Waldsteinia is an evergreen perennial desirable for its lush, glossy foliage and creeping habit. Sometimes called the "barren strawberry" because its leaves resemble those of the strawberry, waldsteinia is actually a member of the rose family, according to the University of Vermont, and is often used as a ground cover. Care of this hardy plant does not go beyond basic culture practices, making it the perfect choice for home gardeners who want an easy-to-grow ground cover.
Waldsteinia is native to eastern and central parts of the United States, as well as Asia. Most species of this plant thrive in temperate climates with cool summers and mild, dry winters, as defined by United States Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 3 through 7, but this can vary by individual species. W. ternata and W. fragarioides both thrive in cool climates such as the Pacific Northwest, according to the University of Vermont. W. parviflora is hardy to USDA Zone 6, while W. lobata is hardy to USDA Zone 8.
Waldsteinia thrives in full sunlight in cooler USDA growing zones, but needs protection from the hot afternoon sun in the South, which can scorch the leaves of the plant. The flowers are small, yellow and insignificant, so it is the leaves that must be protected. Home gardeners in warm climates should plant waldsteinia where it will receive morning sun followed by afternoon shade, or where the plant will receive a full day's worth of dappled shade. Some varieties of waldsteinia can grow in full shade, but growth will be greatly reduced, according to the University of Vermont.
Soil and Water
Established waldsteinia plants thrive in dry locations such as under trees or on a hill, according to BBC Gardening. In general, these plants prefer well-drained soil, as soggy soil will quickly rot the shallow, tender roots of the plant. Water when the soil becomes dry down to several inches, and never let the plant sit in standing water.
Waldsteinia is a vigorous grower, causing some states to label it as a weed, according to the University of Vermont. It is therefore useful for smothering weeds, but the plant can spread out of control. Home gardeners with optimum growing conditions should resist fertilizing the plant, in order to keep growth controlled. The plant can be easily separated and pulled if it grows into undesirable areas.
Insect Pests and Diseases
This hardy plant is not susceptible to any serious insect pest or disease problems. Chewing and sucking insects such as aphids, mites and scale can infest the plant, but these are minor and can be quickly washed off with a strong stream of water. Insecticidal oils can be applied if insect pests are a serious problem. Avoid letting water stand on the leaves for any length of time, as this can lead to leaf spot, a fungal disease.