The Strawberry plant is becoming very common in everyone’s homes nowadays.
The botanical name for strawberry is Fragaria × ananassa according to the University of North Carolina.
This plant is not only stunning but also produces a delicious fruit that we all love to eat.
The main aim for everyone growing this plant is to eventually harvest their own fruits.
However, there are times when we are left with things we didn’t expect, such as the runners on strawberry plants.
The most cultivated variety of strawberry plants is known to produce ‘runners’ or stolons. These runners are a way through which you can propagate your plant. There are also other things you can do with them, like pinching them, letting them grow, storing them for next year, and clipping them off.
A Deeper Look into The Things You Need to Know About Strawberry Runners
The most basic thing to know about strawberry plants is that these runners are actually known as stolons.
Stolons are horizontal stems, and they will be seen running above the ground. At each node on the stolon, a new clone plant is created.
Since strawberry plants are known to have stolons, they are also called stoloniferous.
You can identify stolons by looking at the long, leafless stems growing from the mother plant.
This leafless stem will grow nodes, and these nodes are known as internodes.
Overall, the whole system for runners is very important for strawberry plants as it helps them reproduce and create new plants from them.
Runners are a common part of the strawberry plant. You will notice that the older your plant gets, the more runners it produces.
Essentially these runners can be used to create new strawberry plants. This is a great way to utilize parts of your plant as the mother plant does eventually die in a few years.
But if you use the runners from the mother plant to grow a whole new plant, then you will never have to stop cultivating strawberries.
Propagating strawberry plants is easy as you simply take the runner that has roots sprouting from it and pin it down into a pot with soil.
Pin the runner down with a U-shaped clip or any wire bent into a U-shape.
After six weeks, you will notice that the runner is now producing new leaves. You can then cut the new plant free from the mother plant from the stem and grow it into a new plant.
While runners are a great way for you to produce new plants. You cannot keep cutting 15 of these runners every year to keep making a new plant.
Thus, the solution to this problem is easy as you can simply pinch the plant to train it. Pinching will allow the plant to first grow its leaves and roots as much as possible.
After pinching the buds in the initial stages of growth, you can let your plant grow its buds normally.
Once the flower is pollinated, your strawberry plant will be healthy enough to grow delicious fruits on it.
This pinching of the flowers allows the growth of runners to also be slowed down.
You can also let your runners grow if you are looking to create a whole garden filled with strawberries.
By letting your strawberry plant grow normally, you will let the runners also grow as they usually do.
These runners can be utilized later on whenever you wish to create a new plant from the mother plant.
Runners can be left on your plant. But letting them grow constantly can make your plant more prone to pests such as spittlebugs, strawberry sap bugs, and strawberry bud weevils.
Instead of letting these runners grow, you can propagate them.
But if you do not wish to grow a new plant in the same season, then you can store the runners.
Simply dig up the already rooted runners and place them in a cheap plastic pot along with the dirt. Keep it out of the frost and away from too-warm places.
Use any moisture-holding medium to ensure the runners get enough moisture to stay alive.
Then plant these runners next spring and grow them as you usually would.
6. Clip them Off
Having a few unattended runners on your strawberry plants is okay. But most of the time, strawberry plants will produce several runners altogether.
This because a big problem as time passes since your plant will be prone to diseases if the runners are not looked after.
You can simply clip off some of the baby runners, and your plant will remain healthy.
Not only will your plant remain healthy, but it will also produce better fruits in the next growing season.
7. Save Money
Runners seem like a win-and-lose addition to your plant. But it definitely has more benefits to it.
Strawberry plants are not considered cheap since they are edible fruit-bearing plants. Thus, having just one plant that produces enough stolons to help you grow even more plants helps you reduce costs.
You can use the excess runners to grow new plants in the next season and give those away as house-warming gifts to your friends.
You can also use runners to grow new plants and then sell these plants to make a profit for yourself.
There is a growing number of plant enthusiasts, and each of them is always looking to expand their collection. Thus, your runners can aid them in doing that.
If you plant your Strawberry plant under its ideal conditions, then your strawberry plant will be able to produce an abundance of runners from it.
You also need to make sure to supply your strawberry plant with enough water in order to let these runners have enough nutrients for growth.
Under the best conditions, your strawberry plant will be able to produce anywhere between 30 to 50 runners.
Of course, the number of runners being produced by your strawberry plant will also be determined by its variety.
Places such as commercial operators or nurseries are able to keep a constant production of strawberry plants.
This is mostly done with just a few plants, which then allows the growth of 15 more strawberry plants. Thus, such places always get a return on their initial investment.
This is because, as said before, they can sell the extra plants and make a profit out of it.
While runners are great for making a profit, they are prolific reproducers, and some varieties of strawberry plants are more invasive than others.
Without having a whole area dedicated to growing strawberry plants, many gardeners find it difficult to control the spread of runners.
This excessive spread causes the rest of the surrounding plants to be choked out.
The good thing about runners is that they are flexible.
This means you can store them in a tight spot until they grow roots, which will allow you to grow a new strawberry plant.
This flexibility also reduces your chances of damaging your strawberry plant. Which, in return, ensures that diseases do not attack your plant.
Frequently Asked Questions About Things You Need to Know About Strawberry Runners
How often should you prune strawberry runners?
You can cut the runners anywhere between spring to fall. The amount you cut does not matter as long as you leave some of the runners of your plant.
What should I do with extra runners?
You can easily compost the runners or grow a new plant. But if any disease or pest has infected them, it is best to throw them away. Make sure you dispose of them far away from your planting area.
Taking care of houseplants and gardening are my greatest passions. I am transforming my apartment into an urban jungle and am growing veggies in my indoor and outdoor garden year-round.