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Young strawberry plants provide plenty of fruit, but they quickly wear out. After just a few years, they have to be replaced by fresh specimens to ensure a consistently good harvest. But young plants, whether for new planting or to expand an existing strawberry area, do not always have to be bought expensively in stores. The offspring can come free of charge from the local garden. There are two ways for you to propagate strawberries: using the numerous runners and sowing seeds.

Strawberries propagate by stolons

Most strawberry plants themselves help us with this simple method of propagation, as they produce plenty of offshoots every year. These are often referred to as Kindel because they develop into mini strawberry plants after a short time.
In connection with the propagation of strawberries, there is often talk of offshoots, even if this term is not correct in the narrow sense, since no offshoots are cut from the original plant. However, since this term has become firmly established in the hobby sector, it can also be found in the following instructions.

1. Need for propagation

If you create a strawberry bed in your garden, you will be able to harvest plenty of red fruits in the first year - provided the location and care are right. How long the good fruit formation will last in the following years cannot be predicted exactly. Depending on the variety, the harvest can be satisfactory for another two, three or four years before the plants tire. As soon as you notice that the yield is declining, you should propagate the strawberries from offshoots and create a new bed.
Of course, you can also propagate strawberries from runners at any time, for example to enlarge your own strawberry bed, to give away young strawberry plants to friends or to plant balcony boxes and tubs with them.

tip: Many commercially cultivated strawberry plants only yield a good harvest in the first year and are only a disappointment after that. Older varieties are more persistent and always worth considering. For example, the tasty Schindler kitty.

2. Appropriate stolons

From around the middle of May, most strawberry plants form not only their flowers and fruits but also the first tendrils, on which runners soon develop. These sap a lot of energy from the mother plant and you should only leave them on her when you need them to propagate the strawberries.

Each stolon is genetically identical to the mother plant, so you should only propagate stolons from well-bearing specimens. Plants that only bear a few fruits put their energy into the formation of strong offshoots. Don't let that fool you.

  • mark high-yielding mother plants with a stick
  • let their strongest offshoots grow
  • the runner that grows close to it is ideal
  • remove all other runners

tip: If you marked a perennial with high yield last year and now want to get many offshoots from it, you should remove all of its flowering shoots. This allows the plant to focus all of its energy on the runners, making it easier for you to propagate the strawberries successfully.

3. Optimal timing

The best time for planting Fragaria, as the strawberry is botanically called, is late summer. August as the month of planting promises the best harvest in the following year, but September can still be used for transplanting the children.
You can leave the cuttings on the mother plant until then, where they will continue to grow, connect to the soil, and take root. At the time of transplanting, these young plants are simply dug up with their roots. This procedure is very time-saving. Alternatively, you can also follow step 4 of the instructions.

4. Temporarily plant offshoots in pots

Instead of simply letting the stolons of a Fragaria continue to grow freely until transplanting, you can also plant them in their own pot in the meantime, whereby the connection to the mother plant is maintained. The stolon takes root quickly in its own “pot kingdom” and develops into a strong plant. You need an unglazed clay pot with a diameter of about 10 cm for each branch. Plastic pots don't do well as their walls are impermeable. Potting is done as follows:

  1. From several branches of a mother plant, choose the one that is closest to her. It shouldn't be rooted yet but should already have some strongly developed leaves.
  2. Gently push the tail aside.
  3. Where the spur previously stood, dig a hole deep enough for the clay pot to fit into.
  4. Fill the clay pot with the excavation, leaving about 2 cm empty. If the garden soil is low in humus, you can enhance it with normal potting soil or leaf compost.
  5. Plant the stolon centrally and flat in the prepared pot. Cut off the bottom shoots so that no more buds form and use up valuable energy. danger: Do not disconnect from the mother plant.
  6. Place the pot in the hole and fill in the gaps with soil. The pot should have good contact with the soil so that moisture exchange is possible.
  7. Water the soil well and make sure that the soil does not dry out completely.

tip: If you do not root out runners directly, but plant them in pots with new, purchased soil, you can also prevent any fungal spores that may be present in the soil from being carried to the new location.

5. Plant young strawberries

Propagation is complete when the young plants formed from offshoots are planted in their final location in late summer, where they can develop into strong strawberry plants.

  • choose a sunny location
  • no strawberries should have stood on it for several years
  • Separate the young plant from the mother plant
  • Carefully dig up the plant or pot
  • remove from the pot
  • and use it immediately at the new location

tip: Strawberry plants of one variety show quite different yields. If a perennial with plenty of fruit emerges in your new bed, it is best to mark it immediately with a small bamboo stick.

Propagating strawberries by seed

Propagating strawberries using stolons is the easier of the two ways, but sowing seeds is also a promising method in practice. With some strawberry varieties that do not form runners, it is even the only way to get new plants without visiting the specialist trade. Again, it is important to follow the step-by-step instructions detailed below.

1. Wait for the seeds to ripen

Fragaria places its seeds prominently on the outside of its red fruits. These are the small, yellow-green dots that are numerous and evenly distributed on every strawberry. They are so fine that they are simply eaten without noticing. These little seeds are actually nuts. Strawberries are not berries, as their name might suggest aggregate fruits. These little nuts are what hold the potential for new strawberries. A ripe strawberry fruit is synonymous with ripe and germinable nuts.

2. Obtain Strawberry Seeds

Select fully ripe and perfectly healthy fruits for propagation. Each strawberry fruit contains around 100 seeds, so you only have to sacrifice a few tasty fruits to get the seeds. Do not try to pull the nuts out of the fruit as this will easily damage them and render them unusable.

  • Halve fruit
  • Spread the strawberry halves on newspaper or paper towels
  • with interface downwards and with some distance to each other
  • First let the seeds dry with the pulp

3. Store strawberry seeds until sowing

After the halved strawberry fruits have dried completely, the strawberry seeds should be freed from the pulp. It is sufficient if you move the newspaper back and forth with a little momentum. The dry nuts fall out and can be collected. Stuck strawberry seeds can be carefully loosened with the blunt side of a knife.

  • Place strawberry seeds in a sealable jar
  • it should be dark and dry
  • a clean screw-top jar made of brown glass is ideal

Keep the jar cool, dry and protected from light until spring sowing time. You should use strawberry seeds as fresh as possible, i.e. they should not be kept for years but should be sown as soon as possible.

tip: You can also sow strawberry seeds immediately after harvesting and plant the young plants in late summer. However, sowing should be done in mid-July at the latest so that the plants can still develop enough strength before winter.

4. Break germination inhibition

Strawberry seeds should be sown no earlier than mid-February and no later than early March. Sowing too early will delay the plants due to lack of light, while sowing late will delay the start of harvest.

Before you can start sowing, however, the dormancy must first be ended. In nature, this happens due to the winter cold, at home you have to expose the small seeds to the cold for a long enough time. This process of germination by cold is called Stratify known.

  • Put strawberry seeds in the fridge
  • alternatively in an unheated garage or similar.
  • outside on window sill, etc.
  • start in mid-January
  • four weeks should suffice
  • if you want to be on the safe side, start earlier and stratify 3 months

5. Pre-soak strawberry seeds

Just before sowing, put the seeds in a glass of lukewarm water and let them soak for about 3-4 hours. If you want to sow early in the morning, you can leave the seeds in the water overnight.

6. Sow strawberries

To sow the strawberries, fill one or more large seed pots with sandy, poor soil. Distribute the strawberry seeds evenly on top and press lightly. When light germinator Strawberry seeds may be covered with a maximum of 3 mm of soil. Wet the soil with a spray bottle so the seeds aren't washed away from their position by the force of a jet of water. For optimal germination, you should also observe the following instructions:

  • set up bright but not sunny
  • keep moist all the time
  • Cover pot with clear foil
  • Air the film every other day
  • Provide at least 16 °C, 20 °C is ideal

The germination period depends on the variety and can be between two and six weeks. As soon as you see the first seedlings, you should remove the cover again.

7. Prick out seedlings

When the seedlings have reached a height of 2 cm, they must be transplanted into their own small pots. But you can also leave them in the nursery pot if you give them enough space in it. You can pluck out some of the seedlings and thin out the planting. Of course, there should still be enough seedlings left over to cover your propagation needs.

8. Plant young plants

From a height of 5 cm, the new plants are strong enough to live in the free bed. They may and should even be planted out promptly.

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