Propagate Strawberries from Strawberry Runners
It was April 2021, when I thought of adding fruits to my edible garden. I searched of fruits that can be grown hydroponically and saw several suggestions including a strawberry garden! Instantly, I got hooked and I researched a lot more because we all know that strawberries can only grow in colder places like Baguio. But, there are several articles proving that it is possible in a warm climate. Lettuce can grow in my backyard so might as well give it a try. I looked for groups in Facebook and came across propagating strawberries from strawberry runners.
What are Strawberry Runners?
Strawberries can “reproduce” either through seeds or from runners. Strawberry runners are horizontal stems that run above the ground. They produce new “baby” clone plants at the end of the long horizontal stem. These baby plants are a genetic copy of the mother plant. They set roots and grow into the ground surrounding the mother plant.
Strawberry runners are properly termed “stolons”. But to keep it simple, we’ll refer to them by the more commonly recognized term “runners”. Runners are a more reliable and preferred method for establishing strawberries in your garden. You can obtain strawberry runners from nurseries or online. They are sold as a crown with a spindly mass of bare roots. (Source: leafrootfruit.com.au)
Why Strawberry Runners and Not Seeds?
I tried the seeds actually but I failed. It did not germinate! I used the paper towel same as lettuce seeds but nothing popped up! While the strawberry runners are bigger now and one plant already produced a runner.
So if you also would like to grow strawberries in your backyard, I suggest that you buy runners. Not only is it difficult to germinate but It will take years to grow strawberries from seeds. On the other hand, you can already see runners in two months!
I actually cannot see any vendor selling strawberry runners in our local market or anywhere in our town. The nearest I think is in Lipa. I was about to go but I gave Shopee a try! Much to my surprise, Gardella from Caloocan is selling and you can check the link here.
They offer Japanese Shoga and Sweet Charlie. I tried Sweet Charlie, purchased only three runners because I was unsure if it will wilt during delivery. I am so happy it didn’t! I also purchased seeds from their shop but as I mentioned, it was unsuccessful.
How to Grow Strawberries from Runners
Actually I cannot find any article or videos on how to grow strawberries from runners in a hydroponic set-up! So I just sort of improvised! I copied the method of growing strawberries in soil and how to propagate the runners. But instead of pot, I used the styrofoam cup that I also use for my lettuce. Then I submerged it in water with nutrient solution.
I used Kratky method still. They’re on the DIY styrofoam box, a container used for imported grapes which we bought from fruit vendors in local supermarkets. We change nutrient solution monthly. It took only two months for them to grow and runners already were creeping in. Wait for it to have a little crown before planting it to form roots.
Right now, I am actually still establishing the roots yet and not cutting it from the mother plant. Too afraid to cut it early as one runner I bought already wilted. But two remained healthy and in fact flowering already. I am removing the flowers as they’re still too young. My focus for the coming months is to propagate them until fruiting season by end of this year.
Hopefully, it will happen and stay tuned! I will keep you up to date! Wish me luck!