Alphabetical Plant Listing

Chlorogalum pomeridianum (Soap Plant)

Soap Plant, Wavyleaf Soap Plant, Wavyleaf Soap-plant, Amole, Soaproot, Indian Soap Plant, Indian Soap Root


Chlorogalum pomeridianum (Soap Plant) is a bulbous perennial forming a basal tuft of light-green, wavy-edged, linear leaves, up to 18 in. long (45 cm). In late spring to late summer, small star-like flowers are borne on a leafless stalk. There may be just a few to over 200 flowers per plant. Each flower, 1/2 to 1 in. wide (1-2.5 cm), features six white tepals, each adorned with a green midvein, six yellow-tipped stamens, and a style. They open sequentially from the bottom to the top of the stalk for a long-lasting display. Each flower lasts only one day, opening in the late afternoon and closing before dawn. Rich in nectar, they attract butterflies, bees, bumblebees, and other pollinators. The blossoms are followed by a capsule containing 1 or 2 seeds. The large bulb is covered with persistent, dense fibers. When crushed, the bulb yields soap. Soap Plant is drought-deciduous and usually disappears entirely by late summer. It sprouts new leaves in late fall or winter, and the leaves elongate with warm spring temperatures. Native to California and Oregon, Soap Plant occurs in annual grasslands, coastal sage scrub, chaparral, oak woodlands, low-elevation conifer forests, and mixed-evergreen forests. It grows on dry, open sites such as rocky hillsides, bluffs, and balds. Soap Plant is said to make excellent laundry soap, good shampoo, dish detergent, and bath soap. The brown fiber that is stripped off the bulb is made into little brushes. Local Native Americans also used the bulb for food.

  • Grows up to 24-36 in. tall (60-90 cm) and 18 in. wide (45 cm).
  • Easily grown in a variety of well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. The best flower production is in full sun. Drought tolerant, this plant does not require any water once established.
  • Great for beds and borders, and butterfly gardens. Best when planted in mass.
  • Virtually disease and pest free. Deer resistant.
  • Propagate by seed. It takes about 10 years for a plant to grow from seed to flower.
  • Plant the bulbs 4-12 in. deep (10-30 cm).
  • Soap Plant is distributed from the southwestern corner of Oregon southward into southern California.

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Requirements

Hardiness 6 – 10
Plant Type Bulbs, Perennials
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Height 2' – 3' (60cm – 90cm)
Spread 1' – 2' (30cm – 60cm)
Spacing 18" – 24" (45cm – 60cm)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Chalk, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, California, Pacific Northwest, Oregon
Tolerance Deer, Drought
Attracts Butterflies
Garden Uses Beds and Borders, Patio and Containers
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage

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While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 6 – 10
Plant Type Bulbs, Perennials
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Height 2' – 3' (60cm – 90cm)
Spread 1' – 2' (30cm – 60cm)
Spacing 18" – 24" (45cm – 60cm)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Chalk, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, California, Pacific Northwest, Oregon
Tolerance Deer, Drought
Attracts Butterflies
Garden Uses Beds and Borders, Patio and Containers
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage

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