Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Soapwort
Give a thumbs up Bouncing Bet
Give a thumbs up Old Maid's Pink
Give a thumbs up Common Soapwort
Give a thumbs up Bouncingbet
Give a thumbs up Soapweed
Give a thumbs up Goodbye Summer
Give a thumbs up Lady-by-the-Gate

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 2 -45.6 °C (-50 °F) to -42.8 °C (-45°F)
Plant Height: 18-30 inches (45-80cm)
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Lavender
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Late spring or early summer
Underground structures: Rhizome
Uses: Medicinal Herb
Will Naturalize
Wildlife Attractant: Butterflies
Propagation: Seeds: Stratify seeds: Sow and keep for 2-4 weeks at 65-70 degrees F (18-22 degrees C), then for 6-8 weeks at 25-40 degrees F (-4 to 4 degrees C), and finally at 50 degrees F (10 degrees C) for germination.
Suitable for wintersowing
Sow in situ
Can handle transplanting
Propagation: Other methods: Division
Pollinators: Moths and Butterflies
Containers: Suitable in 3 gallon or larger

invading from the wild edge

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Posted by Sharon (Calvert City, KY - Zone 7a) on Dec 3, 2011 10:09 AM

This plant is rich in saponins, natural cleaning agents. It also has a long history as a medicinal plant and is still considered a popular home remedy for poison ivy, probably because it thoroughly cleanses the skin. The leaves and rhizomes boiled in pure water makes a highly effective soapy lather for cleaning and brightening delicate fabrics.

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Posted by Marilyn (Northern KY - Zone 6a) on May 25, 2013 1:40 AM

"Common Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis) is a vespertine flower, and a common perennial plant from the carnation family (Caryophyllaceae). Other common names are Bouncing Bet, Sweet William, and soapweed.

The plant possesses leafy, unbranched stems (often tinged with red). It grows in patches, attaining a height of 70 cm. The broad, lanceolate, sessile leaves are opposite and between 4 and 12 cm long. Its sweetly scented flowers are radially symmetrical and pink, or sometimes white. Each of the five flat petals have two small scales in the throat of the corolla. They are about 2.5 cm wide. They are arranged in dense, terminal clusters on the main stem and its branches. The long tubular calyx has five pointed red teeth.

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

As the name implies, it can be used as a very gentle soap, usually in dilute solution. It has historically been used to clean delicate or unique textiles; it has been hypothesized that the plant was used to treat the Shroud of Turin.

A lathery liquid that has the ability to dissolve fats or grease can be procured by boiling the leaves or roots in water. Take a large handful of leaves, bruise and chop them and boil for 30 minutes in 1 pint/600ml of water; strain off the liquid and use this as you would washing-up liquid."

Taken from wikipedia's page at:

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Perennial pest in my garden by HDM Apr 29, 2019 1:46 PM 2
Plant identification by Lucy77 Jul 23, 2018 9:39 AM 5
two mystery plants by urbanplantswoman Jun 15, 2018 12:13 PM 10
Found another with temperature degree character showing as question mark. by plantladylin Apr 6, 2018 7:45 PM 6
Lesson learned, don't plant semps near alliums by AntMan01 Jan 14, 2018 5:16 AM 15
HAVE: Too much of these (plants for postage) by lovesblooms Jun 1, 2018 9:48 AM 20
more assistance needed by Cooptrain Oct 11, 2017 8:48 AM 2
Anyone know what these are? by NB Jan 16, 2017 5:50 PM 11
Saponaria officinalis by Cyclaminist Aug 21, 2016 2:31 PM 3
HAVE: Plenty to trade! by lovesblooms Jun 8, 2016 9:07 AM 27

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