Indian Strawberry/Duchesnea indica
While the flowers of the edible strawberry are open and white, those of the Indian Strawberry are yellow and set off against a distinctive frill of green. The fruits that follow resemble strawberries, but are tasteless and uninteresting. However, they do last well on houseplants as decoration. In mild Winters, this plant will survive outdoors and, although Duchesnea indica is a native of India, escapees from homes have become a weed problem in southern regions of the USA, where the production of numerous runners ensures that the plant survives.
As an indoor plant, the Indian Strawberry is an easy subject to keep and grow, flowering well in Spring and Summer if given lots of good light. The foliage is three-leaved, silky underneath and a deep green that sets off the flowers and bright red fruits well. The runners are easily enticed up supports, or will trail happily over the rim of a hanging basket.
Use this pretty trailing plant in window-boxes and tubs outside, or in generously-proportioned hanging baskets indoors. It can also be encouraged to scramble up a screen divider in the home. Keep this plant at around 10°C (50°F) over Winter: it is a good idea to root a few plantlets to guarantee succession in case the parent plant dies in Winter. For the remainder of the year, the Indian Strawberry will grow best in moderately warm conditions around 20°C (68°F) is ideal.
Position Duchesnea indica in good, bright, but preferably indirect, light: lack of light will inhibit flowering, while excessive amounts of direct sunlight may cause yellowing of the leaves.
This plant will need progressively greater amounts of water as Summer goes on. Water well, and then again once the top of thedries. Over-wintering plants should be kept drier.
If the watering regime is kept up, this plant will have no need of any additional humidity.
Feed Duchesnea indica every two weeks during the growing season, using an appropriate plant food.
Repot this plant in Spring, using a free-draining, loam-based compost; check older plants for health and vigour, discarding any of dubious quality.
Propagate replacement plants by rooting the offset plantlets into a pot of compost standing alongside the parent plant.
Excessive heat will encourage soft and sappy growth, which is then vulnerable to Aphid attack: control any infestation with a suitable insecticide.
Red colouring on the leaves may indicate a lack of food, but at the year’s end may equally be part of the plant’s Autumnal colouring; too little moisture could also affect the leaves in this way.