Aubrieta is an early blooming ground cover plant in the Brassicaceae family (mustard family). It’s also known as false rockcress or lilac bush.
It is a perennial that can grow up to 1 foot high. It is a great choice for a groundcover in a garden, patio, or fence.
It thrives in a slightly acidic to alkaline soil with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5. It also prefers a well-drained substrate.
Leaves Are Dead
Aubrieta is a cheerful ground cover that grows well in full sun and thrives once established. Often used as a decorative ground cover in rock gardens, this plant produces small lilac to purple flowers that bloom in spring.
This ground cover is a great choice for edging paths or tucking between stone walls. The grayish-green foliage maintains a handsome mat that covers bare spots behind leggy roses or between paving stones on garden paths.
It can also be grown from seed as a perennial. Ideally, it should be started in a sunny spot with well-draining soil in early spring.
To grow Aubrieta from seed, sow sterile potting mix just above the soil surface. Keep the seeds moist at a temperature of 68 degF (20 degC). Germination will take two to three weeks.
When soil becomes too spongy, this perennial is prone to dieback. The roots will die off and the foliage may become scraggly.
In their native alpine habitat, aubrieta thrives in rocky, alkaline soil that mimics the conditions they were raised in. It is important to add lime if the pH is low.
They also need good drainage. If your soil has poor drainage, mix in plenty of gravel, small rocks and vermiculite to improve the flow of water through the soil without lowering the pH.
Both plants grow as a creeping mat, spreading across the border’s edge or trailing down walls. Creeping phlox (Phlox subulata) is more heat- and drought-tolerant than aubrieta, which may explain why it is preferred in American gardens.
Once the flowers have faded, the clump of grayish-green leaves keeps this cheerful ground cover looking neat and tidy. Regular shearing will keep it looking its best. Cut back no more than half the plant’s growth each time after it blooms.
Those who are sensitive to chlorine may suffer from a condition called aquagenic urticaria (AU). People with this condition have itchy, red hives and swelling that develop on their skin after contact with water.
This is a rare condition that only affects the skin, not mucus membranes like the inside of the mouth, nose and ears. Symptoms usually start within minutes of exposure to water and can last up to two hours.
Itching and rashes can be relieved by calamine lotion and ibuprofen. However, people with this condition are advised to avoid bathing and showering as much as possible.
Aubrieta is a wonderful plant for rock gardens and garden walls, where it forms a handsome mat that catches the eye as it spreads along paths or tucks into cracks and crevices. It requires little maintenance once established and thrives in rocky, alkaline soil with good drainage. It is also resistant to insect pests and deer nibbling.
If you live in an area that gets a lot of cold snaps, your aubrieta probably needs winter protection. You can wrap the roots in burlap and bubble wrap or put them inside an insulating silo.
The best way to keep your aubrieta healthy and happy is to provide it with plenty of sun and a spot that’s well-drained and moderately moist. You can add a little gravel or vermiculite to improve drainage without lowering the soil’s pH.
It can also be a good idea to prune back the foliage regularly. Keep it tidy by trimming no more than half the plant’s growth at any one time. It’s a good idea to use shears in the spring, too.