Waldsteinia geoides
Common Name: barren strawberry 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Rosaceae
Native Range: Eastern and central Europe
Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Clay Soil

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in part shade. Prefers rich moist soils. Tolerates full sun as long as soils are kept consistently moist. Best growth occurs in cool summer climates. Tolerates some drought once established. This species has small rhizomes but lacks the aggressively spreading runners found on some plants in this genus (e.g., Waldsteinia ternata and Waldsteinia fragarioides), so plants should be spaced about 9” apart when planting as a ground cover. Plants will self-seed in the garden.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Waldsteinia geoides, commonly called waldsteinia, is a low-growing, evergreen to semi-evergreen, strawberry-like perennial of the rose family that typically grows in clump of basal leaves to 6-8” tall, but will slowly spread over time by short rhizomes to form a dense attractive ground cover. It is native to east central Europe and Asia (Hungary to the Balkans). Coarsely textured, long-stalked, 3-5 lobed, medium green, basal leaves have broad marginal teeth and scalloped margins. Five-petaled, saucer-shaped, yellow flowers (1/2” to 1” wide) bloom slightly above the foliage in mid to late spring (April-May). Flowers are followed by small, dry, inedible fruits (nutlets). Leaves, flowers and fruits of plants in this genus somewhat resemble those of wild strawberry hence the additional common names of mock strawberry and barren strawberry for genus plants.

Genus name honors Count Franz Adam von Waldstein-Wartenberg (1759-1823), Austrian botanist and writer.

Specific epithet means resembling Geum in reference to the similarity of the leaves of this species to those of Geum.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for slugs. Root rot may occur in overly moist but poorly drained soils.

Garden Uses

Ground cover under trees and shrubs. Borders. Edging. Rock gardens.