Making Strawberries

I am absolutely a novice fruit and veg  gardener, but there is one veg garden task that I do, that makes me feel like a total expert, which is potting up strawberry runners. To be honest though, there’s absolutely no skill to this whatsoever, because strawberries grow like weeds – but there’s something about making new plants (for free!! – well almost… I guess you need to buy compost) that makes me feel I’m getting the hang of this garden thing.

Strawberry runner main

Apparently it’s a good idea to replace your strawberry plants every three years, otherwise the cropping will diminish, so potting up runners is a great way to increase your plant supply so you can replace old plants. Here’s how you do it (and now’s about the time), if you want to have a go.

Runners are long stems that will be growing away from the strawberry plants at this time of year. They have little nodules of preliminary roots along their length. This is what it will look like:

Strawberry runner 2

Have a look at your strawberry plants and identify likely looking runners and figure out how many you can pot up, bearing in mind how many strawberry plants you actually want. By the way, strawberry plants they make great gifts for gardening friends (well, the ones without strawberry beds of their own!).

Grab yourself some compost and enough pots, some plastic-covered garden wire and some wire cutters. I usually just use whatever peat-free multi-purpose compost they have at the local DIY place, and pots that I have lying around the place (they need to be at least 4in across at the top). Wash the pots if they are old ones, and cut a piece of wire about 6in long for each pot.

Put the compost in a bucket or trug and add some water to make it nice and moist (this saves you watering later), then fill the pots pretty much to the top. The compost needs to be pretty firmly tamped down:

Strawberry runner 1


Take a piece of wire and bend it to create a narrow hoop like this:

Strawberry runner 3

Now take your first runner and place it on top of the pot so the roots are in contact with the compost. Push the hoop of wire across the stem that comes from the main plant, close to the root nodules (without damaging them), so that the root nodules are held against the compost:

Strawberry runner 4


Strawberry runner 5


And that’s it! All you need to do now is wait for the roots to become firmly established, then you can cut off the stem that attaches them to the main plant. Usually I forget to do this until the depths of November, but I don’t think it takes very long at all for them to become fairly well established and you can do it sooner.  Then you have lovely new plants to put in your strawberry bed/containers to enjoy next year. It’s such a satisfying feeling!



4 thoughts on “Making Strawberries

  1. Love the idea of the little u bend of garden wire to secure in place – will definitely be trying that this year. I guess ours might have runners too now – maybe I will go and check once the rain has stopped tipping it down!

  2. There is really no need to “pot” them, just press them into the soil where they are … and then you can take them out once you’ve decided where to plant the newest row. And when your new row is complete start cutting off the runners regularly, it just takes up energy that you would rather the plant put into the berries next year .

    1. Excellent points. I grow my strawbs in containers so don’t have space to grow runners on in the same place, but that sounds like a great way to do it otherwise. And absolutely re chopping off other runners, I should have mentioned that. Thanks so much.

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