Meadow Saxifrage (Saxifraga granulata)
Key facts about Meadow Saxifrage
- Height: 10-50cm
- Flowering Time: April – June
- Flower colour: White
- Growth habit: Low growing
- Habitat: Moist but well drained soils, sunshine or light shade
- Appears in: Cottage Garden Meadowmat
- Also part of: Enviromat sedum matting
What does Meadow Saxifrage look like?
Looking very much as though it belongs in a rockery but actually a lowland plant, Meadow saxifrage is one of the prettiest plants I know. Kidney shaped leaves site close to the ground. Every spring, this lovely little plant pops up a single, straight stem. Every stem is topped by up to twelve, star shaped white flowers. Seen en masse – there’s nothing lovelier.
The flowers are a mere 1-2cm wide and each one is made up of five round petals. Each petal is joined to a deep, green-veined cup from where the golden yellow stamens emerge. This plant is a close relative of Londonpride, a classic cottage garden plant.
Look closely at the base of the stems. You’ll see a little nut-coloured bulbil. This is what the plant uses to reproduce. Break off the bulb and you can use it to start a new plant.
I’ve read that this means of reproduction allowed Meadow saxifrage to colonise a small part of Finland. The bulbils were accidentally transported there in the soil used for ships ballast.
Where to use Meadow Saxifrage
This is a classic cottage garden plant that absolutely loves living amongst sedums on an extensive green roof.
As with many plants, there’s a clue to its use within the scientific name. Saxifraga means “rock breaker” whilst “granulate” means “with grain”. Medicinally, the bulbils of this plant can be used to help disperse kidney stones. Another school of thought is that “saxifraga” refers to the species’ ability to live in thin, stony soils.
Meadow Saxifrage for Green Roofs
Flowering earlier in the year than most sedums, Saxifraga granulata is a great green roof plant. The nodding white flowers bring joy to an otherwise boring vista and truly welcome spring.
Meadow Saxifrage for gardens
A beautiful plant for an alpine trough or planted en masse, Saxifraga granulate is also a welcome addition to borders or to wildflower areas. Flowering after snowdrops but before the main flush of garden blooms, it’s a great”filler”.
More about Meadowmat for cottage gardens – the easy way to create a relaxed floral border