Strawberry geranium (Saxifraga stolonifera) is also called Mother of Thousands. Like its common name, strawberry geraniums put out thin training runners with new plants on them. However, the strawberry geranium is not related to strawberries or geraniums. It is from China, south Korea, and Japan. The strawberry geranium has round, marbled leaves. The leaves are piled on each other. The flowers are on tall stalks and bloom in from May to June. They are white. This plant is used primarily for its foliage in hanging baskets, indoor in pots, or in a greenhouse. It also makes an excellent ground cover where hardy over winter. It does not tolerate frost.
Strawberry geraniums grow to be six to eighteen inches tall. They spread one to two feet. They need light shade to partial shade to grow well. Strawberry geraniums need moist soil but cannot tolerate soggy soil without developing root rot. The soil should be rich in organic matter. If your soil is not like that, you can add organic matter to it. Simply till the flower bed where you are going to plant strawberry geraniums to a depth of six inches. Spread three inches of compost on the tilled area and till it in good. Now you have a place that is rich in organic matter and is ready to be planted with strawberry geraniums. Strawberry geraniums should be fertilized each month with half strength liquid soluble fertilizer.
To propagate the strawberry geraniums, just clip one of the plantlets that have grown from the mother plant. Transplant the plantlet to another pot. It will continue to grow and to develop roots.
If you are growing your strawberry geraniums in the house, you will need to create a high humidity spot around your plants. Fill a saucer that is one size up from the one your plant is in with pebbles. Fill that saucer with water. Place your plant’s pot on top of the pebbles. Make sure the water in the saucer does not reach the plant. As the water from the pebble filled saucer evaporates, it will create a high humidity microclimate around your geranium. Check the water level in the pebble filled saucer and make sure to keep it at the right level.
Strawberry geraniums may have trouble with slugs, aphids, and spider mites. Root rot may occur if the soil is soggy. Slugs can be dispatched with bait. Use the newer iron phosphorous bait to kill them. It is sold under the name Escar Go or Sluggo. This bait is not as dangerous to kids or pets as the old copper baits.
Neem oil will kill aphids. Follow the directions on the label and spray the leaves with the neem oil. Make sure you get the undersides of the leaves and stems will need to be sprayed. You may have to re-apply the neem oil if the aphids persist.
Spider mites are also killed by neem oil. All of the same cautions apply when trying to kill spider mites as did for aphids. Follow the label’s instructions so you are able to eliminate the spider mites without eliminating you or your pets.