The sweetness and freshness of strawberries cultivated at home are incomparable, and it is simple to grow new plants so that you can reap a big harvest in the following year. If you already grow strawberries, then you should know that the plants produce several long stalks that are devoid of leaves and are referred to as runners or cuttings.
You can actually create new strawberry beds each year using these cuttings and make sure that your home garden continues to produce an adequate amount of strawberries year after year. The following is an in-depth guide that will walk you through the process of growing strawberries from cuttings. Keep reading for more.
What Are Runners?
All strawberry plants eventually begin to produce what are known as runners, which are long stalks without leaves. Each runner will eventually produce a little plant at its terminus. This has the potential to create new plants if it is allowed to take root and then grow on.
Because the generation of runners requires a significant amount of energy from the strawberry plant, it is recommended that runners be severed from the parent plant during the first 2 years of the plant’s existence. This allows the plant to focus its resources on the development of fruit.
After the third year, some of the runners may be used to grow new plants and therefore perpetuate the variety. Never use anything except healthy runners that have come from robust plants that are free of illness. Also, restrict the number of runners produced by each plant to no more than five, except if you want to get rid of the parent plants.
If you examine the plantlets that are at the end of each runner very carefully, you might be able to see very few roots beginning to grow. Simply insert the plantlet into the soil or into pots filled with potting soil and secure it there with a pin, U-shaped clasp, or a piece of garden wire that has been twisted into the desired form.
This will allow the plantlet to take root. Check to see that the young plant is in close, secure touch with the soil.
Steps to Grow Strawberries From Runners
It is vital to ensure that runners are planted at the appropriate depth. If your runners are planted too deeply, the crown of the plant will rot. The crown is the part of the plant from which the leaves develop. Keep in mind that strawberries do not like damp areas.
On the other side, if you put your runner’s in soil that is too shallow, you will end up exposing their roots. The plant won’t develop itself properly if the roots are exposed. When planting, make sure that the roots do not turn back on themselves or curl over. Here are the steps to follow:
1. Choose runners
Strawberry plants may be started inside as potted plants or outdoors as “runners.” The roots of plants planted in containers already have a good head start, and the plants may be acquired at any time of the year since they are cultivated inside. Runners are much less costly and there are several varieties to choose from.
Look through the strawberry crop for robust runners that have sizeable child plants connected to the ends of their stems. After moving the runners away from the mother plant, position the child plant on an area of soil that is free of other plants.
You may also purchase runners from nurseries that sell their products over the mail. They are usually kept in cold temperatures and also have bare roots, however, if planted in springtime or late summer, or autumn, they’ll grow fast.
2. Choose rich soil and sunshine
Regular strawberries thrive on soil that is healthy, well-drained, and somewhat acidic. They prefer growing in full sun, but may also survive in partial shade. Alpine strawberries, on the other hand, need shade to grow.
It is best to avoid growing your strawberries in areas that are prone to frost, as this might cause the flowers to be damaged. In addition, make sure to never grow them in areas that are exposed, as this can make it difficult for insect pollinators to access the flowers.
3. Plant the strawberries in a strawberry bed
The conventional way to cultivate strawberries is in rows in a special strawberry bed. If you have poor soil, it is recommended to plant the strawberries on raised beds since they have greater drainage and more rooting depth than traditional beds.
To prepare the soil, work well-rotted gardening manure and one handful of all-purpose fertilizer per square meter into the ground with a garden fork. After planting the strawberries in a space that is about 30 to 45 centimeters apart, the dirt should be compacted around them. Be sure to give it plenty of water during the first several weeks. Afterward, water or hoe the fertilizer into the soil, and you’re done.
4. Plant them in containers or other types of plant pots
To ensure that your plants have enough drainage, use compost that is focused on soil and add a thick layer of sand or shattered crocks to the bottom of the container. Plant as many as 6 to 8 seeds in a growth bag to maintain a tidy environment. Make sure the roots have enough area to expand by stacking bags on top of each other and punching holes in the bottom bag to enable the roots to pass through.
You may want to consider using a hanging basket so that slugs and snails won’t be able to get to your plants. If you want the most fruit from your strawberry plants, you should use either strawberry planters or strawberry towers. Try putting plants in a window box if the area you have available is too limited.
Cut a length of florist wire measuring three inches long and twist it into a “U” shape. Make use of the twisted wire to secure the child plant by first passing it over the runner that is located directly behind the plant.
This will keep it from moving and will stimulate the child plant to start growing roots. You should check on the child plant once a week to see whether it has formed roots by then. The roots must be properly developed after roughly six weeks.
5. Encourage flowering
To hasten the blossoming process, fertilizer should be used as well as consistent watering. If you do this, soon you will notice little green strawberries starting to sprout.
This indicates that the fruit has matured. To ensure that the roots are properly hydrated, the soil should be doused with water and water-soluble fertilizer. Apply a side dressing of fertilizer with a ratio of 5-10-10 to the young strawberry plants after six weeks, and then apply it once more at the beginning of the fall.
6. Put a net over the bed
As soon as the fruit begins to swell, you should begin guarding the crop against birds. The beds should be covered with tight netting so that birds do not get trapped in them, and they should be pegged down securely along the edges. You may prevent birds and other small creatures from devouring the fruits by covering them with netting.
Because birds, hedgehogs, sluggish worms, as well as other creatures might get caught in the netting and perish as a result of the problem, it has to be corrected carefully. In an ideal situation, you would use a set netted cage that has openings wide enough for insects to reach the strawberry flowers.
Since the openings are set, the strawberries would not be able to stretch and get twisted in the cage. On the other hand, if you pay close attention to any slack in the net, you may make sure that no creatures are entangled in it.
7. Go strawberry picking!
When picking, you’ll get the most juice out of the fruit if you do it first thing every morning. Pluck fruit that is completely red all the way through, then gently pick it while still retaining the stem. Because berries do not continue ripening after they have been picked, you must wait till they are completely red all over before collecting them.
To prevent the fruit from being bruised, you need just use your finger and thumb to squeeze through the stems. Because berries are so easily spoiled, the greatest way to consume them is fresh from the plant, preferably when they are still warm from the sunlight. However, you may keep fruit in the refrigerator for a few days without having to wash it beforehand.
8. After fruiting
Reduce the height of the fruiting plants to around 5 centimeters above the ground and remove all of the dead leaves as well as runners. This eliminates the potential for sickness, and the birds will consume any unwanted insects. Spread a handful of general fertilizer on each square meter of the garden. Save some of the plants so you may start new ones.
9. Replace plants every 4 years
The average plant will provide fruit for three to four growing seasons before it is time to replace it. You may cultivate your substitutes by potting up large, healthy runners in the appropriate size containers. These should be replanted after they have reached the appropriate size.
How to Care For Strawberries Planted Through Runners?
Manure that has been properly composted may be incorporated into the soil at the time of planting (chicken manure is recommended). Another option is to use it as a top treatment immediately after sowing the seeds. A little bit of blood and bone meal, along with some potassium ash, can help them flourish.
Maintain moist soil (being sure not to over-water throughout the winter months), and then step up your irrigation when the weather becomes warmer in the spring. Keep the cold away from new plants until they are set.
After the foliage has been formed and the temperature has begun to warm up, it is better to place some hay or comparable mulching around the plants. This helps to keep the fruits off the dirt so that they can remain clean and also help to combat slugs and snails that will attack your fruit if it is left on the soil.
When the fruit starts to mature, you will have to make sure that the slugs and snails don’t have too much of a chance to eat it.
Tips for growing strawberry runners
There are a few simple tips you may follow to ensure to you get the most out of your strawberry runners, and they are as follows:
- A cool temperature of 34°F to 55°F in the winter is necessary to guarantee that strawberry plants will grow vigorously and fully develop their flower buds in the springtime. (This is very necessary for the creation of fruit.) If there is not enough cold in the air, the plants will not grow well and they will not yield many berries. When there is an excessive amount of cold, plants will continue to thrive, however, fruit development will be slowed.
- Plant different types of strawberries at varying periods of the year. You may find kinds that bear fruits even in early October or late May. Planting at least four distinct types will allow you to reap harvests continuously for eight months out of the year.
- You should make every effort to keep water from getting on the leaves of your plants. Drip irrigation or directing the stream of water to the soil surface instead of the leaves is an effective method for combating fungal infections.
- Strawberries that are malformed or have an unusual shape are often the consequence of improper pollination. Flowering plants that attract bees are an excellent choice for companion planting along the perimeter of your berry field.
- The strawberry’s reproduction pattern will continue even after it has been planted since it was originally developed from runners. To ensure a larger harvest, clip any runners that seem to promote increased fruit production and yields.
- Strawberry plants are only at their peak performance between the ages of two and three years. After this point, they tend to progress more slowly, thus it is recommended that you transplant them. This strategy should result in a larger yield that contains more flavorful fruit.
- Put some hay or strawberry mats beneath the fruit to prevent slugs and snails from getting to it and to ensure the berries are clean and dry. Mold develops rapidly on wet fruit.