How to Root Strawberries
By Dave Bentz
Strawberries reproduce by sending out runners, which are called “stolons”. The word “stolon” comes from the Latin word stolo, meaning a shoot, branch, or twig springing from the root. The stolons have no leaves or roots, and their sole purpose is to reach out away from the main mother plant and set a clone on the soil to root into the soil and become a new plant. Let me show you how to root that clone strawberry plant on the end of the runner into a pot to efficiently move them to a different place.
Tools Required for Rooting Strawberries
- Wire cutters
- Three inch vegetable pots with drainage holes in the bottom
- Potting soil
Photo by “Nebraska Dave” Bentz
Process for Rooting Strawberry Clones
- Cut the wire
- bend wire into U clips
- Fill pots with soil
- Find the sprouting strawberries
- Sink the pot in the strawberry bed
- Secure the clone plant to the soil for good contact
- Wait for new strawberry to root
- Cut the umbilical
Every gardener, homesteader, do-it-yourselfer, or urban farmer needs to have a spool of wire and a decent pair of wire cutters. One thing I’ve learned is not to buy cheap tools. Spend the extra money and buy a good wire-cutting tool. It will make your garden wire life ever so much more peaceful. Wire clips to hold the rooting strawberries in contact with the soil can be made. Cut wire lengths of about 6 inches and bend them in half to form a U shape with two equal length legs, about 1 inch apart.
I would say that almost every gardener has 3-inch pots and quality-grade potting soil sitting around, especially after spring planting is finished. I’m an advocate of reusing, repurposing, and repairing. Hardly anything goes to waste in a well managed garden. After filling several pots with potting mix, a strawberry plant candidate is selected. Wait until the leaves are starting to grow and roots are forming to place the plant in a prepared pot.
Set the pot into the soil for pot soil temperature control and for moisture to wick up through the holes in the bottom of the pot. The clone plant is set in the middle of the pot and one U-clip is pressed down over the runner near the plant to keep its forming roots in firm contact with the soil.
In about two to three weeks, the new strawberry plant will be rooted into the soil. When a gentle tug on the runner has a good amount of resistance because the plant has rooted, it’s time to cut the runner and remove the pot and new plant from the soil.
What to Do With Potted Strawberries
- In my case I’m using the new plants to populate a new permanent bed. With a constant source of strawberries, the bed will continue to expand until filled.
- Potted strawberry plants go for a premium price. The big box stores this spring were selling potted strawberries for three dollars or more. It could be a source of income.
- Strawberry plants make excellent presents. They can be houseplants and grow indoors. Strawberries can be planted in large outside pots with other plants such as flowers to provide cover for the soil and benefit from the bees that visit the flowers. The use of strawberry plants for a gardener is practically endless.
Strawberries are tasty little snack morsels. However, I have found that I’m not the only one that thinks so. Ground and aerial assault teams from the wild are relentless in their attacks to beat me to the fruit. Protection will be needed if a complete harvest is wanted. Sometimes any harvest but that’s the nature of gardening, isn’t it.
Nebraska Dave is a Nebraskan-Iowan dirt farmer-turned-urban dweller who lives to improve life with backyard compost, raised beds, vertical growing, automatic watering, and other undercover techniques. Connect with Nebraska Dave at Old Dave’s Garden blog and read all of his GRIT posts here.