Saturday, December 9, 2023

Aubrieta Flowers – All You Need to Know About

Aubrieta Flowers named after Claude Aubriet, a French artist who famously painted them, Aubrietas spread low with small violet, pink or white flowers. If you’re creating a rock garden, Aubrietas are ideal as it prefers sandy, well-drained soil.

Its sun Requirement is a Full Sun and it also requires a Well-drained, High fertility soil. Zones are around 4 – 9 with a Height of about 0.5 – 0.75 feet tall and it blooms in Mid-Spring – Early Summer. It also has a unique Non-invasive feature.

Aubrieta, a cheerful ground cover, is a great candidate for edging your paths or tucking into stone walls if you meet some basic growing requirements. When the profuse magenta flowers have faded, the grayish-green foliage maintains a handsome mat that covers bare areas under leggy roses or between paving stones on a garden path.

These plants are far more common in Europe than in North America. In fact, the genus name derives from Claude Aubriet, a European landscape artist from the 17th century.

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Botanical NameAubrieta spp.
Common NameAubrieta; false rockcress
Plant TypePerennial
Mature SizeFour to six inches
Sun ExposurePartial to full sun
Soil TypeLean, rocky
Soil pHSlightly acidic to alkaline; 6.5-7.5
Bloom TimeApril, May
Flower ColorPink, purple, white
Hardiness ZonesUSDA growing zones 4-9
Native AreaSouthwestern Europe

Guide on How to Grow Aubrieta Flowers

Aubrieta Flowers – All You Need to Know About

Gardeners looking for that perfect pocket plant should consider the spring-blooming aubrieta. Plants have a very small footprint, and can establish a deep root system in the soil behind a retaining wall, while foliage and flowers can spread up to 18 inches or more wide, giving the appearance of a living wall.

Aubrieta plants also provide good erosion control on hillsides, and attract butterflies with their prolific spring flowers.

1. Light

Aubrieta plants shine in full sun, but will also grow in partial sun. For best results, grow plants where they will receive at least a half-day of sun. Plants that grow in too much shade will lose their compact, mounded appearance, take on a leggy look, and have sparse flowers.

2. Soil

Aubrietas like a rocky, alkaline soil, which mimics the soil found in their native alpine habitats. If the pH is low, increase it with the addition of lime. Good drainage is important to prevent root rot.

Use gravel, vermiculite, or another non-organic soil amendment that will help drainage without lowering soil pH.

3. Water

Aubrieta plants need a moderate amount of water, but at the same time, they don’t like wet feet. Rocky soils that prevent standing water will keep healthy root systems on your aubrieta plants.

4. Temperature and Humidity

Aubrieta Flowers – All You Need to Know About

Aubrieta plants grow best in areas with cool summers that mirror their alpine climate. Periods of high humidity are fine; in fact, the cool, damp climate of Great Britain or Washington state are where you are most likely to find extraordinary specimens of aubrieta plants.

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5. Fertilizer

Aubrieta plants grow in lean soil and need no supplemental fertilizer to make beautiful blooms. Occasional watering with compost tea is, at most, all the feeding aubrieta plants need.

6. Potting and Repotting

Pot up your aubrieta plants with a lightweight all-purpose potting soil. A potting mix meant for cacti is also appropriate for aubrieta plants. Take care not to bury the foliage when potting up aubrieta.

There are a few inches of brown stem beneath the foliage, and this is the working area of the plant when repotting. Lift the foliage, and carefully mound soil around the stems and roots to secure the plant in its place.

7. Propagating Aubrieta

You can divide aubrieta in early fall to increase your stock. Dig the plant, and tease the clump apart with your hands or a garden fork. Replant the divisions 12 inches apart.

8. Pruning

Aubrieta can get a bit scraggly after blooming. Keep it tidy by trimming plants back after flowering. Use shears, and trim no more than half the plant’s growth at any one time.

9. Being Grown in Containers

Aubrieta complements the container garden as a trailing plant, softening container edges. Plant it as a companion to other rock garden flowers with similar growing needs, like dianthus.

10. Growing From Seeds

Sow aubrieta seeds on top of sterile potting mix. The seeds need light for germination, so press seeds down but don’t cover them. Keep seeds moist at about 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Germination will occur in two to three weeks.

Varieties of Aubrieta Flowers

Aubrieta Flowers – All You Need to Know About

The world of Aubrieta flowers offers a diverse range of varieties, each with its unique characteristics. Whether you’re looking for vibrant cascades of color, variegated foliage, or compact mounding forms, there’s an Aubrieta variety to suit every garden style and preference.

Here are some of the popular varieties of Aubrieta flowers along with their unique features and characteristics;

1. Aubrieta deltoidea: This is the classic Aubrieta, known for its cascading growth habit and a riot of small, four-petaled flowers. The blossoms come in a spectrum of colors, ranging from purples and pinks to whites and blues. It’s a hardy and reliable choice for rock gardens or as ground cover, adding a burst of color in early spring.

2. Aubrieta ‘Royal Series’: This series is renowned for its vibrant and richly colored blooms. ‘Royal Red,’ ‘Royal Blue,’ and ‘Royal Violet’ are standout varieties within this series. They maintain the cascading growth habit of the species but offer an intensified color palette, making them a favorite for those seeking bold and striking displays.

3. Aubrieta ‘Cascade’ Series: As the name suggests, this series is celebrated for its cascading form, creating a waterfall effect of flowers. ‘Cascade Purple,’ ‘Cascade Blue,’ and ‘Cascade Red’ are popular choices. These varieties are well-suited for hanging baskets or spilling over rock walls, adding a graceful touch to vertical spaces.

4. Aubrieta ‘Dr. Mules Variegated’: This unique variety stands out for its variegated foliage, featuring a lovely blend of green and creamy white. The foliage provides visual interest even when the plant is not in bloom. The flowers, typically in shades of violet, complement the variegated leaves, making it a charming addition to gardens and borders.

5. Aubrieta ‘Kitte Blue’: ‘Kitte Blue’ is appreciated for its compact and mounding growth habit. This makes it an excellent choice for container gardening or as a border plant. The bright blue flowers create a cheerful display, and its more restrained size makes it suitable for smaller garden spaces.

6. Aubrieta ‘Audrey Blue’: ‘Audrey Blue’ is recognized for its intense blue blossoms, creating a stunning visual impact. This variety is prized for its ability to spread and form a dense mat of flowers, making it an ideal ground cover. It thrives in well-draining soil and is a reliable performer in a variety of garden settings.

7. Aubrieta ‘Purple Emperor’: ‘Purple Emperor’ stands out for its deep purple flowers and compact growth habit. This variety is often chosen for its ability to create a dense carpet of color, making it an excellent choice for edging or filling in gaps in flower beds. Its rich hue adds a regal touch to garden landscapes.

Toxicity of Aubrieta

Aubrieta Flowers – All You Need to Know About

While Aubrieta flowers are generally safe and non-toxic, it’s essential to be aware of potential concerns and take simple preventive measures. By being mindful of skin contact, understanding individual sensitivities, and supervising pets in the garden, you can enjoy the beauty of Aubrieta while ensuring a safe gardening experience for everyone involved.

Potential Concerns:

While Aubrieta flowers are generally considered safe and non-toxic, it’s important to be aware of potential concerns, especially for individuals with sensitivities or allergies.

Some people may experience mild skin irritation if they come into contact with the plant’s sap or foliage. Therefore, it’s advisable to wear gloves when handling Aubrieta, particularly for individuals with known skin sensitivities.

Allergic Reactions:

Individuals with allergies to plants in the Brassicaceae family, which includes cabbage and mustard, may also be sensitive to Aubrieta. In such cases, it’s recommended to exercise caution and avoid prolonged contact with the plant.

Pet Considerations:

If you have pets, it’s important to note that Aubrieta flowers are generally not considered highly toxic to cats or dogs. However, as a precaution, it’s advisable to keep pets from actively consuming the plant. Ingesting large quantities could potentially lead to mild gastrointestinal upset in pets.

Preventive Measures:

1. Gardening Gloves: When handling Aubrieta or any other plants in your garden, wearing gardening gloves is a simple and effective preventive measure. This helps protect your skin from potential irritation caused by contact with the plant.

2. Awareness of Allergies: If you or anyone in your household has known allergies to plants in the Brassicaceae family, it’s wise to be mindful of potential sensitivities to Aubrieta. Taking precautions, such as wearing long sleeves and avoiding prolonged skin contact, can minimize the risk of irritation.

3. Pet Supervision: While Aubrieta is not known for causing severe toxicity in pets, it’s a good practice to supervise them in the garden to prevent excessive ingestion of any plant. This is particularly important for animals that have a tendency to nibble on foliage.

4. Consultation with a Professional: If there are specific health concerns or known sensitivities, consulting with a healthcare professional or veterinarian is advisable. They can provide personalized advice based on individual health conditions or pet-specific considerations.

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Common Pests and Diseases of Aubrieta Flowers

Aubrieta Flowers – All You Need to Know About

Aubrieta is rarely bothered by insect pests. Plants growing in damp, shady areas may experience downy mildew. Prevent this fungal disease by providing enough light and spacing for air circulation.

Common Pests:

1. Aphids: These tiny, sap-sucking insects are a common woe for Aubrieta flowers. Aphids can distort the growth of the plant and transmit viral diseases. Keep an eye out for clusters of these pests, especially on the tender shoots and undersides of leaves.

2. Cabbage Worms: The larvae of white butterflies, known as cabbage worms, can target Aubrieta. They chew on leaves, leaving behind unsightly holes. Regular inspection and manual removal or natural predators can help control their population.

3. Slugs and Snails: These nocturnal creatures are attracted to the lush foliage of Aubrieta. They can munch on leaves, causing damage to the plant’s overall aesthetic. Use organic slug control methods, such as beer traps or diatomaceous earth, to keep them at bay.

4. Spider Mites: These tiny arachnids can cause stippling on leaves, giving them a mottled appearance. Spider mites thrive in dry conditions, so maintaining adequate humidity levels and regularly hosing down the plant can help prevent infestations.

Common Diseases:

1. Downy Mildew: Downy mildew can manifest as yellow spots on leaves, eventually turning them brown. This fungal disease often occurs in humid conditions. Improve air circulation and avoid overhead watering to mitigate the risk.

2. Powdery Mildew: A white, powdery substance on leaves is indicative of powdery mildew. This fungal disease thrives in dry conditions. Watering at the base of the plant and applying fungicides when necessary can help control its spread.

3. Root Rot: Excessive moisture in the soil can lead to root rot, causing the plant to wilt and decline. Ensure well-draining soil and avoid overwatering to prevent this common problem.

4. Leaf Spot: Circular, dark spots on leaves may be a sign of leaf spot disease. This can be caused by various fungi. Remove affected leaves, and apply fungicides as a preventive measure during periods of high humidity.

Preventive Measures:

1. Regular Inspection: Keep a close eye on your Aubrieta flowers. Regular inspections allow you to detect pests and diseases early, making control measures more effective.

2. Proper Watering: Water at the base of the plant to avoid creating a humid environment that fosters fungal diseases. Ensure the soil has good drainage to prevent waterlogged conditions.

3. Natural Predators: Encourage natural predators like ladybugs and predatory beetles to help keep pest populations in check.

4. Quarantine New Plants: Before introducing new plants to your garden, quarantine them to ensure they are not carrying pests or diseases that could spread to your Aubrieta flowers.

Staying vigilant and adopting these preventive measures, can help you to ensure the health and vitality of your Aubrieta flowers, allowing them to thrive and adorn your garden with their vibrant blooms.

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Aubrieta vs. Creeping Phlox

The flowers and form of aubrieta and creeping phlox (Phlox subulata) are so similar as to be indistinguishable at first glance. Both plants grow as a creeping mat, spreading across the border’s edge or trailing down walls.

However, creeping phlox plants are more heat and drought tolerant than aubrieta, which may account for its preference in American gardens.

Both Aubrieta and Creeping Phlox are excellent choices for ground cover, each bringing its unique charm to the garden. Understanding the differences in height, spread, and flowering characteristics can help you make an informed decision based on your gardening preferences and the specific requirements of your landscape.

1. Aubrieta:


1. Appearance: Aubrieta, also known as Rock Cress, is a low-growing perennial that forms a dense mat of foliage. Its leaves are small, gray-green, and evergreen, providing year-round interest. During spring, Aubrieta bursts into a profusion of small, four-petaled flowers in shades of purple, pink, blue, and white.

2. Height and Spread: Typically, Aubrieta maintains a compact height, ranging from 4 to 6 inches. It has a spreading growth habit, making it an excellent choice for ground cover in rock gardens, slopes, or between stepping stones.

3. Hardiness: Aubrieta is known for its resilience and ability to thrive in challenging conditions. It prefers well-draining soil and is well-suited for sunny locations. This toughness makes it an ideal candidate for rockeries and areas with poor soil.

4. Flowering Period: The vibrant display of Aubrieta flowers occurs in early spring, creating a carpet of color that lasts for several weeks. After flowering, the evergreen foliage remains, providing a lush backdrop throughout the year.

2. Creeping Phlox:

Creeping Phlox
Creeping Phlox

1. Appearance: Creeping Phlox, also known as Moss Phlox or Mountain Phlox, is another perennial ground cover that offers a stunning floral display. It features needle-like foliage that remains semi-evergreen in milder climates. During its blooming season, usually in spring, Creeping Phlox produces a profusion of five-petaled flowers in various hues.

2. Height and Spread: Creeping Phlox tends to have a slightly taller growth habit compared to Aubrieta, reaching heights of 6 to 8 inches. It also spreads out, creating a mat-like carpet of flowers. This makes it suitable for ground cover, rock gardens, and cascading over retaining walls.

3. Hardiness: Similar to Aubrieta, Creeping Phlox is hardy and adaptable. It prefers well-draining soil and thrives in full sun to partial shade. Its ability to tolerate different soil conditions makes it versatile in garden landscapes.

4. Flowering Period: The peak flowering period for Creeping Phlox aligns with spring, and the blooms can last for several weeks. The needle-like foliage adds texture to the garden, and in some varieties, the leaves may take on a bronze or burgundy hue in colder weather.

Choosing Between Aubrieta and Creeping Phlox

1. Consider the Space: If you’re working with a smaller area or looking for a plant to fill gaps between rocks or stepping stones, Aubrieta’s more compact nature may be preferable. Creeping Phlox, with its slightly taller growth, is suitable for larger expanses.

2. Color Preferences: Both plants offer a spectrum of colors, but personal color preferences may influence your choice. Aubrieta often provides vibrant purples and pinks, while Creeping Phlox offers a wider range of hues, including blues, pinks, whites, and lavenders.

3. Growing Conditions: Assess the growing conditions of your garden. Both plants prefer well-draining soil and sunny locations, but understanding the specific needs of your space can guide your decision.

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Benadine Nonye is an agricultural consultant and a writer with over 12 years of professional experience in the agriculture industry. - National Diploma in Agricultural Technology - Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Science - Master's Degree in Science Education... Visit My Websites On: 1. - Your Comprehensive Practical Agricultural Knowledge and Farmer’s Guide Website! 2. - For Proper Waste Management and Recycling Practices. Join Me On: Twitter: @benadinenonye - Instagram: benadinenonye - LinkedIn: benadinenonye - YouTube: Agric4Profits TV - Pinterest: BenadineNonye4u - Facebook: BenadineNonye

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