My mother has had a bed of strawberries in her garden for as long as I can remember. Different berry plants came and went in her garden, but strawberries stayed my whole childhood. I love nostalgic memories of picking fresh strawberries on a hot summer day. I would find the biggest, juiciest, most vibrantly red strawberry, pick off the greens, and pop the whole thing in my mouth. If it was exposed to the sun, it would be tantalizingly warm, thus enhancing the flavor of its sweet, juicy flesh. Yum! 😋 And don’t let me forget the homemade strawberry jam! 😍
I just knew I had to get some of my own strawberry plants, but I didn’t want to wait for seeds to sprout. I figured since I already knew I liked the strawberries my mom’s plant produced, I would just ask her for a few of her little plants. Since strawberries are rather invasive and grow runners like crazy, she happily obliged. Now I had three new strawberry plants, but I didn’t want to put them in the “garden” outside the apartment we’re currently renting because I didn’t want them pulled up. Where was I going to plant my strawberries where they can have space to grow until I can plant them in the ground? My mom, being the genius she is, offered me a roughly 5″x3′ planter (I could be totally off 😂). This size and shape of a planter offers me extra growing space for my strawberries in a semi-condensed, indoor manner.
Strawberries, thankfully, aren’t hard to transplant. With a little pruning, and some easy care they will easily re-adjust to their new elements, and grow nice and strong. If they’re really happy, they might produce some berries pretty quickly for you! Here’s a super simple guide to transplanting your strawberries, and taking care of them after you’ve moved them.
Part I – Cover the bottom of your planter with rocks + cover with a little bit of soil
Not only will this help prevent dirt from washing out the drainage hole, but it will help with the drainage of the soil in general. Lots of water is the key to yummy, juicy berries, but you don’t want their roots sitting in soggy soil. A decent amount of rocks will be needed to properly help your soil drain out the extra water. After you’re done with the rocks, go ahead and fill in some soil. You’ll want to use slightly acidic, moisture-retaining soil. I just used the dirt my mom dug out of her garden for me. Use your strawberry plants to gauge how much soil you need to put in initially – too much, and your plants will be too tall. The soil should be about half an inch to an inch from the top of your planter.
Part II – Add your plants and fill in the soil
Since I have three plants and a long planter, I planted one on each end, and one in the middle to help them fill out as they grow. Space your strawberry plant 1-2 inches from the edge of the planter, and 6-8 inches from each plant. You might want to plant them so the runners will grow into the rest of the planter, however, I planted mine so the runners that were already growing went over the edge of the planter.
Hold your first plant in place, and use a trowel, a cup, or your hands to gently fill soil in around it. Use enough soil to hold the plant in place, but be sure to leave enough room for your other plants. If you need to, make an indent in the soil where you want your plant to go. Now, keep adding your plants and filling in with soil as you go. When you’re done adding your plants, add some more soil in around them to where it’s about even with the edge of the planter. When you water it, the soil will settle considerably, and you may need to add more.
Taking Care of Your Strawberries
After you newly transplant your strawberries, water them immediately. Strawberries like to be watered very deeply – the more water, the sweeter the berries. I took my planter outside so I could let lots of water run freely through the bottom.
As you can see, the dirt in my planter settled considerably. Now is a good time to add some extra soil, then re-water. Let your planter sit outside for a few hours to drain thoroughly and soak up some sunshine. Sun is another key element to growing delicious strawberries. Let your soil dry slightly between watering, but don’t let it dry out completely, especially when they’re new plants.
If your plants came with buds, blooms, or berries, you’re unfortunately going to have to cut them off when you first move your plant so it doesn’t go into shock. Your plant needs the energy that would otherwise be used to make berries, to grow stronger roots and more runners. The next round of blooms it creates, you are more than welcome to leave on your plant, but it would probably benefit from being pruned off one more time. During berry seasons, I like to prune off all runners that start growing to send extra plant energy into making delicious berries! Prune off any runners you don’t want growing and spreading!! This is very important, especially if you’re growing them in your garden outside. Strawberries can easily take over your entire garden if you let them. Let your plants fill out how you want them, then keep up on pruning the extra growth.
If, after a while (I’m talking a few years), you notice that your strawberry plants are starting to get old and aren’t producing berries as much, or the berries don’t taste as good, it’s probably a good idea to “start over.” My mom taught me this one day when we were doing a bunch of garden work together. She always grew her strawberries in a row to make this (and the berry picking) process easier. When strawberries are planted in a row, you can easily train the runners it produces into an identical row right next to it. Once the new plants are established and watered thoroughly, trim the connecting runners, and eliminate the old plants. Now you have a row of new strawberry plants that will be producing delicious berries before you know it. My mom and I usually went through this process every 2-3 years, but it probably doesn’t need to be done that often.
When you first transplant your strawberries, it’s a good idea to train the runners back into the planter to fill out the extra space. Just use some wooden skewers to keep the runners in place until they grow roots and anchor themselves down. I’ll be keeping a few of my strong runners out of the planter to grow individual strawberry plants to give to friends and family. To do this, fill a small pot with soil and place it under the leafy part of the runner, keeping the soil moist, until it starts growing roots. Wait until it grows into a strong, individual plant before you cut the part that connects it to the main plant. Keep your little guy pruned and watered until he’s ready to be planted and produce berries.
Have any questions, comments, concerns, or anything to add? Let me know! Thanks for reading.