Plant Common Name
The genus Aubrieta contains approximately 12 species of evergreen to semi-evergreen flowering perennials in the cabbage family. Most of the species originate from the mountainous and alpine regions of southern Europe and Central Asia and are grown for their showy springtime blooms. This genus is named in honor of Claude Aubriet (1665-1742), a botanical illustrator to the French court.
These mat-forming, herbaceous plants are clothed in simple, lightly hairy leaves. The small leaves are dense, alternate, oblong or oval and may have smooth or toothed edges. The stems are usually hairy and well-branched. The colorful flowers cover the plants in spring. They are generally four-petaled, cross-shaped and may be purple, pink or white. These are followed by inconspicuous round to oblong dry fruits called siliques, which are unique to the cabbage family.
The popular, sun-loving purple rockcress (Aubrieta deltoidea) is native to the Mediterranean and southern Asia. It is a semi-evergreen perennial with gray-green foliage and rosy-lilac to purple flowers that cover the plants for three weeks in late spring or early summer. The pale lavender-flowered Aubrieta columnae is very low growing with an open habit and spatula-shaped leaves. Most of the popular garden Aubrieta are hybrids of these and other species.
Culture and hardiness are species and cultivar dependent. Most prefer cool summers and are short-lived in warmer climates. Sunny locations with fertile, neutral to alkaline, well-draining soil are preferred. These perennials do not divide easily and are best left alone. Propagate by seed or cuttings. Plant Aubrieta in sunny rock gardens, alpine gardens or chinks in garden walls.
White, Purple, Pink, Rose, Lavender