Soapwort: 5 beautiful varieties for the home garden

With its white to delicate pink color, the soapwort is a real eye-catcher in the garden. There are several varieties of the perennial plant. The top 5 presented here in more detail.

Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis) belongs to the clove family and is also known as real soapwort or juniper. Colloquially it is called dog carnation or washing herb.

Soapwort grows just as well in the wild as it does in the home garden. It is available in different colors, but mainly in white or pink.

Soapwort is still often used as a remedy for colds and skin problems. It also has many advantages in natural cosmetics and washing.

An overview of the different varieties

Soapwort is offered in different varieties. They differ mainly in their appearance, but also in their preferred location. The plant generally grows to a height of 5 to 70 centimeters and blooms from July to September. Soapwort is a companion plant that is often kept in a group.

1. Soapwort (Saponaria lutea)

Saponaria lutea is a very unusual soapwort because it impresses with its atypical yellow color. This variety also feels very comfortable in the rock garden. Soapwort is a hardy plant that blooms again and again over several years. They bloom mainly from May to June. Although this variety only flowers for a short time, it is a feast for the eyes in every garden. The soapwort grows to a height of 5 to 7 centimeters and grows very flat. It loves sunny places and the bottom should be sandy and pebble so that the water is well drained. We recommend an earth that is acidic and low in lime. Only in this way can the soapwort develop its full splendor.

2. The Pyrenees Soapwort (Saponaria caespitosa)

The Pyrenees Soapwort grows very densely and has the typical pink color. The plant is often planted in the rock garden and is also suitable for filling stone joints. It also feels very comfortable in bed borders. The Pyrenees Soapwort is frost hardy and blooms for several years, with the flowering period only from May to June. The plant grows to a height of 5 to 10 centimeters and the flowers form a great cushion in the flower bed. The Pyrenees Soapwort should be planted in a sandy-gritty soil and the location should be in full sun. The more sun the plant gets, the more beautiful it blooms. The plant prefers fresh soil and daily water. Otherwise the Pyrenees Soapwort has no high maintenance requirements.

3. Real Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis)

The real soapwort blooms in a light pink color and can often be seen in natural and wild gardens. The special thing about this variety is that it blooms especially in summer. The real soapwort has a wonderful bloom from June to August. It is often planted in flower beds and is used as an insect willow. Bees in particular like to settle on this plant. The real soapwort grows to a height of up to 80 centimeters, is frost hardy and loves sunny places. When setting the real soap herb, it must be ensured that a distance of 30 centimeters is maintained. So about 9 plants can be planted per square meter.

Real soapwort includes three other varieties called stuffed soapwort:

  • Saponaria officinalis Alba Plena
  • Saponaria officinalis plena
  • Saponaria officinalis Rubra Plena

All three varieties prefer a sunny location and a normal garden soil, where there is no waterlogging. The stuffed soapwort is often planted as an insect willow. All three varieties have the same preferences, but differ in their appearance.

Alba PlenaPlenaRubra Plena
height50 - 70 cm50 - 70 cm40 - 50 cm
colourWhitelight pinkdark pink

4. Upholstered Soapwort (Saponaria x oliviana)

The upholstered soapwort is often used as a ground cover. It grows to a height of only around 20 centimeters and blooms in summer in a beautiful pink color. Upholstered Soapwort is a hardy plant that integrates well into all garden crops. It is a group plant that likes to grow alongside other plants. When choosing other plants, the upholstered soapwort is not picky. It feels very comfortable even in mixed groups. This plant reaches its peak of bloom from May to June, in which it produces a large amount of flowers. Like the other varieties, the upholstered soapwort prefers a very sunny place. With this variety, care should be taken to ensure that the soil has a neutral pH.

Upholstered Soapwort includes two other varieties:

  • Red Cushion Soapwort (Saponaria ocymoides)
  • white soapwort (Saponaria ocymoides Snow Tip)

The cultivars do not differ in terms of care. Both varieties prefer sunny places and well-drained soil. However, they differ in their appearance and in height. The flowering time is also not the same.

red cushion of soapwortwhite soapwort
height10 - 30 cm20 - 25 cm
heydayMay - JulyJune July
colourfireplace pinkpure white
growthpillow-makingflat growing

5. The summer soapwort (Saponaria x lempergii Max Frei)

The summer soapwort lives up to its name by blooming in late summer. It is one of the smaller varieties of soap herb because it only grows to a maximum of 25 centimeters. Therefore, the summer soapwort is often planted as ground cover. Planting in the trough or in the rock garden is also possible. This variety has light pink flowers and also prefers sunny places. The floor should be loose and well permeable to water. This variety reaches its peak of bloom from August to September. When caring for the summer soap herb, make sure that there is always fresh soil available. The soapwort doesn't like waterlogging, but should be watered regularly.