Ornamental strawberry

Ornamental Alpine Strawberry

"God has given a kindlier power
To the favoured strawberry-flower.
Hither soon as spring is fled
You & Charles & I will walk;
Lurking berries, ripe & red,
Then will hang on every stalk,
Each within its leafy bower;
And for that promise spare the flower."

-William Wordsworth,


'Lipstick' is a delightful ornamental alpine strawberry which flowers late April to September or even a little longer in our mild climate. In chillier zones it would not bloom so long, but no less than May & June.

The second photo shows an extreme close-up in April; the first photo is in May.

It is compact enough to suppress weeds, but loose enough to permit bulbs to erupt from it in early spring. We have tulips & narcissuses growing in the same area. When the bulbs are done for the year, those hot-pink blooms amidst the strawberry leaves keeps the location colorful.

Since our winters are not harsh, the leaves make it through winter without too awful much damage. As a creeping vine, it will send out runners starting a new plant at each node.

Ornamental strawberryIt spreads slowly so is not troublesome, but if it does start to spread into places it isn't wanted, the runners can be clipped at any point & each new plant along the runners can be potted in order to trade with other gardeners or give away as gifts.

'Lipstick' also hangs well from baskets, or will climb down the sides of strawberry planters.

It is not the choice of strawberry for fruit harvest, for its fruits are small & few; but what strawberries it does produce are perfectly edible. It's greater value is for the long bloom period & the unbelievablky brightness of those flowers. It was bred in The Netherlands, a cross between the alpine strawberry Fragaria ananassa & the more intense-flowered marsh cinquefoil, Potentilla palustris.

The leaf looks like pure Fragera leaf rather than a five-fingered potentilla leaf. It produces a groundcover of leaves far more compact than the far-stretching potentilla. Much as the Fragaria portion of its heritage dominates its looks, the flower has been intensified by the pollinating Potentilla.

For more about ornamental strawberry, see Fragaria chiloensis x Potentilla palustris 'Pink Panda.' See also the somewhat similar Nepalese cinquefoil variety Potenilla nepalensis 'Mrs. Wilmott.'


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