Care of Waldsteinia Plant


Waldsteinia comprises six species of perennials that are more commonly called "barren strawberries" since they look like strawberry plants in leaf but produce yellow flowers and no juicy red fruits. Often grown as a tufted ground cover for dry hillsides in a shady woodland garden, their three-part leaves and yellow late springtime flowers are ornamental. Depending on species (Waldsteinia spp.), they are grown in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 3 through 8.

Light Exposure

Waldsteinia plants must be protected from over-exposure to direct sunlight, especially in the heat and intense sun rays of summer. Place them where they are in full shade (never exposed to sun rays) under large shade trees or a building awning or where they get no more than four hours of dappled sunshine through branches or directly just after sunrise or at sunset when the sun's angle is low. In cool-summer climates, the plants can handle much more direct sunlight, such as in USDA hardiness zones 3, 4 and 5.

Soil Requirements

Since they grown naturally in woodlands, the soil needs to have some fertility. Usually this means a loam or clay soil that is rich in organic matter like decayed leaves or other organic mulch. The soil should drain well so no soggy/flooding conditions occur after typical rainfalls. Soil pH can range from slightly acidic to slightly alkaline.

Watering Regimen

When first planting plants or sowing the seeds, ensure the soil is evenly moist until roots are well-established. The shaded light exposure diminishes the need for watering when compared to plants that grow in full sun, but any barren strawberries growing and competing with the roots of large trees may find the soil needing more frequent watering. Overall, worry about irrigating these plants only in drought conditions.

Fertilization Needs

Generally speaking, barren strawberries do not need any application of man-made fertilizer products. They tolerate only moderately fertile soils, so as long as organic matter falls and decays on the soil, fertilizer isn't necessary. Moreover, as the fall frost kills the foliage, this decays over winter and spring and provides ample nourishment for the roots to re-sprout.


Since barren strawberries grow in shady locations and tolerate any soil with organic matter, they are able to prosper and spread their running stems and out-compete other nearby plants. If any carpet mass of barren strawberries is healthy, it may spread and multiply to the extent it becomes weedy or invasive. Spreading stems and underground rhizomes allow plants to expand numbers across a landscape. Clip and pull up running stems or small clumps of plants in areas where you do not want them to establish. Plants grow 4 to 7 inches tall, but may spread 10 to 24 or 36 inches wide.

Keywords: Waldsteinia, barren strawberry plant, groundcovers for shade, woodland groundcover, yellow flowers

About this Author

James Burghardt has written for "The Public Garden," "Docent Educator," nonprofit newsletters and for horticultural databases, becoming a full-time writer in 2008. He's gardened and worked professionally at public and private gardens in Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. He has written articles for eHow and GardenGuides.