Saxifraga crustata
Common Name: saxifrage 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Saxifragaceae
Native Range: Europe E-Alps Austria Croatia Slovenia Italy
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to August
Bloom Description: Yellow-white
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer

Culture

Best grown in sharp, gritty, neutral to alkaline, moist but well-drained soils in part shade. Avoid dry soils. Tolerates significant amounts of shade. Will grow in sunny locations in cool summer climates, but moisture must be consistent. Performs poorly in the hot and humid climate of the deep South where plants will often rot out in the center in summer. Propagate by seed, softwood cuttings or division. USDA Zones 5-8.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Saxifraga crustata, commonly called silver saxifrage, is an evergreen alpine perennial which features rosettes of narrow silvery green leaves (each to 1 5/8” long) forming mats of foliage typically rising to 8” tall. Leaf margins have lime-secreting pores which give the plant its silvery appearance, hence the common name. Red leafless stems rise from the foliage to 10-12” tall in summer bearing terminal branched panicles of dull yellow-white flowers. This plant is native to certain areas of the European Alps primarily in dolomitic outcroppings in the Dolomite Mountain Range in northeastern Italy and from Austria and Slovenia south to Montenegro and Serbia.

Genus name comes from the Latin words saxum meaning rock and frangere meaning to break in reference to habit of some Saxifrage plants to take up residence in the fissures of rocks resulting over time in a further eroding or crumbling (breaking away) of the rock.

Specific epithet comes from the Latin word crustatus meaning encrusted in reference to the lime-encrusted leaf margins of this plant. An additional common name for this plant is encrusted saxifrage.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Best in part shade areas of the landscape. Plants form spreading mats hugging the ground between rocks or in rocky crevices or arching over rock walls. Rock gardens. Alpine areas. Border fronts.