The one thing you need to do now to get strawberry plants for free, according to Monty Don

Take Monty Don’s advice and get vigorous new strawberry plants for your plot without paying

rip strawberry plants growing in a garden
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Why spend out on new plants for your backyard when you can get them free? And that’s certainly the case when it comes to summer favorite strawberries, which taste vastly superior to shop-bought versions when they come from your own garden.

Gardening expert, author and broadcaster Monty Don also reminded us that new strawberry plants are more vigorous than their parent plants. Aside from saving you the time and expense of going out to buy them, it’s another reason why you’ll want to make new strawberry plants.

If you’re in the know about how to grow strawberries, you can take advantage of Monty’s advice on getting new strawberry plants right here.

Monty Don’s top tips on making new strawberry plants

using companion plants for strawberries for bumper crop

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Monty Don gave his expertise on how to make new strawberry plants on his website. We’re sharing his advice and we’ve included our own top tips as well.

When strawberries have finished producing their delicious fruit, they put their energy into producing new plants, Monty says. These are formed on runners, which are long shoots that have one or more plantlets along them, he explains.

When the plantlets touch the soil, they put down roots and establish quickly, and thus the plants regenerate themselves, he says.

Monty advises that by pinning the plantlets to the soil or on to a pot with compost in it, then separating them from the parent plant, they can be harvested. That means new plants for zero outlay of money, and only a small investment of time and effort.

  1. For pinning your strawberry plants you’ll need a U-shaped clip, but you could also use some garden wire bent to that shape.
  2. Be sure that firm contact has been made between plantlet and soil.
  3. Don’t cut the new plant from the parent yet. You can do this when it has new leaves and strong roots.
  4. Make sure you keep the new strawberry plants well watered to promote the root growth.

harvesting strawberries from a strawberry plant

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New strawberry plants will have more vigor than the parent, Monty says, and your stock will be replenished and refreshed. And bear in mind that this is important because after four years the productivity of strawberry plants declines rapidly, and they frequently accumulate viruses, too, Monty reminds us. For this reason, he always digs up and composts parent plants after this period, he reveals.

At the end of August you can put the new rooted plantlets into a bed, Monty says.  This needs to be in an area of your kitchen garden where you haven't grown strawberries for at least three years in order to avoid viruses, he cautions.

Don’t forget that strawberries don’t like a site with poor drainage. Use raised garden beds if that’s the case.

Monty Don's tips for planting new strawberry plants

strawberry plants growing in a vegetable bed

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Always add plenty of compost to the new bed before planting, Monty says, because strawberries are greedy feeders. There's tips on how to compost in our handy guide. 

How to plant? Monty’s advice is that the strawberry plants should be at least 12 inches (30.5cm) apart but preferably twice as much as that. This ensures maximum growth and productivity, he explains.

After that you should care for your new strawberry plants by keeping them well watered, Monty advises. Mulching them with more compost in autumn should improve your crop, too.

Sarah Warwick
Freelance writer

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor writing for websites, national newspapers, and magazines. She’s spent most of her journalistic career specialising in homes and gardens and loves investigating the benefits, costs and practicalities of home improvement. It's no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house revamper.