Fragaria

While you may not easily be able to harvest enough of the berries at any one time to adequately go with your shortcake, our native strawberries are nevertheless worthy members of the garden if you’re looking for an easy-care, vigorous groundcover for most any setting.

Virtually care-free and energetic growers, strawberries spread by far-reaching runners carrying new offsets that can be left in place or easily transplanted to other spots in the garden. Left alone, it will form a lush, textured surface to the ground. But give it room to move, because it will spread its territory, moving around or over other plants in its path. In the right setting, this makes it the perfect carpeting groundcover or companion plant for other sturdy specimens.

Because of this underlying webwork of runners, Fragaria is useful as a soil-binding groundcover in coastal gardens as well as inland, especially the coastal F. chiloensis, which is evergreen. Since the others are not typically evergreen, they stop short of being as good for year-round serious erosion control, but work well in less-extreme situations as well as in tandem with other, more effective ground stabilizing plants.

There are three native species of Fragaria with a couple of additional, adaptive varieties, depending on environmental conditions where they are found.

All are low growing (2-8” in height) with the recognizable leaf structure: 5-petal white flowers in spring and small red berries in the early summer.

All require good drainage and will spread happily by runners.  They are different enough from each other however, to be able to provide the groundcover solution in a variety of garden settings:

Fragaria chiloensis

Fragaria chiloensis: Coastal Strawberry

As the common name implies, this strawberry is found along the northwest coast, thriving on sand dunes and beaches and in sandy, gritty soil.  The leaves are bright green and leathery, the berries tasty, and can thrive in full sun to partial shade, the leaves taking on a reddish tinge in the winter. It is one of the parent species of the cultivated strawberries.

fragaria vesca

Fragaria vesca: Woodland Strawberry

There are two varieties of F. vesca, a taller one found in open woodlands (var. bracteata), and the smaller (var. crinita) found in more open, rocky places west of the Cascades. In both cases the leaves are softer, in both texture and color, than the coastal strawberry.

fragaria virginiana

Fragaria virginiana: Wild Strawberry

The species Fragaria virginiana is distinct from the other two species by the somewhat elongated gray-green leaves, finer textured like the woodland strawberry, lower growing like the coastal. It is found in drier meadows and open woodlands east of the Cascades, and so can take somewhat harsher conditions than its west-of-the-mountains cousins.

Find Natives for your garden

We offer a great selection of Northwest Natives from spring through fall. The plants featured are highlighted favorites, but they do not represent ALL of the plants we carry. For a more complete list, see our Northwest Native Plant List.

Natives

Abies: Native Fir

Natives

Acer Circinatum: Vine Maple

Natives

Actaea: Bugbane

Natives

Aquilegia: Columbine

Natives

Arbutus: Pacific Madrone

Natives

Asarum: Wild Ginger

Natives

Asclepias: Milkweed

Natives

Attracting Butterflies

Natives

Camassia: Camas

Natives

Ceanothus: Wild Lilac

Natives

Cornus sericea

Red Twig Dogwood
Natives

Corylus cornuta

Beaked Hazelnut
Natives

Dodecatheon: Shooting Star

Natives

Edible Fruits

Natives

Erigeron: Fleabane

Natives

Eriophyllum: Oregon Sunshine

Natives

Native Ferns

Natives

Fragaria: Wild Strawberry

Natives

Gaultheria shallon: Salal

Natives

Holodiscus: Oceanspray

Natives

Attracting Hummingbirds

Natives

Native Iris

Natives

Lewisia: Bitterroot

Natives

Mahonia: Oregon Grape

Natives

Malus fusca

Western Crabapple
Natives

Osmaronia: Indian Plum

Natives

Penstemon: Beard Tongue

Natives

Philadelphus: Mock Orange

Natives

Physocarpus

Western Ninebark
Natives

Pinus: Native Pine

Natives

Quercus: Garry Oak

Natives

Rhamnus: Cascara

Natives

Ribes: Wild Currant

Natives

Rosa: Wild Rose

Natives

Rubus: Salmonberry

Natives

Sambucus: Elderberry

Natives

Sedum: Stonecrop

Natives

Sidalcea: Checker Mallow

Natives

Sisyrinchium

Blue-eyed Grass
Natives

Solidago: Goldenrod

Natives

Symphoricarpos: Snowberry

Natives

Synthyris: Native Figwort

Natives

Trillium: Wake Robin

Natives

Vaccinium: Huckleberry

Natives

Vancouveria: Inside-out Flower

Natives

Viburnum trilobum

Cranberrybush
Natives

Viola: Violet

Natives

Winter Interest