common name – False Wall Cress / Rock Cress.
6 inches to 1 foot.
Shades of purple and crimson. Flowers February
A low-growing plant spreading after two or three
years into a dense mat of foliage covered in earliest
spring with single flowers. It is related to the
Arabis, which it somewhat resembles in habit,
but the foliage is finer and of a darker green,
its flowers are more compactly set and, instead
of white, show a range of beautiful purple tints.
The old Aubrietia græca or violacea, the
first a light, the second a darker bluish mauve,
is still indispensable, to anyone who cares for
spring gardening; but space should be found for
some of the newer varieties, amongst which should
be noted Leichtlinii, a light crimson or carmine,
Souvenir de W. Ingram, a larger form of the last,
and either Purple Robe or Dr. Mules; the latter
is a fine strong grower and when in bloom presents
a piece of colour – a pure dark purple or
rich violet – which nothing else in the
The older kinds may be raised from seed by sowing
in boxes in May and brought on with attention
in the way of moisture and shade in hot weather;
but the more recent introductions must be obtained
as plants. Cuttings may be made from small off-shoots
at the end of the first summer’s growth,
and, kept in boxes of light soil under glass during
the winter, will be ready to put out in March
or April following.
All the Aubrietias are happy when they can hang
over stones or walls, and the pendant sheets of
bloom which they form in such positions must be
seen to be appreciated. The lighter mauve or lavender
shades harmonise wonderfully well with the richer
purples, and patches of the latter, alternated
with white Arabis or with yellow Alyssum, make
one the most beautiful of spring contrasts, sumptuous
and yet most pure.
All the race will thrive in almost any tolerable
garden soil, and when well established large pieces
may be taken off (with a little care in finding
rooted fibres) and planted out. A large plant
may be forked up and broken into sections, which
may be planted out in a nursery bed, and if looked
after in the matter of watering and weeding, will
make nice little clumps for the following season.
A few pieces of rough stone buried and half-sunk
in the ground, in the manner of a rough crockery,
will be an advantage in planting Aubrietias; and
if a place can be found for them on the top of
a low retaining wall or stony bank, with a good
root-run in soil and a sunny exposure, the result
in the second and third springs will be most enviable.
A colourful and almost evergreen race of trailing
plants of the eastern Mediterranean region from
Sicily to Persia. The best-known species is A.
deltoidea, but the garden forms are of mixed origin.
They have small spoon-shaped foliage, toothed
and greyish green in colour, with single flowers,
half an inch across, varying in shade, among garden
forms, from pale pink to lavender, purple and
crimson. There are also double forms of garden
origin and a form with variegated foliage.
The Aubrietias are useful for the front of the
herbaceous border, particularly where there is
an edging of rock stone which the trailing growths
will cover quickly, followed, in season, by masses
of brightly coloured flowers. They are valuable
also for the rock garden. It is wise to cut back
after flowering in order to maintain a tidy habit
of growth. They can be grown successfully in any
well-drained soil in full sun and are usually
planted from pots in early March.
Propagate from cuttings for preference, by division
or by seed.
The flowering season is in spring and early summer.