Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Plant of the Week: Saponaria x lempergii 'Max Frei'

Want a long-blooming, low-growing easy-to-grow, winter-hardy perennial? Look no further than Soapwort, Saponaria x lempergii 'Max Frei'.

You may already be familiar with the spring-blooming Rock Soapwort (Saponaria ocymoides). I grew it years ago and loved its warm, pink flowers. But, as things go, I got rid of it. I don't remember exactly why. 

Saponaria ocymoides

Back in 2013, while perusing Digging Dog Nursery's website I found 'Max Frei.' I liked that it was a summer bloomer instead of spring and I knew exactly where I wanted to grow it.

I have it cascading over a small rock wall, with a similarly colored hardy Fuchsia called 'Pink Rain' nearby. 

The most challenging thing about this plant is trying to get my camera to capture the right color of the flowers. They're a more on the cool side. 

'Max Frei' starts blooming in early July and goes until late summer. It doesn't need deadheading. It just blooms and blooms.

When it's finally finished, I just cut the whole plant back.  Missouri Botanical Garden's website lists 'Max Frei' as being hardy in Zones 3-7 but I'm in Zone 8b and it does fine for me. I have it planted in morning sun and afternoon shade and I supply it with regular water. 

Are you growing this sweet plant?


  1. This is interesting. As I've never seen this flower here, I assumed that it isn't acclimated to my climate but my Sunset Western Garden Book tells me otherwise. Does it need a lot of water to be happy?

  2. I would say regular water. More if it is in full sun. Probably for you it would be better in dappled shade, Kris. I hope it works for you.

  3. You have to love a plant that performs like that !
    It is such a dainty looking one but so hardy .. and of course the colour is perfect right ? LOL
    I know what you mean Grace about colours not showing up in the photos exactly as we see it in real life .. it can be disappointing .. but that is nature's way .. her way or the highway ? haha

  4. That’s a cutie! Looks nice with that fuchsia nearby. I like when things match!


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