Old Court Nurseries and The Picton Garden

Japanese Saxifrages


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Cotton crochet

Saxafraga fortunei - Daimonjiso


Saxifraga fortunei is a species native to Japan, introduced by Robert Fortune in 1863.


Plants grow in mountain regions and favour shaded rocky crevices where abundant moisture is always present; but, is able to drain away freely.


The Japanese name of Daimonjiso relates the unique overall shape of the flowers to a Chinese written character used in Japanese writing called “Dai”, which means “Great”.


The full name translates as “Great-Letter Plant”.


Daimonji Yama is a famous mountain in Japan, overlooking the city of Kyoto. It is an important site during the festival of O-Bon. On 16th August enormous fires in the shape of written characters are burned on the mountain. The largest being “Dai” meaning “Great”. This fire signifies the moment when deceased family members, who are visiting this world during the O-Bon festival, are returning to the spirit world.


Over the years Japanese plant breeders, led by Shimchi Kudo, have created a wonderful range of hybrids which are only now becoming available in Europe. Plants flower between late August and December, forming broad-leaved clumps growing around 10 cm to 30 cm tall according to the variety. Many sorts have attractive purple or bronze-red tints to their leaves, especially towards the autumn. Flowers are carried in abundance, often creating a soft, foamy effect, and come in white and shades of pink and light red.


Some of the hybrids close to the typical species make superb garden plants to bloom in September and October. Most of the more colourful hybrids which flower between late October and December will need to be kept in an unheated (Alpine) greenhouse from September onwards. The latter make beautiful windowsill plants etc. Pot grown plants do best standing out in a semi-shaded site from March to September. Grow them in good alpine plant compost, using additional leaf mould to reduce the pH. They will need plenty of water, which must be able to drain freely through the compost. They will not grow well in coir based or re-cycled waste composts.


For more information please follow the links on the links page.


Plant Availability

We propagate small numbers of these attractive plants. At certain times there are plants available for purchase from the nursery or by mail order. Please contact us for more information.