Arabis – what kind of plant is it?
Arabis, also known as rock cress is a perennial plant from the mustard family (Brassicaceae). One of its most popular variants, Arabis caucasica comes from the Caucasus, just as the name suggests. It also appears in Mediterranean Sea regions.
Arabis is characteristic mostly for its small size – it usually reaches no more than 30 centimeters in height. What’s more, it also develops rich blossom. The mentioned short stems get covered with a lot of tiny flowers. There are so many of them that the plant appears to have almost no leaves.
Mountain rock cress – varieties you should know
Depending on the region, there are various types of rock cress. The most popular cultivars known in the world include:
- Snow Fix – an exceptionally short arabis variety which grows no taller than 15 cm,
- Variegata – a type with delicate white edges on the leaves,
- Little Treasure Deep Rose – it develops flowers of a bright pink color,
- Pinkie – arabis with beautiful flowers in an intense shade of pink,
- Pixie Cream – a cultivar of very delicate cream flowers.
When does arabis bloom?
Arabis alpina, caucasica and other varieties bloom in early spring. One can notice first flowers in March. They typically last until the end of April, although the bloom time might prolong until May, if the conditions are suitable.
Interestingly enough, arabis can bloom again in a single year. Flowers sometimes reappear in September.
What is the best soil for rock cress?
The best soil for arabis is moderately rich and moist. Calcareous soils that aren’t too dense are a good option as well.
What’s important, the soil for arabis should be permeable. If it’s not, make sure to take care of proper drainage. Otherwise, the root system might rot, or other fungal diseases might develop.
What is the best location for arabis plants?
Rock cress grows and blooms best in full sun. Direct sun exposure is not a problem for this plant. It won’t grow as well in shadow and half-shade, and it’s blooming might be weaker in such places.
How to care for arabis?
Regular watering is the essential part of arabis plant care. Although rock cress dislikes standing water in its soil, drought is equally unpleasant for it. For this reason, make sure to water the plant every day.
Keeping the proper pH level in the soil and fertilizing are important as well. Rock cress prefers calcium-rich fertilizers. Thanks to them, the soil’s acidity decreases, reaching an appropriate pH.
In what arrangements can you use arabis?
Mountain rock cress is a low-growing plant, which makes it look perfect with other short perennials. Rock gardens are ideal locations for this species.
When planting arabis in flower beds in your yard, make sure other plants don’t overwhelm it. Phlox are a perfect addition to this species. A combination of arabis and aubrieta is also a good option.
What are the common diseases and pests of arabis
Diseases caused by fungi are the biggest threat to arabis plants. They are typically a result of too much moisture in the soil and water standing in it for too long. Arabis might get attacked by grey mold. In this case, chemical products are the only way to protect the plant from the disease.
As for pests, rock cress is quite vulnerable to them. Here’s the list of creatures potentially harmful to arabis plants:
Can you avoid pests somehow? The best solution for arabis is prevention. You can spray the plant using a mixture of water with vinegar or a few drops of dish soap. Some people also use baking soda.
How much does arabis cost?
Arabis is not an expensive plant. Prices for a seedling vary depending on the variety you pick. Prepare for an expense of $7-$10 per one plant. Plant nurseries might offer better prices if you buy in bulk.
📍 What does arabis look like?
Arabis plant is one of the most popular perennials. It is quite small and blooms intensely. Usually it grows no taller than 20-30 cm. The flowers can be white, cream, pink, or purple – depending on the variety. It's a perfect plant for a rock garden.
📍 When does rock cress bloom?
Arabis blooms in early spring between March and April, and the flowers sometimes last until May, in good conditions. With proper care, the plant might bloom again in September.
📍 What are the colors of arabis plants?
Rock cress varieties have different colors. White and delicate pink plants are the most popular. Flowers of a strong pink or purple shades are rare.
📍 Where to plant arabis?
Arabis grows best in full sun and relatively rich alkaline soil. It can grow in half shade as well, but in this case it develops fewer flowers. Planting rock cress next to other short plants, e.g., phlox is a good idea, too.