Scientific Name: Saxifraga stolonifera
Common Names: creeping saxifrage, strawberry saxifrage, creeping rockfoil, Aaron's beard, mother of thousands, roving sailor, wandering Jew, and strawberry begonia or strawberry geranium
Strawberry begonias are often confused for a begonia or a geranium (understandably, given the name), but it’s not even closely related! Plants can be weird like that sometimes. Nonetheless, this plant is a gorgeous addition to the collections of colorful plant owners - the flowers of this plant are absolutely stunning.
Native to Japan, China, and Korea, this plant is thought to have been used in ancient times to break up kidney stones (we don’t recommend eating this plant, though!). To many, it closely resembles the strawberry plant to the point that it’s caused some confusion in many a garden! It even spreads like strawberry plants do, with long runners that spread out in every direction to plant new babies.
Care for this plant is moderate:
- It’s important to pot this in well-draining soil and to let the first few inches of soil dry out between waterings - S. stolonifera is picky about having its leaves or stems in standing water. To make your life easier in that pursuit, we recommend watering from below as opposed to pouring water in when it’s time to water. Letting the plant pull the water up from below will avoid the problems caused by water pooling in the soil for too long.
Note: just because it doesn’t like standing water doesn’t mean you should water it less, it just means you have to make sure the water is moving through the system. When it’s time to water, make sure it gets enough! This plant likes a high ambient light, but can’t tolerate direct light (both because it prefers lower temperatures and because it’s susceptible to sunburn).
- Fertilize monthly with bacterial inoculant! It’s important for any plant to keep the soil’s bacterial populations up. If using bacterial inoculant you don’t need to worry about plant food, so that’s really nice!
This plant has been valued by humans for a very long time for its beauty, and in taking care of your own, you’ve entered a friendship with a lot of history! We highly recommend hanging this plant - it really looks good once it starts sending out all of its shoots to cascade over the sides of a hanging pot.