How to Grow New Strawberry Plants from Runners

, written by Benedict Vanheems gb flag

Strawberry runner

The juiciness and aroma of home-grown strawberries is beyond compare, and it’s easy to make more plants so you can enjoy an even bigger harvest next year.

If you’ve grown strawberries before you’ll have noticed that plants throw out several long, leafless stalks called runners. We can use these to quickly raise new plants.

Strawberry Runners

Established strawberry plants will send out multiple runners over the soil surface. Each runner has a tiny plant at its end and these can be rooted and grown on to produce new plants.

Runners take a lot of the plant’s energy to produce, so in the first two years of life they should be cut off from where they emerge to concentrate the plant’s efforts on fruit production. From year three some of the runners can be used to propagate new plants. Only ever use healthy runners from vigorous, disease-free plants. Unless you plan to dispose of the parent plants, limit the number of runners to five per plant.

Pegging Down Runners

Look closely at the plantlet at the end of the runner and you may be able to see tiny roots already beginning to form. To get these to root, simply peg down the plantlet into the ground or into pots of potting soil with a hairpin, U-shaped clip or a length of garden wire bent into shape. Make sure the plantlet is in firm contact with the soil.

Strawberry runner

Growing on New Strawberry Plants

After about a month to six weeks the plantlet will have started to grow new leaves. At this point, cut it free from the parent plant. Grow the young plant on where it is, or dig it up and replant into fresh ground. New strawberries rooted into pots can be overwintered in a greenhouse or cold frame then planted out in spring - particularly useful if winters are harsh in your area.

Planting a new strawberry plant

Keep Strawberry Plants Healthy

Strawberries become less productive over time, so you need to grow more plants from runners every three to four years to ensure continuing good harvests. For best results, grow each new generation of strawberries in a completely fresh bed enriched with compost to avoid the build up of disease. You could also use your new plants to fill a special strawberry planter, troughs, or perhaps a handsome terracotta pot.

If you love getting something for free then propagating new strawberry plants from runners is well worthwhile.

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Comments

 
"Does not say whether you have to water new strawberry plants in greenhouse over winter."
Raymonde Gibson on Saturday 1 July 2017
"Hi Raymonde. Yes, water new plants in the greenhouse - but only very lightly, just to the compost/potting soil doesn't dry out completely. Then as soon as things begin to warm up even slightly the plants will set into fresh growth and you can pick up the amount of water you're giving them."
Ben Vanheems on Monday 3 July 2017
"can I use the runners that are growing of runners that are in pots from the parent plant if that makes sense"
kate on Tuesday 15 August 2017
"Hi Kate. Yes, you can use any runners, so long as they are vigorous and healthy. So runners coming off root runners are absolutely fine."
Ben Vanheems on Tuesday 15 August 2017
"THANK YOU"
kate on Tuesday 15 August 2017
"CAN I REPLANT RUNNERS AND MOTHER PLANT TOGETHER ,THEY ARE ONLY IN A SMALL POT ,AND GROWING WELL,CAN THEY BE PLANTED NOW OUTSIDE, IN SPOT THAT NEVER GETS FROST "
william on Friday 1 September 2017
" Yes, you can certainly plant your strawberries out now, especially if frosts are rare where you are. You can plant them all out together, but I would be inclined to detach the young plants from the mother plant and then plant them separately. If the mother plant is old, it is best discarded, as it will begin to deteriorate in quality. But yes, you could plant them all together. "
Ben Vanheems on Sunday 3 September 2017
"thanks Ben forgot to say mother plant is a youngun as well, runners are coming from this i only started with 3 plants and have 10 runners ,so can i plant them from her into their own pots regards 1st timer Will"
william on Sunday 3 September 2017
"Yes, absolutely - that would be fine. If the mother plant is also young, then just consider it another plant. All plants, including the runners, can be potted on into their own pots as long as they have enough roots. You will know this for the runners because when you give them a gentle tug they will stay anchored to the soil. Good luck with your strawberries - and enjoy them!"
Ben Vanheems on Sunday 3 September 2017
"cheers Ben, from Liverpool U.K"
william on Monday 4 September 2017
"Hi Raymonde I am from India and currently living in New Mumbai which is a populated town. I am the beginners in Strawberry. First i have to start strawberry planting from the pot itself. Could u guide me pls.."
Abhishek on Thursday 28 September 2017
"Hi Abhishek. If you look in the 'More for you' column to the right of this article you should see a recommended article on 'How to choose and grow the best tasting strawberries', which is a great starting point if you are new to growing strawberries. Or use the search tool to find this article."
Ben Vanheems on Thursday 28 September 2017
"WHEN IS IT TOO LATE TO ATTEMPT ROOTING THE RUNNERS? NOW OCTOBER IN EASTERN WASHINGTON STATE, AND FROST IS COMING SOON. SHOULD I CUT THEM FREE FROM THE MAIN PLANT AND PLANT EACH "AIR PLANT" IN ITS OWN CONTAINER INSIDE AND WAIT FOR ROOTS?"
ARTFUL on Saturday 7 October 2017
"You could attempt to root the runners at any time, if the runners are being grown on where the plant is. It may take longer to root - even until spring if the cold weather closes in quickly - but if you anchor the runner down at this stage it will root eventually. Keep the runners attached to the mother plant for now. Only cut the young plantlet free once it's definitely rooted and is therefore drawing it's own moisture and nutrients from the ground."
Ben Vanheems on Monday 9 October 2017
"OOPPS..THANKS FOR ANSWER. I DID NOT SEE IT SO I VENTURED OUT ON A LIMB WITH A RADICAL IDEA. I CUT ALL THE RUNNER PLANTS INTO INDIVIDUAL SECTIONS AND STUCK THEM ALL IN A BUCKET OF WATER AND PLACED INSIDE WHERE IT IS WARMER. I CHECKED TODAY BY PULLING ONE PLANT OUT OF THE WATER, AND IT LOOKS LIKE I CAN SEE TWO ROOTS STARTING TO GROW ABOUT 1/2 INCH LONG. I WILL WAIT A FEW MORE DAYS AND CHECK AGAIN. THE IDEA IS TO PLANT IN SOIL ONCE I GET SOME ROOTS (HOPEFULLY). THEN I WILL KEEP IN THE BASEMENT UNDER LIGHTS UNTIL I GET GOOD LOOKING PLANTS. WILL THIS MAKE THEIR SEASON OUT OF WHACK? FOR NEXT SPRING?"
ARTFUL on Sunday 22 October 2017
"Hi Artful. It sounds like your technique could certainly work. Growing them on under growlights like this may get them out of whack with the season. What may happen is that they'll grow much quicker than usual, and you may even find you get an earlier crop of strawberries next spring. I would be inclined to get the roots growing, them pot them up into fresh potting soil and grow them on in a bright but cooler place, so they have a more natural temperature and light level. But it may be fun growing them on under lights to see how far advanced they might be."
Ben Vanheems on Monday 23 October 2017

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