This plant is a perennial, and its scientific name is Saponaria officinalis, or Saponaria ocymoides. Other common names for this plant include common soapwort, crow soap and wild sweet William. The plant got its name from the fact that it can be used to make soap. Another name for this plant is Bouncing Bet. It is a plant that is relatively easy to grow and looks beautiful in gardens. This plant is native to Europe and Asia. When the leaves of the common soapwort are boiled in water, they produce a lather that has detergent properties, such as being able to remove grease. The genus name of this plant comes from the Latin word ‘Sapo’ which means soap.
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This plant grows to a height ranging between 6 inches and 3 feet. Its width ranges between 6 inches and 30 inches. The flowers are white or pink in color and bloom in spring, fall or summer, which are the blooming seasons for this plant. The foliage color of this plant is bluish-green. Its blooms are very massive and long-lasting, reminiscent of phlox blossoms. They bloom for months on end. They have a sweet smell, specifically in the evening hours.
The low growing varieties look good in rock gardens, troughs, and containers, and the taller ones look good when used alongside other perennials. The plant is resistant to deer and rabbits, owing to the fact that it has a bitter taste. In addition to that, this plant is poisonous for fish, and hence, this plant should not be grown near ponds. It attracts birds and butterflies and can best be put to use in containers and as cut flowers.
Cultivation of the Rock Soapwort Plant
This plant is hardy in USDA zones 3 to 9. It is a drought-tolerant plant that needs full sun or part sun to grow well. It is best propagated by making use of seeds, divisions, and stem cuttings. This is a very easy plant to grow and is potentially invasive. For the best possible growing conditions, well-drained soil should be used. The soil can be neutral, alkaline, or acidic, and can either be rocky or sandy. Soils that are too rich can cause the plant to look floppy, which gives it an overall messy look. Lean soil ensures that the plants have a healthy spreading habit.
If the plant is grown in containers, then you don’t have to worry about it being invasive since it is contained in a very small space. However, it should be noted that the plant has a very fast growth rate. The location chosen for this plant should be such that there is no foot traffic there. Foot traffic can cause the growth of this plant to get impeded.
The ideal regions for growing this plant are the Northeast, Midwest, West, Southwest, and Pacific Northwest. The average germination time for the seeds of this plant is 2 to 3 weeks. The seeds should be kept moist until germination. At planting time, the plants should be spaced 12 inches apart. The ideal temperature for growing this plant is 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Regular watering is needed to keep this plant healthy. If it is kept in an area where rainfall is common, then that is an ideal situation. In that case, the plant does not need to be watered regularly. Deadheading is recommended for this plant to ensure that faded flowers are removed. This serves the purpose of making the plant looks healthy and fresh. Using a lawnmower to deadhead this plant will keep the foliage looking extremely tidy. Fertilizing is recommended once in a while for the rock soapwort plant. This ensures that the plant gets all the nutrients it needs to grow. A good thing about rock soapwort is that it seldom has insect and disease issues. In the case that it gets infected, fungicides and chemical insect repellants can be used, and the problem can be easily solved.
Uses of the Soapwort Plant
This plant is not only used for edging, ground cover, containers, borders, and cut flowers but can also be used to make mild soaps and detergents. The flowers, leaves, stems, and roots create lather when mixed with hot water due to their saponin content. The soap it makes is so delicate that museums make use of it to clean and help restore artwork and fragile fabrics. This plant won the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit in 1993.
Varieties of the Rock Soapwort Plant
There are a few varieties of the rock soapwort plant. These are listed below and explained along with their ideal cultivation requirements.
This variety is characterized by small phlox like flowers that are white in color. The leaves are ovate and are bright green in color. They are typically 1.5 inches long. This variety belongs to the Caryophyllaceae family and grows to a height of 0.25 feet and spreads around 1.5 feet. This perennial can best be put to use as a ground cover. It is deer, rabbit, and drought-resistant. In addition to that, it grows well in full sun and is a really ideal plant for rock gardens, terraces, and stone walls. This plant can also do well in slightly less amount of sunlight. The only difference is that full sun ensures that the flowers are brightly colored.
The USDA hardiness zones for this variety are 4 to 8. The bloom time is early summer to midsummer. It is best if the soil is mostly sandy or clay loam with a pH of 7 to 8. Alba needs an average amount of water to grow and hence is a plant that does not require heavy maintenance. The watering should be done keeping in mind that the soil needs to be kept slightly moist. Around 1 inch of water, a week should be best, and care should be taken not to overwater.
This plant can best be propagated through seeds. Slugs and snails can sometimes prove to be an issue for this plant, but there are a few measures that can be taken to keep this in control. For starters, the garden should be kept very clean. If the problem still persists, then chemical controls can be used to take care of the issue.
This is a mound-forming variety and has reddish-pink colored flowers. It is hardy in USDA zones 3 to 8. It is a deer-resistant variety that grows well in full or partial sun. It is a rather easy-to-grow plant that does well in well-drained soils that are sandy or clay loam. It looks best in alpine gardens, rock gardens, and on stonewalls. This variety of rock soapwort grows to a height of 0.25 feet and spreads around 1.5 feet. In addition to that, the blooming season for this plant is early summer to midsummer.
These plants benefit greatly from fertilization. If the plant is low on one or more specific nutrients, then a particular fertilizer should be used instead of an all-purpose fertilizer. Fertilizing should ideally be done early off in the growing season to ensure that the plants have all the nutrients that they need to grow. This variety requires normal watering, which means that the plan should be watered enough to keep the soil moist. Overwatering can damage the plant, so it goes without saying that growers should not overwater this plant. In the initial stages of growing the plant, more frequent watering is needed. However, by the later stages, the plant can be watered relatively lesser.
Slugs and snails prove to be a problem for this plant, but they can be taken care of by using chemicals.
The scientific name for this variety is Saponaria ocymoides ‘Splendens’. It has bright pink colored flowers, and the leaves are bright green in color. The leaves have an ovular shape and are hairy and pointed. They are less than an inch long.
Moreover, this plant is hardy in USDA zone 5. It has a spreading mound habit and grows to an average height of 8 to 10 inches. Alongside that, it spreads 15 to 18 inches. The bloom time for the flowers in June and July. This plant is small in size comparatively and requires full sun exposure in order to grow to become a healthy plant. It has average moisture requirements. This means that the plant should only be watered so much that the soil has a reasonable amount of water. Overwatering can cause problems so special care should be taken not to overwater this plant.
The best method of propagation of this plant is by seeds. In addition to that, this plant is drought tolerant and attracts a lot of various insects. To take care of this problem, any insecticide can be used. This problem can thus be effectively controlled.
This variety has pure white-colored flowers with oval or lance-shaped leaves. This plant grows up to a height of 25 cm, and the flowers blossom in June and July which are the blooming months for this plant. It can act as an excellent ground cover. This variety is also known as white rock soapwort. It has a compact growing habit and is a drought-tolerant variety once established. Full sun is ideal for the growth of this plant alongside normal or sandy soil. The soil can be neutral, alkaline, or acidic. It is very easy to take care of this plant since it has average water requirements. It has a fast growth rate, and a location with little to no foot traffic should be chosen for this plant so that the plant does not get destroyed by people trampling on it.
Snow tips can best be put to use in borders, containers, edging, and as a ground cover. It is hardy in USDA zones 3 to 8 and attracts butterflies. The flowers of this variety are very fragrant. The ideal regions for the growth of this variety are the Northeast, Midwest, West, Southwest, and the Pacific Northwest. Deadheading is highly recommended for this plant so that the plant can keep looking healthy and fresh. Faded flowers should be pinched off so that the plant grows to be healthy. A lawnmower set on high speed can effectively deadhead the plant, much better than the other available options. Fertilizing is also essential for this plant. It ensures that the plant has sufficient nutrients in order to grow healthy and strong.
This variety belongs to the Caryophyllaceae family, which means the pink family. It is an herbaceous plant that has a prostrate growth rate. The flower color of this variety is bright yellow. It requires full sun and well-drained soil in order to grow properly. It is a perennial plant that acts as great ground cover. It grows to a height of 4 inches and spreads 9 inches approximately. It is hardy in USDA zones 4 to 9.
Adding to that, it needs a regular amount of water. The foliage of this variety is bright green in color. The flowers bloom to a beautiful deep yellow color in the blooming season, which is summer. This plant does not have any serious insect or disease problems.
This variety is characterized by double rose-pink colored flowers that are upheld on long stems. The foliage color of this plant is a pale green. The flowers have a very delicious scent and look perfect in borders or wildflower areas. They attract bees and butterflies, too. After the flowering season, the plant should be trimmed so that it gets a neat shape and looks fresh. It is best grown in full sun or partial shade. Moist but well-drained soil can ensure that this plant grows to become healthy.
This plant is a gorgeous choice that can make any garden look beautiful. It comes in many varieties and is a rather popular choice among garden owners.