Ornamental strawberries are among the increasing numbers of beautiful, edible plants that are finding their way into perennial gardens. Others include bronze fennel, ornamental sweet potato vine, and rhubarb. Ornamental strawberry is a great ground cover that quickly fills large areas.
Description of ornamental strawberry: Plants grow about 6 inches tall. Mother plants spread quickly by runners that end in new plants. Ornamental strawberries produce small fruit but not in great numbers.
How to grow ornamental strawberry: Plant in full sun or light shade in soil with good drainage. Excessive moisture causes plants to rot. Don't let plants dry out in summer or the leaves will turn brown and brittle. Plants are usually semi-evergreen so winter-damaged foliage needs to be cleaned up in the spring. Do not prune or clean up in the fall.
Uses for ornamental strawberry: Ornamental strawberry can be used as a ground cover and in hanging baskets and containers. It is too aggressive to mix with other perennials but makes a fine ground cover when planted by itself.
Ornamental strawberry related varieties: 'Lipstick' has flowers that are rose-red. It blooms heavily in spring then intermittently throughout summer. Foliage is light green. 'Pink Panda' has large pink flowers that bloom from spring through frost. The leaves are dark green and glossy.
Ornamental strawberry related species: Fragaria vesca 'Improved Rugen' is a very hardy plant that does not produce runners, so it can be used to edge walkways and garden beds. Flowers are white and produce juicy, sweet fruit from June through October. 'Vesca' is especially prolific late in the season.
Scientific name for ornamental strawberry: Fragaria species
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