Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: 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)

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

41 members have or want this plant for trade.


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

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

Seed is poisonous if ingested
Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Pale Pink
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer


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:

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

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There are a total of 23 photos.
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4 positives
6 neutrals
6 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive sangiovese 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 Gladsong 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 IrisRose5 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 picked out over two buckets of still live roots. Now I don't know whether to plant or not. Please, please could someone advise me on how to eradicate this weed.

Neutral AStafford 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... [] 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 Children's Veggie Garden, currently under renovation. Still, knowing what I do now, I don't feel bad in ripping out what I don't want anymore. For instance, it did spread into my patio area, where my two dogs primarily live. We haven't had any issues of them digesting it, but it is certainly good to know I should watch out for that! This spring, I renovated this patio area with landscape fabric and created a pretty, new courtyard with pea stone walkways, a center focal point garden and two new border gardens. Just to give you an idea, as to how tough and persistent this plant can be, those overlooked pieces of roots someone else mentioned, are now growing 'Soapwort' back up through the black, porous landscape fabric and a two-inch, thick layer of pea stone! So, although I've learned some neat plant history here, and how I'll forever have a gardening chore on my hands, I choose to be more positive and say, "Now it's time for me to go smell the 'Soapwort' flowers!" Happy Gardening! ~ AFS, Garden Gossip

Negative Gabrielle 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 nicholtammy 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 green_green 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 Malus2006 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 DonnaMack 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 MaryE 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 tindal On Jul 8, 2007, tindal from Colorado Springs, CO wrote:


Positive WMorrissey 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 dlobes 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 Lady_fern 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 sterhill 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 Terry 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.)


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

Daleville, Alabama
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

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