If you have a partly shady spot on a ledge where you would like to place a show plant, or a partly shady crevice in your rock garden that is crying out for something unique and interesting, Irish Saxifrage (Saxifraga x andrewsii) is a great choice. This hardy evergreen forms offshoots that grow into a cluster, eventually spreading into a nice sized mount. Great, too, for containers you can move around to where the plant receives just the right amount of easy sun and dappled shade. In other areas where cloud covered days are many, Irish Saxifrage can take more sun, but here in the desert, they seem to prefer more shade.
The plant forms clusters of saw toothed leaves that are fun to touch. The leaves fit into a variety of garden themes, from desert to alpine. In May and June, Saxifrage sends up tall, crazy looking reddish stems with tiny clusters of symmetrical white flowers with pink speckles. The stems reach to almost a foot in height and as the plant matures, multiply into a nice spray of delicate white flowers that sway in the breeze.
You can propagate this variety by dividing the root ball. If the flowers actually produce seed (some will not), you can let them dry on the plant, then collect for experimental sprouting. Growing from seed is a long process, but if you give it a try, scatter on a fluffy sprouting medium without much cover and keep moist.
Give your Saxifrage rich, well-drained soil. Keep it nicely moist, especially throughout the hottest part of the summer. Be sure to water them regularly while they establish themselves.
There are many different types of Saxifraga and many more gardeners who love them. So many, in fact, that there's even a Saxifraga Society. Drycreek often has several varieties of Saxifraga in stock. The one pictured arrived this spring.