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Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

Strawberry ‘Sweetheart’: New from D T Brown

Posted by Graham Rice on 21 Jul 2012 at 01:20 PM

Strawberry 'Sweetheart' - wonderful traditional strawberry flavour. Image ©MeiosisMost new varieties of strawberry are selected for the value in commercial strawberry production. But the features that make a good commercial variety are not necessarily the same as those that make a good variety for gardeners.

‘Sweetheart’ comes from East Malling Research in Kent, one of the world’s leading creators of new fruit varieties, but they note that it is not ideal for intensive commercial systems. For gardeners, however, its ability to crop productively after its first year and in non-intensive plantings makes it well suited to home food growing. And while few commercial growers keep their strawberry plants for a second or third year after planting this is normal for home gardeners and ‘Sweetheart’ does well as a perennial.

Yield is good too, in its second year, in its peak cropping week around the third week of June, research shows that each ‘Sweetheart’ plant will produce about a third more fruit than the old favourite ‘Elsanta.

But of course yield is not everything, what about flavour? This is what D T Brown General Manager Tim Jeffries had to say: “I think Sweetheart is set to become a favourite for home gardeners. It is a very vigorous growing strawberry but with a compact habit but when we tasted the fruits we realised it was something special. It has that great balance of sweetness and acidity, mouth-wateringly juicy and quite frankly just tastes like a strawberry should, full of flavour and full of memories of summers gone by. It was one of those strawberries which made me keep going back for  more even though I was supposed to be tasting a full range of varieties! I’ll be growing it at home so clearly I really do rate it!”

I think he likes it…

You can order strawberry ‘Sweetheart’ from D T Brown.

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