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Arabis, alpine rock-cress, like a basket of silver in spring

An arabis alpina shrub in full bloom covered in small white flowers.

Arabis is a simply beautiful herbaceous plant that blooms for a long time in spring, thus offering delicate white flowers.

Arabis facts, a summary

NameArabis alpina
Family – Brassicaceaa or Cruciferae
Type – perennial

Height – 12 inches (30 cm)
Exposure – full sun
Soil – light, well-drained

Foliage – evergreen
Flowering – April to June

Caring for it is easy and the ornamental properties of this plant make it perfect as ground cover, for rock ground or along edges.

Planting and sowing arabis

Young arabis flower shrubArabis loves well drained soil types and grows very well in sandy soil.

It likes very sunny spots but tolerates light shade.

How to plant an arabis

Planting arabis is best either in spring or fall.

Remember to water regularly at the beginning if you’re planting in spring and even more so in summer.

  • Propagate by transferring young plants that appear along the runners.

Sowing arabis

The sowing of Arabis is best performed in spring.

Sow in a sheltered place while avoiding direct sun.

Caring for arabis

Arabis makes for very easy growing and care. Simply checking back its growth from time to time is generally enough to avoid it spreading too far.

Remove wilted flowers regularly if you wish but this step isn’t really necessary.

Since the foliage is evergreen, it isn’t very useful to cut it back after the blooming.

Pests and diseases on arabis

As regards pests, you might encounter that nightmare of vegetable patch growers, the cabbage caterpillar. However, on your arabis, it won’t do much else than munch on leaves.

All there is to know about the arabis

arabis flowerThe name “Arabis” was coined by the botanist Carl Von Linne. He saw the match between the desert sand of Arabia and the sand in which this plant thrived so well.

This plant will be particularly appealing along the edges of a flower bed, in a garden box, and also in rocky ground and atop a dirt mound.

It receives the gleeful visits of our friends the bees and is advantageously paired with bellflower and Aubretia.

Just like Iberis, it is sometimes called “silver basket” for its abundant white blooming.

Smart tip about arabis

Alpine rock-cress doesn’t need any watering in summer… this scores points for saving water and for our planet, too!

If you pick a cluster of flowers and rest it in a glass of water, it will hold for up to a week.

Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Large arabis shrub by Col & Tasha Ford & de Vere ★ under © CC BY 2.0
Young arabis clump by Andrey Zharkikh ★ under © CC BY 2.0
Arabis cut flower vase by Carl F. Bagge ★ under © CC BY 2.0

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