- Full sun to partial shade
- Average to moderately wet or moderately dry soils.
- 2” to 8” tall, spreading to form a patch
- Spring blooming late spring to early summer fruit
- Ontario Native, Beginner Friendly, Edible, Groundcover
- An 'Underplant' species, these can grow and thrive below and between taller plants, acting as a living mulch
Called the leader of the berries in many Anishinaabe teachings, Heartberries, also known as Strawberries, are among the first of the native fruits to ripen each year.
Much smaller in overall stature than their cultivated cousins, Wild Strawberries thrive in meadow settings among taller species, blooming reliably each spring and setting fruit if conditions are favourable, with sufficient moisture and sunlight. When conditions are favourable, the fruit they offer is incredibly flavourful when compared to cultivated berries.
There are two species, along with a few sub-species, of Strawberry native to Ontario, and both are often referred to simply as ‘Wild Strawberry’.
Offered here are seedlings of Fragaria virginiana, Virginia strawberry, blooming merrily in both a very dry mowed turf area and in an un-mowed meadow on a south facing slope. I’ve also seen them thriving as a dense groundcover around and below, as the summer progresses, a dense patch of Canada Goldenrod.
Not currently offered is Fragaria vesca, Woodland Strawberry, which is a bit more tolerant of shade than Virginia Strawberry and has everbearing tendencies, with fruit and flowers often present at the same time through the summer and early fall.
Both species are excellent at filling the role of groundcover or living mulch below and around taller plants.
In addition to being lively members of meadow ecosystems and thriving as groundcovers, Wild Strawberries combine well with other foot traffic and mowing tolerant native species as an alternative to European turf grass monoculture lawns and paths. Some potential partner species include:
Lanceleaf Selfheal (Prunella vulgaris var. lanceolata) Woolly Blue Violet (Viola sororia) Silverweed (Potentilla anserina) Field Pussytoes (Antennaria neglecta)
While tolerant of a range of conditions, they thrive in evenly moist, moderate to rich soil in full sun to light shade. While they stay lower when mowed, they can mature to around 4” to 8” in height and spread quickly by stolons (runners) to form patches and fill in any gaps in the garden, including ones below taller plants.
The Ecosystem Companions for this Species list below shows species that these Strawberries thrive below and around, as a living mulch layer and a lovely carpet of spring blooms and berries.