A popular and reliable fast-growing, mound-forming, perennial, that provides useful ground cover on rockeries, dry stones walls and along border edges.
Family: Brassicaceae (cabbage)
Botanical Name: Aubrieta
Common Names: Rock cress
Foliage: Small green leaves. Evergreen. Variegated forms are available.
Flowers: Four petalled single flowers, in shades of pink, magenta-red and purple. Double flowered forms are also available.
Flowering Period: Spring.
Soil: Moist but well-drained soil (chalk, sand or loam). Alkaline or neutral pH. Thrives best in limy (chalky) soils. Has some drought tolerance but prefers moisture retentive soils.
Conditions: Full sun. South or west-facing aspect, in an exposed or sheltered position. Will tolerate partial shade.
Habit: Low growing, mat forming, semi-trailing.
Type: Evergreen perennial, can also be grown as an annual.
Hardiness: Fully hardy in all of the UK (down to -20).
Suitable for rock gardens, scree or gravel beds, border/path edging and wall crevices. Excellent ground cover on banks and slopes. Can also be used as a basket or container plant for spring colour.
Old established plants should be divided to reinvigorate them. Replant divisions directly.
Trim back lightly after flowering. Can be cut back harder if the plant becomes woody and straggly.
Susceptible to aphids and flea beetles. Leaves can be affected by white blister and downy mildew.
Propagate by seed, division or by taking 2in (5cm) basal cuttings in early summer. Aubrietia does self seed well but the seedlings of hybrid forms are not usually as attractive of floriferous as the parent plants.
A range of varieties are available, all of which are spring flowering and have an average height of 6in (15cm) and spread of 18-24in (46-60cm).
Aubrieta 'Axcent Deep Purple' provides a wide carpet of dense green foliage topped with deep purple blooms. Available at Thompson & Morgan.
A. 'Red Carpet' has deep red flowers.
Aubrieta 'Cascade Blue' has dazzling blue flowers in spring. Available at Thompson & Morgan.
Aubrieta 'Cascade Purple' has semi-evergreen foliage covered by masses of deep purple flowers in spring. Available at Thompson & Morgan.
A. 'Dr Mules' has pale lavender flowers.
A. 'Carnival' has pale lavender flowers.
A. 'Cascade Lilac' has bright deep purple flowers.
A. 'Dr Mules Variegata' is a variegated leaf form with large flowers of rose-purple in April-May. Available at Thompson & Morgan and Gardening Express.
A. 'Bressingham Pink' provides a long lasting show of double pink flowers in late spring.
A. 'Mary Poppins' is a large flowered pink double form. Not currently available in the UK.