Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Plants I Know and Love #13: Strawberry Geraniums(or Begonias)/Sacifragaceae/Roving Sailor/Mother of Thousands

Good morning. Big Sis Tina here. Fall is a wonderful time to kick back on the deck and enjoy the plants sheltered here.

My strawberry geraniums are one of these.

This little guy peeking out from my plant above once was part of a handmade pottery planter I found at a craft fair in the sixties.  His thin slip pot didn't make it, but I always enjoyed his "hippie" face and big eyebrows, so I let him decorate my foliage as he may. This year he picked the Strawberry Geranium.
Another name for the strawberry geranium (which, by the way, is not related to strawberries, geraniums or begonias, as far as I know - but has some characteristics of each) is Mother of Thousands.  This past spring, the planter above was the mother of many of these I am showing you.  
In the late spring, this plant reproduces by sending out delicate little thread-like stolons with little tiny plant-lets on each end, which will root and become their own plant.  The Saxifraga is a great ground cover, reproducing  in a similar fashion as strawberries when grown as a ground cover, or in a pot similar to the spider plant, with much more delicate stolons.
In the photo above, a little plant which has held its own all season, yet refused to thrive, holds its own among oak leaves and a lone acorn.  It is tiny but healthy, and hopefully by next spring it will be reproducing and sending out the delicate little white flowers, almost like little miniature orchids, hoping to be noticed along with the big boys.
These plants, which are perennial evergreens, like consistently moist, well drained soil, and love shade... light, partial, full... they are perfect for a covered porch or deck, or growing as groundcover on the east or north side of the house.  
In the middle of the shot below is a heavy wire planter which holds six small pots.  I found it is perfect for the strawberry geranium.  The plants do fine kept in a small container, they can stay in it for years and don't seem to become rootbound.
If you do transplant them from the small container, they are very easy to separate and each little part will soon grow to become as big as its Mother.
Below is my strawberry jar, which hopefully will fill up more over the winter.  I have not had good luck with regular strawberries growing in this jar, it tends to dry the soil out, with the terracotta soaking up the moisture, and it was hard to keep it watered.  I managed to keep all these little plantlets growing throughout the summer, although it got more sun and dried out more that I would like.
Work in progress, hopefully next spring there will be flowers and stolons popping out all over and hanging down the sides.
I also stuck the little plants in the base of this potted wisteria, they seem to be enjoying the company.
The Roving Sailor is native to China and Japan. I guess it came here by boat, that is how it got the sailor nickname???
 Above they fill the base of a curly willow tree, with some ceramic mushrooms added for color.
Well, what do you think? Do you want to join my sixties hippie and grow some strawberry geraniums?


Heidi Ann said...

I think I would like to join your sixties hippie whether I grow strawberry geraniums or not!

Tina Dawn said...

Thanks Sis, I got a laugh out of that!