Would you like to grow an unusual and beautiful plant? Saxifraga is an excellent choice. Its small, simple leaves and small, elegant flowers bring a unique look to any garden.

General Information

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The Saxifraga is an arctic perennial plant. These plants are also called Saxifragas or rockfoils. The name saxifrage comes from Latin and means “stone-breaker”. The reason for this name is that the Saxifraga was known in ancient times as a remedy for kidney stones. This plant is a member of the Saxifragaceae family, consisting of various flowering plants, herbs, shrubs, and small trees.

So, what does the Saxifraga look like? There are over 440 different varieties, each with its own unique features. Generally speaking, they have small, simple or palmate lobes and green leaves. They are a flowering plant with 5-petalled flowers that are usually white, red, pink, or yellow. Their flowers are either round or star-shaped. They form a compact cushion or mat, and they flower from spring to early summer.

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Plants of the Arctic – Alpine Ecosystems

The Saxifraga is a part of Arctic-Alpine ecosystems and is rarely grown anywhere but the Northern hemisphere. The Arctic area is typified by tundra-covered regions and the Alpine area by mountain ranges. The two parts of these ecosystems are generally inhabited by similar organisms. The Artic-Alpine organisms often grow in subarctic climates, especially in the Alps. Some grow in glacial habitats in the Alps and Greenland. They can be found high in the Himalayas as well. They often grow up between rocks high on a mountainside.

How to Grow

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Growing a Saxifraga plant is not difficult. You can start them from seed in the spring, sowing the seeds in moist, fertile, well-drained alkaline or neutral-pH soil. Place them where they will get full sun or partial shade, such as south, east, or west-facing sheltered spot. A great place to put them is in a raised bed or a pot. If you plant them in your garden, consider placing them in a border or rock garden.

You can plant them outside in the early fall or late winter. If you want to take offsets, it’s best to do that in the winter. But if you have some mature clumps of Saxifraga, you can divide them in the early spring. It’s important to keep the roots moist in the summer, but equally important to protect them from winter wetness.

You don’t need to prune them. Just trim off the flower heads after they’ve faded. Pests aren’t usually a concern, as the Saxifraga is typically disease-free. However rare, they still could be susceptible to slugs, aphids, red spider mites, and vine weevils. So, as with most plants, it’s a good idea to examine them regularly just to be sure.

Whether you are planting saxifrages in your garden or cultivating them in pots in your home, they can give you an interesting hobby and a great conversation starter.

Beyond that, they can add splashes of enchanting color and life to your indoor and outdoor spaces.

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