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Saponaria officinalis

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© RHS 2002

Characteristics

Plant type

Herbaceous Perennial

Habit

Clump-forming

Origin

Native to the UK

Fragrance

Flower

Resilience

Hardiness

H7 (very hardy)

Colour

Flower

Pink and White in Summer

Foliage

Green in Autumn, Spring and Summer

Size

Ultimate height

0.5-1 metres

Ultimate spread

0.1-0.5 metres

Time to ultimate height

2-5 years


Preferred common name

soapwort

Family

Caryophyllaceae


Saponaria can be annuals or perennials, with opposite, entire leaves and small clusters of pink or purple flowers in summer

S. officinalis is a rhizomatous perennial forming wide clumps of upright stems bearing ovate leaves and terminal clusters of fragrant light pink or white flowers in summer and autumn

Other common names

  • Boston pink
  • bouncing bet
  • bouncing bett
  • bruisewort
  • chimney pink
  • common soapwort
  • crow soap
  • devil in a bush
  • farewell to summer
  • flop top
  • fuller's herb
  • Gill-run-by-the-street
  • hedge pink
  • Jill-run-by-the-street
  • lady by the gate
  • London pride
  • mock gilliflower
  • old maid's pink
  • old maid's slipper
  • sheepweed
  • soap plant
  • soap root
  • soapwort gentian
  • sweet Betty
  • wild sweet William
  • wood phlox
  • world's wonder

How to grow

Sunlight

  • Full sun

Aspect

  • South-facing, North-facing, West-facing or East-facing
  • Exposed or Sheltered

Cultivation

Grow in moderately fertile, well-drained, neutral to alkaline soil in full sun. Suitable for the herbaceous or mixed border

Soil

  • Well-drained
  • Alkaline or Neutral
  • Chalk, Clay or Sand

Propagation

Propagate by seed or division

Suggested planting locations and garden types

Cottage/Informal Garden, Low Maintenance, Wildflower meadow or Wildlife Gardens


How to care

Pruning

No pruning required

Pests

Slugs and snails may be a problem

Diseases

Generally disease free