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Saxifrage - Ideal Plants For Rock Gardens
Saxifrage - Ideal Plants For Rock Gardens

Video: Saxifrage - Ideal Plants For Rock Gardens

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Video: Saxifrage: A Great Little Groundcover with Pretty Flowers 2023, February

And flowers grow on the stones …


The name of this groundcover - saxifrage - is associated with its ability to grow in rock crevices and between rocks. In addition, some species have another interesting feature - they produce lime on the surface of the leaves.

As a rule, such calcareous formations look like small whitish scales, due to which the plant itself acquires a bluish tint.

Saxifrage is an irreplaceable participant in rock gardens. Some species prefer partial shade, which can be used to create an alpine slide in dimly lit areas.

Most saxifrages are grown in gardens, but the wicker saxifrage (Saxifraga sarmentosa) is actively cultivated as a houseplant.

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In nature, most species grow in mountainous areas, settling on the slopes of rocks and mountains. Some species prefer to grow in forests (forest saxifrage).

The Latin name for saxifrage is Saxifraga (saxifragaceae family), derived from the words "saxum" - rock and "frango" - to break. In total, the genus has about 370 species. On the territory of the former USSR, about 80 species grow in the wild, mainly in the Arctic region and the Caucasus.

There are also endemic species (found only in a certain area) - for example, the saxifrage (Saxifraga dinnikii), listed in the Red Book. This species is found on the territory of the Central Caucasus, grows on talus and rocks in the mountains in the subalpine belt.

The appearance of saxifrage is very diverse, botanists subdivide plants of this genus into groups, amateur gardeners actively grow plants of mainly four groups:


• group of curb saxifrage - this includes species suitable for growing in curbs. These plants are able to grow strongly and are relatively tall (in comparison with other saxifrage), the most famous in this group is the shade saxifrage (S. xurbicum);

• a group of bryophyte saxifrage - the name of the group speaks for itself - the plants belonging to this group form bumps that look like moss (I must say that in the common people this is what they call them), although they have nothing to do with real mosses; in culture, one of the most common is the soddy saxifrage (S. caespitosa);

• a group of inlaid (silver) saxifrage - the plants belonging to this group have the ability to produce lime on the surface of the leaves. What makes them different is that while most other saxifrage prefer places with some shading, inlaid saxifrage can grow in places with bright sunlight. This includes the young saxifrage (S. aizoon), which has an external resemblance to another inhabitant of rock gardens - the young one (genus Sempervivum);

• group of cushion saxifrage - unites species that form low cushions. Plants of this group, like the previous one, can produce lime. It includes a lush saxifrage (short-pointed) (S. xаpiculata).

Most saxifrage are perennials that prefer well-drained, moderately moist soils and partial shade; they can grow under trees with a not very dense crown. They are propagated mainly by dividing the bush or by daughter rosettes, some species are propagated by seeds, but for optimal results it is better to use vegetative propagation.

Such widely cultivated species as shady saxifrage and turf saxifrage are very unpretentious, grow well in our conditions, and are winter-hardy. These are mainly ground cover plants, their height varies from 5 cm to 30 cm, in width they can grow up to 50 cm.

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Below are the most famous and common cultivated species of saxifrage.

Young saxifrage (S. aizoon) - other names - panicle saxifrage, tenacious saxifrage, S. paniculata. As mentioned above, this species has rosettes of leaves that look like young, the leaves have a bluish tint. Flowering occurs in June with white flowers, which are collected in a paniculate inflorescence. This unpretentious species can grow both in partial shade and in the sun. Various varieties of saxifrage paniculata are grown, differing in the size of the rosettes.

Lush saxifrage (short-pointed) (S. xapiculata) - forms pillows up to 10 cm high, flowering occurs in spring (April - May) with yellow flowers.

Arends' saxifrage (S. xarendsii) is a hybrid form, up to 20 cm tall (peduncle), outwardly similar to soddy saxifrage, belongs to the group of bryophyte saxifrage, has dissected leaves. There are varieties with red, white, dark pink flowers.

Sod saxifrage (S. caespitosa) - this species is characterized by small rosettes of light green dissected leaves, prefers open or semi-shady places, well-drained sandy moist soils. Depending on the place of growth, the appearance of the plant may change - for example, in shaded and humid places, soddy saxifrage forms larger and friable bumps, but under such conditions it may not bloom. Flowering occurs in May-June; flowers are white, pink, red, up to 1 cm in diameter, collected in a paniculate inflorescence or shield. The peduncle can reach a length of 20 cm.


Spoon saxifrage (S. cochlearis) - belongs to the group of inlaid saxifrage, forms small rosettes with a bluish tint; flowering occurs in May-July, white flowers are collected in an inflorescence on a red peduncle.

The saxifrage (S. cotyledon) - like the previous species, belongs to the group of inlaid saxifrage, forms an openwork paniculate inflorescence of numerous white flowers, the peduncle can reach 60 cm in height. The saxifrage blunt leaf prefers acidic soil. It is known to be sometimes grown as a potted plant.

Saxifrage stiff-haired (S. hir-suta) - its leaves, collected in loose rosettes, are covered with hairs. This species blooms in June, the flowers are white small, collected in a paniculate inflorescence. Hardy, prefers wet, shaded places.

Manchurian saxifrage (S. manshuriensis) - this saxifrage comes from the Far East, has rounded leaves collected in large rosettes. This species blooms in July-August with small flowers collected in a capitate inflorescence. Peduncles reach a height of 45 cm. It is capable of self-seeding reproduction. This species is not widespread in amateur gardens, although the plant is rather unpretentious.


Round-leaved saxifrage (S. rotun-difolia) - this species is characterized by rounded leathery leaves, large-crowned along the edge. It blooms with small white flowers, peduncles can reach up to 40 cm in height.

Shady saxifrage (S. xurbicum) - other names - shady saxifrage, urban saxifrage, S. umbrosa. It is one of the most commonly grown saxifrage. This species has obovate or spatulate leaves, collected in rosettes, about 8 cm high, which are interconnected by horizontal shoots. Growing up, shady saxifrage forms clumps up to 50 cm in diameter. This species blooms in May - July, forming a paniculate inflorescence, the peduncle can reach a height of 30 cm. The flowers are small, light pink.

There are various forms of shade saxifrage, for example 'Aureopunctata' - the leaves have yellow spots, there are also varieties with smaller leaves, or, conversely, forming large rosettes. This species grows well in partial shade, it can be grown in the light shade of trees, but it should be borne in mind that it does not go well with other plants.


We should also mention the braided saxifrage (S. stolonifera). In the literature, it can also be found under the name stolon-forming saxifrage, offspring saxifrage (S. sarmentosa). This species is grown in indoor conditions, in the common people it is also called "gossip" or "spider", for its peculiar appearance. The fact is that wicker saxifrage forms stolons, which can reach a length of 1 m, on which daughter rosettes are located. It is a perennial plant with rounded leaves (up to 7 cm in diameter), it can reach a height of 20-25 cm. The leaves have a reddish tint below, and white veins above. There is also a variegated 'Tricolor' form (green-red leaves with white spots).

Grow saxifrage wicker and as an ampel plant. And in this case, in order to obtain a dense rosette of leaves, so that it is more lush, the stolons should be removed. The flowering is of no decorative interest, after which the plant may die, so the peduncles with buds should be removed. Wicker saxifrage hibernates at temperatures not lower than + 7 … + 10 ° С (variegated form + 15 … + 17 ° С). Prefers a sunny location (but avoid exposure to direct sunlight), moderate watering.

In general, this is an unpretentious plant. In the summer, it is possible to keep on the balcony. Usually this species is propagated by daughter offspring.

Also read: Saxifrage - species, reproduction and cultivation

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