The common names for the Hardy perennial Aethionema include Stone cress. They typically flower from early spring until late summer.
Aethionema saxatile Photograph by Pastilletes.
Stone cress and other Aethionema are short lived evergreen perennials that are small to medium in size. Aethionema has clusters of small white, lilac or pink flowers.
As a consequence of the plants small size they are ideal for rockeries or in the crevices of stone walls. Some of the taller species can also be used as border plants.
It is best to sow Stone cress just below the soil surface, with a spacing of 10 to 18 cm, in the spring or autumn. Stone cress prefers full sunlight and should be grown in soil that is well drained and sandy. Aethionema species requires between 30 days and 90 days to germinate.
If initially grown indoors they should be sown ten to twelve weeks before planting out, after the last frost of spring.
Aethionema requires a little care, they require regular watering and the occasional application of fertiliser. As the plant is short lived it may die out after two years, so cuttings should be took after flowering, or the plant allowed to self.