WILDFLOWER SOAPWORT Saponaria Rosea Officinalis

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Saponaria officinalis has many common names, including common soapwort, bouncing-bet, crow soap, wild sweet William, and soapweed. It is a common host plant for some moth and butterfly species.

Saponaria officinalis' native range extends throughout Europe, and in Asia to western Siberia. It grows in cool places at low or moderate elevations under hedgerows and along the shoulders of roadways. It can be found in much of North America.

The plants possesses leafy, unbranched stems (often tinged with red). It grows in patches, attaining a height of 70 cm. Its sweetly scented flowers are radially symmetrical and pink (or sometimes white, though these seeds are for the pink flowered plants specifically). They are arranged in dense, terminal clusters on the main stem and its branches.

Flowers produce a stronger scent at night and supplement nectar production during the night (for moths). The flowers are visited by various insects including Noctuidae, Sphingidae, bumblebees, and hoverflies.

In the northern hemisphere Saponaria officinalis blooms from May to September, and in the southern hemisphere October to March.

Type: Hardy perennial

Location: Sun or part sun

Hardiness zones: 3-9

Seeds per pack: 20

Germination: As with many perennials, these seeds require a period of moist cold to help them break dormancy. This is done by giving them a cold 'winter' period (artificial or natural), and then a warming to simulate 'spring', and time to grow! Here's how this can be done:

Obtain a planting container that has holes in the bottom for excess water to drain. Place the seeds just under the surface of your growing medium, and water. Place your container in a cold area (but not freezing, perhaps a refrigerator) for 5-6 weeks. Once the cold period is completed, place the container at room temperature for them to germinate. Be sure to keep the soil moist during this entire germination period. Seedlings will sprout a few weeks, or occasionally several months, after the warming period.

If you are planting your seeds in late winter or spring, these seeds can be planted outdoors while it is still cool out (once the ground is workable and unfrozen), to receive the cold period naturally in the garden. It is best to use this method only if you are able to keep the soil moist for the entire germination period. Be sure to label the planting area.

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