Immortal Strawberry Thought Experiment

I need to draw on everyone’s collective knowledge of strawberries to preserve a particular strawberry variety for “eternity”. I’m receiving a strawberry from a friend that I’d like to keep around for a mother plant that would in theory forever produce virus-less runners. Can you avoid the diseases that ruin a patch outdoors by growing runners from a mother indoors? I know outdoors you must restart the patch every three to five years, but I want to keep a safe virus free mother plant of this variety. Any thoughts?

as far as i know, they filter virus out by meristem cultures (tissue culture) at higher temperatures (40c if i recall correctly)

The plant your receiving most likely is already virus infected though.

To avoid further virus build ups, you could culture it sterile indoors. But you would have to avoid transferring insects from outside to it. (like aphids)

The easies and most reliable long term solution would likely again be tissueculture

As far as i understood the restarting of the patch outside every few years is more because of a build up of soil diseases, mostly fungal or bacterial, not necessarily virus based.

i root the runners in pots filled with “clean” soil outside. And make sure the runners don’t touch or root in the soil the mother plants are in. This also avoids a lot of the disease transfer when starting a new patch.
unlike the runners that people let root next to the mother plants to than transfer soil and all, to the next patch.


For starters the lifespan of a strawberry plant is 5~6 years. By the time they go past 3 they are beyond their prime.

Thank you Oscar this was the answer I was looking for.

if it’s for comercial use, you’ll likely want to keep the mother plants isolated. Thus use clean growing media, and avoid insects but als make sure to change clothes/wash hands before handeling the plants.

For practical reasons (tissue culture can be quite involved) just growing them indoors isolated will likely be good enough. Putting a really fine mesh (like panty’s) over the air intake to avoid flying insects getting in.

i once read a document about how they do this in the Netherlands for professional growers.

I could not find the document, but if you go to
and then click “classification>”
You will see the terminology used. I think if you google further on that you might find research papers describing methods of proper strawberry propagation.

I however want to note, that if it’s a rare wild species or a historical variety coming from the university it is likely not virus free.

And if it’s for own use, a few virus might decrease harvest by a few % but you don’t notice that practically. However if you planting acres and acres, you want to start out with virus free plant material.

1 Like

Thank you for all your info @oscar!

1 Like

sounds intresting. I’m curiously awaiting your update :heart: