This is just a quick fun little “how to” post on how we are propagating strawberry runners in our aquaponics garden. This method will also work well in a hydroponic system as well. Surprisingly simple, effective and inexpensive method makes quick work of expanding your strawberry patch or replacing older plants. we obviously need to expand the number of strawberry plants we have because not one Strawberry made it in to the Steamy Kitchen this year. Seems our youngest was always snacking on them straight from the plant.
Traditionally runners are started by placing the new runner strawberry plants into a pot of soil and using some sort of clip to hold it in place till the plant can establish its roots. This would require us to remove the soil before inserting the new plant into our aquaponics garden. An extra step that I didn’t want to have to deal with. So the solution I came up with is using a simple little bag to act as my container and grow plug to act as my moist media for the roots to grow in.
What you will need
- A “U” shaped piece of wire
- A 3×4 inch plastic bag. (I found these at Walmart in their craft section – 100 bags for $1)
- A grow plug – This one is from Agrotech but the smaller Root Riot plugs work well if not better in some regards
- And of course a Strawberry Runner
How To Start Your Runners Hydroponically or Aquaponically
The process is simple. First split the top of the grow plug to create a slot for the runner to sit down in.
Then drop it in some water to soak.
Next place the strawberry runner in the slot you made prior. Make sure the small pink and white root starts are pointed down towards the grow plug. If the runner has not developed any roots, then place the plant with the leaves growing up.
Insert the wire U across the runner into the grow plug. This will keep the plant inside the grow plug and keep the grow plug together.
Fill your small bag with a little bit of water and then insert the grow plug in the top. These larger ones fit snuggly in the bag. The root riot ones are smaller and slip in easily.
Then place your start on the surface of your grow media.
Or you can let the start hang over the edge. Just ensure the starts have plenty of light and the edge does not cut the runner cord. If you are using the smaller Root Riot plugs, you may need to tie a piece of string vertically around the center of the bag to hold all of it together, or use a rubber band horizontally to hold the bag on the grow plug.
After just three days, the roots are already visible growing through the grow plug. Amazing.
When you are ready to transplant these runners you will cut the runner cord from the mother plant, remove the plastic bag and insert into your system. I am planning on leaving this runner pictured above for a few more days till the roots are well established. Keep in mind if you are starting multiple runners on the same runner line from the mother plant, then you will need to wait to cut the runner cord till the last one on the line is ready to transplant. Also keep an eye on the grow plugs. If they start to dry out, re-wet them with a little bit more water. I am finding the ones tucked under the leaves of the mother plant are not requiring additional water, but the ones out in the hot Florida sun are requiring additional water.
Hope this helps.