Strawberries are multi-year plants made up of a short-axis stem with a conical appearance called a crown. Leaves and stolons emerge from these crowns. The leaves are petiolate and compound so that the leaflets have serrated margins. The stolons can branch out and be used to replicate the plant. The inflorescences in clusters appear from the axils of the leaves. The white and alogamous flowers generate unique fruits called polyachenium or etherium, which can be of different shapes, such as globose, conical, depressed or flattened.
In Spain it is not yet a very widespread crop, but there are approximately 7,000 hectares with an average production of 340,000 tons. Almost all of this crop is protected, whether in greenhouses, mulches or tunnels. Strawberry's main production area is located in Huelva.
Prefers loose soils rich in organic matter, with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. It is a plant very sensitive to iron chlorosis and salinity, so it must be handled with care and carry a correct and abundant nutrition.
The flowers are very sensitive to frost, and below 12ºC you may see problems for correct fruiting. Its optimal development occurs between 20 and 24ºC. At higher temperatures the plant can also suffer problems in fruiting, for this reason it is usually grown in environments with controlled temperature.
Strawberry is a plant with a high need for water and can present low productivity in the case water deficit. For a good yield, it is important not to get hydric stress, especially during the beginning of the flowering. As this crop is udually grown in a controlled environment, good management of automated irrigation is vital for an optimal yield.
In Spain, the usual cultivars grown are those with large fruits of Californian origin, such as the Camarosa, Oso Grande, Chandler or Pájaro varieties, among many others. Other long-day varieties such as Selva, Seascape, Aroma or Irvine are also grown. Although not as common, small-fruited varieties of Strawberries such as the Reina de los Valles are still grown.
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