Strawberry Begonia, Strawberry Geranium,
Creeping Saxifrage, Creeping Rockfoil,
Aaron’s Beard, Roving Sailor, Etc.
Synonyms of Saxifraga stolonifera (19) (Updated on 2-17-21): Adenogyna sarmentosa (L.) Raf., Aphomonix hederacea Raf., Diptera cuscutiformis (Lodd.) Heynh., Diptera sarmentosa (L.) Borkh., Ligularia sarmentosa (L.) Duval, Robertsonia sarmentosa (L.) Link, Rupifraga cuscutiformis (Lodd.) Raf., Rupifraga sarmentosa (L.) Raf., Saxifraga chaffanjonii H.Lév., Saxifraga chinensis Lour., Saxifraga cuscutiformis G.Lodd., Saxifraga dumetorum Balf.f., Saxifraga iochanensis H.Lév., Saxifraga ligulata Murray, Saxifraga sarmentosa L., Saxifraga veitchiana Balf.f., Sekika cyclaminea Medik., Sekika sarmentosa (L.) Moench, Sekika stolonifera (Curtis) H.Hara
Saxifraga stolonifera Curtis is the correct and accepted name for the Strawberry Begonia. It was named and described as such by William Curtis in Philosophical Transactions in 1774.
The genus, Saxifraga Tourn. ex L., was described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the first volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753. He gave credit to Joseph Pitton de Tournefort for first naming the genus.
Plants of the World Online lists 470 species in the Saxifraga genus (as of 2-17-21 when I last updated this page). It is a member of the plant family Saxifragaceae with 34 accepted genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made (and likely will).
THERE ARE A FEW LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING.
My good friend and fellow plant collector, Walley Morse of Greenville, Mississippi gave me this Strawberry Begonia in the spring of 2012. I put it in the bed behind the den under one of the Crape Myrtle trees.
Where this plant is hardy, it makes a nice evergreen groundcover spreading by runners like a strawberry. They should be planted in part to full shade. This is another plant that some call Mother of Thousands.
After I sold the mansion in Leland, Mississippi, dad asked me to move back to the family farm in mid-Missouri. So, in February 2013, MANY plants and I made the move, including the Strawberry Begonia. I did have to give up around 200 pots…
The Saxifraga stolonifera produces white flowers on stems up to 18” tall in the late spring through early summer. The flowers are really interesting if you look up close with three small upper petals and two larger lower petals. Some photos online show pinkish upset petals with maroon spots. I guess I didn’t look that close or I would have taken my own close-ups…
Origin: Native to parts of China, Japan, and Korea.
Zones: USDA Zones (6b) 7a-10b (0 to 35° F).
Size: 6-8” tall or more.
Light: Light to full shade.
Soil: Well-drained soil a little on the moist side.
Water: Needs regular watering.
The Saxifraga stolonifera is not 100% winter hardy in our zone here in mid-Missouri so I was bringing it inside for the winter and keeping it in the basement where it did just fine.
The leaves rise from the rosette-forming plant on long stems up to 8” in length. The leaves, resembling a strawberry or some species of Begonias, are a nice dark green with silver veins. The undersides of the leaves are maroon. More light will enhance the leaf color but too much sun will cause their leaves to burn.
The Strawberry Begonia, or whatever you choose to call them, make fairly good houseplants. Information online says to avoid getting water on their leaves as with other “hairy-leaved” plants to reduce the risk of fungal disorders. Hmmm… Well, I guess their leaves do have tiny hairs, although not near as hairy as some such as the Tradescantia sillamontana. That’s what I think of when you say hairy leaves.
These plants are very easy to propagate from the plantlets growing on the runners. Just remove them and put them in their own pots or here and there in your flower beds. Just like strawberries or Spider Plants. You can leave the runner on the plant and just stick them in the pot they are dangling from then remove the runner once its own roots develop.
They spread fairly rapidly, so if you grow them in pots, they may need a larger one every spring.
Information online also suggests they don’t like heat and high humidity. Well, that’s strange because they did very well in Mississippi which I would say is hot and humid.
In the cooler areas of their preferred zones, you may want to put a little mulch around them. That is also a good idea just about anywhere as a good mulch of leaves or other material will help keep their soil cool(er) and moist.
I need to find another Strawberry Begonia because I gave this one up in the late summer of 2014…
I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant.
FOR FURTHER READING:
PLANTS OF THE WORLD ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
MISSOURI BOTANICAL GARDEN
NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY
PFAF (PLANTS FOR A FUTURE)