London pride (Saxifraga x urbium) is a low-growing evergreen perennial, a hybrid between Spanish Saxifraga umbrosa and Irish Saxifraga spathularis. Once a great garden favourite, London pride plant is hardy and looks good all year round, forming spreading clumps of leafy rosettes made up of spoon-shaped, fleshy, mid-green leaves. In summer masses of small, pink-flushed white flowers are borne on slender stems of around 30cm in height, lasting for up to three months. London Pride thrives in most soils and situations and is especially useful for shady sites. It’s an undemanding and versatile perennial that has fallen from fashion but is a worthwhile garden plant, being easy to grow, yet not invasive. Called London pride because it flourished on bombed sites in the city during the Second World War, it’s even the subject of a song by playwright and composer Noel Coward, whose song titled ‘London Pride’ was popular at the time.
How to grow London pride
Plant London pride plant in sun or shade and keep watered until established. Trim off dead stems after flowering for a tidy appearance. Propagate by division in spring.
Where to grow London pride
London pride is low-growing and spreading, growing 10-15cm high with an indefinite spread, and is ideal for a range of situations including rockeries, raised beds, border edges, and large gaps in paving. It also works well in pots. Its dense growth is reasonably good at suppressing weeds. Grow in sun or shade. While moisture-retentive soil is ideal, it thrives in a wide range of soils, including poor conditions – the only site to avoid is waterlogged ground.
How to plant London pride
Plant London pride plant in spring, summer, or autumn in soil that drains freely and with no danger of waterlogging in winter. Keep watered during dry spells until established.
How to care for London pride
Once established, London Pride plant needs no special care apart from trimming off the dead flower stems in summer to keep the plant tidy.
How to propagate London pride
Propagate London pride by division in spring. Another method of propagation is to detach rosettes and place them in trays of moist potting compost to root, in late spring to early summer.
Pests and diseases
London pride suffers from no pests or diseases.
Advice on buying London pride
- Although once popular, London pride is not widely available at the present time. In nurseries and garden centres it may be found in the alpine, perennial, or ground cover plant sections
- There are many different species and varieties of Saxifraga, so check that the plant is the correct one of Saxifraga x urbium. Most likely to be found on sale when in flower, during summer
- Occasionally multi-packs of plants are available which offer good value for money