Ok back to the colonisation process. Simply put, the parent plant throws new runner during the growing season and every few inches, the runner starts to grow new roots and leaves and eventually this becomes a new plant in its’ own right. As a grower, catching the runners is the easiest way to renew your strawberry stocks and negates the need for buying new plants and/or seed every year.
Today, as part of my general tidy up of the beds, I decided to catch up the new runners, so that I would have young stock to supplement the old plants, for next year. I do this every year and from having a half dozen or so plants we now have some 40 or 50 viable plants. Today I managed to pot up 30 or so runners which, if they all survive the upheaval, will supplement our strawberry plant numbers nicely.
Catching and potting the runners is very easy. If your runner is already rooted into a bed and you’re quite happy for it to stay there than, brilliant, nothing more to do. If however you don’t want it there then:
1) Take a spare pot and half fill it with compost or soil;
2) Gently dig around the root ball of the runner and lift it out of the ground;
3) Press it firmly into the new soil and back fill with more soil if required;
4) If the plant on the runner is quite well established then you should be able to separate it from the parent plant using your snips but if it isn’t then place the plant pot beside the parent plant and allow the new plant to root for a couple of weeks before snipping the main runner;
5) In either case, once potted up water the new plant well.
If your runner is not rooted into a bed or soil but is hanging down the side of the plant or resting on the ground beside the parent plant, then simply follow steps 1 and 3 (missing out 2), as detailed above, and then place the newly planted runner in its’ pot beside the parent plant and allow it to become established for a few weeks before cutting through the runner. Do remember to give it a good drink after planting.
And there you have it: how to increase your strawberry plant numbers easily and without having to hand over your hard earned cash.