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Also called soapwort, the leaves of this plant were used long ago to make a cleaning lather. Also called bouncing bet, it grows easily along arid roadsides and other difficult places -- showing how easy it is to grow. Flowers come in double forms in red, pink, and white, and some with variegated leaves are good candidates where soil tends to be alkaline. Tumbling over walls, as a ground cover in rock gardens, or in crevice gardens, rock soapwort -- a low, spreading form -- makes colorful pools of bright pink contrasting with surrounding rocks or flag stones. Provide good drainage in full sun.
Part Sun, Sun
Under 6 inches to 3 feet
6-30 inches wide, depending on variety
more varieties for Soapwort
(Saponaria officinalis) comes in single and double forms slightly larger than a dime, in white, red, or rosy pink. The flowers are held in loose clusters on sturdy 2-foot stems with knots at the nodes. Some forms have variegated foliage. Zones 3-9
(Saponaria ocymoides) develops mats of bright green leaves and in late spring is covered with sprays of small bright pink flowers. It grows 6-9 inches tall and is hardy in Zones 4-8.
plant Soapwort with
Easy and undemanding, veronicas catch the eye in sunny gardens over many months. Some have mats with loose clusters of saucer-shaped flowers, while others group their star or tubular flowers into erect tight spikes. A few veronicas bring elusive blue to the garden, but more often the flowers are purplish or violet blue, rosy pink, or white. Provide full sun and average well-drained soil. Regular deadheading extends bloom time.
The inflated buds of balloon flowers are fun to pop. And they make great cut flowers. Cut them in the bud stage, and sear the base of the stems to prevent the milky sap from seeping out and fouling the water.Most commonly available in blue-violet, balloon flowers also come in pink and white, as well as shorter forms that are better suited for rock gardens and containers. In fall, the foliage of balloon flower turns clear gold, so don't cut the plant down too early -- enjoy the show! They tolerate light shade, but not wet feet or drought.
Valued for its unusual flower shape, blazing star sends up erect spires of usually magenta, sometimes white flowers. Emerging from grasslike foliage, the blooms make a dramatic statement in flower gardens with other perennials, annuals, or even shrubs. Well-drained but moisture-retentive soil is a must for this prairie native.
Long-blooming helenium lights up the late-season garden with showy daisy flowers in brilliant yellows, browns, and mahogany, centered with prominent yellow or brown discs. Many of the best cultivars are hybrids. All are excellent for cutting. Deadhead to extend bloom time, and divide the clumps every couple of years to ensure vigor.