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I have a plant I bought that was started from Home Depot. Unfortunately it hasn't grown any fruit, even after a whole year.

Around May this year (my second year), it produced two small flowers and it grew another runner and a child plant but still no fruit.

What are some things that I can do to have it start growing fruit?

Where is it planted?

It sits on our balcony outside where it gets a lot of indirect light from the hot north Texas sun. It's in a 12 or 14 inch round plastic pot. It's about 10" deep. Since it's really hot during the summer we've had to water the plant two times a day to avoid drying out.

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Do you know what kind of strawberry plant? It sounds like there are varieties - gardenguides.com/94761-strawberry-plants-texas.html - that work best in Texas. –  Suzanne Hillman Jun 23 '11 at 18:47
    
I'm not sure. The link doesn't provide strategies of specification. I'll try to find out. –  chrisjlee Jun 23 '11 at 19:51
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An article I found today indicates that big box stores like Home Depot are often selling plants that are not correct for their locations. Unfortunate! Makes me suspect even more that the problem is the variety. I suspect that it would not be easy to tell what kind you have, unfortunately. (davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/3313) –  Suzanne Hillman Jun 25 '11 at 0:11
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4 Answers

up vote 12 down vote accepted

You won't get any strawberries if the flowers aren't pollinated, and I would say this is the most likely cause of your lack of fruit. With its small flowers, a lone strawberry plant on a balcony isn't going to draw the attention of bees and hoverflies which are a strawberry's main pollinating friends. Strawberries are self-compatible (able to use their own pollen) but they require insects to move the pollen from the male parts to the female parts of the flowers in order for fertilization to happen. To get around this, you can hand-pollinate the flowers or else build up a great flowery collection of plants to draw bees to your balcony. To do the duty of bees, I suggest you use a small paintbrush to move some of the pollen from the male parts (anthers) which form a ring between the central part of the flower and the petals, and brush the pollen against the female parts (pistils) in the center. Do a thorough job, though: the more pistils get pollinated, the larger your strawberries will be!

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It may depend on the variety, but strawberries lose productivity year to year. However, they do grow quite a bit. Much more than one runner should be expected.

It might not be growing because it's not planted. If you don't have a garden, you might want to get a big clay pot and fill it with potting mix. Let the runners be next years plants and once they are established, remove this year's plants.

If you use a big clay pot you'll probably have to water less too.

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There is a comprehensive site dedicated to strawberries at strawberryplants.org.

They have a page dealing with this problem here:

10 Reasons Strawberry Plants Don’t Produce Strawberries

Excerpt

1. Strawberry plants are too young

Your plant is in its first year, and still prioritising root system growth over fruiting

2. Your strawberry plants have diseases or parasites or both

If infected, it could be too sick to produce strawberries.

3. Your strawberries are thirsty

Strawberries' shallow root systems make watering tricky - make sure there's enough

4. Your strawberries are drowning

Strawberries' shallow root systems make watering tricky - make sure you're not watering too much

5. Your strawberry plants are starving

Strawberries can survive on minimal nutrients, but won't fruit

6. Your strawberry plants are high on NPK

Too much fertilizer will encourage vigorous plant growth, but no fruit

7. Your climate is wrong for strawberries

Warm days (but not scorching) and cool nights are optimal for fruiting

8. Your strawberry plant variety is wrong for your climate

Strawberry breeding programs have resulted in varieties suitable for different climates, check your variety

9. Your strawberry plants don’t like their home

If you're growing in containers, take extra care with soil and watering

10. You’ve been duped, lied to, or are misinformed

Have you been sold a June-bearing variety when you wanted an everbearing variety?

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I was going to suggest that you may not be getting cold enough in the winter. (some plants require a cold / dormant period to flower & set fruit). But your plant is blooming. That is not the problem.

Do you have people around you growing strawberries? If not, you may have a pollination issue. Some plants will not self pollinate. Try getting a second plant of the same variety (to match blooming times). Grow that second plant in the same pot, or a pot nearby.

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