(DPI Rubygem cv.)
- Superb flavor
- Glossy, deep red external color, with red interior color
- Firm but not crunchy
- Good transportability & shelf life
- Little to no chill requirement
- Open plant structure
- Easy to harvest
- Excellent disease tolerance
- Performs well in low input production systems
Rubygem™ is a short-day strawberry cultivar developed by plant breeder, Dr. Mark Herrington and his team from the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) in Australia. The DPI Rubygem strawberry variety, commonly marketed under the brand name Rubygem™, was selected for its superb flavor, great transportability, and disease tolerance.
Rubygem™ consistently landed in the top of its class in sensory evaluations. The variety has proven consistently good flavor across climates, weather, and grower practices. In Queensland, Australia, the DPI Rubygem strawberry variety scored an average BRIX level of above 9% with a titratable acidity of 0.5%.
Fruit of the Rubygem™ brand varies in shape from conical to cordiform and short wedge. As a medium sized strawberry, this compact range of shapes fits nicely into a variety of clamshell packages. The average fruit size measures 23 g.
The berries have a pleasant texture and are not as firm as other commercial varieties. Rubygem™ ships well and offers good shelf life.
The DPI Rubygem strawberry variety offers compact plants with relatively long pedicels. The exposed bloom and fruit allow for easy management and efficient harvest. The plants are rustic and perform well as a green plug transplant. In high elevation tropical climates, Rubygem™ has the capability of producing fruit for up to 18 months.
Nursery & Field Production
The DPI Rubygem variety was developed in a subtropical climate in Queensland, Australia. It is a strong runner producer and performs well in a zero chill, plug plant format. Multi-site fungicides should be used in the nursery field to allow flexibility for the fruit grower to avoid possible pesticide resistance. As a bare root, fresh chilled transplant, Rubygem™ should be among the earliest dug with minimal chill. When dug with chill surpassing 100 hours, it can produce fruit of irregular shape and size.
When delivered to fruit growers as a ‘tops on’, bare root transplant, first fruit can be harvested about six weeks later. The general recommended rate for Nitrogen fertilization is 2.2 kg N/Ha/day for the 6 weeks after plant establishment and 1.12 Kg N/Ha/day thereafter. Requirements may vary depending upon soil, ambient temperatures, and water analyses.
Rubygem™ yield depends primarily upon length of season in production, and this is determined by the climate of the production site. In high elevation tropics, Rubygem™ can remain in production for 18 months or longer, depending upon the grower’s ability to keep the plants disease and pest free. Under these circumstances, yields can easily exceed a kilogram of fruit per plant. In temperate climates, where seasons are longer, yields will likely fall short of a kilogram, but the earliness of the variety’s performance as a green plug or ‘tops on’ transplant with no chill allows the grower to participate in the earliest of market windows.
Disease & Pest Resistance
The DPI Rubygem cultivar adapts well to low input production systems where competing strawberry varieties struggle. Although Rubygem™ shows some susceptibility to a variety of plant pathogens and two-spotted spider mite, none has proven to be overly problematic. The Rubygem™ strawberry brand should be considered as candidate for organic production.
*Characteristics may vary depending on weather conditions, day length, soil type and location.