what to do with strawberry runners…

Ever wondered what those long dangly bits are that grow from your strawberry plants? They're called runners and basically what they are is the plant trying to expand. If you look closely you will see that underneath each bunch of new leaves growing on the runner, there will be a little root trying to shoot out the bottom. This is a new plant trying to grow. They usually try to throw out runners twice during the strawberry season and my advice (via my very knowledgeable mother) is to pick off the first set as soon as they start to shoot and toss them, otherwise the plant will throw all of it's energy into growing the runners instead of the strawberries. Not good. The second set of runners that appear after most of the fruiting is all over however, are the good ones. These are gold to a gardener and mean free plants! 

All you need to do to get these 'free' plants is leave them on the main plant until the little root starts to appear (ideally a little more than in that photo above, look at photo below for an idea), then snip the runner off near the start. It will look like his one below. Hold the little clump of new leaves and gently snip the excess runners off either side and discard (sometimes you can get two plants off the one runner, mostly just the one though). Pop this new little plant into a pot filled with good quality potting mix, keep well watered and out of direct sun for the first week. Leave until growing big and strong before transplanting into your strawberry patch or give away to neighbours and friends, especially those with kids!

P.s thanks for your overwhelming support of my last post! Just a quick question, would any of you be interested in a post on making sushi? Also Ada's first day at school has gone really well, no dramas at all, yay! Now for Kye's first day at kindy tomorrow...

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  • Emma @ Craving Fresh
    February 1, 2012 at 5:24 am

    I did not know that about snipping off the first runner of the season. Maybe that's why my strawbs haven't produced well. Thanks!

    • emma
      February 1, 2012 at 6:05 am

      Yep it totally zaps all their energy, better luck next season ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sugar and Spice
    February 1, 2012 at 7:30 am

    I must pass that bit of info to my bestfriend. Her husband grows a variety of vegetables for the home table and they've got 2 troughs of strawberries that never seem to produce more than a handful of berries. Fab tip!! Thanks Emma.

  • The InTolerant Chef
    February 1, 2012 at 9:58 am

    Mine seem to shoot out before I get a chance to catch them! I obviously need to be more diligent ๐Ÿ™‚

    • emma
      February 1, 2012 at 11:31 am

      Ours do too, they are crazy little things ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • hungryandfrozen
    February 1, 2012 at 10:11 am

    My strawberries never made it to this flourishing point, unfortch, but should they ever succeed, I'll keep this good advice in mind ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Blandine
    February 1, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Hi Emma, thanks for the great tip on getting strawberry plants for free! Can't wait for the spring to experiment in my garden.
    A post on making sushi? Yes please! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Hope Kye's first day at kindy goes well.

    • emma
      February 1, 2012 at 11:32 am

      Thanks Blandine ๐Ÿ™‚ Okay will work on that sushi post for sometime soon…

  • Ina
    February 1, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    Thank you for the strawberry info! Now I know why I did not get many strawberries last year! Can't wait for summer!

  • design elements
    February 1, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    thanks for the wonderful tip!



  • Jen
    February 1, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    What a great tip! Yes please a post on suhsu making would be great! I always tend to muck my sushi when rolling – it's probably just me and my unco-ness or I put too much sushi vinegar in and the rice becomes too sticky!

  • Anonymous
    February 1, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    Kia ora Emma yes please to the sushi post! keep up this lovely, lovely work Thanks Sam

    • emma
      February 2, 2012 at 10:52 am

      I'm on it, thanks Sam ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Anonymous
    February 2, 2012 at 9:48 am

    I love your blog, especially the gardening posts. Thanks!!!

    • emma
      February 2, 2012 at 10:51 am

      You're welcome ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Marie-Anne
    February 4, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Huh, I should totally grow strawberries on my balcony. I only have oregano, parsley, chive & mint right now, but hey, this just gave me new ideas.
    I just love your blog. Keep up the good work!

    • emma
      February 5, 2012 at 2:05 am

      Thank you Marie-Anne ๐Ÿ™‚ We have our strawberries in pots at the moment.

  • Mairi @ Toast
    February 12, 2012 at 7:29 am

    Oh dear my strawberries were sadly neglected like the rest of my garden and they have been over run with mint & nasturtiums! Yes to sushi please, I have never attempted it but a little inspiration & I may well give it a go ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Ashlae
    February 26, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    I am so happy to have found your blog – I am planning on starting a little organic garden this summer, and need all the help I can get. Nice tip about the strawberries! If you hadn't said something, I'd have left the runners on.

    • emma
      February 27, 2012 at 1:09 am

      Hi Ashlae, welcome! Sorry my gardening posts will be a bit scarce over the next little while. We've moved house recently and not had the time to dig in a new garden yet. Hopefully soon, once the weather cools down ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Anonymous
    August 20, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    How long will the original strawberry plant bear fruit? Is there a point at which I should replace the original plant with the young, newly-rooted offshoot?

    • emma
      September 1, 2012 at 11:12 am

      To be honest I'm not sure, I have found that our plants tend to look a bit raggidy after a couple of years, and they do enjoy a good feed of fertiliser often. We keep our originals and just keep adding to them with the new shoots every year too ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Cindy Miller
    June 26, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Why don't we plant the first runner plant? Maybe using rooting hormone??

    • emma
      June 26, 2013 at 2:56 pm

      I don't bother as there's always PLENTY to come later on. (This year we got over 80 free plants from the second set of runners off our 8 or so plants). If you're desperate for more plants I'm sure you could, however if you leave them on the plant long enough to properly form into runners your plant will stop producing strawberries. Snipping off the first set of runners prolongs the fruiting season.

  • Anonymous
    September 26, 2013 at 6:35 am

    Ventenna variety of strawberry is producing runners but the roots of the runners does not develop ,
    so can u please suggest me something ?

    • emma
      September 26, 2013 at 7:46 am

      I'm sorry, I'm not clued up on actual strawberry variety's. Every plant we've ever had has grown roots from the runners. Do your runners have little bits where it looks like a root should be growing? I'd try just planting that even though the root has not formed and see how you go. Otherwise ask at your local garden centre for a variety that does throw out usable runners. Sorry I can't be more helpful!

  • Anonymous
    October 29, 2013 at 8:19 am

    Hi, can you keep the newly developed runner in the freezer and then plant them in the ground early next year? I was successful in getting few well rooted runners this year but wonder what to do with them over winter period.

  • Sangie
    June 9, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    I'm so glad I found this! My bf and I just planned about 15 strawberry plants this year on our balcony and we could not figure out what the little Viney things were lol. We figured it was a new plant starting though. Glad to know now to cut off the first runners. I couldn't figure out why our strawberries were so little and we weren't getting many.