Strawberry Plants Care: How to Reproduce, Growing, and Plant New Strawberry Seed Plants

How do strawberry plants reproduce? Do you plant seeds? Do you plant bulbs? Find out the fastest way to enlarge your strawberry yield.

Strawberries are a delicious fruit that we love to dip in chocolate, slice up on a banana split, bake into a pie, add to cereal or just eat plain anytime they are in season. Strawberries are also very nutritious. Loaded with anti-oxidants, Vitamins C, K, B5, B6 magnesium,folic acid, potassium, copper and Omega-3, this little berry packs a solid vitamin punch.  

But how do strawberry plants reproduce? They can be planted by seed which may take longer to produce a fruit bearing plant, or you can purchase plants from a local garden center.

How to Reproduce New Strawberry Plants
How to Reproduce New Strawberry Plants

Growing Needs

Strawberries are grown by backyard gardeners in pots, in flowerbeds or in the garden and by the thousands on strawberry farms. Whichever way they are grown, they still must be planted and harvested with care and the plants must be protected in the winter. Strawberries grow best in rich, organic soil in mounded rows or small mounds in the flowerbeds.

The roots are fairly shallow, and the soil should be monitored for moisture throughout the growing season, which can last two months to a full summer, depending on which variety you plant. Straw placed around plants greatly enhances the soil’s ability to retain moisture and discourage weed growth.

Reproduction by Seed

How do strawberry plants reproduce by seed? You can purchase strawberry seeds and start your own plants. There many varieties available in hybrid and non hybrid categories. Organic gardeners may choose non hybrid seeds to ensure that no cross pollination has altered the original plant stock. Seeds should be started indoors in seed starting trays about six weeks before your anticipated planting date. It may take up to three weeks before you see the first sprouts. 

Continue to keep the soil moist but not soggy and monitor for any root rot or disease. Plants are ready to move outdoors once they have several leaves and the seasonal frosts have passed. Always use new soil in seed trays to ensure that no fungus or disease is being transferred to your strawberry nursery.

Reproduction by Runners

How do strawberry plants reproduce with runners? Strawberry plants will grow long stems or extended branches that are capable of re-rooting if they can reach the soil. A runner can re-root in several locations if it is long enough. Root spurs will begin to form along the runner and after a period of time when the roots are deep and strong enough, you can snip the runner apart from the mother plant.

Now you have a new strawberry plant or daughter plant that is capable of producing many more plants via runners. According to Illinois University Extension, June bearing strawberries produce more runners than everbearing strawberries or day neutral strawberries.

Keep in mind that plants that are using energy to produce runners will have smaller berries than those whose runners are trimmed back. If you are more concerned about propagating your plants and want more runners, pinch off the flowers that develop until the end of June to discourage the growth of fruit while allowing more runners to develop.

How Long Does it Take to Grow Strawberries Before They Have Fruit?

After choosing healthy strawberry plants, preparing the growing site with rich soil and placing strawberry plants into the ground, your next question may be when you will see blossoms and fruit on the vines. With patience and attention to details, you should see a bountiful strawberry harvest.

Choose Your Strawberries

Serious strawberry growers have a choice between Junebearer plants and dayneutral plants. Junebearer strawberry plants produce strawberries once each growing season and dayneutral strawberry plants produce ripe berries twice during the growing season. If you live in a region with very hot summers, the Junebearer varieties may be better suited for your climate.

How Long Does it Take to Grow Strawberries Before They Have Fruit?
How Long Does it Take to Grow Strawberries Before They Have Fruit?

Dayneutral strawberry plants prefer a cooler growing climate. The Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service recommends that you choose disease-resistant cultivars when establishing a strawberry patch to ensure the long and prolific growing life of your strawberry plants.

Prepare the Planting Site

Strawberry plants require well-draining, sandy soil for healthy growth. Adding compost or other organic material to the soil will help improve drainage and will raise the nutrient content in the soil. Many gardeners build a raised strawberry bed to enable better drainage and richer soil. Add 2 lbs. of 6-24-24 fertilizer for every 100 square feet of planting area and use a garden spade to cultivate the top 6 inches of soil to prepare the planting area.

Plant Strawberry Plants

The Gardening Guides website recommends that you plant strawberries on a cloudy and cool day to minimize transplant shock on the strawberries and ensure a healthy transition. Create planting rows approximately 3 to 4 feet apart and space each plant about 2 feet apart in the rows. Dig holes for each plant to place the plant crowns even with the surrounding soil. Fill soil in carefully around the plant roots and firm it down gently. Water the soil thoroughly immediately after you finish planting the strawberries.

First Year Maintenance

Keep the soil evenly moist around the strawberry plants throughout the growing season. Place about 4 inches of hay or straw around the strawberry plants to prevent weeds and keep the soil moist. Remove weeds by hand pulling as they occur to prevent weeds from choking out the strawberry plants and to eliminate competition for soil nutrients.

Remove blossoms as they occur the first year to prevent the plant from fruiting during the first growing season. It is important to prevent fruiting at this time so that the strawberry plants will direct plant energies toward establishing plant runners, which will create larger and stronger plants.

Water strawberry plants with 1 inch of water each week if insufficient rain falls within a one-week period.

Harvest Strawberries

How long does it take to grow strawberries, in the end? Begin harvesting strawberries during the second growing season. The Old Farmer's Almanac advises that strawberry plants will produce ripe strawberries within four to six weeks of blossoming. Wait to pick berries until they are fully red and slightly soft.

Harvest the ripe strawberries every day while the plants are actively producing berries.Expect strawberry plants to continue to produce strawberries for about three weeks and then the berry ripening will gradually decrease.