How to Plant and Grow Alpine Strawberries

Enjoy these flavorful berries from your own garden, all summer long.

Alpine strawberries—also called wild or woodland strawberries—are big bursts of flavor in tiny packages. And unlike other types of strawberries, they produced new fruit all summer long, so you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy them.

'rugen' alpine strawberry
Peter Krumhardt

Native to Europe and Asia, these pretty perennials are probably the most ornamental of any edible berry you could grow. The serrated dark green leaves form attractive mounds less than a foot tall and about a foot or so wide. Dainty white flowers with yellow centers are followed by gumdrop-sized berries in a continuous stream from early summer until fall. With a few exceptions, alpine varieties don’t form runners like common strawberries, so the plants stay tidy, and can be used ornamentally in lots of garden situations. They’re perfect for lining a path, adding color to a rock garden, filling a window box or planter, or edging a perennial border. Best of all, they’re easy to grow in a suitable site.

Alpine Strawberry Overview

Genus Name Fragaria vesca
Common Name Alpine Strawberry
Additional Common Names Woodland Strawberry, Wild Strawberry
Plant Type Fruit, Perennial
Light Part Sun, Sun
Height 6 to 10 inches
Width 12 to 18 inches
Flower Color White
Foliage Color Blue/Green
Season Features Fall Bloom, Spring Bloom, Summer Bloom
Special Features Fragrance, Low Maintenance
Zones 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Propagation Division, Seed

Where to Plant Alpine Strawberries

The front of a sunny perennial border or nestled among stones in a rock garden with some protection from afternoon sun makes an ideal site. Space plants 12 to 18 inches apart and be sure plants are within easy reach for harvesting the berries.

How and When to Plant Alpine Strawberries

If you have an appropriate site, alpine strawberries are very easy to grow and require little maintenance. If your soil is less than ideal, consider growing them in a window box, hanging basket, patio planter, or strawberry pot. They are best planted in the spring, either from plants purchased from a nursery or from seedlings that you start indoors.

Alpine Strawberry Care Tips


While they will produce the most fruit in full sun, alpine strawberries will do fine with only 4 to 6 hours of sun. Where summers are very hot, full sun may cause leaves to scorch, which detracts from the plant’s appearance. The common name woodland strawberry is a clue to the plant's tolerance to some shade; in the wild they are frequently found at the edge of a woodland.

Soil and Water

The best soil for alpine strawberries is one that is well-draining and rich in organic matter. They grow best in slightly acidic soil with a pH of 5.5 to 7.0. Protect their shallow roots and help reduce moisture loss with an organic mulch.

While they need frequent watering during dry periods, they don't do well where soil remains soggy or wet. Avoid wetting the leaves when watering to avoid the spread of diseases; using a soaker hose to water is helpful. Because their roots are shallow, it’s important to water frequently.

Temperature and Humidity

Young seedlings are sensitive to cold temperatures and should be carefully and gradually hardened off before transplanting them into the garden. During the growing season, alpine strawberries grow and produce best when temperatures range between 60-80°F, though they will tolerate a wider range. Fruit production slows when temperatures are very warm. In winter, they can handle temperatures as low as -20°F, and probably lower with the protection of a heavy mulch. They thrive where humidity remains moderately high most of the time and will appreciate some protection from drying winds.


Given their lengthy fruiting season, it’s no surprise that alpine strawberries are heavy feeders. Incorporate compost and a slow-release organic fertilizer into the soil when planting. For established plants, fertilize every spring with compost or a balanced granular fertilizer. Supplementing this with a liquid fertilizer every 2 to 3 weeks during the growing season will help promote continuous fruit production.


You may want to remove early flowers from first year plants so that they will put energy into establishing a vigorous root system. Once plants appear to be thriving, allow the fruit to mature. Remove damaged or dead leaves to keep your alpine strawberry plants looking tidy.

Potting and Repotting Alpine Strawberries

Alpine strawberries make great container plants if you provide them with sufficient room, good drainage, and fresh potting soil. Use a window box, hanging basket, or patio planter and space plants 6 to 8 inches apart. When potting, spread the plants roots out and be sure the crown of the plant remains above the soil.

Pests and Problems

While alpine strawberries are pretty tough and generally trouble-free, they are occasionally subject to some of the same problems that regular strawberries encounter. Among the most common pests are aphids, spider mites, and slugs.

Aphids and spider mites suck plant sap turning leaves yellow or bleached looking. If either become a problem, use a hard spray of water to knock down their population. Neem oil, insecticidal soap, or pyrethrin sprays will also help control them. To control slugs, which take bites out of leaves and fruit, place a board nearby—the slugs will hide under it during the day, and you can flip it over and remove them.

To avoid fungal and bacterial diseases, allow space for air circulation between plants and water at soil level (use a soaker hose) so that you don’t wet the leaves since many diseases are spread by water. Harvest fruit regularly to prevent it from rotting. If a plant does become diseased, remove it before the problem spreads.

Berries sometimes appear deformed, but this is not a disease. Rather, it is a problem of incomplete pollination. It takes quite a few visits from bees to thoroughly pollinate a strawberry flower. The best solution is to plant a variety of pollinator-friendly flowers that bloom throughout the growing season to attract those hardworking insects to your yard.

Propagating Alpine Strawberries

Since most varieties don’t produce runners like other strawberries, you need to purchase your alpine strawberries from specialty nurseries or grow them from seed, which is more economical and pretty easy. If you get an early start, plants grown from seed should fruit their first year.

Sow the seed indoors under grow lights in late winter. It takes a few weeks for them to germinate, but you can hasten this by placing your seed flat on a heat pad for germinating seeds. The seeds are tiny, and they should be very lightly covered with soil (they need a little light for germination) so be very careful watering them—use a gentle spray from a water bottle or water from the bottom.

After a month or so, transplant the young strawberry plants to individual pots and continue to grow them under lights. Once you are past your area's last spring frost date, gradually harden off your young plants before you plant them in the ground or a planter.

If you have mature alpine strawberries, you can increase and invigorate your planting by dividing them in early spring. Dig up the entire plant and separate young plants from the margin of the clump making sure that each has some good roots. Replant these small divisions and discard the tired center.

Types of Alpine Strawberries


This French heirloom variety produces sweetly scented scarlet red fruit on plants that may reach 18 inches in diameter. Excellent for growing in containers.


Alexandria is a very productive variety that bears deep red fruit. It may occasionally produce a few runners.

Pineapple Crush

This variety produces creamy yellow fruit that has a hint of pineapple flavor.

Yellow Wonder

The fruit of yellow wonder is yellow, very sweet, and very aromatic. Yellow fruited varieties tend to be less attractive to birds, so you’ll be able to enjoy more of the fruit yourself.

Alpine Strawberry Companion Plants


close up of borage plant

Rob Cardillo

Borage is an annual herb that attracts pollinators as well as  predatory insects that help control strawberry pests. It produces deep blue, star shaped flowers and soft gray-green foliage.


Peter Krumhardt

Thyme deters pests with its strong aroma. Some types are upright while others are trailing. Its flowers also attract honeybees.


moonshine yarrow achillea yellow flowers
Bob Stefko

Yarrow is an easy to grow perennial with a long blooming season.  It attracts pollinators, which help boost alpine strawberry yields, and repels some pests. Its flat topped flower clusters may be orange, pink, red, white, or yellow.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do alpine strawberries differ from common strawberries?

    These closely related berries have a few distinct differences. Alpine strawberries are much smaller and often sweeter than common strawberries, and because they are day-neutral, they produce all summer long. Alpine strawberries rarely produce runners like common strawberries, so they are more attractive in ornamental gardens as edgings or foreground plantings.

  • When should alpine strawberries be harvested?

    Alpine strawberries don’t continue to ripen once picked, so wait until they are fully ripe before harvesting. Pick red varieties when they turn deep red and begin to soften. When white or yellow varieties are ready, the berries start to soften and are very aromatic. When they are fully ripe, the berries are easy to pull off the plant. Check for ripe berries at least every other day.

  • How long does an alpine strawberry plant last?

    A patch of alpine strawberries may become less productive after 3 to 5 years. They can be rejuvenated by dividing mature plants in early spring.

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