As strawberry plants put out their runners you can let them take root, either in your strawberry patch, or by potting them up. Either way, next year you can have an even bigger crop!
What is a strawberry runner?
Strawberry runners are the long shoots that you will see growing out of existing strawberry plants. At regular intervals along the shoots a couple of small leaves will appear and new roots will start to form. This is essentially the strawberry replicating itself and the plant naturally wants to put these roots down in the soil to continue growing.
How do I cultivate them?
If you are growing your strawberries in a dedicated strawberry patch/bed you can simply let them do their own thing. If growing in pots, or in an area where you don’t want them to take over, you can instead plant the new roots in small pots of compost (a 5-10cm wide pot is fine). Leave them attached to the original plant – don’t cut the runner off as this acts as its food supply until the roots get established.
You will need to use something to secure them in the soil/compost until they put their roots down – you can use a small tent peg (or similar) or U-shaped clips. Keep the soil moist and after a couple of weeks they will have fully rooted in the compost. You’ll know they are ready to be cut free by giving a very gentle tug to see if their roots are firmly established. If they are, then simply snip the stem that connects them to the original plant.
When can I replant my new strawberries?
Let them grow on in their pots for a couple of weeks to develop a root ball properly. After that, you can plant the new plants on in your strawberry patch at any point – remember to leave approx 25-30cm between plants. Alternatively, they make a very lovely little gift for friends and family.
What if I don’t want so many strawberry plants?
If you don’t want too many plants and prefer not to do the above, then simply cut the runners off as they appear and continue to look after the original plant with watering and feeding and it will crop again for 2-3 years anyway.