When to Transplant Strawberries | A Guide for Gardeners

Strawberries can be transplanted successfully in fall and spring. Dig up and transfer new plants that have grown from runners by snipping them off from the main plant and moving them. Spring and Fall are great times for transplanting strawberries because the weather is mild and the soil will stay moist as they establish.

Transplanting strawberries is an easy job that can be done on a weekend when you have a spare moment. This guide will explore when to transplant strawberries and the benefits of doing it in spring and fall.

How to Know When Strawberries are Ready to Transplant

Strawberry plants will grow new plants by sending out runners from the mother plant. These new strawberry plants can be trimmed of and transplanted once they have established roots. I like to leave them on until the runner stem has started to turn brown. You can leave the older plants in place or dig them out and replace them with the daughter plants.

This is a sign that the baby strawberry plant has established its own roots and is no longer drawing nutrients and water from the mother plant. That is how you know that it is ready to trim off and transplant.

Strawberry plants can be dug up and transplanted in Fall or early Spring when the weather is mild.

Best Time to Transplant Strawberries

The ideal time to transplant strawberries is during the plant’s dormant period, either in the spring or fall. This will allow them to settle into the new soil before the warm weather of summer arrives.

Spring Transplanting

Spring is a great time to transplant strawberries because the plants are just starting to come out of dormancy. This gives the plants plenty of time to establish their roots before the heat of summer sets in. It’s important to wait until the soil is dry enough and there is no risk of frost before transplanting.

To prepare for spring transplanting, make sure the soil is well-drained, rich in organic matter, and free of weeds. You can also add compost or other organic fertilizers to help improve the soil quality.

Fall Transplanting

Fall is another ideal time to transplant strawberries, especially in warmer climates where the plants may continue to produce fruit through the winter. Transplanting in the fall allows the plants to establish their roots before the cold weather sets in, which can help them survive the winter and produce a larger crop the following year.

To prepare for fall transplanting, make sure the soil is well-drained and free of weeds. You can also add compost or other organic fertilizers to help improve the soil quality.

In summary, the best time to transplant strawberries is during the plant’s dormant period, either in the spring or fall. By transplanting during these times, you can help ensure the success of your plants and increase your yields.

How to Transplant Strawberries in Spring

Transplanting strawberry plants that have grown from runners will be more successful if done in Spring. Spring weather is mild but warming so will support the plant to establish a new roots system. Here are the easy steps that I follow to transplant strawberry baby plants in spring.

1. Prepare the soil or pot

The first step is to prepare the space that you will be transplanting your strawberry plant to. Find a pot and fill it with good quality potting soil that is made for vegetable gardens.

If you are planning to move your strawberry plant to a new bed or raised garden improve the soil first with compost and aged cow manure. You can mound the soil slightly to increase drainage for the plant and keep the crown clear of the soil.

2. Cut the runner

Once your pot or garden bed is prepared you will need to separate the new baby plant from the mother.

Use sharp secateurs to cut the stem that joins the mother plant to the new strawberry plant. Cut the stem when it has gone brown.

If you are transplanting an established plant that is not growing from a runner, you can skip this step. Larger, more established plants will not transplant as easily as new plants as they will have large established roots.

3. Dig up the plant

The next step is to take a small trowel and dig around the plant. Dig into the soil at least 2-3 inches away from the plant all the way around. Try a to keep as much soil around the roots as possible as this will help the plant recover quicker.

You can buy bare rooted runners from garden centers that also transplant well. However, when I am doing this at home I always like to keep soil around the roots as I find the plant recovers quicker.

Once you have done this, stick the trowel in the soil and lift the plant. This can be then placed in your prepared pot or garden bed.

4. Sprinkle some pelleted chicken manure

Add pelleted chicken manure to the plant by sprinkling a small handful on the soil. This will slowly release nutrients to the strawberry plant when you water or when it rains.

5. Mulch your strawberry plant

The next step is to add some mulch around the plant. You can use straw, sugar cane or fine bark mulch to keep weeds away and water in the soil for longer. You can layer newspaper first to keep weeds away for even longer.

6. Water it well

The final step when transplanting your strawberry plants is to water the plant well. This will help the plant to settle into its new home, will fill air gaps that may have formed around the roots and settle the soil.

Water the plant every 1-2 days for the first 1-2 weeks and this will help the plant to establish. If you are transplanting in fall, your new plant will have a few months to settle in before the weather cools and the growth slows.

If you are transplanting in Spring, your new plant will grow new leaves and stems and establish into a larger plant quicker. Both times are fine for transplanting strawberries just avoid winter and summer as the weather will be too extreme.

Strawberries growing on my new plant 3 months after being transplanted

Check out this video for more tips on transplanting strawberries from runners.

Transplanting Strawberries in Fall

Fall is a good time to transplant strawberries grown from runners at your home. I transplanted my baby strawberry plants coming from a single mother plant in Fall and they  are now large, with flowers and setting fruit.

It is only the beginning of spring and these strawberries were given a head start, ready to flower as soon as the weather warmed only slightly.

While plants only grew a small amount in winter, they burst to life when the temperature increased. They were able to establish their roots over winter with very little water from me.

Caring for Strawberries after Transplanting

After transplanting your strawberry plants, it is important to take proper care of them in order to ensure their survival and growth. Here are some tips for post-transplant care:

Watering After Transplant

Watering is crucial for the survival of newly transplanted strawberry plants. Make sure to water them thoroughly immediately after transplanting, and then continue to water them regularly. Generally, you should aim to keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Avoid letting the soil dry out completely, as this can stress the plants and inhibit their growth.

Protecting New Plants

Newly transplanted strawberry plants are vulnerable to damage from pests and harsh weather conditions. To protect them, you can cover them with row covers, installing fences to keep out animals, or using organic pest control methods. Be sure to monitor your plants regularly for signs of damage and take action as needed.


Fertilizing can help your newly transplanted strawberry plants establish themselves and grow strong roots. It is important to add fertilizer after around 2 weeks when the roots of the pant have settled in.

A balanced fertilizer with equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium is a good choice for strawberries. Apply the fertilizer according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and avoid getting it on the leaves or stems of the plants. I like to use organic pelleted chicken manure as it adds organic matter at the same time.

Common Mistakes When Transplanting Strawberries

When it comes to transplanting strawberries, there are a few common mistakes that many gardeners make. Here are some things to avoid when transplanting your strawberry plants.

1. Planting Too Deeply

One of the most common mistakes when transplanting strawberries is planting them too deeply. If you plant your strawberries too deep, they may not get enough oxygen, which can lead to root rot and other problems. Make sure to plant your strawberries at the same depth they were at in their original location.

2. Ignoring Soil pH Levels

Strawberries prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. If your soil is too acidic or too alkaline, your strawberries may not grow as well as they should. It’s important to test your soil before transplanting your strawberries and make any necessary adjustments to the pH level.

3. Overcrowding Plants

Another common mistake when transplanting strawberries is overcrowding your plants. If you plant your strawberries too close together, they may not have enough space to grow and may become stunted. Make sure to give your strawberries plenty of room to grow by spacing them at least 12 inches apart.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure that your strawberry plants have the best chance of thriving after transplanting.


Transplant strawberry plants in fall or spring to give them the best chance of establishing before the weather becomes too extreme. Baby strawberry plants grown from a mother plant can be trimmed off when the connecting stem goes brown and transplanted to a new space in your garden.

Before transplanting, it is crucial to prepare the soil properly. The soil should be well-drained, rich in organic matter, and free of weeds. Additionally, it is important to cut the runner once your pot or garden bed is prepared and separate the new baby plant from the mother.

Overall, transplanting strawberries is a simple process that can yield great results if done correctly. By following the tips and techniques outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your strawberry plants thrive and produce a bountiful harvest.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some companion plants for strawberry plants?

Companion planting is a great way to improve the health and yield of your strawberry plants. Some great companion plants for strawberries include borage, chives, garlic, and lettuce. These plants help to deter pests, attract beneficial insects, and improve soil quality.

How do you replant strawberries from fruit?

To replant strawberries from fruit, simply remove the seeds from the fruit and plant them in a well-draining soil mix. Keep the soil moist and warm, and the seeds should germinate within a few weeks. Once the seedlings are large enough, you can transplant them into individual pots or directly into your garden.

What is the recommended spacing for transplanting strawberries?

When transplanting strawberries, it’s important to give each plant enough space to grow and produce fruit. A good rule of thumb is to space your plants 12-18 inches apart in rows that are 2-3 feet apart. This will give your plants plenty of room to spread out and produce a bountiful harvest.

When is the best time to cut strawberry runners from the mother plant?

The best time to cut strawberry runners from the mother plant is spring or early fall. This is when the runners are most likely to have developed roots of their own and can be safely transplanted to a new location. Be sure to cut the runners close to the mother plant to avoid damaging the roots.

What are the steps to transplant strawberries without killing them?

Transplanting strawberries can be tricky, but if you follow these steps, you can do it without killing your plants. First, choose a location with well-draining soil and plenty of sunlight. Next, dig a hole that is deep enough to accommodate the roots of your plant.

Gently remove the plant from its current location and place it in the new hole. Be sure to water the plant thoroughly and add a layer of mulch to help retain moisture.

Do you get strawberries in the first year of planting?

It is possible to get strawberries in the first year of planting, but it’s not guaranteed. If you plant your strawberries early enough in the season, you may be able to enjoy a small harvest in the first year. However, most plants will not produce a full harvest until their second year of growth.

Can you dig up strawberry plants and replant them?

You can dig up strawberry plants and replant them and it is usually more successful with smaller plants. Large plants will have large, established root systems and can be difficult to move them without damage. They tend to take longer to recover.

The best thing to do is to transplant the baby plants coming from the mother plant. These will have smaller root systems but will be easier to move without damaging them.