Most varieties of strawberries produce runners (long stems) which produce plantlets along their length.
These runners will sap the energy from the mother plant, and are usually cut off as soon as they are seen. But some growers allow them to grow and root between the plants, so that a continuous mat of strawberry plants is formed. Alternatively, the runners may be used to propagate new strawberry plants.
It is easy to raise new strawberry plants from runners:
- Strawberry runners must originate from a healthy mother plant.
- Select a healthy plantlet on a runner, in June or July
- Cut off the runner beyond the plantlet
- Fill a pot with compost. This pot can be buried in the ground, close to the plantlet. If the strawberries are grown under plastic, the pot will have to be kept above ground.
- Peg the plantlet to the compost, but leave it attached to the mother plant.
After a few weeks, the new strawberry plants will be big enough to be planted out.
The runner, connecting the new plant in the pot with the mother plant, can be cut & the peg can be removed.
New roots have grown down and out of the bottom of the pot, as shown in the picture of the bottom of the pot above.
The new, young strawberry plant is now independent and able to feed itself. The plant must be watered regularly whilst it is in the pot, to keep it damp.
Grow the young plants on, allowing them to become well rooted, and plant them out in the autumn.
* Plant them quite shallow, with the base of the crown at soil level, so that they do not rot.
* Start a new bed with the new runners.
* Strawberries should only be grown in the same place for 4 years and then moved on. This is because viruses and pests build up in the soil which reduce the crop.
New strawberry plants from runners will keep the strawberry patch vigorous.