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Guide to Growing Rockcress and Wall cress

The hardy perennial Arabis typically flowers in the early spring.

Rock and Wall Cress are small plants that are often mat forming.

They have scented white flowers and are useful plants for growing in rockeries.

Rock Cress

Arabis
Arabis photograph by nociveglia.

Arabis Flower
Arabis Flower (Lyre-leaved Rock Cress) by Wackybadger.



Quick Arabis Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Rockcress (Alpine, Coast, Fringed, Hairy, Sapphire, Tower); Tower Mustard; Wall Cress
Life Cycle: Hardy Perennial, Hardy Annuals
Height: 4 to 32 inches (10 to 80 cm), Mat forming
Native: Worldwide
Growing Region: Zones 3 to 10: Species Specific
Flowers: Spring
Flower Details: White, Scented,Clustered
Foliage: Evergreen
Sow Outdoors: Surface. Early Spring or Late Autumn Spacing 5 to 12 inches (12 to 30 cm) dependent upon species size.
Sow Indoors: Use Peat pots . Germination time: 15 to 25 days. Requires light and a temperature of 70°F (21°C), Start eight weeks before transplanting outdoors following the last frost or in early Autumn.
Requirements: Full Sunlight for best results, may grow well in light shade. Soil pH 5.5 to 7. Good drainage, average and poor soils. Cut back once flowering has completed. Can be propagated by division (spring or autumn) or cuttings (Summer).

How to Grow Arabis species such as Rock Cress and Wall Cress

It is best to sow out Arabis species on the soil surface, following germination they can be thinned out with a spacing of approximately thirteen to thirty centimeters.

Rock cress should be sown out in the early spring when a light frost is still possible or in the late autumn; they require the vernalisation process to flower. The plants prefer to be grown in full sunlight, but are quite hardy and therefore tolerant to light shady conditions.

The soil type is not overly important, but it should be well drained, and ideally (though not essentially) have a pH of 5.5 to 7. When starting Arabis off from seed indoors, the seeds should be given six to eight weeks before planning to plant out in peat pots. They should be pricked out in the Early Spring.

Caring for Arabis

Arabis are very easy to look after and the plant should be deadheaded following flowering to prevent self fertilization and to maintain a neat appearance.

A member of the Arabis family; the annual Arabidopsis thaliana, is one of the most used plants in biological research; it is a model species, with five chromosomes and has been fully sequenced. Research onto the plant has led to a great increase in the understanding of how plants function.

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