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Saxifrages are quite diverse, from the sun-loving alpines, to the woodland varieties that prefer shade. Many of the latter are also grown for their foliage, which is often attractively shaped and coloured.

There are almost 400 species, growing predominately in the mountains of Europe, Asia and North America.

Conditions required vary greatly with the species. The alpines require full sun and good drainage. Mossy-leaved mat-forming varieties are happier in part-shade, with moist, but free-draining soil. Others require more humus-rich soil.