Arenaria Sandwort

Height: 2.5-15cm (1-6in)

Planting distance 30-45cm (1-r/jft)

Features: flowers spring to summer

Soil: gritty, sharply drained

Site: sun, shade or partial shade

Type: evergreen rock plant

Sandwort grows over stoneslike a carpet, speckled from early spring to late summer with starry, white or purple-pink flowers.

Popular species Arenaria balearica has tiny white flowers, 5mm (%in) across, from early spring to mid summer and mid-green leaves. It grows up to 2.5cm (lin) high and 45cm (1 1/2ft) across, and is happiest covering the shady side of damp rocks. Arenaria montana forms a dense, mid to dark green mat up to 15cm (6in) high and 45cm (1 1/2ft) across. Shiny white flowers, 1.5cm ( 1/2tin) in diameter, appear from late spring to early summer.

Arenaria purpurascens produces small clusters of purple-pink flowers, lem ( 1/2’in) wide, in mid to late summer against a mid-green mat of leaves, 30cm (1ft) wide.


A. balearica needs shade; A. montana, partial shade; and A. purpurascens, full sun. Plant in late spring in sharply drained, gritty soil.

Propagation: Divide and replant A. balearica and A. purpurascens in early to mid spring. Root 2.5-5cm (1-2in), non-flowering, basal cuttings of A. montana in summer in a cold frame. Plant out in early spring.

Pests and diseases: Trouble free.

Propagation: In early to mid spring, either divide and replant or sow seeds in a cold frame. When seedlings appear, plunge outside (bury pots up to the rim in the ground) and plant out from early autumn.

Or, take 5cm (2in) basal cuttings during mid to late summer and root in a cold frame. Plunge outdoors and plant out in autumn.

Pests and diseases: Rust may show on leaves as small white pustules, later replaced by purple spots with light brown pustules.

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