Tunica saxifraga, also known as Petrorhagia Saxifraga is a spreading, dense perennial plant with short, grass-like dark green leaves. Growing to only 10cm (4in) in height, the plants have a mat-forming habit and grow to cover a wide area.
In spring the plant flowers in abundance, sprayed generously with stems of tall white flowers the flower stems grow to around 12in (30cm), each with dark pink veining, in the summer the flowers assume a pink colouring.
A member of Caryophyllaceae, the pinks family, The Saxifrage Pink is happiest when grown in a bright place with direct sunlight. It can grow in poor soils and bear harsh temperatures without problems, this little alpine plant is hardy to a staggering minus 35°C (-31°F).
It is drought tolerant and is excellent in the rock garden or for around paths, and once established it makes a good front-of-the-border plant or green roof. Because of its mat forming habit it can be grown en-masse to cover a large area.
When it appears to have 'bloomed itself out' cut it back and it will reward you with another lavish display until very hard frosts put it to rest. The plants aren’t evergreen and so lose the aerial part during the coldest months of the year, but as spring begins, stems and leaves quickly start to reproduce.
A very elegant plant that is useful surrounding a border or spilling over a wall.
- Awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit
Tunica, or Petrorhagia saxifraga has been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
Sowing: Sow in spring or in autumn.
Prepare pots or trays with good free draining seed compost; moisten by standing in water, then drain. Surface sow two seeds per pot or cell and press them gently down to firm them in. Cover the seed with a fine layer of vermiculite if you have it.
Seal pots in a polythene bag or cover trays with clear plastic lids until after germination. It is important to keep soil slightly moist but not wet.
Remove the polythene bag once the first seedlings appear. Germination usually take 14 to 60 days at temperatures around 20°C (68°F), occasionally germination may be erratic, if all seeds do not germinate in four weeks do not throw away, remove pots/tray to a cool shaded area.
The seedlings are usually large enough to handle after 4 to 5 weeks. Transplant the seedlings into small 9cm (3½in) pots. If you require the plants to cover a large area, two or three seedlings can be planted in one pot. Place the pots in a coldframe or unheated greenhouse to grow on.
Before transplanting the plants outdoors, hardened the plants off gradually by placing them outside in a sheltered position during the day; bring them in at night to avoid frosts. They do best in moist but well draining soils but are not suited for heavy dry soils or damp soil amend soil if necessary before planting. Space plants 20cm (8in) apart.
Grow these charming perennials in full sun. They have shallow root systems and seedlings can dry out very quickly. Cover substrate with vermiculite or mulch to retain water and keep your eye on small plants until they establish themselves.
Suitable for ground cover, alpines and rock gardens, cascading over walls, borders, edging paths and steps, Green roofs.
Native to the Pyrenees, Turkey and southern and central Europe, Petrorhagia saxifraga has been in cultivation since 1774 and is popular in gardens for its abundant flowers.
Pronounced: pet-row-RAY-jee-ah saks-i-FRAH-ga. The word Petrorhagia comes from the Greek words petros meaning ‘rock’ and rhagas meaning ‘chink’ referring to its ability to live in the cracks of walls.
The species name saxifraga means literally "stone-breaker", from the Latin saxum meaning 'rock' or 'stone' and frangere meaning 'to break'.
The genus is well known as Tunica saxifraga, and although this is an obsolete synonym it is the name that is most widely used and is so much easier to pronounce!
It is a member of the Caryophyllaceae, the carnation (Dianthus) or pinks family, and also has the synonym Dianthus saxifragus. Very occasionally it is referred to as Dianthus filiformis, which is taken from the Latin filum meaning 'thread', referring to the thread like foliage
Common names include the Tunic saxifrage, Tunic flower, Coat Flower or Saxifrage Pink.
- Awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit
- Additional Information
Packet Size 100mg Average Seed Count 620 Seeds Seed Form Natural Seeds per gram 6,200 seeds per gram Family Caryophyllaceae Genus Tunica Species saxifrage Synonym Dianthus saxifragus, Dianthus filiformis, Common Name Tunic flower, Tunic saxifrage Other Common Names Coat Flower or Saxifrage Pink Hardiness Hardy Perennial Hardy Hardy to a staggering minus 35°C (-31°F). Flowers White flowers which assume a pink colouring in summer. Natural Flower Time Spring and through summer Height 10cm (4in) Spread 30cm (12in). Position Full sun. Time to Sow Sow in February to June or in September to October