How to Use Strawberry Runners to Grow More Strawberries


The Spruce / K. Dave

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 1 - 2 hrs
  • Total Time: 1 - 2 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $0

Strawberry plants are fruit-bearing perennials that take a year or two after planting before they produce fruit in any substantial way. As strawberry plants mature, they will put out runners, which are long string-like stems with small nodes that allow the plant to propagate itself. These nodes are essentially clones, creating new plants.

The small plant node which forms small strawberry leaves will also form what are called adventitious roots, meaning they will seek out a suitable spot to root themselves. The formation of runners is seen on all June-bearing strawberry varieties, and on most everbearing or day-neutral strawberries.

You can think of strawberry runners as baby strawberry plants. They will either self-propagate in the right conditions or can be separated from the plant and planted as new plants. Over time, you may see new young strawberry plants emerge next to your original plants: these are the clones created by strawberry runners. Read on for how to successfully use strawberry runners to grow more strawberries.

What Are Strawberry Runners?

Strawberry runners, also called stolons, are small plant nodes attached to a long stem that grows from the original plant. These nodes produce small roots that allow for propagation and can be planted.

Can You Grow More Strawberries With Runners?

Runners are a strawberry plant's way of self-propagating, so using these runners to propagate plants can ultimately give you more plants, and more berries. This can be an especially fruitful endeavor if you have established perennial strawberry beds with plenty of space for the runners to take root.

Something to remember is that producing strawberry runners uses a lot of energy from the plant, and over time this can affect the plant's ability to put out fruit. Most strawberry plants produce vigorously for a maximum of five years. After that, runners can cause the strawberry bed to become overcrowded and can deplete the main plant's energy. But transplanting the runners is a way to keep replenishing your strawberry bed with new young plants.

When to Transplant Strawberry Runners

The best time to dig up young strawberry plants that have formed from runners is in the fall: late September to early October is perfect. This gives them plenty of time to get re-established and produce berries the following spring. Plant them as you would new plants you obtain from a nursery, with good organic loamy soil, mulching with straw if desired.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Garden spade
  • Pruning shears or snips


  • Organic soil
  • Straw for mulching


  1. Collect Your Strawberry Runners

    Starting in the early autumn, look for the small strawberry plants growing alongside your main strawberry plants. Gently dig them up with a small garden spade or whatever tool you would normally use to transplant in your garden. If they are still attached with runners, gently snip them.

  2. Prepare Your Strawberry Runners

    To prepare your strawberry runners for planting, shake loose any weeds or leaf litter from the roots. Plant them in their new spot, adding some fresh soil. Strawberries like neutral, rich, organic soil. You can start a whole new strawberry bed if you wish.

  3. Plant Your Strawberry Runners

    Once you prepare the new strawberry bed, plant the runners. Tamp soil lightly around the roots, and give them a good drink of water. Water them every other day for about ten days to help them get a good start. You can add a layer of straw mulch now, or wait and add it in the spring. Mulching in the fall provides some winter protection.

  4. Care for Your Strawberries

    Once your planted strawberry runners pop up again in spring, care for them as you would new strawberry plants from a nursery. Strawberries can be a bit fussy about water and need a good balance of sunlight and moisture to produce optimal fruit. There are a few tricks to growing healthy strawberries.

  5. Harvest Your Strawberries

    Your strawberries should grow as normal, and give you the first harvest of berries in June, depending on what variety they are. Sometimes it takes the younger runner plants a year or two to start producing abundant fruit. Be patient, and keep adding more new plants, your strawberry patch will eventually produce plenty of berries every year.

  • What do I do with strawberry runners?

    You can cut the runners off your strawberry plants if you wish. Or, you can encourage them to take root to grow more plants, or separate them and plant them elsewhere.

  • Should I cut strawberry runners?

    If your plants produce a lot of strawberry runners, it's a good idea to trim back at least some of them; otherwise, your strawberry plant may produce fewer and smaller berries.

  • What happens if you cut off strawberry runners?

    Cutting off runners can help direct more energy to the main plant to produce larger berries.