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How to Grow Strawberry Plants From Strawberry Plant Runners?

Learn how to grow strawberry plants from runners…

Up close shot of two ripe strawberries growing on a strawberry plant with unripe berries

Can you grow strawberry plants from strawberry plant runners?

Strawberries naturally produce long vines called runners that shoot off from the plant. These runners will eventually grow small roots and root themselves into the surrounding soil[1]. Slowly but surely if the mother plant is healthy, and the runner gets sufficient nutrients, water, and sunlight, your rooted strawberry runners will grow into a full strawberry plant, multiplying your strawberry supply. However, if your mother plant is not adequately cared for, and your runner plants are left to multiply, they can eventually drain the much-needed energy and nutrients from the parent plant, causing it to collapse. To multiply your strawberry plant supply, and keep all plants in question healthy, you should safely propagate your strawberry plant runners and replant them when they are able to take up their own nutrient supply

What are strawberry plant runners?

Strawberry plant runners, also called stolons are long vines that grow off of a parent plant that eventually roots into the surrounding soil and develops into clone plants[1]. The clone plants will grow leaves, blossoms, and fruit just like the parent plant. If your parent plant is extremely healthy, it can sustain the clone plants to maturity. However, as clone plants grow into maturity, they get the majority of their nutrients from the parent plant. If many clone plants are left attached to the parent, it can cause the parent plant to have their nutrients supplies depleted. 

Gardeners hands wearing yellow gardening gloves trimming a strawberry plant

How do you grow strawberry plants from strawberry plant runners?

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Strawberry plant runners or stolons can be trimmed from the parent plant and replanted separately to develop into new clone plants. The runner plants should be trimmed after they have grown small roots or root nodes. If they are trimmed too early they will not be able to take in the nutrients from the soil. Follow these steps to easily propagate your strawberry plant runners. 

Step 1: Check if your runners are ready

Strawberry plant runners should be trimmed away from the parent plant once they have developed small roots or root nodes. The long vines will have a kink from which small leaves, possibly blossoms, and small roots grow. Check the underside for roots to determine if they are ready to cut. Your runners should only be trimmed after fruiting has finished[2] in July or August if strawberry plants were planted in the spring.  

Step 2: Prepare for propagation

Propagated plants need to be placed in a moist environment right away after being clipped away from the parent pant. Soak a paper towel or kitchen towel in water and lay it on a plate or tray. As soon as you trim your runners from the parent plant you can lay them on the moistened towel so the roots can stay moist as they wait to be replanted. 

Step 3: Trim your strawberry plant runners

Now that you’ve prepared a space to place your runners before replanting, and you’ve determined which runners have sprouted small roots, it’s time to propagate. Trim the vine that connects the runner plant to the parent plant about 1 to 2 inches away from the immature clone plant. If any long stems are running off in other directions you can trim them a half an inch away from the base of the clone plant. You can trim the vine attached to the parent plant to a length of 2 inches from the base of the parent plant.  

Step 4: Plant your strawberry plant runners

Now that you’ve collected your runner plants, and placed them on the moistened towel, it’s time to plant! Prepare small pots, about 3-4 inches in diameter[1] with loose well-draining soil. Use the remaining 2 inches of vine attached to the clone plant as a stake to plant the plant into the soil. Be sure that only the roots are planted in the soil, and that the crown or base of the plant is laying on top of the soil. This will prevent the crown from rotting and dying. Place your potted runner plants in a sunny location and provide plenty of water. 

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How to care for propagated strawberry plants

Growing strawberries require plenty of sun and plenty of water. As your strawberry clone plants mature in their pots, you should place them in a spot that gets 10 hours or more of sunlight per day[3]. When watering your potted strawberry plants, focus the water around the perimeter so the soil becomes thoroughly soaked, but the small roots do not get drowned out or disrupted by the water pressure from the water stream. Keep the soil moist as the roots establish without making the soil soaking wet. The roots will drink up plenty of water as they grow into maturity. When your clones have established strong roots, you can replant them in the garden 30-45 cm[2] from other plants. 

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Article Sources:

  1. Gardening Know How. “Growing Strawberry Runners: What To Do With Strawberry Runners
  2. Gardeners World. “How to grow strawberries
  3. University of Minnesota Extension. “Growing strawberries in the home garden

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