Draba Plant Growing & Care Guide for Gardeners

In this Gardener's HQ guide, we'll explore cultivating Draba plants in your garden, indoor spaces, and other settings.

Whitlow Grass, Drabas: Cultivation & Garden Use

Members of the Draba plant genus are small hardy perennials.

They bloom in the early spring, with star like flowers of yellow, pink, white, or purple.

As they are small plants (ranging in size from 3 to 20 cm (1 to 7 inches)) they are ideal for use in rock gardens.

The common name for members of the Draba plant genus is the Whitlow grass.

Draba paysonii
Draba paysonii by brewbooks.

Draba Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Whitlow Grass, Whitlowgrass, Draba
Life Cycle: Hardy perennial. Hardy Biennial.
Height: 1 to 8 inches (2 to 20 cm).
Native: Europe, Northern America, North Africa, Asia.
Family: Brassicaceae / Cruciferae.
Growing Region: Zones 3 to 8.
Flowers: Early spring.
Flower Details: white, purple, pink, yellow. Stars. Clustered.
Foliage: Hairy. Oval.
Sow Outside: Cover seed. Following the last frost. Spacing 3 to 4 inches (7 to 10 cm).
Sow Inside: Germination time of Draba: one to three months. Temperature: 60 to 70°F (16 to 21°C). Some species may require that the seeds are first stratified in the fridge for a month. Nine or ten weeks in advance. Transplant outdoors following the last frost.
Requirements and care: Best results in full sunlight; can grow in light shade. Acidic soil with mixed in lime. Sandy or gritty soil. Autumn mulch in cold areas. Propagate: by dividing in the spring.

How to Grow Whitlow grass (Draba)

If you plan to sow Whitlow grass seeds outdoors, then this should be done after the last frost of spring.

Simply cover the seeds once sown. Whitlow grass likes to grow in a sunny part of the garden, but is fine in slightly shaded areas too. It prefers a soil that is sandy and not too acidic.

If you first plan to grow Draba indoors, for later transplantation, then the seeds take from one to three months to germinate. Germination occurs at a temperature of 15 to 20 degrees Centigrade (59 to 68°F).

The Whitlow grass growing process should start about ten weeks before transplanting out, following the last frost of spring.

Caring for Whitlow Grass and other Draba Plants in the Garden

Whitlow grass should be spaced at about 10 cm (4 inches) apart, ideally into a rock garden.

As these plants do not like water from above, they are best grown under the protection of a rock overhang. If you require more plants they can be divided in the spring.

Common Questions

How many members does the Draba genus have?

The Draba genus consists of approximately 370 species.

Do members of Draba make a good garden or landscaping plant?

While not a typical garden plant, some species of Draba can be attractive additions to rock gardens or alpine plant collections.

Which Draba species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

Draba bruniifolia is a commonly grown species among gardeners.

Are members of the Draba plant genus fragrant?

No, Draba species are not known for their fragrance.

What is the perfect location to grow Draba?

Draba prefers a sunny location and well-drained, gritty soil, ideal for rock gardens or similar environments.

Is Draba invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Currently, Draba is not considered invasive in the USA.

How do I remove Draba plants from my garden?

Removing Draba involves uprooting the entire plant, making sure to remove all roots to prevent regrowth.


The Draba genus, often called Whitlow-grass, includes over 300 species of annual and perennial plants native to the northern hemisphere and South America. These small plants produce clusters of yellow or white flowers and are often grown in rock gardens.

Draba plants prefer full sun and well-drained soil. They are tolerant of poor soil and drought conditions and can be grown from seeds or division. Given their small size, they are best appreciated in rock gardens, alpine troughs, or along pathways where they won't be overshadowed by larger plants.

I hope that you found this guide on how to grow Draba plants in your garden. You may also enjoy my gardening guides on how to grow Broccoli, Heliophila plant, and Lunaria plants.