My strawberry plants were mere babies when planted in spring so I wasn’t expecting great things from them in their first year, then red ants decided my strawberry patch looked cosy (sandy soil in that particular area being the reason) and decided to move in. I lost half my plants down one side of the bed and the majority from the middle, deprived of water from the ants tunnelling activities. My strawberry harvest this year was sparse to say the least. The remaining plants have since doubled in size and currently producing lots of runners which are baby strawberry plants on a long stem. Free plants!
These runners will fill in the gaps in the strawberry bed, and it really couldn’t be simpler to do. Each baby plant is getting all it needs to grow from the parent plant, in time they will produce roots of their own and this can be sped up with a little encouragement from you.
To propagate strawberries from runners follow the two simple steps below:
- Place the base of each baby plant on the surface of the soil where you’d like it to grow, drawing soil lightly around the plant to keep it in position, you can also ‘peg’ the plants down by placing a small stone on the long stem. Don’t be tempted to snip off the long stem connecting the baby plant to its parent at this point.
- Keep the baby plants well watered, once well rooted into the ground simply snip off the stem connecting it to the parent plant and any other stems coming from the leaves of the baby.
It really is that easy. You can chose to just allow the runners to root wherever they please or simply manoeuvre the long stems to a more desirable position, as I have. If a runner has firmly rooted into the wrong place carefully lift using a hand trowel and replant, keep well watered until recovered.
Runners can also be potted up and grown on until needed which is handy if you’re planning on starting a new strawberry bed or giving them away as gifts, just follow the steps above using small pots of compost.