Anyone got experience growing soapwort?

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by russell_c_cook, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. russell_c_cook

    russell_c_cook Junior Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I'm planning on having a go at growing some soapwort, and was hoping people could share any experience they have with this plant.

    My idea is to have them on my apartment balcony. Any tips on size of pot, soil, maintenance practices etc. would be great :)

    P.S. My apartment faces south and gets a good amount of sunshine.
     
  2. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Hi Russel,
    No experience, but I just had to look up soapwort. Seems it can actually be used as a mild soap!

    Growing it:

    https://theherbgardener.blogspot.com/2010/03/growing-soapwort-saponaria-officinalis.html
     
  3. russell_c_cook

    russell_c_cook Junior Member

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    Cheers for the reply.

    Yeah, I learnt from the outdoors expert Ray Mears about it's possible use as a soap, I'm hoping to start using it to make my own soap as a way to reduce reliance on industrially produced detergents.
     
  4. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    It grows all over Northern CA, especially areas like Redding, CA which is drought prone every summer. I remember it growing under oaks in fairly crappy soil.

    Awesome stuff for washing delicates like lacy curtains.

    Once it is established, you should have no problems growing it at all. Doesn't even need to be overwintered inside.
     
  5. russell_c_cook

    russell_c_cook Junior Member

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    Cheers for the feedback, Pakanohida.

    Any thoughts on how many I could have in a balcony pot of say 30cm diameter and 30cm depth?
     
  6. Tildesam

    Tildesam Junior Member

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    Hey there!

    I have some soapwort growing on my balcony- which faces southeast (in AUS that is almost the worst aspect haha)

    It's in a standard balcony planter (between 15-30cm deep) - standard shop potting mix, watered with seaweed extract occasionally.

    In the summer when it gets more than 3hrs sun a day, it does well enough - it's not exactly a bush, but it's alive.
    In the winter when it drops to 1hr of direct sun, the growth slows considerably but it hangs on in our temperate climate (I will note there's no frost where I am so I don't know if it's sensitive, it's leafy so I imagine it might be).

    With some more sunlight I think it'd do a million times better though.

    Not enough roots for me to harvest but I'm holding on to the specimen for when I hope to move somewhere with more sunlight!

    I hope that helps somewhat?
     
  7. russell_c_cook

    russell_c_cook Junior Member

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    Hi SammyJo, thanks for sharing your experience.

    How many plants do you have in one pot? Is it just one with a number of stems. I'm gonna be germinating from seeds, so am wondering how many are necessary.
     
  8. Tildesam

    Tildesam Junior Member

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    No problems, Russell!

    I've crammed this pot with herbs and strawberries as well, so I imagine if you wanted you could plant multiple in the same pot. I also germinated from seed too - but regrettably I'm terrible at labelling stuff I've planted so I think I just threw a whole bunch in and got a few plants out of it.

    Perhaps start by planting half of what you've got and see what comes up? If you've got tonnes that come up, then hooray you get more soapwort than you need!
     
  9. russell_c_cook

    russell_c_cook Junior Member

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    Thanks again, Sammyjo!

    I feel I've got enough info to start now, I'll start trying to get the seeds to germinate just after the Chinese New Year holiday when the coldest of the weather is over.
     
  10. russell_c_cook

    russell_c_cook Junior Member

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    Hey everyone.

    Well, the temperature in Shanghai will soon be warm enough to germinate the soapwort seeds, and I was hoping to confirm my plan with you guys.

    I have bought some potting soil and a pot which is 16cm deep and has a diameter of 23cm. The pot has ample drainage holes at the bottom.

    My plan is to plant 10 seeds 3mm below the surface of the soil, all the seeds at least 4cm from each other, and keep the soil well watered. Apparently, germination should take about 10-15 days.

    Have I missed anything? For example, do I need to put any shards of pottery or stones in the bottom of the pot?

    Any help would be much appreciated :)
     
  11. uber39

    uber39 Junior Member

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    We just bung the seed in the ground and let it do its own thing, grows well in a wicking bed in a hot house under shademesh, steep the leafs and stems in boiling water overnight, filter through cheese cloth and use :)
     

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