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alpine garden club PLANT OF THE MONTH
Saxifraga paniculata is one of the easiest Saxifrages to grow in the open rock garden and rewards the gardener with a fine display of white flowers in early summer.The encrusted or silver saxifrages make up a race so far ahead of every other in general garden value that a rock garden can be glorious with nothing else and without them could not be really glorious at all. Saxifrage paniculata is perfectly indifferent to its soil and treatment in cultivation, in almost all its forms, and practically unkillable if given open air and sun.
Saxifraga paniculata is found mostly in Europe where it is quite common in the mountains. Whereas most alpine species in North America are found in the mountainous west, Saxifraga paniculata does not occur in western north America but rather in the northeast. The furthest west it occurs is Minnesota, Manitoba and the Northwest Territories. In the garden, Saxifraga paniculata is extremely hardy, not prone to disease and the rosettes are extremely attractive in winter when there’s nothing much else to see in the rock garden.
There are a number of different forms of Saxifraga paniculata including a red flowered form Saxifraga paniculata ‘Rosea’ shown below.
Above: A garden collection of Saxifraga paniculata and other Silver Saxes
Saxifraga paniculata is sometimes confused with Saxifraga x apiculata which is a Porphyrion hybrid and a quite different plant despite the similar name.
Here is a wild Saxifraga paniculata in the Dolomites.