Saxifraga 'St. John's'



Habitat: sun or partial shade


Soil: gritty, well drained


Height: 20 cm


Flowering: early summer


Width: 15 cm



This excellent group of rock garden plants is known as the section Ligulatae, or more commonly as the silver or encrusted saxifrages, in recognition of the deposits of lime that line the leaves. They all have rosettes, large or small depending on the variety, and have relatively large panicles of flowers, usually white. They come from rocky places in the mountains, some on limestone and some on acid rocks.

Saxifraga 'St. John's' is very compact, and the silvery grey rosettes make a tight, hard cushion, with clusters of white flowers standing on short stems. This is a hybrid of Saxifraga crustata and S. paniculata.
9 cm pot £4.00

Saxifraga - silver varieties - some other suggestions
saxifraga_anneka_hope3.jpg Saxifraga 'Anneka Hope' has large silver rosettes with narrow leaves and spectacular arching sprays of white flowers. It is another fine hybrid bred by Matthew Ruane of Brynhyfryd Nursery, and was runner up in the Plant of the Year competition at Chelsea in 2011.
saxifraga_callosa_australis.jpg Saxifraga callosa is an encrusted saxifrage from the north of Italy and in the mountains further west, with rosettes of narrow leathery leaves, heavily lime-encrusted and widening towards the tips. It has long arching stems densely packed with pure white flowers.
saxifraga_clarence_elliott.jpg Saxifraga 'Clarence Elliott' has mid green, somewhat fleshy rosettes and pink-flushed, white, starry flowers.
invisible.gif Saxifraga cochlearis 'Major' makes a compact cushion of silvery rosettes, which are a little larger than those of 'Minor', but still neat and small. It has sprays of white flowers with a red blotch, on short reddish-brown stems. It is an excellent saxifrage for a rock garden, raised bed or trough.
saxifraga_cochlearis_sdr6405a.jpg Saxifraga cochlearis 'Minor' is so compact that the silvery rosettes make a cushion, albeit a rather hard one. The flowers come on red stems, from red buds, and have a red blotch, but they themselves are white, so it is a pretty saxifrage for a rock garden, raised bed or trough.
invisible.gif Saxifraga cotyledon 'Pyramidalis' is a fine saxifrage, widespread in Europe, with quite long, tongue-shaped leaves (not so long in this form as in others), and long stems with masses of white flowers. In the southern part of its range plants have flowering stems that are branched from near the base, giving a pyramidal inflorescence. So these plants are sometimes referred to as 'Pyramidalis', although that is neither a clonal name nor a particular seed strain.
saxifraga_dr_clay.jpg Saxifraga 'Doctor Clay' has intensely silver-grey rosettes of leaves, with arching stems carrying many white flowers.
saxifraga_teckles.jpg Saxifraga 'Freckles' has rosettes of grey-green leaves, from which rise branched stems with many small white flowers, heavily speckled with dark red spots.
invisible.gif Saxifraga x gaudinii 'Canis-dalmatica' is sometimes described as a form of Saxifraga callosa, but it is generally accepted to be a hybrid of S. cotyledon and S. paniculata (i.e. Saxifraga x gaudinii). It has rosettes of narrow leathery leaves, heavily lime-encrusted, and long arching stems with many white flowers strongly marked with bright red spots. (Have you ever seen a dalmatian dog with red spots? Nor have I.)
invisible.gif Saxifraga hostii is a handsome silver saxifrage with rosettes of long, narrow, recurved leaves, and tall stems carrying masses of small creamy white flowers, usually spotted red. It is easy and rewarding, but surprisingly rarely grown.
saxifraga_kath_dryden.jpg Saxifraga 'Kath's Delight' has been circulated for a long time as 'Kath Dryden', but that name is not valid, as it applies to a Kabschia saxifrage, a hybrid of S. lilacina, whereas this plant is derived from S. longifolia. It needs a new name, and it has been suggested that our catalogue would be a suitable place to do that, so here we are! This is a delightful plant, and Kath would be proud of it, and she was a delight, too.
saxifraga_callosa_australis.jpg Saxifraga 'Lantoscana' is regarded as a form of Saxifraga callose by some, and of Saxifraga lingulata by others. There is also 'Lantoscana Superba'! Whatever the name, it is a lovely, compact silver saxifrage with rosettes of slender leaves, heavily lime-encrusted, which can make a dense clump. It has long arching stems bearing pure white flowers at the tip and along much of the length.
saxifraga_callosa_lissadell.jpg Saxifraga 'Lissadell' has compact rosettes of lime-edged leaves, from which the stems of pure white flowers arise in early summer. It is a fine form riginally selected in Ireland.
saxifraga_longifolia3.jpg Saxifraga longifolia is a Pyrenean species with splendid rosettes of long, narrow leaves, one per plant, taking several years to mature. When its time comes, it sends up a great branched spire (can spires be branched?) covered in hundreds, thousands of white flowers. Glorious. It appears that in the wild many plants flower in the same year, and then none for several years.
saxifraga_longifolia.jpg Saxifraga longifolia hybrids are plants that originally came from Saxifraga longifolia seed. However, the species only ever produces one rosette, so that when it has flowered, it dies. These plants produced multiple rosettes, so are obviously hybrids with some other species that was growing nearby. They look like Saxifraga longifolia, although sometimes the leaves are a little wider, and can be expected to have similar flowers.
invisible.gif Saxifraga 'Monarch' has large silver rosettes with narrow leaves. The arching sprays of white flowers look spectacular in the summer. Vigorous, and, rightly, highly regarded.
saxifraga_nicholas4.jpg Saxifraga 'Nicholas' has large silver rosettes with narrow leaves. The arching sprays of white flowers, with reddish pink streaks at the base of each petal, are spectacular. Bred by Matthew Ruane of Brynhyfryd Nursery, this is probably the finest saxifrage we have come across, recognised by the award of a First Class Certificate.
invisible.gif Saxifraga paniculata subsp. cartilaginea has the usual rosettes of lime-encrusted leaves, and arching stems with very clean, pure white flowers.
saxifraga_paniculata.jpg Saxifraga paniculata ex Austria makes tight clumps of rosettes, the leaves short, rounded and encrusted with lime. The clusters of white flowers are on dark red stems. This is a selection, originating in Austria.
invisible.gif Saxifraga paniculata hybrid coll. Gorge du Verdon is probably a hybrid of Saxifraga paniculata, and without an official name, we just refer to where it was found. It is extremely vigorous, with lots of large rosettes with long leaves, and realtively tall stems with masses of white flowers.
saxifraga_rachel2.jpg Saxifraga 'Rachel' is a new variety of silver saxifrage, rather like 'Lantoscana Superba'. It has rosettes of slender leaves, heavily lime-encrusted, which can make a dense clump, and has long, arching, rusty red-brown stems, with lots of pure white flowers.
saxifraga_rainsley_seedling.jpg Saxifraga 'Rainsley Seedling' has trailing stems to the new rosettes and spoon-shaped leaves.
saxifraga_rosa_tubbs.jpg Saxifraga 'Rosa Tubbs' is one of the splendid varieties that has huge stems carrying masses of white flowers, in this case with the petals covered with lots of red spots. It takes several years for the rosettes to grow to flowering size, but meanwhile their long, narrow, lime-encrusted leaves can be enjoyed. Then a few fabulous weeks, and the flowering rosette dies. However, in this variety there should be a good number of young offset rosettes, so the performance can be repeated, with even greater impact.
saxifraga_southside_seedling.jpg Saxifraga Southside Seedling Group is a fine saxifrage with rosettes of broad leaves. When a rosette is large enough it sends up a long stem with a great plume of flowers, white with red spots. The flowering rosette dies, but long before this the one rosette will have fostered many offspring.
invisible.gif Saxifraga 'Starfire' is another fine hybrid saxifrage grown by Matthew Ruane at Brynhyfryd. This one is very unusual, as it has bright pink flowers rather than white, borne on stems that are quite a lot shorter than those of his other vigorous hybrids, such as 'Nicholas' and 'Anneka Hope'. The flowers also come two or three weeks later than most of the others, although they all remain in flower for a month or more.
saxifraga_kevock_starlight.jpg Saxifraga 'Starlight' is one of the excellent hybrid saxifrages from Matthew Ruane at Brynhyfryd, in this case selected for its unusual strongly upright flowering stems, which have lots and lots of substantial, almost pure white flowers, with just a few small red spots. It makes an interesting contrast to the varieties with arching stems, and can be used in places where there is not so much space.
saxifraga_sue_tubbs3.jpg Saxifraga 'Sue Tubbs' is a first-rate saxifrage, which makes many rosettes of lime-encrusted broad leaves. When each rosette matures it produces a tall stem with a plume of flowers, white with lots of tiny red spots.
saxifraga_vreny.jpg Saxifraga 'Vreny' is a good saxifrage for a trough or raised bed, making tight cushions of grey-green rosettes, from which rise stems carrying masses of starry white flowers.