By: Liz Baessler
Strawberry geranium plants (Saxifraga stolonifera) make for excellent ground cover. They never reach more than a foot (0.5 m.) in height, they thrive in shaded areas with indirect light, and they spread reliably through stolons: attractive, red tendrils that reach out and root to form new plants. Keep reading to learn more about strawberry geranium care and growing strawberry geranium plants.
Also called strawberry begonia, creeping saxifrage, and creeping rockfoil, strawberry geranium plants are native to Korea, Japan, and eastern China. Despite the name, they are not actually geraniums or begonias. Instead, they’re low-to-the-ground evergreen perennials that spread through runners as strawberry plants do.
The leaves, which look like those of begonia or geranium (hence the common names), are wide, round, and veined with silver against a dark green background. In early spring, they produce small, white flowers with two large petals and three small ones.
Growing strawberry geranium plants is rarely started with seed. If you plant a few small plants in an area of dappled shade, they should slowly take it over and form a nice ground cover. Is strawberry geranium invasive? Like all plants that spread through runners, there’s a slight worry about them getting out of hand.
The spread is relatively slow, though, and can always be slowed more by digging up plants. As long as you keep an eye on it, you shouldn’t run the risk of it becoming invasive. Alternatively, strawberry geranium plants are often grown as houseplants or in containers where there’s no chance of them spreading.
Strawberry geranium care is relatively easy. The plants like rich soil and moderate watering. They are hardy from USDA zones 6 through 9, though in cold winter areas it’s a good idea to mulch them heavily in the fall to get them through the cold months.
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Dynamo Strawberry Geranium flowers
Dynamo Strawberry Geranium flowers
Dynamo Strawberry Geranium features bold balls of lightly-scented cherry red flowers at the ends of the stems from late spring to early fall. The flowers are excellent for cutting. Its tomentose round palmate leaves remain green in color with prominent brown stripes throughout the year. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.
Dynamo Strawberry Geranium is an herbaceous annual with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its medium texture blends into the garden, but can always be balanced by a couple of finer or coarser plants for an effective composition.
This plant will require occasional maintenance and upkeep. Trim off the flower heads after they fade and die to encourage more blooms late into the season. It has no significant negative characteristics.
Dynamo Strawberry Geranium is recommended for the following landscape applications
Dynamo Strawberry Geranium will grow to be about 12 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 14 inches. When grown in masses or used as a bedding plant, individual plants should be spaced approximately 12 inches apart. Its foliage tends to remain dense right to the ground, not requiring facer plants in front. Although it's not a true annual, this fast-growing plant can be expected to behave as an annual in our climate if left outdoors over the winter, usually needing replacement the following year. As such, gardeners should take into consideration that it will perform differently than it would in its native habitat.
This plant does best in full sun to partial shade. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This particular variety is an interspecific hybrid. It can be propagated by cuttings however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation.
Dynamo Strawberry Geranium is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor containers and hanging baskets. It is often used as a 'filler' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination, providing a mass of flowers against which the larger thriller plants stand out. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.
Low drought tolerance also called "Mother of Thousands" because of its spread by thread-like red stolons, at the tips of which new plantlets are produced makes a lovely ground cover in the warmer Piedmont and coastal plain, with heart-shaped green leaves with distinctive white veins above, and attractive red beneath
The form is a spreading, low mat.
Propagation is done by the division of plantlets from thread-like runners.
See this plant in the following landscapes: Shaded SlopeBorder Garden- PathwayShaded Slope Cultivars / Varieties:
|Plant Habit:||Herb/Forb |
|Life cycle:||Perennial |
|Sun Requirements:||Partial or Dappled Shade |
Partial Shade to Full Shade
|Water Preferences:||Mesic |
|Soil pH Preferences:||Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5) |
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
|Minimum cold hardiness:||Zone 5b -26.1 °C (-15 °F) to -23.3 °C (-10 °F) |
|Maximum recommended zone:||Zone 8b |
|Plant Height :||12-18 inches|
|Plant Spread :||18-24 inches|
|Leaves:||Unusual foliage color |
Other: often variegated with silver
|Flower Color:||White |
|Bloom Size:||Under 1" |
|Flower Time:||Late spring or early summer |
|Foliage Mound Height :||4 inches|
|Suitable Locations:||Houseplant |
|Uses:||Provides winter interest |
|Propagation: Other methods:||Stolons and runners |
|Containers:||Suitable for hanging baskets |
Needs excellent drainage in pots
|Miscellaneous:||Tolerates poor soil |
Pine cones, seed heads, winter bloomers, colorful red berries, and much more! Let's kick off Winter Interest Week with a look at the most popular plants in our database that give some kind of interest to our gardens in the winter. We also introduce a new gallery option in our database for winter interest, with bonus acorns this week!
I have had this plant for over 25 years! In my garden it is a strong and reliable plant, more hardy than estimated, keeping its foliage all through winter, undamaged by hard frost (down to -12C !).
I have some growing in deep shade, and though those don't bloom, they do provide nice foliage and good ground cover, even in challenging areas like dry shade once established.
My happiest one lives in dappled shade.
Saxifraga stolonifera is hardy in my zone 8 garden. Mostly evergreen except in the coldest winters here.
Surprisingly, this survives the winter in the sheltered and shady area between our house and the next, though not all plants make it through the winter. Many sources say this is hardy to zone 6 or 7, but our zone is 5 with freezing temperatures for 2 and a half months.
"Strawberry Begonia" is an ornamental flowering plant native to Asia that has been introduced to many other areas of the world. It's a popular house plant for many, but it's actually not a begonia or geranium. It possibly gets the common names Strawberry Begonia and Strawberry Geranium from the appearance of the foliage.
The strawberry begonia thrives under bright, indirect light. But, you want to keep it away from direct sunlight. Too much exposure will cause its beautiful colors to fade. Long periods under the sun’s rays can likewise give it sunburn.
Similarly, this keeps them away from the hot sun. They cannot stand too much heat as you’ll see in the next section.
Indoors, you want to be careful with too low light. While dark corners won’t kill it, the plant will struggle. Its growth with get stunted and likewise negatively affect its foliage.
This makes both an east and west facing window good options as long as you keep it away from direct sun. You can likewise place it in the south if you live in a cooler region. But, it is always good to provide it with some king of protection like sheer curtains to filer the sunlight.
The north also works if you live in a brighter areas. North facing windows have less light. But, as long as the light isn’t too dim, it will be find.
Outdoors it does best under partial shade as long as the area is still bright.
Strawberry begonia like cool to moderate temperatures. The do best when it stays between 50 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes them perfect for USDA zones 7 to 10 if you want to keep them outdoors all year round.
However, lower regions as well as those above zone 10 get ether too cold in the winter or too hot during the warmer months. Both of which is doesn’t tolerate well.
Similarly, the plant doesn’t like temperature fluctuations. Thus, it is a good idea to keep it somewhere in your home where it can suddenly get colder or hotter. This can include areas near air conditioning, heaters or vents. In also includes cold spots or open doors and windows where the breeze can come in.
Outdoors, the best place is a bright area with partial shade. Ideally, you want one that’s cool as well. This means planting it beside an object or your home works because it will get the benefit of a shade at some point in the day.
While trees will also work as shade and provide dappled light, you want to keep most plants away from them. That’s because trees have deep, extensive root systems. This means smaller plants near them will need to compete with larger, more efficient water and nutrient absorbers. This will make them lose out on both counts.
Additionally, your strawberry begonia likes humidity. As such, I highly suggest getting a digital hygrometer. It is inexpensive and will instantly tell you the air moisture level in any room.
This way you can avoid shriveled, dry leaves that get crispy on the edges, which occurs when humidity isn’t high enough.
If you do find that your home’s humidity isn’t high enough, you have a few options.
Noticeably missing from the list is misting. The reason for this is that strawberry begonias are susceptible to fungal leaf infections and rotting. As such, misting only increases this risk since you wet it leaves. So, it’s a good idea to use the other safer methods instead.
Strawberry begonia likes soil that’s evenly moist but not wet. Because it is susceptible to overwatering, you do not want to let it sit in water for long periods of growth.
This can become a problem because the plant is a fast grower. As such, during the spring and summer when it is actively growing, it will need a lot of water to sustain this growth.
So, you want to make sure you don’t add too much water or water it too often. The best way to do this is to allow the top 1 to 2 inches of soil to dry between waterings.
To check, stick your finger down to the knuckle closest to your palm. If the soil in that depth feels moist, wait a little longer before checking again. If it feels dry, water.
Also, how you water the plant is important. Here, you want to keep two things in mind.
Similarly, cut back on watering once fall and winter come. Around fall, the plant will begin to slow down until it reaches it rest phase. During this time it will recover from all the growing. And, prepare itself for next spring again.
As such, you don’t need to water as often since growth will slow considerably or stop. As you’ll see in the following sections, you’ll also cut back of fertilizer because it won’t need it during this period.
A good houseplant potting mix will make your strawberry begonia happy provided that it is well draining. Because the plant likes moist soil, you also want the soil to be able to retain moisture. Although, noting too heavy.
A light, well-draining potting mix is essential because the plant is prone to root rot. As such, this kind of mix will help water to esapce faster.
For best growth, rich, slightly alkaline soil is best.
If you find that the soil you’re using isn’t draining moisture well enough, add perlite. But, only do so a handful at a time and see how the plant responds. Adding too much will prevent the soil from retaining enough water to keep the plant hydrated.
Another option is peat, which is more versatile. This is a better amendment if you need to improve both water retention and drainage. Although, it won’t increase the latter by as much as perlite does.
Peat is a very useful soil amendment because it has dual properties. That is for heavier soils, it helps make them looser and improves drainage. For light soils like sand, it increases moisture retention.
Feed your strawberry begonia with balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer diluted to half strength once a month during the spring and summer (which is its growing period).
As with other houseplants, don’t overdo it. Many people add more (rather than less) fertilizer believing it will help the plant grow bigger and faster. But, that’s often the opposite because you get tempted to add too much.
Unfortunately, when this happens in increases the risk of root burn because of the buildup of fertilizer salts in the soil.
You can likewise use a slow release fertilizer if you prefer. This will allow it to be dispersed over a longer period of time. Thus, making feeding more even.
Once fall and winter come around, you can stop feeding the plant. It will use this time to rest and recover. And, if you allow it to rest well you’ll be rewarded with blooms come springtime.
Granted the strawberry begonia’s flowers are small and not as eye catching as its foliage. Nevertheless, it increases the plant’s beauty.
Pruning is one of the lower maintenance tasks when caring for your strawberry begonia. However, you still want to make sure to trim it every now and then to keep it looking neat and tidy. Similarly, this lets you control its size and shape.
The most important thing to do when it comes to pruning this plant is to remove yellow, dead, dying or damaged leaves. This will allow the plant to stop expending energy on these parts and focus on new growth.
Strawberry begonia only live for 3 years. Fortunately, they are very easy to propagate because the plant does most of the work for you. As such, you’ll always have a new strawberry begonia before the current one reaches the end of its lifespan.
How to Propagate Strawberry Begonia
Over its lifetime, the plant will send out several runners. At the end are offsets or plantlets which are basically clones of the mother plant. You only need to plant the.
Strawberry begonia only live for 3 years of so. As such, there’s no need to worry about repotting it during this periods.
But, from above, you known that that they’re easy to propagate. So, you can replace it after it passed. This lets you reuse the same pots over and over.
That said, there are a few things you’ll want to consider when it comes to potting your strawberry begonia.
The plant is not toxic to people or animals. Thus, it is safe to keep anywhere in your home or garden even if you have young kids, dogs and cats running around.
Just so you know, the plant is used in herbal medicine. Some people also eat it raw or cooked.
Strawberry begonia is susceptible to pests and diseases.
Spider mites, aphid and whiteflies are the most common. Although the infestations are often minor and treatable. However, once you see any signs of pests or the damage they do, you want to immediately take action.
In most cases, an insecticidal soap spray works well. You can likewise use neem oil.
As mentioned earlier, root rot is always a threat with this plant. So, you always want to be vigilant when watering so as not to give it too much or water too often.
Rotting roots happen when the plant is allowed to sit in water for long periods of time. Often, this happens because of pouring too much water, soil that doesn’t drain well or no holes (or lack of holes) at the bottom of the container.
Thus, by fixing any or all these issues you can prevent it from happening.
A garden room or solarium is ideal for growing scented geraniums. You’ll need to shade it somewhat during the summer, but in winter, your scented geraniums will thrive.
Scented geraniums should receive direct sunlight during at least half of the daylight hours. If you don’t have a garden room or a window with good light, you can still have beautiful scented geraniums with the help of artificial light. Plants can grow and be happy, even in the bleak, gray winter, with a combination of natural and artificial light. Special fluorescent tubes that simulate the sun’s light — full-spectrum tubes or “grow lights” — are available at garden centers and hardware stores. You can substitute regular cool white fluorescent tubes, which are considerably less expensive, but you’ll need to keep them on a couple of hours longer and hang them closer to the plants than you would full-spectrum tubes.
Hang regular fluorescent tubes 6 to 12 inches above the tops of the plants. If the plants begin to contort or bunch, they’re getting too much light raise the lights a few inches higher. If the plants become leggy, with long distances between leaf nodes, and the leaves appear pale, lower the lights a few inches. Scented geraniums need 12 to 14 hours of light per day. In winter, I supplement the light from a sunny window with about eight hours of artificial light. An inexpensive timer turns my lights on about 5 p.m. and off about 2 a.m. But keep in mind that the plants also need five to six hours of darkness per day.
Another lighting option, which offers a vast aesthetic improvement if you’re willing to pay the somewhat higher price, is the new high-intensity discharge or metal halide lights. These lights provide full-spectrum light at a higher intensity and over a larger area than fluorescent tubes can, and they are mounted much higher above the plants. For example, a 175-watt metal halide light is sufficient to illuminate a 3-by-3-foot area from a height of about 3 feet above the plants a 250-watt light covers a larger area and can be raised to about 6 feet. From these starting heights, adjust according to the reaction of the plants, as described above. When you use fluorescent tubes that are hung no more than a foot above the plants, you see more fixtures than plants, whereas high-intensity lights are hung high enough to allow a clear view of the plants. Information on high-intensity lights may be obtained from the suppliers listed below.