How to grow strawberry plants from runners

Oscar von Kitten with a strawberry runner - Tyrant Farms
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Want to turn one strawberry plant into a garden full of strawberry plants? Learn how to grow strawberries from runners.

Strawberries. We’ve never met anyone who doesn’t like ’em.

Eating a perfectly ripe strawberry freshly warmed by the sun’s rays is the perfect way to eat a strawberry. The only thing that makes that experience any better is when you happen to be picking those strawberries in your own yard or garden, knowing that there is not a single drop of pesticide on them.

Using strawberry plants as a ground cover

Strawberries also make an attractive, edible ground cover in an edible landscape. You can put them in your front yard beds or under your fruit trees.

We also recommend growing a few different strawberry varieties:

Strawberry varieties we grow and enjoy:

  • several old European varieties with small fruit whose flavor is 10x more intense than our large hybrid varieties;
  • ever-bearing hybrid varieties so we get fruit in the spring and another smaller crop when the weather cools back down in the late summer-fall;
  • our native Fragaria virginiana which also produces an intensely delicious small red fruit;
  • Yellow Wonder Wild Strawberry” that produces a small yellow fruit that tastes like tropical fruit punch (*this variety does NOT produce runners). 
One of the strawberry beds at Tyrant Farms.

A nice ground cover of strawberry plants in a bed at Tyrant Farms.

What are strawberry runners?

If you’ve ever grown strawberries, you probably know that they can spread really quickly. They accomplish this feat by sending out above-ground “runners” throughout the summer growing season.

Runners basically look like a strawberry tentacle. As the runners grow, a cluster of small leaves form on their tips, and new roots start growing from the base. Once those roots set and the leaves mature, voila!

A new strawberry plant is born. The following year, the plant will produce fruit. 

A strawberry runner looking for a place to call home at Tyrant Farms.

A strawberry runner looking for a place to call home in a rock wall at Tyrant Farms.

Strawberry runners take a lot of energy out of the “mother plant.” If your strawberries are in a confined bed or planter where there isn’t enough room for new strawberry plants, you don’t want these runners taking energy away from the mother plant thereby making the mother’s fruit smaller.

Nor do you want a bunch of new strawberry plants in a tight space (like a pot) because you can cause them all to become root-bound. For that reason, it’s common for gardeners to trim off and discard their strawberry runners.

Not so fast if you want or need more strawberry plants and you have the space!

A home-grown Tyrant Farms strawberry full of flavor and warm afternoon sun.

A homegrown Tyrant Farms strawberry full of flavor and warm afternoon sun. Who does’t want more strawberries in their life? 

How to grow new strawberry plants for FREE from runners

If you have other garden beds where you’d like to add strawberry plants, you can easily grow all the strawberries you’ll ever want for FREE starting from a single plant. Here’s how:

Step 1: Identify the strawberry runners. 

Look for strawberry runners that are growing in places where you don’t want new strawberry plants to take root.

A strawberry growing out in the path at Tyrant Farms

A strawberry runner growing out into a stone walking path at Tyrant Farms. These are ideal for turning into new strawberry plants!

Step 2: Pot & pin your strawberry runners. 

When you find a runner with a small, leafy growth tip and starter roots, put a small seedling pot underneath the growth tip and firmly set the roots into the soil. Do NOT cut the runner leading back to the mother plant… yet.

To keep the new pinned runner plant from popping out of the soil before it sets roots, use a u-shaped pin or a thin flexible stick to hold the roots down in the pot.

The Strawberry Clip

Potting and pinning a strawberry runner using a twig to hold it in place so it can set roots.  

Step 3: Cut the cord.

Once the new roots are well established in the pot (meaning a light pull on the tip doesn’t pull up the new plant) you can “cut the cord.”

Simply take a pair of clippers and cut the runner connecting the growth tip to the mother plant. If you’re nervous about doing this step too early, you can just wait to cut the cord until the connecting runner has turned brown, which indicates that the new plant is getting all the nutrition it needs from its own roots, not the mother plant.

Step 4: Plant & share. 

Plant your new strawberry plants in new locations throughout your yard, garden, or farm. These little potted strawberry plants also make great gifts. 

A Strawberry Runner taking off through some low growing Dianthus.

A strawberry runner taking off through some low growing dianthus.

We hope this tip helps you fill your world with new strawberry plants and feed your strawberry addiction!  



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  • Reply
    May 5, 2015 at 8:50 pm

    We have our berries in raised beds with plastic mulch, would it work to cut the tips off and plant in flats until well rooted or would they die? Thank you!

  • Reply
    August 22, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    Very nice blog! We had lots of strawberry runners this year, but so limited on space to plant them…

  • Reply
    August 15, 2014 at 8:31 am

    Thanks for the tip! That is a very clean and clever way to propagate strawberries.

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