strawberry geranium, strawberry begonia

FAMILY: Saxifragaceae | GENUS: SAXIFRAGA stolonifera

TYPE
  • Perennials
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Filtered Light
  • Partial Shade
  • Full Shade
WATER
  • Regular Water
PLANTING ZONES
  • MS (Middle South) / Zone 7
  • LS (Lower South) / Zone 8
  • CS (Coastal South) / Zone 9
SPECIAL FEATURES
  • House Plants

Plant Details

Native to Asia, this pretty, old-timey plant is neither strawberry, geranium, nor begonia. It forms rosettes of nearly round, silver-veined leaves to 4 inches across; leaves are olive-green above, purplish underneath. Spreads like strawberries do, by sending out threadlike runners with baby plants attached. Clusters of white or pink, dovelike, inch-long flowers appear on 1- to 2 feet spikes in late summer and fall.

Several colorful selections are available. 'Harvest Moon' has sulphur yellow to golden foliage and pink flowers. 'Kinki Purple' and 'Maroon Beauty' are vigorous spreaders with white flowers; their silver-veined leaves are dark green above, deep purple beneath. 'Tricolor' ('Magic Carpet') is hardier than the species, with white flowers and cupped leaves of rich green with white-and-pink edging above, raspberry-red beneath.

Where hardy, this plant grows beautifully outdoorsas a ground cover or in rock gardens, strawberry pots, hanging baskets. Give it a mostly shady spot and moist, well-drained soil containing lots of organic matter. Indoors, it makes a nice houseplant for pots and hanging baskets. Give it morning sun or day-long bright indirect light, and allow soil to dry only slightly before watering. Feed monthly with a general- purpose liquid houseplant fertilizer; stop feeding and reduce watering slightly in fall and winter.

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