How do I propagate strawberries for free

If you love strawberries, growing a garden is a great idea. Once you have purchased some plants, you can propagate them without much effort. Propagation of all running strawberry plants is simple and completely free. I like to do this in my own garden. It’s very reassuring to grow a collection of plants and maybe even give more plants to family or friends.

What are strawberry runners?

Strawberry runners are stolons or horizontal stems that grow from the roots of many strawberry plants. Most of the strawberries grown in June and perennials produce runners as a means of propagation.

Lumps form on these stolons, followed by random roots (these are roots that grow from places like stems or leaves). These roots will grow, and when in contact with soil or other suitable growing media, new strawberry plants will form at these points. New strawberry plants are clones (genetically identical) of the parent from which they grew.

Directed by Strawberry Runners

If a bed of strawberries is allowed to develop naturally, the runners will spread out in all directions and eventually create a dense tangled strawberry patch where new plants will randomly appear among the older ones.

Alternatively, you can control your runners to make your life easier. If you grow strawberries in the ground in a typical garden bed, you can direct the runners from the row of strawberries to a second, tidy row. This is logical because it is easier to trace the age of strawberry plants and remove the oldest plants after three to five years when they are less productive.

Another option, whether growing strawberries in the ground or in a container, is to direct the strawberry runners into new pots. The advantage of this is that you can easily move new strawberry plants to a new area of ​​your garden or even sell them.


Strawberries are propagated on the farm in rows.

banprik / Getty Images


Fixing or weighting of strawberries

Once you have decided where you want to grow your new strawberries, you need to make sure that the runner’s node is in contact with the soil or the growing medium. There are several ways to keep runners in contact with the ground at a given location. I like to use recycled or natural materials.

For example, you can use forks, some of which are on either side of the runway, or curved twigs that are U-shaped and inserted into the ground. You can use two thin stones with a larger stone on top to hold the runner in place. Other ideas include a bent piece of wire, an old tent peg, or a clothes hanger upside down.

Be careful not to crush the runner. Keep in mind that nutrients and water must pass on this conveyor belt from the mother plant until the root system of the new plant is built.

Caring for strawberry runners and new strawberry plants

Don’t forget to sprinkle your existing strawberry plants and new ones at the end of the runners when they form. It can’t take too long for new plants to form a strong and healthy root system.

Once rooted, the connecting runners must, of course, die back and break contact with the mother plants. If you don’t want to wait that long and want to move your new plants a little earlier, you can cut down the runners as soon as new roots emerge.

If you remove the pin or other structure that holds the runner down and the plant does not protrude easily from the surface of the soil or growing medium, it means that roots have formed and new strawberry plants have successfully propagated.

Propagation of non – running strawberries

Forest or alpine strawberries usually do not produce runners. So when I want to get more of these plants for free, I collect and take the seeds.

To do this, you can harvest fully ripe wild strawberries. Cut off the outer peel (with seeds) and eat the rest of the berries. Remove these seeded skins and mix briefly with a cup of water. Let the mixture stand for a few minutes and the viable seeds will sink. Pour off the water, paste and non-viable seeds, leaving the viable seeds at the bottom. Rinse the seeds under cold running water and immediately sow or dry and store in an airtight container.

Some strawberry seeds need a cold period to germinate. If you have this type, put them in the freezer for a few weeks before taking them out, allow them to warm to room temperature before sowing. Seeds germinate at temperatures between 65˚F and 70˚F (18-21˚C). Seedlings should appear within about two to three weeks.

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