Bedding plants

Caring for soapwort - tips for watering, fertilizing & wintering


The soapwort is particularly suitable for beginners. It makes no special demands on the location and soil and requires relatively little maintenance.

Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis) is extremely adaptable, can cope with almost any location and therefore requires little maintenance. If you follow some care instructions, the plant will delight you with its bloom until autumn and will grow abundantly and persistently.

It is not uncommon for the soapwort to be stopped, because it forms ramifications and roots that extend deep into the soil.

How to properly care for the soapwort

Water the soapwort properly

Our climate is usually humid enough to supply the soapwort with liquid. Watering really only needs to be done if there are long periods of drought. The surface of the soil may appear dry, this will not harm the plant, since the roots reach deep into the ground and water and nutrients can be absorbed from there.

Container plants, on the other hand, have a limited supply of nutrients and should be watered regularly. The floor should not dry out here. It is also important to avoid waterlogging.

" Tip: A drainage of coarse sand or gravel in the bottom of the vessel ensures that the soil is permeable.

Fertilize the soapwort properly

The soapwort shows hardly any claims regarding the soil. The plant will also grow on poor soils, but then flower less freely. Whether and how much nutrients the plant receives depends on the nature of the soil. When planting compost in the substrate, it is generally advisable to promote growth and flowering and to positively influence the development of young plants. In particularly poor soils, fertilizers can be repeated annually in spring and autumn.

Container plants cannot adequately supply themselves with nutrients because they only have a small planter at their disposal. The hobby gardener should therefore help from the second year with liquid fertilizer. During the growth phase, the plants receive a monthly dose.

" Tip: Commercial potting soil is pre-fertilized and provides the soapwort with sufficient nutrients in the first year of use.

The fertilization of the soap herb should always be rather moderate. If the plants are over-fertilized, the plant remains restricted in its growth and instead increasingly forms runners.

Control growth - the root barrier

The installation of a root barrier can prevent the soapwort from spreading in an uncontrolled manner and thus penetrating into areas of the garden that are reserved for other plants.

The root barrier comes into the soil during planting and is made of a weather-resistant material.

Avoid diseases and pests through proper care

When cared for in a species-appropriate manner, the soapwort turns out to be a robust and resilient plant that is seldom ailing.

Soapwort stays healthy if:

  • a sunny location is chosen
  • the floor doesn't appear too wet
  • is cut back regularly
  • there is no over-fertilization

" Tip: Soapwort contains certain ingredients, so-called saponins, which serve as the basic material for pesticides on a biological basis.

Aphids or mealybugs rarely stop at a plant. If there is an infestation, it is easy to beat with biological weapons instead of using chemical agents.

Even a shower with a hard jet of water can help get rid of the pests. If the infestation has progressed accordingly, the hobby gardener can use solutions obtained from soap suds, garlic stock or horsetail herb for watering and spraying. The pests are quite persistent, so the plants should be treated several times in a row.

Soap herb overwinter properly

The soapwort usually survives the winter in the garden bed without additional protection. The plants are considered hardy and can withstand temperatures down to -30 degrees.

However, this must not be assumed by the soapwort in the bucket. The root ball is far less protected in the planter. There is even a risk that the planter will freeze completely, the plant will no longer be able to absorb nutrients and will therefore not survive the winter.

It is therefore important to protect the planter from the ingress of frost. The planter should not be placed directly on the ground so that the cold is not exposed to attack from below. If the planter is placed on a wooden or polystyrene support, the soapwort is protected.

The soil of the planter is covered with leaves, brushwood or straw. In addition, the planter receives protection from garden fleece or a jute sack. If the container is placed in a protected place, for example on a house wall, the soapwort should be well prepared for the winter.

Since the soil must not dry out even in winter, the substrate must be checked on frost-free days and watered slightly if necessary. As soon as the nights remain frost-free, the winter protection must be removed from the soapwort so that the plant can sprout freshly and receives enough light.

" Tip: Container plants can also be hibernated indoors. This happens in a bright and frost-free place, for example in the garage, in the unheated winter garden or in the stairwell.