Perry's Perennial Pages

Fragaria 'Red Ruby'

    Perennial of the Month-- May 2001

(fra-gare' ee-ah)

Common name: Ornamental Strawberry Pink Panda

Family: Rose (Rosaceae)

Height x width: 2-5" high x 12-24" spread

Growth rate: moderate to fast (especially in warmer climates)

Foliage: glossy dark green, semi-evergreen, alternate, ternate, dentate, 2x3cm approx.; typical "running" strawberry growth, with new plantlets formed on ends of wire-like stolons

Flowers: red (unlike white for garden varieties) recurrently all season from early spring, darker than other red cultivars, often hidden in foliage; sparse edible small red fruits 1.5cm; flowers best in cooler weather

Hardiness: USDA zone 5, often into zone 4 north, to zone 8 south; AHS heat zones 7-1

Soil: well-drained, moisture retentive

Light: full sun to part shade

Pests and problems: none significant

Landscape habit, uses: groundcover, windowboxes, hanging baskets, other containers as strawberry urns; combines nicely around bases of plants such as dephiniums and sages

Other interest: bred by Blooms of Bressingham (England) from Potentilla palustris and an unnamed strawberry variety for red flowers, not a significant source of fruits although they are edible and sweet when produced; Latin name from fragrans, meaning fragrant, referring to the fruit odor.

Other culture: too fertile may result in foliage and few flowers; water in very dry weather; easy care; remove fruits for better bloom; trim runners to control size

Propagation: runner offsets in home garden

Sources: many perennial nurseries, Blooms of Bressingham retailers

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