Rock cress is a ground cover for small areas. It works well in rock gardens, along retaining walls and as an edging plant.
This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.
All Common Names:
Tree or Plant Type:
- Ground cover,
- Small plant (6-12 inches)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7
- Acid soil,
- Alkaline soil,
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Dry sites,
- Occasional drought,
- Alkaline soil
Season of Interest:
- Early spring
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
Size and Method of spreading
Rock cress grows 6 to 12 inches high. It is a trailing-rooting ground cover.
Trailing-rooting ground covers have trailing stems that spread out from a central root system. These stems spread out horizontally over the ground and can root where they come in contact with the soil. New shoots will be formed at the point where rooting occurs.
Rock cress need full sun and a well-drained soil. Soil can be slightly acidic to alkaline This plant is drought tolerant and wet soils must be avoided. After flowering, shearing the plants will encourage them to remain neat and compact.
Disease, pests, and problems
Root and crown rot can be a problem in wet soils.
Aphids and fungal leaf spots are occasional problems.
Disease, pest, and problem resistance
Resistant to deer.
Native geographic location and habitat
Native to the Mediterranean.
The leaves that grow from the base of the plant are obovate and tend to lie flat. The leaves on the stems are borne alternately and are lobed. All the leaves have some whitish hairs.
The white flowers are produced in early spring in loose clusters. Each flower has 4 petals and this is typical of the mustard family. The flowers are fragrant.
Fruit are thin, pod-like silicles; not ornamentally important.
Cultivars and their differences
Snow Cap rock cress (Arabis caucasica 'Snow Cap'): Flowers more heavily than the species.