Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis) is a beautiful, robust perennial in the carnation family with dark green lance-shaped leaves and light pink star-shaped flowers that have a pleasant floral clove scent. Can grow 1'-2' tall and 12"-18" wide, and prefers cooler weather. The entire plant contains saponins, with the highest concentration in the roots, which make a gentle foamy lather when mixed with warm water, and is used as detergent or soap to clean skin, hair, and delicate fabrics. Also called Bouncing Bet, a historical expression for a laundry woman. Reseeding and runner roots enable it to spread easily and it can become invasive.
As a medicinal plant, Soapwort has been used internally to treat bronchitis, colds, cough, diarrhea, kidney stones, and respiratory problems, and externally to treat acne, boils, burns, eczema, inflammation, itchy skin, muscle pain, poison ivy, psoriasis, rash, and wounds.
⚠️ Toxic to people, pets, and livestock if ingested in large quantities. Toxic to fish, so do not grow near waterways. Do not ingest while pregnant or nursing.
⚠️ Medicinal properties are presented as information only, and are not a recommendation or prescription for use. Consult a medical professional before using any plant medicinally.
- Life cycle: Herbaceous perennial
- Bloom season: Summer
- Attracts: Hummingbirds, bees, butterflies, and other pollinators
- Flower meaning: Innocence, pure love
SEED PLANTING TIPS
- Botanical name: Saponaria officinalis
- Hardiness zones: 3-9
- Planting season: Spring, fall
- Days to maturity: 85 days-2 years
- Cold stratify: Yes
- Depth to plant seeds: Lightly cover - seeds need light to germinate
- Days to germinate (sprout): 7-28 days
- Germination soil temps: 60F-70F
- Spacing between plants: 12"-18" apart
- Soil types: Clay, sandy, loamy, silty, rocky, chalky, poor, average, moist, well-drained
- Soil pH: 6.6-7.8
- Water needs: Average
- Sun needs: Full sun, part shade
- Frost tolerant: Yes
- Drought tolerant: Yes
- Deer resistant: Yes
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