberry fruit and leaves have also long been used for medicinal purposes – sometimes used in skincare, (thanks to their acid properties), as an exfoliant and skin brightener, and for treating spots and blemishes. The roots and leaves may be distilled into a tea as a diuretic and to help clear inflammation and liver or bowel problems, and for sore throats.
Due to the high levels of vitamins, the berries are also a natural health food, frequently used in smoothies and breakfast bowls.
Quinault Strawberry Storage
Refrigerate once picked, laid out on paper towels to remove excess water, and wash before eating (washing in advance will speed their deterioration). Strawberries can also be frozen and used straight from the freezer for cooking.