Ok folks here is a very quick and cheap way to get new strawberry plants for free!
During late summer – early autumn you will notice your strawberry plants sending out long stems that have a knobbly clusters like you see in the picture below.
Strawberry stolons or "runners".
These are often referred to as “runners” or in botany we call them “stolons“. Quite simply they are a specialised above ground shoots that emit roots, allowing stoloniferous plants, like strawberries, to colonise themselves.
Strawberry stolon. Roots forming.
It is best not to propagate too many stolons from each plant as this can exhaust the parent plant and weaken the growth of your developing runners. I think four is plenty.
To propagate your own strawberries you will need:
- a pot or tray
- some potting mix or compost
- a pin
- Or if you don’t have a pin you can use a piece of thick wire and some wire cutters.
You can easily make your own pins from an old coat hanger just as I have done below.
Old coat hanger wire cut into short pieces.
Bend the wire over the wire cutters.
First fill your pot or tray with potting mix or compost. Pat it down with the palm of your hand so that it is level and firm. This will give the roots something to grab on to.
Fill your tray/pot with potting mix or compost.
Now take your stolons and place them on your filled tray or pot.
Stolons in place.
Pin it into place on top of the potting mix. You want the stolons to be fixed firmly in place so that the base of the stolon is in contact with the potting mix.
Insert your pin to anchor stolon.
When your new plants have developed a good root system you will see the roots through the holes at the bottom of your pot or tray (this can take around 3 weeks).
Cut your new plant free from the parent plant, making sure that you cut nice and close to the base. This will prevent the spent stem from rotting and potentially harming your new plant.
Cut close to the base.
And there you have it! New strawberries from old plants!
Naturally, if your strawberries are in the ground and you want to propagate them direct into your soil you can do so. I would advise you to pull back your straw and pin the runners into place where it suits you, not where it suits the plant. It is your garden after all!
Of course you can grow from seed or division but this truly is the easiest way to propagate. Also, propagating in this way means that you will produce clones of the parent plant and this is great because then you know exactly what kind of fruit will get when the plant matures.
If you don’t have your own plants to propagate from have no shame asking a friend or neighbour that does. Remember, love is sharing!