Barren Strawberry Facts: Tips For Growing Barren Strawberries

Barren Strawberry Facts: Tips For Growing Barren Strawberries

By: Amy Grant

If you have a chunk of garden that you would like a ground cover for, barren strawberry plants might just be the answer. What are these plants? Read on for tips on growing and caring for barren strawberries.

Barren Strawberry Facts

Barren strawberry plants (Waldsteinia ternata) are thus named due to their imitable resemblance to edible strawberry plants. However, barren strawberries are inedible. An evergreen, barren strawberry is a ground cover with a spread of 48 inches (1.2 m.) or more but a low height of 6 inches (15 cm.).

The foliage of barren strawberry plants is akin to that of edible strawberries with a wedge shape that turns to bronze in autumn. The plants have small yellow flowers, which again resemble those of edible strawberries, and appear in the spring.

Native to Europe and northern Asia, barren strawberry is sometimes referred to as “dry strawberry” or “yellow strawberry.”

Growing Barren Strawberry Ground Cover

Barren strawberry is an herbaceous perennial that dies down over the winter and greens back up in the spring. It is suitable for USDA zones 4-9. In the mildest zones, the plants will remain as evergreen ground cover year round. This easy-to-grow perennial is suited to a wide range of soils and will thrive in full sun or part shade.

The plant may be considered to be invasive by some, as it will rapidly spread via runners, much like edible strawberries. While barren strawberry is drought tolerant, it does not thrive in the hot temps of the South, better bets would be W. parviflora and W. lobata, which are native to that region.

Use barren strawberry amongst stepping stones or along wooded paths in light shade to sun.

Caring for Barren Strawberry

As mentioned, barren strawberry is tolerant of minimal irrigation, but to avoid stressing the plant, a consistent amount of water is recommended. Otherwise, caring for barren strawberry is fairly maintenance and pest free.

Propagation of barren strawberry is achieved through seeding; however, once the plant has established, it rapidly sends out runners, quickly filling any available space. Allow the seed heads to dry on the plant and then remove and collect the seeds. Dry and store them. Sow barren strawberry directly outdoors in the fall or spring, or sow indoors before the last frost for spring transplants.

After barren strawberry blooms in the spring, the plant, again like edible strawberry, bears fruit. The question is, is fruit of barren strawberry edible? Herein lies the greatest noticeable difference: barren strawberries are inedible.

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European barren strawberry – planting, care and tips

European barren strawberry (Waldsteinia geoides)

The European barren strawberry is regarded by gardeners as a particularly valuable ground cover, as it tolerates both drought and locations with little light. Here you will find planting and care tips for Waldsteinia geoides.

Profile of European barren strawberry:

Scientific name: Waldsteinia geoides

Plant family: rose family (Rosaceae)

Flowering period: April to June

Location: partially shaded to shady

Soil quality: stony to loamy, nutrient rich, humus rich, tolerates lime

These information are for temperate climate!

Use in: ground cover, embankments, borders, grave planting, group planting, underplanting, area greening, natural garden, park, forest garden

Winter hardiness: hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 5 (-26 °C / -15 °F)

Bee and insect friendly: Yes

Waldsteinia ternata Growing and Care Guide

  • Scientific Name: Waldsteinia ternata
  • Common Name: Siberian waldsteinia, Ternate Waldsteinia, Barren Strawberry
  • Garden Use Groundcover, Edging, Under planting shrubs.
  • Growing Zone: USA: 4 to 8 UK Hardiness H7 (Very hardy to less than —20°C (-4°F), perhaps as low as —40°C (-40°F).
  • Life Cycle / Plant Type: Perennial, Semi-evergreen, Rhizomatous, Spreading habit.

Plant Details

  • Plant Height: 2 to 6 inches (4 to 15 cm).
  • Plant Spread: 6 to 30 inches (15 to 90 cm).
  • Time of Bloom: Late spring through to early summer.
  • Flower Details: Yellow. Solitary. Five petals.
  • Leaf Foliage: Green. Trifoliate. Rosette.
  • Fruit: Berry.
  • Growth Form: Spreading / horizontal.

Ideal Growing Conditions

  • Best Light Conditions: Partial shade to full sunlight.
  • Suitable Soil Types: Slightly fertile soils. Loamy, Neutral to acidic,
  • Soil Moisture: Moist, Well drained.
  • Sowing and Propagation:Propagate: Spreads from stolon. or by division in the early spring or start of autumn. Space at about 12 inches (30 cm).
  • Rate of Growth: Fast to grow, average to spread.

Caring Conditions

  • Waldsteinia ternata Care:
  • Level of Maintenance: Low
  • Waldsteinia ternata Care May require weeding, removal of stolon, and deadheading to prevent from spreading to areas where it is not required.
  • How to Prune: No pruning required.
  • Pests and Diseases: Usually pest and disease free.

Further Information

  • Can Attract: Small insect pollinators.
  • Tolerant of: Deer, Rabbits, Drought.
  • Best Garden Use: Border, Ground cover, Rock garden, Seashore, Woodland garden.
  • Miscellaneous: Attractive foliage
  • Genus Detail: The Waldsteinia genus has six members.
  • Further Reading and References:RHS Growing information Barren Strawberry Conservation and Missouri Botanic garden guide
  • Family: Rosaceae (Roses)
  • Closely Related Species:Rugosa Rose Mountain Avens Lady's mantle Spiraea Meadowsweet Wood Avens and Scarlet Pirpiri.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Waldsteinia Ternata. You may also enjoy the following garden plant growing guides: Hibiscus plants and Polyantha Roses.

How to Grow Appalachian Barren Strawberry

Appalachian barren strawberry is very easy to grow, as long as it isn't subject to too much heat and direct sunlight. A cool site is preferable, and a nice, moist woodland soil will really help the clumps flourish.

Plant Barren Strawberry 10 inches apart for a groundcover that will fill in within 1 growing season. Patches may need weeding at first, but once they are established, they are very effective at preventing weeds from growing.

We currently provide Appalachian Barren Strawberry in 1-Quart SuperPlugs, which will quickly fill in to form a nice groundcover.

Barren Strawberry


Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater

Sun Exposure:


Foliage Color:




USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 °C (-35 °F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 °C (-30 °F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 °C (-25 °F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 °C (-20 °F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 °C (-15 °F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 °C (-10 °F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 °C (-5 °F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 °C (0 °F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 °C (5 °F)

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual


Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

From seed direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed sow indoors before last frost

From seed direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants remove and collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Gardeners' Notes:

On Jun 6, 2010, lehua_mc from Portland, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

I saw this on a Garden Conservatory Open Days Tour, and at one Japanese inspired home, this ground cover was all the buzz. Beautifully articulated glossy leaves, uniformly low, growing far and wide in sun, under open azeleas and into the evergreen shade. In Oregon, it's listed as an ornamental alternative to English Ivy, which is listed as Class B Noxious Weed.

On Jun 3, 2005, Teresa_IL from Bolingbrook, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

From my closeup picture, you can see that my foliage is speckled, unlike the others, although I can't find any reference to there being different cultivars. It is a very distinctive and nice look. The bright yellow flowers stand up and look spectacular in a field in spring and fall, and the evergreen foliage looks good all year. It spread VERY fast, from 1 sq ft to about 600 sq ft in 2 yrs, forming a solid mat which choked out all other weeds and plants, and it climbs and grows over small bushes, etc, so it could be pretty invasive.

On Apr 19, 2005, saya from Heerlen,
Netherlands (Zone 8b) wrote:

This can be a good ground cover plant for a wide range of sites around the garden, tolerating sun and light shade. Once established, plants even thrive in the very dry conditions found under trees or on a bank. The foliage, which is evergreen, attractively serrated and lobed, and resembles that of strawberries, builds up into dense, weed-smothering carpets. The flowers, in late spring and early summer, are single, bright yellow, and stand out well against the deep green foliage. I 've grown it one season in my garden, but pulled everything spreaded to fast in my limited-space-garden and it did 'nt really fit either. Seeds are very easy to sow.

Our Plants

Barren Strawberry flowers

Barren Strawberry flowers

An excellent ground cover for shaded areas, likes bright dappled sunlight dense, dark green strawberry-like foliage creates a beautiful forest floor scene over which the pretty yellow flowers are carried

Barren Strawberry has masses of beautiful yellow daisy flowers at the ends of the stems from early to late spring, which are most effective when planted in groupings. Its round compound leaves remain green in colour throughout the season. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

Barren Strawberry is a dense herbaceous perennial with a ground-hugging habit of growth. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other garden plants with less refined foliage.

This is a high maintenance plant that will require regular care and upkeep, and should not require much pruning, except when necessary, such as to remove dieback. Deer don't particularly care for this plant and will usually leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration

Barren Strawberry is recommended for the following landscape applications

  • Border Edging
  • Groundcover

Barren Strawberry will grow to be about 8 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 12 inches. When grown in masses or used as a bedding plant, individual plants should be spaced approximately 10 inches apart. Its foliage tends to remain low and dense right to the ground. It grows at a fast rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 10 years.

This plant does best in full sun to partial shade. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist locations, and should do just fine under typical garden conditions. It is not particular as to soil type, but has a definite preference for alkaline soils. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in both summer and winter to conserve soil moisture and protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This species is not originally from North America. It can be propagated by division.

This plant is not reliably hardy in our region, and certain restrictions may apply contact the store for more information.

Watch the video: Growing Strawberries in a Strawberry Pot