A picture of a Purple Saxifrage

Purple Saxifrage

Saxifraga oppositifolia

Also known as


Partial Shade
Moderate care
Moderate watering
Frost Hardy


USDA zone


Minimum temperature

Expected size








3 years to reach maturity


  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has a mild fragrance

More images of Purple Saxifrage

Saxifraga oppositifolia flowers in Istfjorden
Saxifraga oppositifolia
A photo of Purple Saxifrage

Purple Saxifrage Overview

Saxifraga oppositifolia is an alpine plant also known by the common names purple saxifrage, purple mountain saxifrage and purple-flowered saxifrage after its attractive blooms. It has been found growing in the wild in very extreme conditions, one study from 2011 reports finding this species at over 4505m above sea level in the Swiss Alps. It is still considered to be the highest elevation flowering plant documented in Europe and this species is also reported as growing in the coldest place in the world a flowering plant has been documented. It is an evergreen, tap-rooted perennial plant in the saxifrage family, Saxifragaceae that grows with a mat-forming habit. It is low-growing and typically doesn't exceed 5cm in height, but it can spread over half a metre in the right conditions. Leaves are arranged oppositely in small rosettes and lack individual stems, they are small and triangular in shape. Flowers are produced individually, they are scented, with short stems and 5 petals, purple-lilac in colour. These appear in the summer, usually between June-July. Originating from high altitudes, in rocky cliff environments, this plant can be planted in exposed conditions and copes extremely well with cold weather, it is fully hardy and does well in partial shade. Avoid placement where this plant will experience hot midday sun, it likes to be on the moist side and in very well-draining soil, add grit and coarse stones to increase drainage.

Common problems with Purple Saxifrage

How to propagate Purple Saxifrage


Divide in spring.


Special features of Purple Saxifrage

Attractive flowers

Attractive leaves

Ground cover

Other uses of Purple Saxifrage

Walls, rock garden, container