Rock Cress

Rock Cress

Would you like to have a ground cover that produces so many flowers to give the impression that it has been transformed into a great ‘bouquet’ of bright and lively color? If so, surely you are thinking of one like rock cress or aubretia .

Not only is the rock cress beautiful and easy to care for, but it is also one of those plants that it’s nice to see every day. So if you would like to know everything about it, here is your file . ????


Origin and characteristics

The rock cress , whose scientific name is Aubrieta deltoidea , is a perennial herbaceous plant native to Asia Minor, Greece, Persia and Italy that is popularly known as aubrietia, aubriecia or aubrecia. It branches a lot, so much so that its stems, up to 20 centimeters high, can eventually cover an interesting surface.

Its leaves, gathered in rosettes, are hairy, oblong, perennial, with a jagged edge or smooth and light green. During the spring, its flowers bloom , which can be violet, pink, white or deep red.

Rock Cress Care

If you want to get a specimen of the rock cress , we recommend providing the following care:

  • Location : outside, in full sun or in semi-shade.
  • Watering : every 4 or 5 days in summer, and every 10-15 days the rest of the year. In the case of having it in a pot with a dish underneath, it is necessary to remove the water that is about ten minutes after having watered.
  • soil :
    • Flowerpot: universal growing substrate (you can buy it here ) with pearlite (get it here ).
  • Fertilizer : it is not necessary for the rock cress , but if you wish you canfertilize it for example with liquid guano in spring and summer. You can get it here .
  • Planting or transplanting time : in spring.
  • Pruning : throughout the year. It is necessary to remove withered flowers, as well as diseased, weak or broken stems.
  • Resilience : supports cold and frost up to -5ºC.


The rock cress belongs to the Brassicaceae family. It is a plant with annual flowering and perennial, among its preferred climates are the subtropical, Mediterranean and tropical.

A plant that has its origin in Europe, Asia and the Mediterranean. It prefers brightness of full sun or half shade. Its life cycle is perennial and it is a very beautiful plant that can be used for landscaping.

And is that the low and creeping  of this plant makes it perfect to place in corners and holes in the walls. A vivacious that hardly presents difficulties for its cultivation and maintenance , because it adapts very well to any type of climate and soil. It is true that it grows better in sunny places , with well-drained soil , because the excess water does not benefit at all. 

Plant with an abundant flowering and that does not require excessive care. Rock cress plant will upholster surfaces between rocks, fill cracks, form low borders and hang in the planters, so they are ideal for areas of rockery and arrietes. It does not measure more than 20 centimeters. Very ramified creeping stems with leaves silvery gray, small, oval or oblong, whole or serrated. Flowers in terminal clusters larger than the leaves and can be purple, blue, red, pink, lilac and violet. They bloom between April and May, if you want a second flowering in summer it is necessary to prune it after the first one. Situation in full sun, although it also tolerates the semi-shade. He likes temperate weather, but endures extreme temperatures as long as frosts are not excessive. Nor does it need much water even when it blooms. It grows on any type of soil, even sandy, stony or alkaline, although the soil must be soft. Among the pests, the caterpillars must be monitored and mildew among the fungi. Multiplication by seed, division of cuttings or cuttings.

Description of The Rock cress
It is a plant of herbaceous and floriferous texture that is part of the same family of cabbages and alissos. The size of this plant is low, about 15 to 30 cm high. It has branched and dense foliage with rounded forms, its leaves are jagged, sagittal, hairy and greyish green.

The flowers of this plant have four petals each, are simple, delicate and small. The colors of these flowers vary from shades of pink, carmine and violet. Its flowering takes place in the spring. Some varieties, rare of cultivation, have their variegated leaves of cream white.

The use of Rock Cress Plants
A tip for anyone who wants to rely on the aubrietia in their garden is to use it for the formation of masses and borders. Among the possible ornamental uses for this plant are the use of the species among rocks.

Many landscapers use this species to fill the cracks in stone walls. The most curious thing is that aubrietia loves this kind of environment and develops in a full, attractive and pending veil. Another interesting ornamental alternative for these plants is to grow them in hanging baskets, bib and pots. An important tip is to avoid planting vulva on low ground sites.

If you prefer you can drive it over the mounds or even raised beds so that it becomes easier to drain. Cultivation In order for aubrietia to grow healthy and beautiful, it is important that it be grown in full sun and in a mild, alkaline soil, preferably sandy and enriched with organic matter. Irrigation should be regular to maintain the beauty of the plant.


Once this plant is well established it can withstand short periods of drought well and can be irrigated only once a week. One precaution to be taken with this plant is to avoid soaking, that is, to irrigate too much. Observe the substrate of the plant, if it is dry it is time to plant it again, if it is moist it should not be watered.

Aubrietia does not do well in very hot and humid climates. A plant that, although perennial, loses its beauty over time. Stay tuned to renovate the flowerbeds every 2 or 3 years. This plant can be grown in the shade. The multiplication of the same is made by seeds, cuttings or even by division of root rooting.

It is worth mentioning that it is a plant considered easy to grow from seeds. To have an idea this plant can grow in length about 10 cm and in width around 60 cm. In Europe it is possible to observe a perennial foliage that has flowers all year round. During spring the flowering is so intense that the flowers cover almost completely the foliage that is underneath.

The tip is to cultivate aubrietia in a place where its beauty helps to enhance the look, for example, in a crack in the wall or even along a waterfall of color.

Aubrieta deltoidea OR ROCK CRESS

Tips for planting the Aubrietia 

The trick is to sow aubrietia in the summer months and to wait for the next year the beautiful flowers will appear to make your garden even more beautiful.

Sowing in vases or baskets
The tip for anyone who wants to plant aubrietia in pots or baskets is to grow the seeds in late winter or early summer. Stay alert to the issue of water runoff, as it is a plant that does not support waterlogging. These plants need light to germinate.

Important Care for Growing
It is important that you always make sure that the compost is moist but not soggy. In general the germination period takes around 14 to 21 days, from 18 ° C to 20 ° C. If you live in a region where the temperature averages do not reach the minimum of 18 ° C, it may be interesting to have a heating oven.

An important thing is that when it is noticed that the seedlings are large enough, transport them to pots that are at least 7 cm so that they can grow more freely. After establishing the plant (it should be about 30 cm) transfer it to the garden, which should be well drained and sunny.


Direct planting
The seeds of rock cress can also be sown directly on open ground. For this it is interesting to sow some seeds in a small area and previously prepared. Grow the seedlings at a distance of 5 cm away.

Necessary care
It is important that you take care to keep the pruning always up to date, cutting the plants severely after they bloom. This helps to encourage the growth of healthy foliage and secondary flowers. However, it should not be pruned during the fall.

During the spring the leaves that have been damaged should be removed. This plant may be short-lived if it is in a location with poor drainage or even very hot. Divide plants over a period of 1 to 3 years.

The propagation of the rock cress plant can be done by cuttings, seeds, separation or division. In general the multiplication by piles is more successful than the one by division. The tip is to make the cuttings in early summer. Be careful to remove the lower leaves.

The main uses of Aubrietia
It is a type of plant very suitable for ornamental gardens, to decorate walls and walls, to create divisions in the garden, paths, pots among others. A beautiful option to decorate a garden.


rock cress plants can be purple, blue or pink curtains that fall from a wall or simply cover a sunny slope. Plants that give generous color to the rock gardens , which seemed to have lost strength, but come back, because each plant counts, and each must have that place where it grows and thrives without too much intervention.

It is like that, we can not move by fashions, because it is worthless that we speak at all times of sustainability or of the worrying loss of biodiversity , if we do not act. Aubrieta is a genus of plants that, apart from their colorful and attractive curtains of flowers, attract, and do so willingly, butterflies and bees .
The genus Aubrieta is formed by plants of the family Brassicacea (its four-petalled flowers indicate it), a genus of which there are currently 12 species. All species of the Aubrieta genus grow in limestone, some appear in open scree, others in crevices, while others appear in coniferous forests.

If the conditions are optimal, it grows in such a way that it can even be considered an invasive plant, so it is advisable to trim it after flowering . At that time, plants should be cut at ground level to stimulate new foliage growth and secondary blooms. Do not prune in the fall , you should wait until the following spring to remove the damaged foliage. In addition, it is necessary to divide the plant every 1 to 3 years.  


The propagation can be by seed, cuttings, division or separation, although the certain thing is that the cuttings usually have more success than the division of bush. We will have to take those cuttings, of soft or semi-mature wood, from early to mid-summer.

As usual, many cultivars have been developed for use in the garden , almost all of them obtained from the Aubrieta deltoidea species , although there are also cultivars of Aubrieta gracilis and hybrids of Aubrieta cultorom , from which interesting varieties are obtained. guarantee, from March to July, flowers with a range of bright colors, ranging from pale pink and lilac, to deep purple or violet.  


Herbaceous plant perennial and creeping of height around 15 cm, foliage greyish green, small leaves rounded.

Small flowers of four petals, in the colors red, pink and violet. Flowers from spring to mid summer.

It can be grown in places with a mild cold climate.

How to Plant rock cress

It is a characteristic plant of sandy and rocky terrains with sun. Can tolerate afternoon shade.

The best soil for cultivation should be fertile organic matter, well drained.

To plant we can use two methods: in the spring sow directly on the area to be cultivated, leaving the seeds uncovered, because they need intense natural light. 
About 7 to 8 weeks later they will be germinating.

At first they need more watering, then space, because they do not tolerate soggy soil.

Another way to cultivate, are seedlings from the separation of clumps, technique done after the end of flowering. After the establishment of the clump, the following year it will be possible to remove seedlings.

Caring for Aubretia

It is not an invasive plant, that grows without control, its diameter in the adult stage is of only 50 cm. To establish dense carpet it will be convenient to plant with spacing around 25 cm.

When well developed, remove seedlings from the sides to open space for plant growth, then take advantage to expand your crop. After flowering, light pruning can be done on the hands to encourage regrowth.

Landscaping and Decorative Use

Still little used in the country, the nest is excellent for covering spaces between succulents and cacti in the rocky gardens.

Also to plant in small permeable areas left for vegetation between the steps of stairs in the garden.

It has excellent visual and should be combined with other flowering plants in harmonic colors.


Care of the Aubrieta, Aubrietia or Aubrecia plant
Its scientific name is Aubrieta and the vulgar Aubrecia, Aubrietia, Aubriecia. It has its origin in the eastern Mediterranean. It is a genus that comprises about 15 species. The most common species is Aubretia deltoidea,from which the varieties sold in florists have been obtained. The best known is the “Dr. Mules” of dark violet flowers.It is a perennial plant that does not need great care and flourishes abundantly. It can be used as a covering plant, in rockeries, cracks in walls and in planters and pots that it quickly covers and hangs on the sides.The Aubrieta is a plant of low bearing , as much reaches 20 cm. Tall. The stems are creeping, the leaves silver-gray, oval, of small size. The flowers form terminal clusters larger than the leaves and have blue, purple and violet colors. Flowers between April and May.The Aubrietas are very rustic species that adapt to all types of terrain , even sandy, alkaline or stony. They grow better with a well-fertilized soil and with a little sand to give it a soft soil. 

It can be in direct sun exposure , but it develops best in semi-shade.It does not need much watering even during flowering. It is watered regularly but not copiously. regarding fertilization, they are very demanding so, in addition to fertilizing the soil, it is advisable to supply fertilizer irrigation weekly from the beginning of flowering until it ends.Its main enemies are the caterpillars so it is advisable to give preventive treatments with biweekly insecticides.The Aubrieta is multiplied by division of bush, by cuttings of stem or by seed.

Don Burke

I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide.  I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.

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