I recently watched the movie “Fletch” for the umpteenth time. One of the things that makes me laugh is all the aliases Irwin Fletcher invented during the course of his undercover investigation. Saxifraga stolonifera has an impressive array of pseudonyms as well, from strawberry geranium and strawberry begonia — it is neither a begonia or a geranium — to creeping rockfoil and roving sailor, and a few more. Whatever you want to call it, Saxifraga stolonifera is a fabulous garden plant for light to moderate shade. As its name implies, it spreads by creeping stolons much like a strawberry and its leaves are shaped similar to a geranium or begonia. It’s easy to see why gardeners have called it strawberry geranium or strawberry begonia. It forms a dense groundcover and sports showy white flowers on 18-inch stems from late spring through mid-summer. The foliage is evergreen, and quite eye-catching. The undersides of the leaves are a dark pink-red color and add to the plants allure. There are a few notable varieties available in horticulture. ‘Hsitou Silver’ collected from the Hsitou region of Taiwan has beautiful silvery foliage, and there is a nice, variegated form marketed as ‘Tricolor’.
Saxifraga stolonifera is native to China, Taiwan, Japan and the Korean peninsula. It grows in humus rich, well-drained soils in partial to full shade. It received the prestigious Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society. S. stolonifera is a great shade groundcover in the landscape and is also a fabulous container plant. It’s relatively easy to grow in nursery production, as well as in the garden. Damage from disease or insects is rare. You won’t regret adding Saxifraga stolonifera to your production plan or to your garden.
Why grow Saxifraga stolonifera?
- It’s a great evergreen shade groundcover.
- Its attractive leaves are beautiful in the landscape.
- Its showy white flowers are attractive to pollinators.
- It’s a wonderful container plant either alone or mixed with other plants.
Mark Leichty is the Director of Business Development at Little Prince of Oregon Nursery near Portland. He is a certified plant geek who enjoys visiting beautiful gardens and garden centers searching for rare and unique plants to satisfy his plant lust. email@example.com