How to transplant strawberries in the garden. We use strawberries as an edible ground cover and as they grow, we relocate some of the runners.
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I LOVE edible gardening. While I’ve become enamored with flowers as well in the past two years, my main priority has been to grow things that we can eat. I LOVE that my 2 year old sits in the blueberry patch when they’re ripe and nonstop snacks.
When I initially wrote this post, we were living on a 10k sq ft property in the suburbs. Since then, we’ve moved to a much larger property where we have goats, chickens, ducks, and a huge garden. I bought a LOT of strawberry plants the first spring and FYI, it’s a lot of work to plant 100 plants!
I let those 100 plants go crazy though and now I’m in a position… again… to transplant and grow my strawberry patch.
We use strawberries as a ground cover and as “living mulch”; if you’re not familiar with the term, essentially you plant things that cover your soil, inhibiting the growth of weeds.
As plants are expensive, I let certain types of plants grow and take over slowly. Transplanting them all over my gardens to help space them out as they flourish. My favorites include strawberries, thyme, St Johns Wort, and Lambs Ear.
Today though, we’re going to chat strawberries. You can NEVER have enough strawberry plants! I was edging my garden to add a short woven fence and some of the strawberry plants had grown into the lawn.
I dug them up and relocated them to other spots where they could thrive and grow!
Table of contents
Tips for Transplanting Strawberries Successfully
Digging Up Strawberries to Transplant
Ideally you want to transplant strawberries after the danger of frost has passed. The first time I did this, however, it was December in Maryland. We had some warm weather so I decided to give it a try; the strawberries survived. I think strawberries are a pretty forgiving plant.
When you pick which strawberry plants to transplant, remember that younger strawberry plants are more likely to be be transplanted successfully.
In my case, I was transplanting all of my plants the first year I did this. When I was moving strawberry plants recently, they were plants that had grown into the boundary of the garden and grass; as a result, they were newer plants.
When you did out a plant, you may take a second runner at the same time. This is a photo of a tiny strawberry runner off a larger plant.
Make sure to weed around the strawberry plants when you’re relocating them. When I dig up the roots of the plant, sometimes weeds come away with them. I hand pick out the weeds.
I dug out quite a few at once to transplant. Just make sure they don’t dry out!
Planting Strawberries in a New Area
Trim roots to 4″ and soak for 15-20 minutes before planting. Pack soil tight around the roots.
When you plant, make sure that the soil covers the holes, but not the crown.
Use good quality soil around your plants. We mix in compost and buy soil in big bags for our gardens. They also love soil with good drainage. Strawberries prefer slightly acidic soil which is why pine straw makes a good mulch for them.
Strawberries will do best if you plant them in full sunlight.
That said, I also plant mine under my blueberry bushes where they’re shaded for part of the season. At the beginning of the season, while the blueberry bushes are still bare and starting to bloom, the strawberry plants get plenty of light. As the season progresses, they may get less light but this certainly has not killed them.
Personally, I prefer to use taller plants and bushes in the back of my garden and keep the strawberry plants in the front. They have full sunlight up front. This also makes it easy to pick the fruit.
Once the strawberries overcome my garden, I have no problem letting them grow towards the back. The plants act as a ground cover, discouraging weeds from growing in that space.
I have found that they tend to spread out towards the front of my garden, probably seeking the areas with more sunlight.
Mulching, Weeding and Watering Strawberry Transplants
After planting, keep the soil moist, but not soggy. I water the plants immediately after planting, even if the soil is a bit wet.
You want to continue to keep the soil wet over the next few days. I try to transplant when the weather is forecasted to be rainy or cloudy.
Keep the area weeded. Weeds will compete with plants for important nutrients (and water) in the soil which is why weeding is important for the success of a garden.
Mulch plants heavily before the weather gets cold. Pine straw mulch is an excellent choice for strawberry plants.
My latest video on transplanting strawberries!
When you have more strawberries than you know what to do with (assuming you don’t have littles running around eating them first), you can always preserve strawberries by drying them.
Transplanting Strawberries in the Winter
(Original post from 2015) This year I decided to move my raised garden beds and I wanted to transplant my strawberries as well, seeing I wouldn’t be able to move them and the bed at once. If you need to move your garden beds, read how I did that here.
All my other raised beds I cleared out for the winter, but the strawberries seem to survive each winter so they needed to be transplanted if I moved my garden beds. These beds were riddled with weeds because of the way the beds were positioned (next to my neighbor’s yard- the neighbor who doesn’t mow his lawn) so I needed to do some serious work.
These plants have really grown like crazy too so I was interested to see how many plants I had under all of those weeds. I was hoping to expand from one bed of strawberries to two- and I was able to do it easily.
I think I started with only six small strawberry plants two years ago. Now I had about 15 larger plants to transplant. This was fairly easy.
I used a shovel to dig under each plant, then lifted the whole plant out with my hands. I weeded the whole chunk of soil to pull out all the weeds, and picked off all the brown (dead) or yellow branches of the strawberry plant so I was left with just a healthy looking plant. Then I dug a hole in the soil and planted it in its new home.
Because it’s winter and I was concerned transplanting them would make them more vulnerable, I wanted to put something down to keep them warmer. I looked up options for mulching strawberries and my options appeared to be newspaper or straw.
I mulched my potatoes with straw this year and weeds ran rampant so I decided on newspaper. All I had, however, was a ton of this packaging material leftover from Christmas and it was PERFECT. No print or color, and it should definitely break down nicely in soil over time. Happy me!
I made sure to spread the brown packing paper throughout garden bed, splitting the pieces down the middle because otherwise they were too wide. I left the area around the plant roots free because I was reading they could get rot if you don’t.
Followup April 20, 2015: This worked out great. At first I was concerned that they weren’t coming back, but they are flourishing now! Two small plants did die. I was able to move another to that spot. I added some extra soil on top and I’ll probably add some compost at some point. There are already flowers on the plants!
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Originally posted January 2015. Updated April 20, 2015. Updated again May 2020.