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California strawberry is a perennial herb that grows naturally in shaded and winter-moist habitats in coastal and forest environments across the state. It is an attractive ground cover with thin 3-lobed leaves. In the spring it produces small 5-petal white flowers, followed by numerous small edible strawberry-type fruit.

The California strawberry is well suited to understory conditions of the Western sycamore garden style palette. It grows best in loamy soils, with normal winter rainfall and periodic water during the summer. In warm Inland Empire gardens, it should be placed in shaded microclimate areas to keep the foliage from burning by the hot sun. Birds are attracted to its fruit.

Water Needs

The California strawberry is well adapted to partial shade garden areas throughout the Inland Empire where it can be sustained with normal winter rainfall and low amounts of summer water. The application of summer water will help it to maintain good foliage character. It should be noted there are several winter months marked by an asterisk (*) when rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates it can grow with varying amounts of water depending upon exposure conditions and size.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Moderate Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 3

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 3x 0x to 3x 0x to 3x 2x to 3x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 2x to 3x 0x to 3x 0x to 3x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
Inches per Month 0" to 3" 0" to 3" 0" to 3" 2" to 3" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 2" to 3" 0" to 3" 0" to 3"

Range of supplemental summer water: 9"-16"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-15"

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Ground cover, Perennial
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Trailing, Spreading
Growth Rate: Moderate
Height: 2 in. - 8 in.
Width: 2 ft. - 6 ft.
Water Needs: Moderate 3
Foliage Color: Bright green
Flower Color: White
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Loam, Clay
Exposure Adaptations: Moderate shade, Partial sun
Function: Wildlife value, Raised planters, Mass planting, Culinary use, Container plant, California native, Borders, Small spaces


Naturally spreads by "runners" that move along the soil surface, then re-root at "nodes." Once these nodes have rooted, they can be divided by being dug up and planted elsewhere in the garden, potted, or given away. November is usually a good time to do this (2). Strawberry runners are easy to dig out to prevent them from colonizing anywhere that is not desired, and are generally not considered "invasive" in the garden (S).



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