Virtues: We love rock cress because it is a drought-tolerant, early-flowering groundcover that works well in rock gardens, as edging or in combination with early spring bulbs. Deer resistant.
Common name: Rock cress, wallcress, wall rockcress
Botanical name: Arabis alpina subsp. caucasica. Sometimes listed as Arabis caucasica.
Flowers: Small, fragrant flowers appear in early to late spring, held in dense clusters above the foliage. Pink-flowered selections include ‘Compinkie’ and ‘Rosabella. White-flowered selections include ‘Flore Pleno’, ‘Snowball’ and ‘Snowcap’, a prolific bloomer.
Foliage: Spoon-shaped gray-green leaves held in rosettes.
Habit: Perennial 8–10 inches tall and 18–24 inches wide, forming a dense mat.
Season: Early to late spring.
Cultivation: Grow in full to part sun, in moist to dry soil. Flowering is best in full sun. Good drainage is critical. Tolerates poor soil and drought, and doesn’t need a lot of root room —making it appropriate for planting it in the crevices of a stone wall. Can be sheared back after blooming to maintain a compact appearance. Divide every few years just after flowering or in the fall. USDA Zones 4–8, possibly Zone 3.
Image: Public Domain
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