The herbaceous annual, biennial and perennial plant, also called Saponaria, is a member of the Clovenfoot family. According to various sources, this genus includes 15-40 species, but only 9 of them are cultivated. Under natural conditions this plant can be found on the territory of Eurasia. Its name is derived from the Latin word for "soap", since its root system is capable of producing foam because it contains saponins.
Peculiarities of Soapberry
The rhizomatous plant Soapberry has upright stems which may be upright or prostrate with bare or downy surfaces.
Stems reach a height of 0.7 to 0.8 m. Supropode whole leaf blades may be broadly lanceolate, spatulate, oval or linear-lanceolate in shape. Leaves may be sessile or tapered at the base, obtuse or acuminate.
The dense corymb-like paniculate inflorescences consist of five-petaled flowers in purple, white or pink. The fruit is an elongated, multi-seeded capsule with small, obtuse-lobed, nearly black seeds.
Growing Soapflower from seed
Sowing for seedlings
The vegetative and generative (seed) methods are used for propagation of Soapflower. If desired, seeds can be sown directly into open soil, either in October (under the winter) or in the spring. But the seedling method of growing such a plant is more reliable.
So, to begin with, soapberry seedlings are grown at home from seeds, which are then transplanted into the open ground.
Sowing seeds for seedlings, as well as care of seedlings is very simple and will not take much time. Seeds are sown in the middle of March, using small boxes that are filled with a loose, moist soil mixture. Seeds are covered with a thin layer of sand, then the seeds are carefully watered with a sprayer and covered with glass (film). Then the container is transferred to a well-lit place, but the light must be scattered.
The optimum air temperature for seed germination is at least 20 degrees.
After the first seedlings show up, remove the cover from the container. The seedlings of such a plant do not need any special care. Remember that it can be harmed by direct sunlight and drafts. Systematically water the seedlings, and also do not forget to gently loosen the surface of the soil mixture around the bushes.
Nesting into individual cups is carried out after the plants have formed 2 pairs of true leaf plates. In order to prevent the bushes from starting to stretch, they should be provided with a sufficiently large amount of bright but diffused light.
Springinging of bearberry into the open ground
When to plant
Springinging the mature and hardened bearberry seedlings into the open ground only when the return spring frost is left behind and the ground on the plot is well warmed. As a rule, this time falls on the second half of May. When the seedlings are about two weeks away from planting, you should start hardening them.
To do this, take the seedlings outside every day, and the duration of such procedures should be increased gradually. Hardened seedlings can be out in the open air both day and night. To harden the plants, choose a place outdoors that will be reliably protected from wind gusts, drafts and precipitation.
Growing this herbaceous plant in your garden plot is quite easy. It grows, develops and blooms beautifully, even if you don't take care of it at all.
But if you want your bushes to be the most decorative, then for their planting, you should choose a site located in a little shade or in a sunny place. The best suits soapberry dry loose soil, limey and fertilized, it should have good water and air permeability. Since under natural conditions this flower prefers to grow in the mountains, it is recommended to add small stones, sand and caustic lime (bone meal or calcite) to the soil during the digging of the plot.
At the time of planting, keep a distance of at least 0.3 m between the bushes.
After a while, the sprawling flowers will cover all the free space. Planted seedlings should be watered.
Garden care for bearberry
Growing bearberry in the open ground is quite simple, you should water it in time, weed it, feed and trim it as well as prepare it for wintering. To significantly reduce the number of weeds on the site, its surface is recommended to cover with small claydite, gravel or pebbles, in addition, it will make your flower bed more spectacular. To bloom as long as possible, experts advise, systematically cut off the bushes began to fade inflorescences, this measure also helps to avoid self-seeding.
In the autumn, shortly before the start of the cold weather, you should shorten the stems by one third of their length, and the bushes of soapberry lempergee and medicinal should be cut at the root. This culture is quite frost-resistant, but in the event of a snowy winter it is not superfluous to cover the site with lapnuts. If the bushes still die out, in the spring time they can quickly recover thanks to self-sowing.
In the same area to grow such a flower is not recommended more than eight years, the fact is that during this time it strongly proliferates and it needs rejuvenation, for this purpose the division of the bush is carried out. To do this in the spring time, the bush should be extracted from the soil and divided into several parts.
The divisions should immediately be planted in a new location.
How to water and feed
The bush should be watered moderately, remembering that stagnant liquid in the root system is very harmful to the plant. To improve the drainage capacity of the soil, experts advise to add claydite or sand under the digging before planting. If during the summer there are protracted rains, there is a high probability of occurrence of rot on the roots of bulrush. To avoid this, the site should be protected with a film that is stretched over pre-installed metal arcs.
Twice during the season the bushes should be fertilized with phosphorus-potassium fertilizer. This is done immediately after the snow melts and shortly before flowering. Nitrogen-containing fertilizers should not be used, because they can harm such a culture. If it grows in nutritious soil, you can do without fertilizers at all.
Diseases and pests
This herbaceous plant is highly resistant to harmful insects.
However, it is sometimes visited by the garden moth, which damages the seed bolls of such flowers, and it makes oviposits on the surface of their stems. If there are few pests, you can get rid of them by collecting them by hand and destroying them, but if there are many caterpillars, then you can't do without spraying the plants with an insecticide solution.
Such a flower is rarely affected by root rot and leaf spotting. If the first symptoms of the disease are noticed, all affected parts of the shrub should be cut out as soon as possible. The severely affected plants should be dug up and destroyed, with the healthy bushes remaining on the plot being sprayed with a fungicide solution.
Soapberry species and varieties with photos and names
We already mentioned above that only 9 soapberry species are cultivated by gardeners. The most popular ones will be discussed in detail below.
In natural conditions, this species is found on the rocky slopes of the Pyrenees at 700-2100 meters above sea level. The bush varies in height from 5 to 15 centimeters. The smooth leaf plates are linear-lanceolate in shape.
The oval petals of the flowers are pinkish in color.
Saponaria officinalis, or common bastardberry
Wildly this species is found in Central Europe, Asia Minor, European Russia, the Caucasus, the Mediterranean and Western Siberia. The height of this herbaceous perennial varies from 0.3 to 0.9 m.
Its leaf blades are 5-12 centimeters long and oval-lanceolate or acute-elliptical in shape. Leaves are divided into 3 veins. Scutellas consist of large fragrant pink or white flowers, they have short pedicels. This plant has been cultivated since 1692. var var.
is popular among gardeners. Flore plena: About 100 cm high, up to 15 cm long inflorescences, consisting of large florets up to 25 mm across and with a creamy pink colouring.
The most popular varieties:
- Alba Plena, Rosea Plena and Rubra Plena. The inflorescences consist of white, pink, and dark red flowers, respectively.
This mottled variety has large flowers colored in deep pink.
- Variegata. The foliage has mottled coloration.
- Betty Arnold. A strong-growing variety with complex snow-white flowers.
This perennial plant is naturally found in alpine meadows and slopes, bushy 5-12 centimeters tall. The narrow leaf plates have an oblong shape. The small inflorescences are yellowish flowers of low decorative value.
Basilberry (Saponaria ocymoides) or Moon Dust
This species is native to the Alps where it occurs at an altitude of 0.5-2 thousand meters above sea level.
This abundantly flowering perennial forms soft cushions with its low-stemmed stems, which can be up to 20 centimeters high. Narrow leaf plates of a matte green color have an oval-linear shape. Numerous umbrella-like inflorescences are formed on the tops of forked shoots, which include small fragrant star-shaped pinkish-red flowers. The species is highly frost-resistant, but if it freezes in winter, it can quickly recover through self-sowing. The most popular varieties:
This low-growing groundcover plant is about 15 centimeters tall. There is pubescence on the surface of the green leaf plates. The false umbrella-like inflorescences consist of small pink-colored flowers.
- Rubra compacta. The stems are covered with large inflorescences of deep pink color.
- Splendence. This variety is very similar to Rubra Compacta, but the coloration of its flowers is more delicate.
- Snow Type. The color of the petals is snow-white.
Lempergii (Saponaria x lempergii)
This is a cultivated form from the southeast of Europe.
The bush is about 0.4 m tall and its stems have an arc-shaped shape. The narrow, small, lancet-shaped leaf plates have a matte dark green coloration. The reddish star-shaped flowers are gathered in bunches at the tops of the branched stems.
Saponaria x olivana
This garden hybrid is obtained by crossing turfgrass and dwarf soapberry.
This beautiful plant is often cultivated in rock gardens. They form dense cushions that are 20 centimeters wide and 5 centimeters high. In summertime, the shrub blooms lushly, its florets possessing a pinkish color.
Mudflower - washes like soap