Saponaria: a role in landscape design, planting and care

Saponaria (soap dish) is an interesting perennial or annual plant of the clove family. This name came about because of the high content in the roots of a special substance - saponin, which forms lush foam upon contact with water. In ancient times, the root of this plant was used as a soap with good cleansing properties. It is not only very effective, but also widely used in folk medicine, food industry and cosmetology, and it is not difficult to grow it in your area even for a beginner grower.

How and where does open saponaria grow

Mylnyanka loves stony, scarce soils, therefore it is easy to cultivate it even by lazy gardeners

This beautiful herbaceous culture grows on high mountainous rocky slopes and plateaus in Europe, Siberia, the Caucasus and Asia, beginning its flowering from mid-July to early autumn and reaching from 10 to 80 cm in height. There are several varieties and varieties of saponaria, but all of them have thin, straight stems with small oval leaves.

The color of the petals of different plant varieties can radically differ, and the flowers themselves are collected in small fragrant inflorescences. Decorative saponaria is unpretentious, does not require special conditions for growing.

Types of plants: photo with description

In the wild, there are more than 40 species of plants, but only 10 of them are used as decorative crops. The most popular and common varieties are considered varieties of medicinal and basil-leaf saponaria.

Medicinal species include plants up to 1 m high with numerous leafy stems and long oval leaves about 10 cm long. The flowers reach 3 cm in diameter, collected in loose inflorescences of pink or cream color.

Medicinal saponaria earned the love of flower growers due to its unpretentiousness, beautiful flowering and bright, strong aroma.

The most common varieties of medicinal saponaria:

  • Flora Pleno - a plant with lush terry flowers of a gentle cream shade;

Thickets of this plant look very decorative

  • Variegata has an interesting variegated color of leaves, in which light green and dark green stripes alternate;

Variegata blooms not as brightly as the other varieties, but looks good on the flowerbed due to interesting greenery

  • Betty Arnold is characterized by long stems with snow-white terry inflorescences at the tops.

Planted in the center of the flowerbed, this soap dish will be its decoration

Separately, a varietal group stands out with large bright and very dense inflorescences of lilac, white or pinkish hue:

  • Alba of Captivity;

Unlike medicinal varieties of saponaria, ornamental ones have larger and more accurate inflorescences.

  • Rosea Captivity;

Rosea Plena - a very effective, “noble” variety of saponaria

  • Pumila.

This type of soap dish is interesting for its unusual shape of flowers and purple-burgundy-pink overflow.

No less interesting and beautiful variety of plants can be called basilicapous saponaria. This is a low (up to 20 cm) ground cover crop with soft stalks spreading on the ground, at the very tips of which there are large inflorescences, and oblong bright green leaves.

Its popular varieties include:

  • Luxury, characterized by bright pink flowers growing directly on the shoots;
  • Rubra Kompakta - its difference from the previous grade is only in a darker shade of pink;

Bright flowers of these plants will decorate any alpine hill

  • Camilla - light pink;

The delicate shade of flowers of this species is very pleasing to the eye.

  • Snowy top - with white flowers collected in loose inflorescences;

Due to the rich white color and neat lines of flowers, this type of saponaria looks very nice on the flowerbed

  • Moon dust is a very popular variety among the basil-leaved soap dish.

Ground-cover soap dish is used for vertical gardening

In addition to these two species, several more hybrids and varieties of saponaria, not widely used, were bred. This is Olivan's saponaria - a short perennial hybrid with large dark pink flowers, growing in small bushes.

This kind of soap dish will fit very well in the rockery.

Soapy saponfish is also distinguished as a separate species - a groundcover with elongated dark leaves and thin stems up to 7 cm high, which can lignify at the very base. It is characterized by delicate light pink inflorescences.

Saponaria soddy can also be used as a border plant

Only seeds of the varieties of the medicinal or basil-leaf saponaria are in free sale. The remaining varieties are extremely rare and inaccessible to a wide range of amateur gardeners.

Overview of the pink variety in the video

Role in Landscaping

A beautiful rug from overgrown miniature soap-bushes looks great on rocky rock gardens, sloping areas or separate flower beds decorated with large stones.

You can plant a little saponaria in the middle of the lawn or as a border near roses, decorative daisies, lilies or peonies. Rocky slides are ideal for her, and it also makes sense to place the plant in hanging pots or small pots. This arrangement will allow the stems to hang down freely, forming bright compositions for decorating the walls of the house or gazebo.

Best of all, saponaria looks in combination with the following plants:

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Mylnianka will look great in potted compositions for decorating stairs

  • saxifrage;
  • roses;
  • Iberis
  • hydrangeas;
  • sage;
  • bells;
  • echinacea;
  • sunshine;
  • stalk;
  • salvia.

This fragrant plant looks great on its own, without neighbors.

Often it propagates by self-seeding, which should be considered when choosing a place. To exclude self-dispersion, it is necessary to prune wilted inflorescences along with a small area of ​​the stem. This procedure will help to achieve a more magnificent subsequent flowering.

Application options in the photo

Among the stones in the soap dish is the place

Saponaria bushes look good in the stone garden

Looks good saponaria and in solitary landings

She also looks great on an alpine hill

Mylnianka will take its rightful place in rock aria

Growing methods and planting options soap dish

In the natural habitat, saponaria grows on poor stony soils, which should be considered when choosing a site for planting.

The place should be sunny, because a lack of light leads to the fact that the color of the flowers becomes more pale and nondescript. It is allowed to plant the plant in partial shade, but you will have to pay more attention to it and provide proper care.

The soil should not be too fertile, but calcareous is best, but with good drainage. It is needed so that the soil is not oversaturated with moisture, which is detrimental to the roots of the plant. Ideally, the soil should be loose, high in calcium and a little nitrogen. It is better to mulch the earth around the landings with gravel or small gravel.

Planting seedlings in the ground is better by taking a lump of earth from the cell entirely, so as not to injure small roots

Saponaria is propagated in three ways:

  • seeds - you can plant it or seedlings in March, as well as immediately in the open ground in May or late October;
  • by dividing a large, well-grown bush - in the spring it is carefully dug up, divided into 2-3 parts and planted in prepared pits, where a little bone meal is added in advance;
  • cuttings of the strongest and thickest stems before flowering - they cut off the tops, remove the lower leaves and root in moist sand, and after the appearance of roots, seedlings can be planted in open ground.

With the seedling method, several drainage holes are made in a small container, then the earth is poured. Seeds are planted in it, watered and covered with a film or glass until the first shoots. As soon as the sprouts hatch, the shelter is removed, and when the fourth leaf appears, seedlings are dived into separate containers and provide bright lighting. In May, young plants are planted in a permanent place.

Essential care

Saponaria is an ideal ornamental plant that does not require special care. It is quite drought tolerant and loves direct sunlight. It should be watered rarely and only with prolonged absence of rain.

The main condition for rapid growth is well-drained, loose soil. Therefore, after watering or rain, the soil should be slightly fluffed to give the roots a flow of oxygen.

Before wintering, the stems of the plant must be cut by a third, and it does not need additional fertilizing and fertilizing.

In winter, it is better to shelter the saponaria so that it does not freeze, because only the medicinal variety is considered frost-resistant, and basil-leaved is not able to withstand temperatures below -20 ° C. This perennial is well dispersed on its own, and if the gardener does not want to allow uncontrolled growth, it is necessary to cut the seed boxes from the stems no later than September.

It is better to remove the box from the plant above a bowl or other container so that its seeds do not fall to the ground in the process

Possible problems and solutions

Perennials are rarely affected by diseases and pests, but can sometimes be affected by a garden scoop attack. This butterfly eats ripe seeds from fruit boxes, and lays eggs directly on the stem of the plant. The most harmful are the caterpillars of the scoop, which gnaw off the base of the shoots, leading to the death of the flower. You can get rid of the pest by manually collecting caterpillars and larvae, as well as Fufanon, Zolon, Dursban, Danadim preparations.

It is imperative to get rid of this pest, as it can easily spread to vegetable crops by cutting young plants to the root

Excessive soil moisture is fraught with the emergence of various fungal infections: leaf blotch and root rot. If black or brown spots are found on the stems and leaves, the affected areas are cut off, and the remaining shoots are treated with Fundazole solution or 1% Bordeaux fluid. If the whole plant is affected, it will not be possible to save it.

Other pests and diseases are not scary for the soap dish, and it is not difficult to achieve its beautiful flowering in the flowerbed.

Blooming soap dish carpet looks charming

Flower cultivation reviews

It is necessary to trim the extended lashes by 2/3 of the length. By the way, this should be done regularly after flowering with the soap-bearing basil-leaves. This gives the bush compactness and stimulates flowering.


She lives well with us, sows a new one and spreads the old. In a sunny place it grows more compactly. Distributed in large quantities every spring.


Mylnianka Inspiration - carpet perennial. Grass, not a bush. The neighbors kept asking about it: I liked it very much :-) It turned out to be a good idea to put both a soap box and a carnation in the tires: 2 fluffy hats happened, but you can hardly see the tires!


Saponaria is an excellent plant for any flower garden. It is indispensable in landscape design when arranging workplaces and rock gardens, perfectly sets off flower beds and lawns. Perennial does not require regular care, has numerous healing properties and a strong pleasant aroma. Small bright bushes will decorate any site in those places where other plants do not take root.


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