Vivipary: What is This on My Strawberry Plant? - No Plant No Life

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Vivipary: What is This on My Strawberry Plant?

If you've ever tended to a strawberry patch, you might have encountered a curious phenomenon known as vivipary. 

Vivipary, derived from Latin meaning "live birth," is a natural process that occurs in some plants, including strawberries. 

But what exactly is vivipary, and what does it mean for your beloved strawberry plants? 

Let's delve into this intriguing aspect of plant biology and explore what it means for your garden.

What is Vivipary?

Vivipary is a phenomenon where seeds germinate inside the fruit while it is still attached to the parent plant, leading to premature sprouting. 

Typically, in most plants, seeds undergo dormancy until they are dispersed from the fruit and encounter suitable conditions for germination. 

However, in vivipary, this process is disrupted, and seeds begin to sprout prematurely within the fruit itself.

What Causes Vivipary in Strawberry Plants?

Vivipary in strawberry plants can be triggered by various factors, including environmental conditions and genetic predisposition. 

High humidity, excess moisture, and fluctuations in temperature are common environmental factors that can induce vivipary. 

Additionally, certain strawberry varieties may be more prone to vivipary due to their genetic makeup.

Implications for Your Strawberry Patch

While vivipary in strawberry plants might seem alarming at first glance, it's usually not a cause for concern. 

Some gardeners view it as a sign of healthy, vigorous plants. However, there are a few implications to consider:

1. Reduced Seed Viability

When seeds sprout prematurely within the fruit, their viability may be compromised. 

This means that the resulting seedlings may be weaker or less likely to thrive compared to seeds that undergo normal dormancy.

2. Pests and Disease

Vivipary can attract pests and pathogens to the fruit, increasing the risk of damage and disease. It's essential to monitor affected berries closely and take appropriate measures to protect your plants.

3. Seed Saving Challenges

If you're planning to save seeds from your strawberries for future planting, vivipary can pose challenges. 

Prematurely sprouted seeds may not store well or may have reduced viability, affecting their success rate when planted.

How to Manage Vivipary

While vivipary in strawberry plants is generally a natural and harmless occurrence, there are some steps you can take to manage it:

1. Harvest Promptly

To prevent further sprouting and minimize the risk of pest infestation, harvest ripe strawberries promptly. Remove any affected berries from the plant and dispose of them properly.

2. Improve Air Circulation

Adequate air circulation around your strawberry plants can help reduce humidity levels and minimize the risk of vivipary. Prune excess foliage and ensure proper spacing between plants to promote airflow.

3. Monitor Moisture Levels

Avoid overwatering your strawberry plants, as excessive moisture can contribute to vivipary. 

Use mulch to help maintain soil moisture levels and reduce the risk of fluctuations.

4. Select Resistant Varieties

If vivipary becomes a recurring issue in your strawberry patch, consider selecting strawberry varieties known for their resistance to this phenomenon.


Vivipary in strawberry plants is a fascinating yet natural occurrence that can occur under certain environmental conditions. 

While it may present some challenges for gardeners, understanding the factors that contribute to vivipary and implementing appropriate management strategies can help ensure the health and productivity of your strawberry patch. 

By staying vigilant and taking proactive measures, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of delicious strawberries year after year.


Can vivipary harm my strawberry plants?

Vivipary itself typically doesn't harm the plants, but it may affect seed viability and attract pests if left unchecked.

Is vivipary a sign of a nutrient deficiency in my strawberry plants?

Vivipary is more closely associated with environmental factors like humidity and temperature rather than nutrient deficiencies.

Can I still eat strawberries affected by vivipary?

Yes, you can still eat strawberries affected by vivipary, but promptly harvesting them is recommended to prevent further issues.

Will vivipary affect the taste of my strawberries?

Generally, vivipary doesn't affect the taste of strawberries, but the affected berries might not store as well due to compromised seed viability.

How can I prevent vivipary in my strawberry patch?

Improving air circulation, monitoring moisture levels, and promptly harvesting ripe strawberries are effective measures to minimize vivipary occurrences.

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