Aubrieta deltoidea
Aubrieta deltoidea

These colorful flowering plants will bring color to the garden and are commonly known as Rock-cress. It is a temperate to cool region plant, easy to grow and with around 20 species it is Aubrieta deltoidea that is the most common from.

They are interesting in that they are related to Cabbages, however they are a low growing matt forming perennial best suited to the rock garden.

Grown for the flowers, usually a purple, that cover the plant from spring through summer. Also known as the lilac bush and rainbow rock cress, this is a plant that looks great when planted so that it can hang down over a low retaining wall.

Aubrieta deltoides is originally from southern Europe and likes a wet winter in a well drained soil and a warm summer. It is called rock cress because it naturally grows on rocky outcrops.

How To Grow Aubrieta

Aubrieta grows well in a humus rich soil in full sun to part shade. Can be grown from seed, and also grows well in containers. Best suited to zones 4 – 9.

  • Position/Light
    Best grown full sun to a little afternoon shade in warmer zones.
  • Soil
    Humus rich and well drained.
  • Watering
    A wet dry cycle works best, water well and then allow the soil to dry a little before watering again. Best suited to areas that have a distinct winter, rather than sub tropical climates. Provide water during summer months, but do not over water and allow to dry out between watering.
  • Fertiliser
    Some slow release fertiliser in spring will be beneficial. A little liquid fertiliser every month will also benefit.


Other Aubrieta Include :

  • Aubrieta ‘Whitewell Gem’
  • Aubrieta deltoidea ‘Cascade Red’
  • Aubrieta x cultorum is a hybrid and widely available.
  • Aubrieta grandiflora has larger flowers.
  • Aubrieta ‘Blaumeise’ is a less leggy form, tighter growth habit.
  • Aubrieta canescens is a more tight clump forming variety.


Propagation is from seed, cuttings as well as by division of established clumps.

For those looking for variety, then seed is an option, best sown directly although you can sow indoors in late winter. Use a propagator that will provide good bottom heat. Seeds will germinate in 2 -3 weeks.

Try not to over water seedlings to prevent problems.

Summary Details

  • Botanical Name Aubretia
  • Common Names – False Rock Cress,
  • Family – Brassicaceae
  • Height – 4 – 9 inches (10-22cm) depending on variety and conditions.
  • Spread – To around 24 inches (30cm)
  • Position – Full sun to a little afternoon shade.
  • Soil – Humus rich well drained.
  • Flowers – Mauve through to pinks
  • Flowering time – Spring
  • Foliage – Mid green
  • Frost tolerant – Yes Aubretia is both frost and cold tolerant.
  • Drought tolerant – Medium once established.
  • USDA Zones – 4 – 8

Where to Buy

You can find Aubrieta for sale at the following nurseries

500 N. Sequim Ave. Sequim, WA 98382