Monday, June 17, 2013

Fragaria (Strawberry) Stolons (Runners)

For folks who know little about plant propagation or the way some plants reproduce, here is one way strawberries can produce mini plantlets that are clones from the parent plant.

Off to its side is a baby strawberry plant which has started to situate itself  about 8 inches away from the original plant.

Long tendril like stems called stolons emerge from the base of the parent plant and meander over the surface of the soil (or rocks) looking for a place to grow on its own. First by starting to produce a leaf at a joint, a fair enough distance from the parent plant.

Remove any smaller babies and long stolon stems. They will just take energy away from the plant you want to establish.

If you look carefully at this joint (node) you'll see tiny roots pointing downward to the soil surface. This is the start of a whole new plant - attached by an "umbilical" cord of sorts.

There are two ways you can establish the new plant. 1) Just allowing the plant to find its own way and rooting itself, leaving it until next season.


2) Cutting it from the parent plant right now, once more than one leaf is present and planting it in an ideal location for the rest of its life. If you want to advance the growing, plant it into a container for a couple of weeks to get a better root mass before planting it out in the garden.

Here, I just situated the baby plant in a location free of competition; it has good light and ample space to flourish.

You can even grow strawberries in containers and let the stolons droop over the container, making a hanging basket. Unfortunately, the stolon plants won't produce any strawberries this season.

Perhaps you are familiar with the common house plant called: Spider Plant Chlorophytum comosum.  This same principal can be applied to this plant as well. Their stolons are just the same as the strawberry.

NOTE: Two aspects of stolons that are negative: 1) they do remove essential energy from the parent plant; 2) you get plants establishing everywhere.

When you see stolons and flowers on the strawberry plant, much of the plant's energy will go to the stolon and not the fruit if they are left to themselves. If you've ever gone strawberry picking as I have, you'll notice many of the strawberry plants have had their stolons removed for this purpose. Nothing is better than having sweet, juicy strawberries. Keep some of the stolons for next year's crop, but do remove the rest of them throughout the harvest season.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Update - Decorative Vegetable and Herb Planter

I love demonstrating plants growing. It's been about 2 weeks since we planted this container in our last post: Decorative Vegetable and Herb Planter.

Once this photo was taken, we harvested a bowl full of lettuce, leaving still plenty more for later this week.
Unfortunately, we underestimated the tomatoes growing as fast as they have. It shades a lot of the underplantings. The dwarf dill had to be removed, as it was starting to rot out from lack of sun.

All in all, the growth has been so satisfying. We've not used any fertilizers. The weather has co-operated and we are enjoying the harvest!
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