Soapwort, Bouncing Bet, Goodbye Summer
Saponaria officinalis

Family: Caryophyllaceae (kar-ree-oh-fil-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Saponaria (sap-oh-NAIR-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: officinalis (oh-fiss-ih-NAH-liss) (Info)

Category:

Perennials

Height:

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

Spacing:

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Danger:

Seed is poisonous if ingested

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Pale Pink

Pink

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Foliage:

Herbaceous

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From softwood cuttings

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Regional

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

,

Daleville, Alabama

Clinton, Arkansas

Waldron, Arkansas

Calistoga, California

Templeton, California

Creede, Colorado

Naugatuck, Connecticut

Cordele, Georgia

Monroe, Georgia

Chicago, Illinois

Elgin, Illinois

Grayslake, Illinois

Morris, Illinois

Rockford, Illinois

Jeffersonville, Indiana

Lake Charles, Louisiana

Slaughter, Louisiana

Lisbon, Maine

Roslindale, Massachusetts

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Silver Lake, Minnesota

Maben, Mississippi

Cole Camp, Missouri

Cross Timbers, Missouri

Saint Louis, Missouri

Scottsbluff, Nebraska

Plainfield, New Jersey

Lansing, New York

Sherman, New York

Franklin, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina

Thackerville, Oklahoma

Baker City, Oregon

Monmouth, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Terrebonne, Oregon

Millersburg, Pennsylvania

Conway, South Carolina

Crossville, Tennessee

Woodlawn, Tennessee

Azle, Texas

Beaumont, Texas

Burleson, Texas

Colleyville, Texas

Desoto, Texas

Gladewater, Texas

Palmyra, Virginia

Walkerton, Virginia

Alderwood Manor, Washington

Bothell, Washington

Racine, Wisconsin

Casper, Wyoming

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

4
positives
6
neutrals
6
negatives
RatingContent
Positive

On Mar 15, 2015, sangiovese from Hamilton, OH wrote:

As one reviewer noted, the fragrance is fantastic. I really love it as I float by in the pool. It will take over and flop, but I placed mine in dry shade under a large white pine and that seems to help keep it in just that area and it does well where not many plants will grow. I'm in zone 6 and the plants get morning sun until about 10:30. I seem to always be fighting some invasive plant,but this one is definitely worth a try for the fragrance if you take measures to keep it in check.

Negative

On May 4, 2012, Gladsong from Eden, NC wrote:

It was a pretty plant at first, but after the first year it would not stand up and started sprawling in all directions. Not only that, but it put out underground runners which are murder to get rid of. If you buy this plant, be sure to keep it contained in a pot so it won't escape and take over your garden.

Negative

On Aug 15, 2011, IrisRose5 from Coventry
United Kingdom wrote:

I won this plant at a plant society. The variety was dazzler with yellow striped leaf. It had all but reverted to the original green as I planted it. Since then it has tried to take over my Garden (England). If anyone wanted it you could send me your address and within a very short time it would grow to you! I have tried pulling it up, unsucessful, then spraying it for another year, unsucessful, then I tried wax poison on each leaf another year. I then tried mixing systemic weedkiller with wallpaper paste so I could paint it onto each leaf, you have probably guessed it - unsucessful. This year I have moved every plant out of a border and sprayed again as it has appeared. This has now gone on for over six months. Today I have been double digging in manure to replant, and I have pick... read more

Neutral

On Jul 12, 2011, AStafford from Naugatuck, CT wrote:

Absolutely love the pretty, pale-pink tinge to these white 'Evening Primrose'-like flowers. For years I didn't know what this plant was, so I am very happy that my post at Garden Gossip on Facebook... [HYPERLINK@www.facebook.com] struck a memory chord with one of my readers. That led me to Dave's Garden for more information ~ thanks, Dave! All of the readers' comments here have been extremely helpful, even though I already knew this plant can be extremely invasive. Albeit so, I still love the color and the mass planting drift of it that I now have in an out of the way area of my "yarden". It helps to divide sections of an old Childre... read more

Negative

On Mar 30, 2011, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

The flowers are OK, but the plant is too invasive for me, so I took it out.

Positive

On Jul 23, 2010, nicholtammy from Huntsville
Canada wrote:

Cut flowers they work well for that I'm trying an experiment with using it as a soap alternative this would be a great use and a help to get it out of a garden where its not wanted

Negative

On May 12, 2009, green_green from Terrebonne, OR wrote:

I have lots of soapwort and can not get rid of it. It's very invasive. I'd like to know how to get rid of it as it has taken over the entire flower bed. If you want some-let me know and I will send it to you.

Neutral

On Apr 26, 2009, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

zone 4a hardy - like below, tough to get rid of, also have weak stems and loves to flop over.

Positive

On Jan 28, 2009, DonnaMack from Elgin, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

This can be a wonderful plant but you have to watch it. I put it near other assetive plants, in my case the white version, which is stunning, next to well established myrica pennsylvanica (northern bayberries) and anemone x hybrida 'Honorine Jobert', and they fight to a draw. I also use the pink version in my peony beds but once a month I go out with a shovel and cut around it in a circular pattern to sever creepers. It has a great scent, and if you cut it back it blooms repeatedly, but you cannot plant it and forget it.

Negative

On Apr 20, 2008, MaryE from Baker City, OR (Zone 5b) wrote:

This plant was well established when we moved here. I can't get rid of it. When pulled or dug, there are always root pieces that start new plants, and since I don't use herbicides, I can only hope to keep the population down to reasonable levels. It is pretty but I would never plant it on purpose.

Neutral

On Jul 8, 2007, tindal from Colorado Springs, CO wrote:

I PLANTED SIX SOAPWORT PLANTS LAST SUMMER, 2006, AND OF THIS DATE, JULY 7--07, ONLY TWO BLOOMED. WHAT COULD BE THE REASON? THEY ARE ALL IN A ROW ALONG A BORDER. THANKS.

Positive

On Jun 9, 2007, WMorrissey from Silver Lake, MN wrote:

I'm surprised no one has mentioned that the flowers of Bouncing Bet are so fragrant! All the descriptions of problems are true -- and then some! -- but I put up with them all for the long bloom time (a month or more here in southern MN) and lovely scent. If I deadhead after blooming, they'll sometimes rebloom -- and that helps with the sprawling and burning problems as well. They ARE invasive. Plant them only where you don't mind them taking over... Mine are near the mailbox (where I can smell them every time I stop for the mail) surrounded by lawn. They try to pop up in the lawn but are easy to pull. They've also come up in the gravel road, which I actually don't mind so much!

Negative

On Feb 18, 2007, dlobes from Templeton, CA wrote:

Very invasive, almost impossible to eradicate when growing among things you don't want to remove.

Neutral

On Oct 15, 2006, Lady_fern from Jeffersonville, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:

Good cut flower.

Very permanent: new plants grow from sections of root left in soil.

Tolerates poor conditions. Two are thriving under a maple tree. To cover up the flat center, either plant several together or surround with plants that will cover that up.

Neutral

On Jun 29, 2006, sterhill from Atlanta, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

I tried full sun in Atlanta and it burned - I moved it to a bit more shade and now it sprawls out leaving the center of the plant flat and unattractive. I've tried to "fluff it up" but it does not stay. I'll give it a while more before I pull it out.

Neutral

On Mar 10, 2001, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

This is an old time cottage flower; it likes full sun for best growth. Pink flowers appear early summer to early fall. As the name implies, a lather can be produced from the foliage of this plant.

The name Bouncing Bet is an old fashioned name for a wash woman. Plant is mildly toxic (although used in Germany to give beer a foamier head.)