Just when your spring bloomers are starting to fade, the dense mats become covered with small red, pink, or white cup-shaped flowers held upright on ankle-high, strong stems.
These evergreen, cushion-forming perennials are compact, free-flowering, and easily raised from seed. Plants quickly form a verdant mat. The surface-spreading mossy leaves are evergreen for year-round effect.
Saxifraga x arendsii hybrids are known as moss saxifrage because of the appearance of their densely packed leaves, they have become a popular rockery plants because they are so adaptable.
In an Alpine rockery setting, this easy, pleasant and reliable little fill-in is interesting for its own sake and especially good for its mossiness in breaking up the texture of a rock garden that could otherwise be too reliant on sedums.
Grow these charming perennials in partial sun and moist, well-drained soil. Excellent as alpine plants for a rockery or trough, use them spilling over low walls, as a path edging or green roof.
Sowing: Sow indoors all year, or outdoors in spring or autumn
Fill small pots or trays with a light and well-aerated good quality seed compost. Tap the container to settle and lightly firm the mixture down. Stand the pots in water, moisten thoroughly and drain. Seeds should be scattered very lightly over the surface. Do not cover the seeds as they need light to germinate.
If possible, place in a propagator otherwise, secure a polythene bag around the pot or cover the container with glass or and place in a warm shaded place. Many people make use of the airing cupboard, or near the kitchen boiler. Care should be taken to prevent the pots drying out from below. Some people stand the containers on a tray of damp sand, so that they do not dry out.
The majority of seeds germinate at temperatures of 15 to 20°C (59 to 68°F). Most seedlings appear in 21 to 30 days others may take 60 days. The seedlings development is quite slow, so do not be in a rush to prick out the first seedlings, let further seedlings germinate before disturbing the soil. After 60 days, if low or no germination they can be placed in a cold area (around 4°C / 39°F). After 3 to 4 weeks, bring them back into warmth, this will stimulate any seeds left to germinate.
Be careful to keep the top of the compost damp but not wet. As soon as the first seeds have germinated, remove the plastic or raise the lid slightly to permit some circulation of air. The tiny seedlings need to be in a good light, but protected from direct sun.
Transplant seedlings when large enough to handle into 7.5 or 9cm (3 or 4in) pots.
Grow on in a cold frame or cold glasshouse Frost is no disadvantage during culture. Plant out the following spring. For a green roof or groundcover, space close together.
A top dressing of horticultural grit around the neck of each plant provides an attractive background and prevents the plant from being splashed with mud during heavy rain.
Display in containers and use in combination with succulents such as sedum, echeveria or stonecrop, or with “steppables” such as mosses, ajuga, or thyme.
Grow these charming perennials in a cool, moist location in partial sun to partial shade and moist, acid-free, well-drained, gritty, humus-rich soil. Use a mix based on one part loam (not peat) or sterilized, sieved garden soil, one part sand and one part fine grit.
Saxifraga has small root systems and grow great in well-drained soil. Allow soil to dry in between waterings and avoid over watering (They will make it through patches of drought pretty easily but overwatering can be harder on them). During times when Saxifraga is growing rapidly, keep soil moist.
Ideally it is given half sun & half shade, it will tolerate more shade, if in full sun it should have constant moisture and will suffer in summer if heat and humidity are too high.
Cut off stems once their flowers fade, and divide clumps before summer heat sets in.
The lifespan of each plant is about five years; they are replaced with self seeded plants. It will reseed, but not to the point of crowding
Developed by Arends Nursery of Ronsdorf, Germany, The S. arendsii group of hybrids have a complex crossbred heritage of several different mossy saxifrages, including S. hypnoides, S. moschata, S. rosacea & S. exarata. Many of the original species plants for S. x arendsii are native of the far north & can even be found above the Arctic Circle.
Saxifrages are typical inhabitants of arctic-alpine ecosystems, and are hardly ever found outside the temperate parts of the Northern Hemisphere; most members of this genus are found in subarctic climates and a good number of species grow in glacial habitat. The genus is also abundant in the Eastern and Western Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows.
Though the archetypal saxifrage is a small plant huddling between rocks high up on a mountain, many species do not occur in such habitat and are larger plants found on wet meadows.
Saxifraga is a genus containing about 440 known species of Holarctic perennial plants, making it the largest genus in the family Saxifragaceae. They are commonly called saxifrages or stone-breakers. The Latin word Saxifraga means literally "stone-breaker", from Latin saxum "rock" or "stone" and frangere "to break". This refers to certain saxifrages' ability to settle in the cracks of rocks, which they may in fact wear down by bioerosion to the point of splitting.
Many Saxifraga plants look more like a succulent; you'd be hard pressed to tell it is a relative of the mossy groundcover. This is why many saxifrage fans distinguish the S. x arendsii & similar types of hybrid & species Saxafraga as "mossies."
Arends, Georg (1863-1952)
The arendsii hybrids were named for Georg Arends, a prolific breeder of perennials.
Over his long career, the German nurseryman made a huge impact on the world of Garden plants through the dozens of hybrids and cultivars that he raised in his nursery in Ronsdorf-Wuppertal near Cologne.
Georg set up his nursery in 1888, the business grew rapidly in the years up to World War I, gaining an international reputation through the RHS London shows
In 1905, he introduced a hosta which he naumed Funkia fortunei var. robusta which is now known as the classic giant blue plant called Hosta sieboldiana 'Elegans'. Over his long career, he also hybridized Astilbe, Hosta, Bergenia, Sedum, Phlox and Campanula.
Many well-known herbaceous perennials that have German cultivar names were bred by him, and there are many plants that are named in his honour.
His two sons who worked with him continued the business after his death, and have been succeeded in turn by his granddaughter, Ursula Maubach-Arends, and great-granddaughter Anja Maubach, who is a landscape architect.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 10 mg Average Seed Count 200 Seeds Seed Form Natural Seeds per gram 20,000 seeds per gram Family Saxifragaceae Genus Saxifraga Species x arendsii Cultivar hybrids Common Name Arend's Saxifrage, Moss Saxifrage Other Common Names Saxifrage, Strawberry Begonia, Mother of Thousands, Strawberry Geranium Hardiness Hardy Perennial Flowers Red, Pink & White. Natural Flower Time April through June. Foliage Fine mossy, evergreen leaves Height 5 to 10cm (2 to 4in) Spread 12 to 20cm (5 to 8in) Position Performs well in shade or defused light Soil Moist, acid-free, well-drained, gritty, humus-rich soil. Time to Sow Sow indoors all year, or outdoors in spring or autumn Germination At 15 to 20°C (59 to 68°F) most appear in 21 to 30 days others may take 60 days.