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Guide to Growing Soap Plant and Amoles

Chlorogalum is a hardy bulb.

It is a tall plant with long green-grey leaves, and grows from 60 cm to 2.5 metres in height.

It flowers at the beginning of Summer, with white, blue or pink terminal flowers.

Interestingly, Chlorogalum blooms only in the afternoon. They are also known by the common names of Soap plant, Amoles, and Soaproot.

Chlorogalum pomeridianum
Chlorogalum pomeridianum (Soap plant) picture by Aotus.

Soap Plant
Soap Plant by Tom Hilton.



Quick Chlorogalum Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Soap Plant, Amoles, Soaproot, Amole Lily.
Life Cycle: Hardy bulb.
Height: 24 to 96 inches (60 to 240 cm).
Native: Northern America.
Growing Region: Zones 8 to 10.
Flowers: Early summer.
Flower Details: White, pink, blue. Lily-like. Narrow tepals.
Foliage: Grey-green. Leaves from the base. The leaves of some species have wavy or toothed edges.
Sow Outside: Easiest to grow from bulbs. Measure diameter of the bulb and bury at twice that depth in the autumn.
Seeds: 1/8 inch. Germination time: one to three months. Spacing 4 inches (10 cm).
Seed: Method 1: Seeds should first be sown into flats in the autumn. Next sink the flat into the ground in an area that offers shade, preferably close to a wall that faces north. Provide a glass/plastic covering. Keep an eye on the flats to ensure that the soil remains moist. Bring the flats indoors at the beginning of spring and keep at 60°F (16°C). Transplant seedlings in the autumn.
Seed: Method 2: Mix seeds in a moist growing medium, then put in flats, wrap in a large plastic bag, then stratify by refrigeration for three weeks. Next bury the flat as described above. Once seedlings emerge transplant them to their final location.
Sow Inside: No.
Requirements: Full sunlight or light shade. Good drainage. Fertile soil, moist soil. Regular watering. Cut back stems once flowering has completed. Winter compost mulch. Propagate: offsets can be planted in either spring or autumn.
Miscellaneous: The plant gets the name soap plant because Chlorogalum bulbs were traditionally squashed to make a detergent that was used to wash clothes.

How to Grow Chlorogalum

The bulbs of the Chlorogalum plant should be planted at a depth that is about twice their size. If planning to sow from seeds then soap plant seeds should be chilled by placing the seeds in pots (with soil) in a black bag, then placing in the fridge for two weeks.
The pots should then be planted outdoors buried to the rim in the spring-time.

Once seedlings appear they should be transplanted at a spacing of about 7 to 10 cm into a sunny or partially shaded part of the garden with good drainage.

Caring for Chlorogalum

The ideal soil is fertile and should be kept moist. Chlorogalum plants should be kept moist by watering and cut back following flowering.


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