Cover open soil around shrubs, perennials, and walkways with barren strawberry. An evergreen groundcover, barren strawberry is a welcome addition to a lackluster sea of mulch. Native to much of North America, barren strawberry spreads by rhizomes. Unlike some spreading groundcovers that spread aggressively, barren strawberry creeps slowly and is easy to remove if needed.
Its common name references its strawberrylike foliage. Barren strawberry has bright yellow flowers and glossy, evergreen foliage in spring. Its leaves turn shades of bronze in winter. As its name suggests, it does not produce edible fruit.
Pair this low-maintenance perennial with other easy-care plants for a planting area that requires minimal care but unfurls color and texture year-round. Easy-care planting companions include black-eyed Susan, coreopsis, sedum, purple coneflower, peony, daylily, and hosta. Barren strawberry grows well in sun and part shade, making it an excellent plant for partnering with hostas in the shade garden and purple coneflowers in full sun patches.
Barren Strawberry Care Must-Knows
Barren strawberry prefers average, well-drained soil and full sun or part shade. Generally, barren strawberry grows best in northern climates where summers are cool. It doesn't grow well in the heat and humidity of the deep south.
Plant barren strawberry in spring or early summer. Blanket the ground around new plants with a 2-inch-thick layer of mulch to prevent soil moisture loss. Water plants regularly during the first year after planting to encourage them to establish a strong root system.
An evergreen groundcover, barren strawberry requires little care in fall or spring. Simply rake away any dead foliage in early spring and the plant will unfurl new leaves as soon as the temperatures warm. Foliage that turned bronze in winter will regain its deep green color in spring.
Barren strawberry is easy to divide thanks to its spreading nature. Spreading by rhizomes, or stems just above or below the soil surface, barren strawberry creates plantlets every few inches. Simply sink a spade into the soil, and sever the stem nearest to the plantlet. Dig up the plantlet and replant. Then, water and mulch the new plant.
Plant Barren Strawberry With:
Barrenwort is a rare plant -- one that thrives in the dry shade beneath shallow-rooted trees! It spreads at a moderate rate, forming a graceful, dense groundcover. Almost as a bonus, it also produces dainty flowers shaped like a bishop's miter -- prompting another common name, bishop's cap. Its colorful foliage dangles on slender stalks, providing yet another moniker: fairy wings.
Phlox are one of those bounteous summer flowers any large sunny flowerbed or border shouldn't be without. There are several different kinds of phlox. Garden and meadow phlox produce large panicles of fragrant flowers in a wide assortment of colors. They also add height, heft, and charm to a border. Low-growing wild Sweet William, moss pinks, and creeping phlox are effective as ground covers, at the front of the border, and as rock and wild garden plants, especially in light shade. These native gems have been hybridized extensively especially to toughen the foliage against mildew problems; many recent selections are mildew-resistant. Phlox need amply moist soil for best overall health.
Who can't help but adore violets? Their cheerful "faces," often whiskered or otherwise marked, brighten the dreariest day in spring. Use them at the front of beds or borders as edging plants, as bedding plants, in containers and window boxes, in herb gardens, in wild gardens and in rock gardens too. There is a multitude of forms, many now winter hardy in cold climates, in all sizes and colors. Cut back straggly stems and deadhead routinely to prolong blooming. They self-seed freely, but are not invasive. Violets do best in lightly shaded places in soil that remains moist.