Get ahead by planting strawberry runners

Strawberry season usually starts in mid to late May. Bare rooted strawberry runners can be planted out in January and February, which gives them a chance to establish roots ahead of the season.

What is a Strawberry Runner?

Strawberry plants reproduce by putting out runners which form baby plants at intervals. The baby plants put down roots, and once established they become their own plants. When a strawberry plant is sold as a bare-rooted runner, it basically means that the baby plant had put its roots down, and was then lifted in the winter. The plants will look a little peculiar, with lots of bare roots, almost spaghetti-like, and perhaps a few small leaves.

How do I plant a Strawberry Runner?

The best thing to do is to dig a couple of small trenches, allowing for 20cm spacing between plants (and between rows). The trenches can be quite shallow, 10-15cm is fine. Then, use your hands or the spade to form a ridge running along the length of each row, so that the ridge is just about ground level. Spread the roots of the strawberry runners over the ridge, as if the plants are straddling a horse, and then fill in with soil.

What if I Want to Grow Strawberries in Pots?

If you’re growing in pots, you can fill with a multipurpose compost. Firm the compost down, and then use your fingers to make a hollow ring (like a doughnut imprint) and spread the roots out into the ring before filling in. If planting individually, a 20cm wide pot will be good, or plant 2-3 to a wider pot.

What are the Advantages of Planting Strawberry Runners?

The main reason to grow strawberries from bare-rooted runners is that you can get them planted up in winter so that they are ready to burst into life in spring and give you a first harvest, rather than waiting for potted plants to be shipped in late April/May.

The second reason is that it’s a very budget-friendly way to grow strawberries. Our strawberry runners cost £9.99 for 10 plants, for example, whereas our spring plants that come in biodegradable pots cost £4.99 for a set of three. If you want to plant up a larger patch, this is a good way to do it.