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Rockcresses are trailing perennials that usually burst into glorious bloom in late April and May. Plants originally came from Greece and Sicily. The genus is named in honor of Claude Aubriet, a French botanical artist of the 1700s.

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Description of rockcress: Rockcresses are creeping and trailing plants with small and simple leaves covered with tiny hairs. They bear a wealth of 4-petaled flowers, each about 3/4-inch wide and typically in blues, lilacs, and purples. Plant height is between 4 and 6 inches. The leaves are evergreen when given snow cover, but turn brown without. Rockcress ease of care: Easy.

How to grow rockcress: Rockcresses prefer good soil with perfect drainage and a location in full sun. They will also do well in some shade and a very lean soil mix with a great deal of sand. After blooming is finished, they can be cut back.

Propagating rockcress: By division, by seed, or by cuttings.

Uses for rockcress: Rockcresses are great for rock gardens, where they form large carpets of bloom. They can also be planted in pockets of stone walls and do well in trough gardens. In addition, they are fine for the edging of borders.

Rockcress related varieties: 'Purple Gem' bears purple flowers on 6-inch stems; 'Bengel' produces larger-than-average flowers in rose, lilac, and deep red; 'Dr. Mules' is an old garden favorite with violet-purple flowers, 'Novalis Blue Hybrid' is a new cultivar with a mid-blue color that comes from seed.

Scientific name for rockcress: Aubrieta deltoidea

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