About Purple Rockcress: Because of its Mediterranean heritage, Rockcress thrives in dry, rocky areas and can be found springing up in crevices, between stones, or on cliff faces. It can grow quite well in almost no soil. This plant originally comes from Greece and Sicily, with its Latin name “aubrieta” being a tribute to Claude Aubriet, a French court artist from the 1700s who specialized in botanical illustration.
Purple Rockcress Germination: In late fall or early spring, sow the seeds on the surface of the soil; do not cover them, since they need light to germinate. Keep the soil lightly moist until germination, which should take place within 10-14 days. To start the seed indoors, sow it on the surface of a flat about 6 weeks before the last spring frost; keep it lightly moist and at a temperature of 60-65 degrees F until germination. Transplant or thin the seedlings to 12-15” apart. This plant prefers full sun and very well drained soil, though it tolerates partial shade.
Growing Purple Rockcress Seeds: Seedlings should be watered regularly for the healthiest growth, though established plants prefer dry soil and only need water in the driest weather. A layer of light gravel may help keep the soil well drained. Too much moisture, humidity, or heat will damage the plant. When grown from seed, these plants will bloom in their second season. After the plants finish flowering, prune them back to half their size for tidy, compact new growth. Avoid pruning them in late fall or spring, since this can prevent blooming. Mature plants can be divided after 2-3 years of growth. Because of its hardy, low growth and cascading habit, this plant makes a good choice for rock gardens, walls, or between paving stones. Deer avoid this plant.
Harvesting Purple Rockcress: This flower is best displayed outdoors, since it is unsuitable as a cut flower.
Saving Purple Rockcress Seeds: Watch the developing seed heads carefully, looking for the mature dark color of the seed. Remove the heads individually when ripe, or shake the entire plant over a container to gather the seed.
Detailed Purple Rockcress Info: Origin: Mediterranean Other Common Names: Lilacbush, Rock Cress Duration: Perennial Bloom Time: Spring-Early Summer Height: 4-6 inches Spacing: 18-24 inches Light: Full Sun to Part Shade Soil Moisture: Medium USDA Zone: 4a-9b Seeds Per Oz: 68,000 Produces a low-growing mat of downy green foliage, covered by four-petaled ˝-1” flowers of bright pinkish purple.