Strawberry plants will spread and grow baby plants by sending out horizontal stems. These stems will have small plants which will root in the soil when the stem reaches the full length. These baby strawberry plants can be pinned down to help them to settle into the soil. This can happen in the first year you plant your new strawberry plant.
Strawberry plants that are grown from runners will be genetically the same as the mother plant so will grow the same type of strawberries. Once the plant has established its roots in the soil, the stem will die off and can be snipped to separate the plant completely.
You can snip off the new baby plant and move it to a new area of your garden, into a pot or give it away to friends.
I had planted 1 strawberry plant at the start of fall and now have around 5 plants that have grown from the mother plant. I have moved 1 to a pot and the rest are in my raised garden bed and are now growing strawberries in spring.
You can purchase strawberry runners from nurseries in the winter. These plants will establish in the soil over the winter when the weather is cooler and the plant is almost dormant.
Once planted out the strawberry plant will start to establish its roots and start to grow leaves. When the weather warms in spring you will start to see big bright white, pink or red flowers. These beautiful flowers will then be pollinated by bees and will set fruit over spring and summer.
How fast do strawberry plants spread?
Strawberry plants will spread quickly throughout your garden bed if they are a healthy, established plant. I had planted out 1 Nelly Kelly strawberry plant that spread to 5 plants in around 3 months. The first thing the plant did was send out baby plants after it had grown for around 4 weeks.
You can choose to trim off these runners and just leave the mother plant or you can let the babies grow and dig them out and move them to another spot. Cutting of the runners will allow the main plant to grow and establish larger and quicker.
If you let the babies grow you will have more plants but they generally will be smaller. Once the first baby plant had established, it had actually sent out a runner itself and established its own baby plant. Nelly Kelly are generally fast growing strawberries and will send out babies quickly.
Once the strawberry plant had sent out its runners in Winter it did not send out any more runners after this point. Those 5 plants then grew and established and did not send out any more runners.
Do strawberries multiply?
Most strawberry plants will multiply by sending out runners and growing genetically identical baby plants. This means that one strawberry plant can produce many plants over time but it is best to remove extra runners in spring and summer to encourage the plant to concentrate on growing flowers and fruit.
You can then let the plant send out more runners in fall and over winter to grow new plants. Each plant will produce good quality strawberries for around 2-3 years and after this can be removed. You can replace them with the new baby plants and have an ongoing supply of strawberries and new plants.
Do strawberry plants come back every year?
Strawberry plants will usually send out new runners and new baby plants each year. The plant itself is perennial meaning it will grow and have green leaves throughout the year. Most strawberry plants produce fruit from Spring to Summer but check the variety when you buy it to see when it will fruit.
Mix up the varieties you use buy to get a strawberries from Spring to late Summer and even into Fall. Strawberry plants are also a fantastic feature in a pot or hanging basket and can have beautiful flowers that can be deep red, pink or white.
Should I let my strawberry plant spread?
There are two different ways you can go about treating your spreading strawberry plant. The first is to let the strawberry plant send out whatever runners it likes, let the new plants establish in the ground and let them grow to full size.
I like to cut the stems off as soon as they go brown and separate the plant. You can create a strawberry patch full of plants in the first year if you take this approach. I did this and had around 5 plants by the beginning of spring all growing flowers and fruit from one single plant bought in Fall.
This will generally result in more plants but they will be smaller and produce less strawberries each compared to one single, large plant. For me this is what I was aiming for and will leaves these plants to grow for the next year and continue to grow fruit without growing new plants.
Stopping strawberry plants from spreading
Another approach is to remove any strawberry runners and babies as soon as they appear. This will force the mother plant to concentrate all of its energy on establishing a good healthy root system in the ground and a healthy crown and leaves.
The resulting plant will be larger, healthier and grow more strawberries on its own. This is perfect if you have grown your strawberries in a pot, hanging basket, in a garden bed with limited space or in rows. You don’t really want the plant to spend its energy growing new plants outside of the rows you have planned.
Do strawberry plants spread? | Summary
Strawberry plants will spread as soon as you plant a new plant in your garden bed. From a single small plant it spread to 5 large plants in around 3 months. I then snipped off each plant which are now growing flowers and strawberries.
Strawberry spread is easy to control however by simply snipping off the runners and leaving the main plant. Use sharp secateurs and snip off the stems at the base of the plant to allow it to focus its energy on growing roots and leaves.
Strawberry plants will generally need to be replaced every 3 years so in the third year you can let the plant send out runners and grow babies to replace the mother plant.
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I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.