Strawberry Propagation With Plant Runners
Ah, the juiciness and aroma of home-grown strawberries is beyond compare. Notice how the plants send out runners over the soil surface? We can use these to quickly raise new plants for an even bigger harvest! Read our article (with video demo) for steps on growing new strawberry plants from runners.
How to Grow New Strawberry Plants from Runners
Your strawberry plants will start sending out long, leafless stalks called runners. Each runner has a tiny plant at the end. This can be rooted and grown on to produce new plants.
Runners take a lot of the plant’s energy to produce, so in the first two years of life they should be cut off from where they emerge to concentrate the plant’s efforts on fruit production. From year three some of the runners can be used to propagate new plants. Only ever use healthy runners from vigorous, disease-free plants. Unless you plan to dispose of the parent plants, limit the number of runners to five per plant.
Look closely at the plantlet at the end of the runner and you may be able to see tiny roots already beginning to form. To get these to root, simply peg down the plantlet into the ground or into pots of potting soil with a hairpin, U-shaped clip or a length of garden wire bent into shape. Make sure the plantlet is in firm contact with the soil.
Raising Your New Strawberry Plants
After about a month to six weeks, a small strawberry planlet will have started to grow new leaves, so it’s time to cut it free from the parent plant.
Grow the young plant where it is, or dig it up and replant into fresh ground.
New strawberries rooted into pots can be overwintered in a greenhouse or cold frame and then planted out in spring, which is particularly useful if winters are harsh in your area.
Strawberries become less productive over time, so you need to grow more plants from runners every 3 to 4 years to ensure continuing good harvests. For best results, grow each new generation of strawberries in a completely fresh bed enriched with compost to avoid the build up of disease. You could also use your new plants to fill a special strawberry planter, troughs, or perhaps a handsome terracotta pot.
If you love getting something for free, then propagating new strawberry plants from runners is well worthwhile!
For more information, see the Almanac’s Strawberry Growing Guide.
Learn more about how you can grow your own food—with the Almanac Garden Planner!