Saxifraga – saxifrage

This group of hardy or half hardy plants contains annuals and mostly evergreen perennials. They are grown for their foliage and attractive flowers, and do well in rock gardens, raised beds, pots and troughs.

Suitable site and soil. Generally, plants from the group should be grown in a sheltered site in semi-shade in soil containing grit; many prefer some lime in the soil. 5. stoloni-fera as a houseplant or in a basket should preferably be potted in John Innes No. 1 or 2 potting compost.

Cultivation and care. Most should be planted out in early autumn or late winter.

Propagation. Can be increased by growing free from seed in autumn or by offsets in winter or by division after flowering.

Recommended varieties. The spreading S. x urbium (London pride) is a fully hardy perennial that grows to 30cm – 12in. It flowers in early summer with masses of small pinky-white blooms on spindly stems; it is evergreen and its rosettes of toothed, oval-shaped leaves make good ground cover, especially in shady areas. Evergreen S. burseriana, one of the cushion saxifrages, grows slowly to 5cm – 2in high by 10cm – 4in across, with white flowers in early spring. It looks good in a trough garden. Evergreen S. stolonifera (mother of thousands) is used in sheltered rock gardens, in baskets and as a house-plant. It sends off runners bearing little plantlets which are easily used for propagation.

Pests and diseases. Usually no problems.

THOUSANDS IN A BASKET

S. stolonifera looks superb in a hanging basket where its offshoots, called stolons, can trail down. Its leaves are an attractive deep: green above and deep: red or purple: underneath.: ,

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