How to Grow and Care for Rock Cress Plant
Perennial, Aubrieta Deltoidea
Got a Rock Garden? Then, Rock Cress is for you. Rock Cress is native to the
Mediterranean and Southern Europe. They were just too attractive to keep
in one small area of the world. So today, you find Rock Cress growing all
over the U.S., and in other parts of the world, too.
Rock Cress produces a profusion of fragrant blooms in the spring. Colors
include white, pink, rose, mauve, and lavender. Butterflies are attracted
to the flowers.
Rock Cress find themselves at home in rock gardens, borders, edgings, and
as ground cover. They are good for hills and slopes, where is it difficult
to grow grass or other plants.
Did you Know? The leaves and flowers of Rock Cress are edible, cooked
or raw. Not surprisingly, it has a pungent, cress-like flavor.
Rock Cress are grown from seeds. They can be directly seeded into your flower
garden, or seeded indoors for transplanting later. Sow Rock Cress seeds early
in the season and cover lightly with 1/8" of fine garden or potting soil.
Seeds have a long germination period, requiring two to three weeks.
For indoor starts, try a seedling
Established plants can be propagated by division of the rootballs.
Ideal plant spacing is 15" -18". Rock Cress plants will spread out
to form a loose mat, filling in the space between plants.
How to Grow Rock Cress Plants:
Growing Rock Cress plants is easy. Grow Rock Cress in full sun. Plants will
tolerate a light or partial shade. They will do well in fair to poor soils,
with a neutral to slightly alkaline pH. Sandy, loam, or clay soil is fine.
It should be loose, well draining. Keep soil moist during germination.
Rock Cress likes slightly dry soil. Water only during the hottest, driest
period of summer. Add a general purpose, high nitrogen fertilizer when first
planting, to help them to get a good start. Add a high Phosphorous fertilizer
just before blooming.
Rock Cress will bloom in the spring of the second year after planting, and
every year afterward. (They are worth the wait!) Prune plant and remove dead
flowers after blooms have died, to give the plant a clean, healthy look,
and to promote new plant growth.
Rock Cress plants are hardy, and will survive light frosts before going dormant
for the winter months.
Insect and Disease:
Rock Cress is seldom bothered by insects or disease. Apply insecticide or
fungicide only if needed.
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