Members of Saxifraga are hardy perennials.
The type of Saxifraga grown in gardens are usually rosette plants that can reach from 10 to 30 cm (4 inches to 12 inches) in height.
The time of blooming is species dependent, ranging from the end of spring through to autumn.
Saxifraga cotyledon by digital cat.
They usually have small white, pink or red flowers.
Some common names for members of this genus include Saxifrage, Rockfoil, Mukdenia, and London Pride.
Saxifraga arendsii cv. Touran White photograph by Andrey Zharkikh; CC.
Saxifraga granulata photograph by Andreas Rockstein; CC.
Saxifraga oppositifolia photograph by Harald Groven; CC.
Saxifraga stolonifera cv. 'Cuscutiformis' photograph by Peter Stevens; CC.
Saxifraga paniculata photograph by Andrea Biondi; CC.
Saxifraga is a large genus of predominantly perennial plants that are native to the Northern Hemisphere. They are commonly referred to as Saxifrage or Rockfoil plants.
Due to the large amounts of species in this genus (440) there is a large variation in both form and lifecycles.
In addition to their use as an ornamental garden plant, some species have culinary use, with both leaves and flowers being used in tinctures.
Plants typically have rosette leaves at their base, but these may be succulent, needle, or even hairy. These leaf forms help the plant to preserve water through reduced rates of evaporation.
From the rosette shoots an inflorescence, which typically carries a cluster of single flowers.
Saxifraga flowers usually have five petals. The large number of species and cultivars means that there is a large variation in petal color, including white, red, yellow, and pink.
Saxifraga are often used as an attractive ground cover plant in sunny and partially shaded areas. Their small size also makes them ideal for use in Rock gardens an din old walls.
Some species, such as Saxifraga umbrosa (St. Patrick's Cabbage), have very attractive leaves that look great as part of an alpine garden. Photograph by Drew Avery; CC.
They are typically low-growing spreading plants, reaching heights of about 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 inches), but some species can reach 30 cm (1 foot) in height.
Typically in Summer, but with 440 species it is not surprising to learn that some species bloom in mid-spring, while other do not come into flower until August.
Most commonly grown Saxifraga plants are hardy evergreen perennials, so should flower year on year.
When growing Saxifraga plant species from seed it is probably easiest to sow outdoors in flats in the spring.
First the seeds should be sown into flats (lightly cover the seeds) then imbibed by placing the flats in a black bag, then placing in the fridge for three weeks. The flats should then be sank into a shady part of the garden and covered with glass.
Germination should take from a couple of weeks to a couple of months. Transplant the seedlings into their final location as they appear; this should be a fully or partially shaded part of the garden that has good drainage.
Ideally the soil that they grow in should be gritty or sandy, and both moist and cool. The plants should be spaced at 10 cm / 4 inches (small), 25 cm / 10 inches (medium) or 40 cm / 16 inches (large Saxifraga varieties) apart.
It is easy to look after Saxifrage and related plants. They like a moist soil, so keep well watered during dry periods. If you require more plants, then use the root runners that they produce for propagation.
Mukdenia is closely related to Saxifraga and belongs to the same family: Saxifragaceae