The Strawberry Geranium (Saxifraga stolonifera) is a good choice for the indoor gardener. For one thing, it has beautiful, eye-catching foliage with fuzzy green leaves etched with silver veins and pink undersides. It also grows rapidly, is easy to care for, and is perfect for ground covers and hanging planters.
Although not a member of the strawberry family, it has a marvelous way of reproducing by growing runners bearing small clusters of plants which take root when it comes in contact with moist soil. In the summer, it produces tall spikes of tiny, white, star-shaped flowers with a bright yellow center.
Saxifraga stolonifera is native to East Asia and only grows only 3 to 4 inches tall with the plant forming tight rosettes of leaves. It is known by the following names: strawberry begonia, roving sailor, creeping saxifrage, creeping rockfoil or Aaron’s beard.
For decorative purposes display in a hanging basket or tall plant stand and let the runners with dangling plantlets and show off its beauty; however, you must keep the plant out of drafts and dry air to avoid scorching the leaves. Crispy, dry leaves is a sign of low humidity.
Light: Grow strawberry begonia plants in a bright, indirect light in an area, such as an east or west window.
Water: Water thoroughly by letting the plant soak in moisture from the bottom and then allow the soil to dry out before watering again. Reduce watering during winter when the plant goes dormant. Bottom watering is preferred to prevent water from collecting on the fuzzy leaves, as this will cause fungal and bacterial diseases.
Humidity: Average indoor humidity levels (25% or more). If the leaves become dry and crispy, increase humidity. A room humidifier is an excellent way to increase the relative humidity while avoiding getting the fuzzy leaves wet.
Temperature: This plant likes cool temperatures, between 60-65 degrees(F) during the day and 50-55 degrees(F) at night.
Fertilization: Feed monthly during the growing season with a balanced houseplant food and withhold during winter.
Soil: Use A well-aerated potting mixture with 50% organic matter to drain quickly but retain moisture. You should repot annually if the plant grows rapidly. Leach soil periodically to remove soluble salts that build up in the soil and damage the roots.
Propagation: Use divisions of an old specimen or use plantlets with roots at ends of stolons.
Grooming: Remove any yellow, dead, or damaged leaves the plant and cut flower stalks if you wish.
Pest: Plant is fairly resistant to plant pests in landscape setting; however, mealybugs can be a serious problem for these plants when grown indoors. If plant pests do appear, spray with an insecticidal soap at 1/2 the recommended strength.