How to grow strawberries from mail-order runners

Discover how to grow delicious summer strawberries from runners, with the help of our step by step guide.

Do it:

Mar, Apr, Sep, Oct

Takes just:

one hour

At its best:

Jun, Jul

When buying strawberries, you have a choice between pot-grown plants (available during summer at garden centres and nurseries) or runners. Pot-grown plants have the advantage of being grown on and should fruit well in their first year. They are, however, more expensive, and fewer varieties are available.

Runners, available as freshly dug plants in autumn or as cold-stored plants from early spring, are the cheaper, more traditional way to buy strawberry plants. The time of planting affects their yield. Plant too late in autumn and the winter cold might inhibit establishment; too early in spring and the first year crop will be small.

Find out how to propagate strawberries from runners.

The best time to plant is in spring, when the soil warms up. The plants will have plenty of time to get established before winter and should produce a good crop in their first year.

You will need

  • Strawberry runners
  • Well rotted compost
  • Rake
  • Trowel

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Choose a site with sun for at least half the day. Fork in 3-4 shovels of well-rotted compost per square metre and rake the plot level.

As soon as your runners arrive, unwrap and soak in tepid water for a few minutes before planting. If this is not possible, runners can be kept in the fridge for a few days; just keep the roots moist.

Plant runners 30-38cm apart, with the crown at soil level – too deep and the plant will rot, too high and the crown will dry out. Use your fingers to firm the soil around the roots.

Runners are the cheaper, more traditional way to buy strawberry plants.

Keep the plants well watered during dry weather. Remove flowers from summer varieties in their first year to allow plants to establish. Flowers can be left on perpetuals to fruit later in the season.


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