I have a basket of June-bearers just outside my back door that is just a pleasure to watch. First of all, the older of the two plants in that basket is already growing strawberries!
The plant on the other side of the basket has been in it's sunny little home for only a day. You see, I'd decided I had more than enough strawberry plants with all those Alexandrias... but I'm still so drawn to them! So I stopped by the garden center at
hell Wal-Mart while running an errand there yesterday and looked at all of their lovely strawberry plants. Some had berries already, but looked like they were in terrible shape. (Actually, just about everything was in bad shape there. I don't know if it was because they weren't sheltered in the recent storm or because it was Wal-Mart.) But next to those were beautiful, broad-leafed strawberry plants boasting a claim to pink blossoms, and all I could think about was how lovely that would look paired with the white-blossoming plant above.
I touched and sniffed and looked for interesting leaves. Then I picked up one plant and it seemed to tug right back, unwilling to leave its brothers and sisters. A little gentle investigation revealed that it had set out two runners into the separate pots of two other plants, so this was in fact three strawberry plants in one. At 88 cents a pot, how in the world could I pass up an experiment like this? I snatched it right up.
Once home, I snipped off the larger of the baby strawberry plants and put it in a pot. It already had a good start on its roots, you see, so it was time to take that work load off of the mother plant. The other one only had a few roots though, so I rigged up the set up you see below:
Basically, I potted the mother plant in her forever-home then dug a shallow indentation next to her so that I could pot the baby separately without cutting the runner it was attached to. I'll give it a few days to establish itself, then I'll "cut the cord" for the mother's sake.
That's the thing about runners. You end up with more plants, but the process takes a lot of energy from the mother plant. You have to cut the runners off if you want berries from the mother. If you don't want to sacrifice berry production in order to gain baby strawberry plants, then you want to cut the runners at first sight.
That said, you can also use this method to increase next year's berry yield significantly if you're in a warm environment or can otherwise over-winter the plants. Pinch off any blossoms as they appear, let those runners take root and grow a bit before cutting the cord, and then you'll have tons of plants for next year.
As for me, I'll stick with these two runners and snip anymore that show up. I really only got the June-bearers for instant gratification. Next year, I should be up to me ears in berries from the ever-bearers!