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Soapwort

5 reviews

7 items left

This is how we pack and send your Herb Plants to all states except TAS & WA



You will receive
- 1 Soapwort Herb Plant in a 50 X 75mm tube - General growing instructions

All of our Herb Plants are grown organically with certified organic potting mixes and fertilizers

Botanical Name: Saponaria officinalis

Soapwort is a hardy perennial, growing from 40 - 60cm tall with a 1 meter spread. It may be used as a larger groundcover when multiple plants are used, since it grows quite vigorously. The stems are unbranched and hold dark green, lance shaped leaves of 5-12 cm long. The flowers may be pink or white and they bloom for a long period from late summer to autumn. Each flower has 5 petals and they are held in loose terminal clusters on tall stalks. The flowers have a spicy clove fragrance which is said to be stronger at night. They are self-fertile and are either self-pollinating or pollinated by moths.

The botanical name of Saponaria officinalis is due to the saponins found within the plant. ‘Sapo’ is the Latin word for soap and ‘officinalis’ is a reference to the medicinal use of the plant. The saponins are strongest in the root when the plant is in flower. These chemicals create a soap-like lather when the sap is mixed with water. Soapwort is thought to have first been used in the Stone Age when it was likely that people used leaves growing near streams to wipe dirt from their hands, discovering the lathering effects of the plant. It was later planted around Roman Baths for use as a cleanser.

Soapwort often grows in cool places, near water and is native to Asia and throughout Europe, including Britain and Spain. It has been naturalised in the United States, where it was introduced during the colonial period. This plant is a member of the ‘pink’ family which includes dianthus and other dainty pink flowered perennials. Other names include Common Soapwort, Wild Sweet William, Bouncing Bet, Bootia saponaria, Bootia vulgaris, Lychnis officinalis and Silene saponaria. The name Bouncing Bet is derived from the old English name for a washer woman, while the name Common Soapwort may be given to many different species.

Soapwort is an excellent plant for butterflies and moths. It is very suitable for cottage gardens and for large gardens, where it may be able to naturalise under the right conditions. There are several cultivars, including those with double flowers and lower growing varieties.

Growing Conditions

Soapwort is tolerant of a variety of soils. Well composted soil produces good results but soil that is too rich may result in floppy plants that require staking. As they grow taller, it is possible that staking will be required regardless of this factor. Full sun or semi-shade is preferred, and water requirements are low to medium, with good drought tolerance. It is frost hardy to -20 C. Flowers should be deadheaded in order to maintain a tidy appearance and to prolong blooming.

Soapwort is generally low maintenance unless you choose to divide the plants. The plant spreads by rhizomes, although it is not usually very invasive under most garden conditions. Propagation is via division at any time as long as the soil is kept moist while the roots are able to re-establish themselves in the new position. Smaller clumps may perform best if placed in small pots until they are growing well. Soapwort also hybridises easily with other members of this species and there are several known cultivars. Seed may be used to propagate plants, but many will not remain true to type. The seed stratification process required for germination is also complex and time consuming.

Medicinal Uses

Soapwort has a history of medicinal use for a number of treatments. However, it also irritates the digestive system and is rarely used by modern herbalists. Modern scientific research is exploring the use of this plant in other medical capacities. If taken in excess, saponins may destroy red blood cells (which carry oxygen) and cause paralysis of the vasomotor centre which is responsible for the regulation of blood pressure, breathing and heart rate.

Saponins are toxic but they are poorly absorbed by the body and low concentrations pass through without causing harm. Boiling and cooking the leaves and roots also breaks down the chemicals. However, use of Soapwort is not recommended for more than two weeks and it is not advised at any time for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Soap Use

The leaves and roots are rich in saponins which lather when combined with water. A simple way to create saponin lather is to crush the leaves, using a rolling pin or hands and release the sap, and then add water. The roots may be placed in a modern blender with water or boiled to release the sap. Once complete, leave the mixture to stand overnight and strain away the left over root material. The roots can be harvested and dried for later use.

Cleansers made from Soapwort can be used in place of modern soap and is so gentle that it has been used to carefully clean heritage tapestries stored in museum collections.

Fish Warning

Never plant Soapwort near fish ponds because the saponins may leak into the water if a few stalks fall or trail into the pond. Saponins will poison the fish, resulting in death in most cases. Native tribes were known to use saponin rich plants to kill or put fish into a stupor so that they could catch them more easily. Fish and other animals absorb the toxic components more readily than humans.

 

All information provided on this website is for informational purposes only. Please seek professional advice before commencing any treatment.

Delivery

Our shipping costs are a flat rate, meaning you can add any amount of products to your order and you will pay the same.

Regular Post - $10.95
Express Post - $12.95 (If your order contains a plant express is required)

HERB PLANTS

We send (Australia wide, excluding Western Australia and Tasmania):

Monday and Tuesday (for all zones)

OTHER PRODUCTS

We send (Australia wide):

Monday to Friday

*Subjected to actual conditions. Find out more about our Delivery information.

Returns

If you are not 100% satisfied with your purchase, you can either return your order for a full refund or exchange it for online store credit.

Find out more about our Returns information.

Customer Reviews
5.0 Based on 5 Reviews
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Filter Reviews:
    SF
    09/12/2020
    Sarah F.
    Australia Australia
    Happy

    Thanks for such a healthy little plant. I can't wait for it to grow!

    A
    09/11/2020
    Anonymous
    Australia Australia
    About to order a 2nd time

    I am so happy with the herbs I received, thank you They've clearly been grown with so much love. They're so strong and healthy. I loved receiving the tiny little guys in the mail. I was a bit worried if they'd arrive OK, but they certainly did and so quickly. The thoughtful tips and guidance from the Mudbrick Herb Cottage video and email have been so useful as not all were planted immediately. But all are settled into their Earthy homes now and are growing so happily, healthily and so quickly! Thank you for such a wonderful experience. I'm ordering again right now

    Mudbrick Herb Cottage Soapwort Review
    L
    07/19/2020
    Lynda
    Australia Australia
    Very healthy

    Amazingly fast delivery great packaging and lovely healthy plant

    LA
    12/29/2018
    Lawrence A.
    Fast service

    Plant was delivered promptly and was very healthy.

    AW
    11/04/2015
    Ash W.
    Received Plant

    I have received this Soapwort plant and is as described and in good condition. Also prompt posting. Thank You