Strawberries are one of my favorite plants to grow. They can be a little difficult at times but feels rewarding when you finally get a batch of strawberries to harvest. One of the nice things about growing hydroponic strawberries is their ability to create new plant clones by shooting runners, called “stolons”. Using these runners is a great way to add strawberry plants to expand your hydroponic garden.
Before you start, it’s important to make sure you have some runners that are ready for rooting. To tell check the underside of the runner. If you see little white shoots forming then roots are ready to start. If not you’ll need to give the runner some more time. Below is a picture of a runner that is ready for rooting.
Supplies Needed To Root Strawberry Runners Using Rapid Rooter
|Rapid Rooter Plugs- These plugs provide the optimal air-to-water ratio to promote healthy root growth.
|Propagation Tray– I recommend using a propagation grow tray to place your plugs in. These grow trays keep you plug upright and moist. If you don’t have a propagation tray a very small tupperware container also works.
|Heat mat– Warmth increases the growth of roots. I recommend using a heat mat under your rapid rooter to increase the warmth.
Also Needed: Strawberry plants with runners.
Steps To Rooting Strawberry Runners With Rapid Rooter Plugs
Step 1. Soak your Rapid Rooter plugs
Rapid Rooter plugs will need to be moist to trigger the roots to really start forming. It’s a good idea to soak Rapid Rooter plugs in a bowl of water for about an hour.
Step 2. Setup plugs in propagation tray or small tupperware
In my strawberry hydroponic garden, each plant has its own pot in my ebb and flow system. This makes it so I can move plants around easily and I can position them in a way where I can get all the strawberry runners in the same place. Because they’re in the same place I can use a propagation tray to root all of my runners. If you can’t get all of your runners in the same place it works better to use a small tupperware with 1-2 Rapid Rooter plugs.
Place wet Rapid Rooter plugs in the propagation grow tray or tupperware and put water in the bottom. There should always be about 1/4 inch of water at the bottom of the tray to keep the plug soaked.
Step 3. Place strawberry runners on the rapid rooter plug
Keeping the runner attached to the mother plant, you’ll want to set the bottom of the runner on the Rapid Rooter plug. It works well to set the runner on the hole of the plug. You can break about the plug a bit to make a better resting place for the runner.
Step 4. Cut runner from the mother plant
After you see the roots coming through the Rapid Rooter plug you can cut the vine leading back to the mother plant. For the runners that I had to root in tupperware, after cutting the vine, I then put them in the propagation tray.
The runner below was in a tupperware. I cut the vine and moved it into the propagation tray shown above.
Step 5. Wait for a fully grown root system for transplanting
When a good amount of root is showing through the rapid rooter plugs then it’s time for transplanting. Exactly how long you should wait depends on the system you’re transplanting it into. You just want to make sure the root system is large enough to reach the nutrient solution.
Starting strawberry plants from runners is an easy and inexpensive way to add plants to your hydroponic strawberry garden. With a little patience, you can quickly expand your garden and most importantly, increase your harvest!