Mail-order runners

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 strawberry plants, you can choose between pot-grown plants (available during summer at garden centres and nurseries) or mail-order runners. 

Find out all you need to know about growing strawberries in our Strawberry Grow Guide.

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.

Mail-order runners are the cheaper, more traditional way to buy strawberry plants and a good option if you are starting a new strawberry patch. They are available in spring and autumn and are sold in bundles of 10-15 plants, with long roots and a tiny tuft of leaves on top.

Find out how to propagate strawberries from home-propagated runners.

Strawberries need a cold spell to initiate flowers and fruit - ideally a fortnight below 7°C. So if you can, order and plant your runners in autumn. If you miss your chance, buy artificially chilled 'cold-stored' runners, available from mid-spring, which will fruit about 60 days after planting.

Discover how to grow strawberries from mail-order runners, below.

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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