Read our guide to “False Rock Crest” for everything you’ll ever need to know! Tips for planting & caring for Aubrieta plants.
Are you looking for a beautiful ornamental to spruce up your garden? Aubrieta is a perfect choice. Belonging to a pretty small genus that contains only 20 species of flowering plants, Aubrieta will surely amaze you with its cascading blooms. Although all these species are very captivating to look at, the most popular ones in cultivation are A. deltoidea, A. libanotica, and A. thessala, but there are numerous irresistible cultivars that you can choose from!
Aubrieta plants bring spectacular views absolutely anywhere you plant them. Besides, they are super easy to grow, care for, and even make more of them with time. These buddies are hardy and will do just fine in almost any environmental conditions out there. We know, their delicate flowers do not give instant hardy vibes. But you don’t have to worry, as Aubrieta plants do not need lots of pampering in general.
Want to know more about growing and caring for Aubrieta plants? Keep reading our guide and you’ll become an expert gardener!
- The most attractive Aubrieta varieties include ‘Aurea Variegata’, ‘Barker’s Double’, ‘Bob Sanders’, ‘Campbellii’, ‘Carnival’, ‘Dr. Mules’, ‘J. S. Baker’, ‘Purple Cascade’, ‘Red Carpet’, ‘Red Cascade’, ‘Snowdrift’, ‘Variegata’, and ‘Whitewall Gem’.
- A few stunning Aubrieta cultivars, such as ‘Argenteovariegata’, ‘Aureovariegata’, ‘Doctor Mules’, and ‘Red Cascade’, have gained the prestigious Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.
- Aubrieta plants belong to the cabbage family Brassicaceae. They go by a few common names like False Rock Cress, Lilacbush, Rainbow Rock Cress, or, sometimes, just Rock Cress.
- Their genus name “Aubrieta” comes from a very long time ago, as the plant got its name in honour of the 17th-century French botanical artist named Claude Aubriet.
- False Rock Cress plants are native to several regions worldwide, ranging from southern Europe to central Asia. They appear mostly in the high-elevated rocky habitats of the mountains.
- Aubrieta plants are an excellent ornamental element for various landscape uses. These include coastal gardens, Mediterranean gardens, cottage gardens, rock gardens, city gardens, beds, borders, banks, slopes, garden edging, ground covering, or containers.
- Besides their ornamental purposes, their beautiful blossoms can serve as a magnet for many beneficial pollinators like butterflies, bees, and even hummingbirds. Aubrieta is deer-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about your plants being munched on.
- Aubrieta plants can make for nice-looking companions to other well-known garden plants. Some of these companions are Bergenia, Basket-of-Gold, Creeping Phlox, Daffodils, Lamb’s Ears, Tulips, Evergreen Candytuft, Alyssum, Arabis, and Grape Hyacinth. As you can see, Aubrieta plants will look amazing when paired with spring-blooming plants and with other ornamentals that have similar environmental needs.
- Aubrieta looks quite similar to Creeping Phlox and, in many cases, these plants look so similar that telling them apart can be quite a challenge. These plants produce similar-looking blooms and have trailing or creeping growth habits. A notable difference between these two plants is the fact that Creeping Phlox is more resistant to heat and drought, while Aubrieta prefers alpine and temperate climates. Telling these two plants apart isn’t so important if one of them is already thriving in your garden. However, if you plan on growing Aubrieta or Creeping Phlox in the future, choose the one that will do well in your region.
- Aubrieta plants have no toxic effects on either humans or animals if touched or ingested. In fact, Aubrieta plants are not highly attractive to cats or dogs anyway. You can grow them safely around your curious pets or kids.
Aubrieta Features: An Overview
- Aubrieta plants are evergreen perennials. They can reach from 4 to 9 inches (10-22 cm) in height and 12 to 24 inches (30-60 cm) in width. The plants have a low-growing, spreading, and mat-forming overall growth habit.
- Their foliage is usually a focal point once the blooming season of these plants has ended. The leaves are relatively small, hairy, ovate to spatulate, and greyish-green. Some cultivars have roughly serrated leaf edges.
- Aubrieta plants bloom from April through May. During this period, they produce an abundance of delicate, 4-petaled, cross-shaped flowers.
- The blossoms have a somewhat generous colour palette, exhibiting many shades of purple, lavender, blue, pink, white, and rarely red.
- Once their flowering period ends, Aubrieta plants may bear fruits where the blooms were before. The fruits are unstacked, egg-shaped capsules that contain numerous flat, wingless seeds.
Growing Aubrieta plants in your garden is a fun and rewarding activity. As mentioned above, these flowering plants are low-maintenance and they don’t need a lot of attention to thrive. Light-wise, Aubrieta plants can tolerate a wide diversity of conditions. These beauties will grow at their best in a spot where they can receive at least ten hours of full sunlight daily. But they can also do just fine in partially shaded locations. However, it is important to mention that Aubrieta plants that grow in too much shade will generally lose their compact overall appearance and produce fewer flowers than usual.
When it comes to temperatures, you don’t need to worry too much about what is best for your Aubrieta plants. They are winter-hardy in the USDA regions 4 to 9, tolerating cooler temperatures with style. Aubrieta plants come from alpine climates, so they will thrive in areas with cold temperatures overall, even in the summer.
- USDA Hardiness zone.4-8
- Care.Aubrieta thrives best when planted in well-draining, alkaline soil in a full sun location. In midsummer, the foliage tends to die back and will benefit from a hard shearing.
- Low-Maintenance.As a member of the mustard family, this is a tough plant that requires little care. Once established, it has a good tolerance for drought, and it resists nibbling by deer.
- Pruning.Aubrieta can get a bit scraggly after blooming. Keep it tidy by trimming plants back after flowering. Use shears, and trim no more than half the plant's growth at any one time.
- Grow.Sow aubrieta seeds on top of sterile potting mix. The seeds need light for germination, so press seeds down but don't cover them. Keep seeds moist at about 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Germination will occur in two to three weeks.
- USDA Hardiness Zone. Aubrieta, a cheerful ground cover, is a great candidate for edging your paths or tucking into stone walls, grown in 4-9(USDA).
- Attract pollinators. The flowers range in red and bloom continually well into summer. The compact flowering mass grows in a low mound, and attracts a steady flow of bees, insects, butterflies and hummingbirds in early spring.
- Low-Maintenance. Aubrieta is a tough plant that requires little care. Once established, it has good drought tolerance.
- Location. Aubrieta thrives best when planted in well-draining, alkaline soil in full sun.
- Sun. Aubrieta plants shine in full sun, but will also grow in part shade. For best results, grow plants where they will receive at least a half-day of sun.
- Rock Cress is a drought tolerant, widely planted perennial rock garden plant used for a used for a bright Spring showing of flowers.
- This selection forms a mounding cushion of gray-green leaves, bearing masses of fragrant, small, vibrant white flowers from early to mid Spring.
- All arabis plants require good drainage, particularly in the winter months. Shear plants lightly after blooming in order to maintain a bushy, compact habit. Deer and rabbits tend to avoid rock cress.
- Rock cress is a very vibrant, ground covering, mat-forming and tough plant that will grow anywhere.
- 500 seeds covers approximately 10 square feet
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In terms of moisture, some periods of high humidity are not a concern. In fact, Aubrieta plants will appreciate a damp environment, so they will thrive if you plant them in bog gardens or near ponds or streams. If the humidity around your plants is typically lower, you can mist them regularly to maintain the ideal levels.
Like most plants that grow natively in rocky environments, Aubrieta plants prefer to grow in a substrate that simulates the one from their native habitat. That being said, plant these buddies in rocky soil that features very sharp drainage. Moreover, go for a slightly acidic to alkaline type that has a soil pH between 6.5 and 7.5. In case the soil pH is too low, you can increase it using lime. Likewise, if the drainage is not optimal, we recommend you amend the soil with vermiculite, gravel, or any other non-organic matter.
What makes Aubrieta plants absolutely irresistible is their ability to look gorgeous without supplemental fertilizers.
Aubrieta plants are great not only for gardens but also as potted specimens. If you wish to grow your Aubrieta plants in a pot, things will get a bit different. The perfect growing medium in this situation is a lightweight all-purpose potting mix or one specifically designed for succulents and cacti. Make sure you do not bury the leaves of your Aubrieta plants while planting them. Also, mound some soil around their roots and stems to secure them in their place.
Once their flowering period has come to an end, the luxurious foliage will take the spotlight. However, Aubrieta plants tend to become a bit untidy during this period. You can keep your plants all fresh-looking by trimming them back after blooming using shears. It would be wise to prune no more than half of their growth.
Aubrieta plants love damp conditions. But this does not mean that your plants should have their feet constantly wet. Soggy conditions or waterlogging may result in serious fungal diseases, such as root rot. We know it seems hard to find the perfect balance of how much water you should provide your Aubrieta plants with. No worries, this is what we are here for!
As mentioned above, rocky, well-draining soil will help you keep your Aubrieta plants alive for as long as possible. If you are growing them in pots, keep in mind that the container should come along with drainage holes at the bottom. Besides this, Aubrieta plants will have the time of their life if you spoil them with a drink whenever the top half of their soil has dried out entirely.
When it comes to propagating Aubrieta plants, we are happy to share that this process is quite easy. And this should encourage you to try it at home, especially if you feel like you don’t have enough plants in your collection. Propagating Aubrieta plants doesn’t require any prior gardening experience or any fancy gardening tools.
Since it is pretty difficult to find Aubrieta plants in nurseries or markets, growing them from scratch is the best option if you want them around. Once you manage to find the seeds, things will get easier and the results will truly be worth all the tiny effort.
Propagating Aubrieta from Seeds
Fill a container with sterile potting mix and sow the seeds just above the substrate. In general, Aubrieta seeds require lots of light to germinate properly, so we suggest you avoid covering them with soil. Keep the container in a room where the temperatures are around 68 °F (20 °C). Another important step is watering the seeds whenever the top half of the soil seems dry. With proper care, germination will show up after two or three weeks.
Propagating Aubrieta through Division
Another great method to obtain Aubrieta plants consists of propagating a mature specimen through division. If you, a family member, or a friend have a mature Aubrieta plant, you can wait until early fall, then make your propagating attempt. First, dig the plant out of the soil and divide the root clump into three sections. After this, replant each part in its permanent spot. If you want to plant all Aubrieta divisions outdoors, in the garden, make sure you allow a space of 12 inches (30 cm) in-between them.
Aubrieta Pests and Diseases
Aubrieta plants are among those companions that encounter very few issues regarding pests infestations or diseases. However, from time to time, some intruders like aphids or flea beetles may bother them. If this happens, you can get rid of the infestation by applying neem oil to the foliage. A very easy way to get rid of aphids is by blasting your plants with water, this will knock off the aphids from the foliage. To ensure that you remove all the aphids, repeat the process for a few days.
Another common issue that Aubrieta growers might encounter is downy mildew, a fungal disease that is more common to damp environments. Aubrieta is a plant that doesn’t mind growing in damp environments, but you need to keep an eye out for fungal infections. The best way to avoid them is by watering the plants in the morning to give them plenty of time to dry out over the course of the day. It is also important to avoid overcrowding and to give your plants plenty of space to prevent diseases from spreading and to encourage good air circulation. Removing weeds is also important, so make sure you keep your garden nice and tidy.
Aubrieta plants a.k.a. False Rock Cress plants are not only good-looking but also very low-demanding overall. They can do well in a wide variety of growth and environmental conditions, requiring little to no effort on your part. Plus, given the generous number of cultivars these stunning plants come with, it is your chance to get creative in your landscape decorations. Perfect for many different types of gardens such as alpine gardens, cottage gardens, bog gardens, and even wildflower meadows, chances are Aubrieta plants will thrive in your garden as well.
Are you growing Aubrieta in your garden? Share your experience in the comments below!