- Writer: Adam Russell, 903-834-6191, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Contact: Dr. Larry Stein, 830-278-9151, email@example.com
COLLEGE STATION – A new strawberry variety – Festival Strawberry – combines prolific production and quality taste as the latest Texas Superstar available for purchase in retail garden centers and nurseries, according to the Texas Superstar Executive Board.
The Festival Strawberry variety was named a 2018 Texas Superstar plant by Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Texas Tech University horticulturalists after four years of field trials around the state.
To be designated a Texas Superstar, a plant must be beautiful and perform well for consumers and growers throughout the state. Texas Superstars must be easy to propagate, which should ensure the plants are widely available throughout Texas and reasonably priced, said Dr. Larry Stein, Texas Superstar executive board member and AgriLife Extension horticulturist, Uvalde.
“Festival is a good all-around variety of strawberry,” he said. “Its high production and good, quality tasting fruit make it a star among strawberries.”
The Festival variety is a grower favorite because it produces a hardy bush that is easy to harvest, Stein said. It also does not yield huge quantities of fruit on a single date and produces very few cull fruit.
Fruit are attractive, flavorful, fit well in 1-pound clamshell containers and have a long shelf-life, Stein said. The strawberries are conically shaped and firm-fleshed with large, showy calyces. They are deep red on the outside and bright red inside.
Typical yields are approximately 1.5 pounds per plant, Stein said.
Festival Strawberry is grown as an annual plant in Texas; they prefer full sun and sandy soils with good drainage, Stein said. Growers are recommended to grow the variety in raised beds or containers.
The variety is cold-hardy and can tolerate freezing conditions throughout winter, Stein said. Plants should be protected when temperatures are forecast to be in the low teens.
“We recommend growers prune the flowers in the fall because flowering plants are more susceptible to cold spells,” he said. “You also have to be mindful that while low temperatures may not hurt the cold-hardy plant, the fruit can be injured by freezing temperatures. So, in some instances the plant needs to be protected.”
Stein said the variety’s runners and flowers should be cut off in the fall to make a larger, “bush-like” plant until it begins flowering and producing fruit in January and February.
“This will mean a more productive plant with larger more flavorful fruit,” Stein said.
Texas Superstar is a registered trademark owned by AgriLife Research, a state agency that is part of the Texas A&M University System. Plants are designated Texas Superstars by the Texas Superstar Executive Board, which is made up of seven AgriLife Research, AgriLife Extension and Texas Tech University horticulturalists.
More information about other Texas Superstar plants and a list of wholesalers and retailers who stock them can be found at http://texassuperstar.com/.