Runners are long, thin stems that grow out from the mother plant and produce new plants at their tips.
One popular method is to peg down the plantlet at the end of the runner into the ground or into pots of potting soil.
You can also bend a piece of galvanized wire into a U-shape to pin the runner to the soil in a pot. By keeping the soil moist and encouraging root growth, these plantlets can quickly grow into new strawberry plants.
Growing strawberries from runners is an easy and cost-effective way to expand your strawberry patch.
What Are Strawberry Runners?
Strawberry runners, also known as stolons, are thin, vine-like extensions that grow out from the mother strawberry plant.
These runners have small nodes or bumps along their length, which eventually develop into new strawberry plants when they come in contact with soil.
Strawberry runners are a natural method of propagation for strawberry plants. They allow the plant to reproduce asexually by creating genetically identical offspring.
This means that the new plants will have the same characteristics as the mother plant, including size, flavour, and disease resistance.
Why Strawberry Runners Are Important
Strawberry runners are important for several reasons. Firstly, they allow growers to easily propagate new strawberry plants without purchasing new seedlings or seeds.
This can save both time and money, particularly for those who have established perennial strawberry beds with plenty of space for the runners to take root.
Strawberry runners can also help to rejuvenate older strawberry plants. As strawberry plants age, their productivity can decline.
By allowing runners to take root and grow into new plants, growers can replace older plants with younger, more productive ones without starting from scratch.
How To Turn Runners into Plants
To identify healthy runners, look for the following characteristics:
- The runner should be at least 6 inches long
- The runner should have a few healthy leaves
- The runner should have a visible root node
If the runner meets these criteria, it is likely to produce a healthy plant. If the runner does not have these characteristics, it may not be worth propagating.
Now we can start making new plants. How exactly you go about this can vary depending on how you grow your strawberries and what you want to do with the new plants.
If you grow your plants in the ground and want to develop new plants to grow in the same area then the process is simple.
Take some wire or U-shaped peg. Plant the runner in the soil so that the nodes are buried – these will become the new roots.
Then peg the runner down into the soil using the wire or peg, this will ensure it doesn’t move.
Leave it like this for a couple of weeks, you can cut the connection to the mother plant and have done it, one new strawberry plant.
If you grow in baskets or don’t want the new plant to grow in the exact same spot then follow the instructions below.
To start, fill a small pot up with compost. Then pop the runner into this pot with the nodes buried.
Now leave it to establish; you will know when this has happened as you can see roots coming out of the bottom of the pot.
Then you can snip the connection to the mother plant and you have one new plant. Job done!
Caring for the New Plant
Once the runner has been planted, take care to protect the new plant from extreme weather conditions, pests, and diseases.
The new plant should be watered regularly, but turning strawberry runners into new plants is a simple and effective way to propagate strawberry plants.
Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
When it comes to turning strawberry runners into plants, there are some common mistakes that people make. Here are a few of those mistakes and how to avoid them:
Mistake #1: Cutting off the Connection
One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to grow more strawberry plants is cutting off the connection to the mother plant.
This is needed at first and it is only once roots are established that you should snip the connection.
Mistake #2: Not Pinching off the End of the Runner
While you shouldn’t cut off the entire runner, it’s important to pinch off the end of the runner that extends past the pot.
This will encourage the plant to put more energy into creating roots, which will ultimately result in a stronger, healthier plant.
Mistake #3: Not Watering the Plants Enough
Strawberry plants require a lot of water, especially when they’re first starting out. If you don’t water them enough, they won’t be able to establish a strong root system, which can lead to stunted growth and a lower yield.
Mistake #4: Not Transplanting the Plants at the Right Time
When the daughter plants have an established root system, it’s important to transplant them to a new location or give them away to others. If you wait too long to do this, the plants may become root-bound and won’t be able to grow properly.