Growing Soapwort

This page talks about growing soapwort and its benefits.

This page talks about growing soapwort and its benefits.

Soapwort is a perennial plant from the carnation family.  Soapwort has leafy stems that are red-green in color.  It is native to Europe and Asia.  While not meant to be eaten, this herb as the name suggests, is very useful.  Soapwort can be used to make a gentle cleaning solution, which is great if you’re looking for natural, environmentally friendly options.  It is gentle enough to be used on lace, wool and even silk.  Soapwort has pale pink or white flowers throughout the summer.  It grows to about 3 feet tall.  It makes a beautiful addition to flower beds, rock gardens or edge plants. 

Find a place in your garden with some sun, but also afternoon shade.  This plant doesn’t do as well in the sun during the heat of the day.   Mix in a generous helping of compost into the soil.  Make sure the soil drains well.   Begin planting outdoors in early spring, once the ground has begun to warm.  Alternatively, you can get an early start by planting your seeds indoors in late winter.  Be sure to use a grow light and store the seeds in a warm place.

Plant the seeds only ¼ inch into the soil.  Allow for about 1 foot of space between plants.  It can take up to 21 days for the seeds to germinate.  Use a stake or tomato cage to support the plant as it grows. 

Make sure your plants have plenty of water during the summer.  To encourage the growth of additional flowers, you can deadhead the flowers.  Soapwort readily self-seeds.  If you live in a particularly cold area, put mulch around the plants during the winter.

The nice thing about soapwort is that is it equally effective fresh or dried, so you can store extra roots for later use.  So you can either harvest it as needed or harvest it in larger quantities, dry it and store it in an airtight container.  You can begin harvesting soapwort once the plant is established.

To make liquid soap from soapwort, bring 1 quart of water to a boil.  Add 2 cups chopped, fresh soapwort leaves or roots (1 cup dried) and simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool.  Strain out the soapwort.  Add in any extras you’d like (lemon juice, lavender water, lemon balm, etc.) and gently mix.  The soap can be kept in the refrigerator for up to one week.

More on Growing Soapwort

For soapwort shampoo, you’ll make a less concentrated batch.   Follow the directions for the all purpose cleaner, but use only 3 tablespoons of soapwort (1 dry) and 1 cup of distilled water.  This lower concentration formula can also be used as a facial cleanser.  When used on a regular basis, soapwort is supposed to help alleviate itchy skin and mild acne.

You can use your soapwort solution to gently clean more delicate fabrics, as a face wash, for cleaning wood, or simply as an all-purpose cleaner to gently clean.  Don’t forget to wash behind your ears!

Click here to visit our soapwort seed selection.

Go to Herbs from Growing Soapwort

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