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How to Grow and Care for Rock Cress Plant

Rock cress flower plants

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.

Plant Propagation:

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 germination mat.

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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