Saponaria – Soapwort –
There are 20 annuals and perennials, some with a woody rootstock, in the Caryophyllaceae family, in this genus. They are found naturally occurring from meadows or rocky areas in the Mountains of Southern Europe and Southwestern Asia. They are closely related to Lychnis and Silene, they differ in having flowers with 2 styles rather then 3 or 5. They produce opposite, smooth edged, variably shaped, narrow leaves and abundant flat, 5 petaled,, clawed flowers, usually in shades of white, yellow, pink, or pale purple, borne in loose or dense heads, panicles, or cymes. The genus includes compact plants,, suitable for a rock garden, trough, or raised bed, and taller, spreading plants, useful for a herbaceous or mixed border.
Grow border perennial in moderately fertile, well drained, neutral to slightly alkaline soil in full sun. More compact species, such as S. caespitosa, require gritty, sharply drained soil. Cut S. ocymoides back hard after flowering to maintain compactness. Divide border perennial in autumn or spring.
Prone to slugs and snails, and to some larvae of some Lepidoptera.
Saponaria officinalis ‘Dazzler’ – Saponaria officinalis ‘Taff’s Dazzler’ – Saponaria officinalis ‘Variegata’ – Bouncing Bet – This upright perennial, spreads rapidly by rhizomes and grows 24″ tall and 20″ wide. It produces narrowly oval, smooth, prominently veined, mid green leaves heavily variegated cream, up to 3″ long. From summer to autumn, bears panicle like cymes of single, pink flowers, to 3/4″ across.