Aubrieta or Lilacbush – planting, care and tips


Lilacbush cover sunny rock gardens and dry stone walls with a lush bloom of flowers. How to care for the vigorous upholstery perennials properly.

Profile of lilacbush:

Scientific name: Aubrieta

Plant family: crucifers, cabbage or mustard family (Brassicaceae)

Other names: Aubrieta, purple rock cress, rainbow rock cress

Sowing time: Spring

Planting time: Spring

Flowering period: April to May

Location: sunny

Soil quality: sandy to loamy, calcipholous, nutrient rich

These information are for temperate climate!

Use in: ground cover, embankments, group planting, dry stone walls, flower garden, rock garden

Winter hardiness: hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: ?

Bee and insect friendly: yes

Plant characteristics and classification of Aubrieta

Plant order, origin and occurrence of Aubrieta

When talking about Aubrieta, the so-called Aubrieta hybrids are usually meant. The popular garden varierties originated from uncontrolled crossings and are very popular among hobby gardeners as blooming polster perennials. Botanically, Aubrieta belong to the mustard family (Brassicaceae) and were first discovered and described in Crete around 1700. The flower became a garden plant in the mid-19th century when rock gardens came into fashion. There are around a dozen species and old varieties of the abundantly flowering perennial, some of which are even commercially available. Newer varieties are particularly large-flowered and partly filled, but not nearly as vigorous as old Aubrieta varieties.

Characteristics of Aubrieta


Lilacbush are low, creeping and evergreen polster perennials that reach a maximum of 15 centimeters (6 in).


The leaves are small, hairy and ovate to spatulate. They grow to be about 3 centimeters (1.2 in) long and are light green. Some varieties have a roughly serrated leaf margin.


Lilacbush bloom from April to May. Depending on the variety, they are presented in different shades of blue, violet, pink or red. The perennials are then completely covered with countless small flowers.


The fruits of the Aubrieta hybrids are unstalked, egg-shaped pods with numerous flat and wingless seeds.


Aubrieta – cultivation and care


Aubrieta hybrids prefer a full sun in the garden.


The soil should be moderately dry to fresh, well-drained, calcareous and nutritious. Lilacbush thrive particularly well on sandy loam.


Planting time for blue pillows is in spring. If you want to plant several perennials side by side, you should keep a planting distance of half a growth width. A gravel bed as a subsurface ensures a permeable soil and the necessary drainage. Possible combination partners for blue pillows are rockcress (Arabis), candytuft (Iberis), moss phlox (Phlox subulata), soapwort (Saponaria), bearded iris (Iris barbata) and spurge (Euphorbia).

Care / Watering / Fertilization

It is particularly important to water the plants by hand in long drought. So that the flowers remain tight and appealing, you should prune Aubrieta every year after flowering. Use fertilizer very sparingly, because it reduces the hardiness. If the plants start to bald from the inside, it helps to sprinkle in some humus rich substrate mixed with sand.


Propagation is possible by cuttings and division. Pure species can also be propagated by sowing. Dividing is not easy with the Aubrieta, because the few roots cannot supply the lush leaf mass permanently. With increasing temperatures, most sections dry up in summer if the plants are not properly prepared for division.

This is how you get well-rooted cuttings for propagation

In spring or summer, sprinkle some loose humus soil over the outer new shoots of the plant without bury the leaves. Then keep the soil constantly moist, but not excessively wet. Over the next few weeks, the shoots will have numerous roots of their own.

With a hand shovel you can cut off the offshoots in late summer. Take the plants together with the soil out of the ground so that the roots remain protected. Re-plant the cuttings immediately at the intended location and then water them thoroughly. If it is very hot, shading is recommended in the first few weeks, or you can continue to cultivate the cuttings in a shady place in pots and only plant them in the garden in autumn. The following winter, cover the young plants with brushwood as a precaution. Next spring, the new plants will sprout powerfully and ensure a blue-violet bloom.

Diseases and pests

The occurrence of diseases or pests is not known for Aubrieta.


Lilacbush is hardy. No winter measures must be taken.

Use in the garden

In nature, Aubrieta grows in crevices and on coarse gravel. It is therefore perfectly suitable for greening all year round wall copes or larger joints in rock gardens. There it spreads quickly, covers larger areas and creates magnificent eye-catcher. The plant is also ideal for bordering ways and thrives easily in pots or bucktes. In addition, lilacbush serve bees and other insects as valuable nectar plants.


Contrary to what the name suggests, blue pillows are not only available in different shades of blue, but also in white, pink or crimson versions. In addition, filled varieties or those with a yellow or white flower edge are available. Proven varieties include:

Blue-violet varieties (there is no pure blue in the varieties):

  • ‘Blue Emperor’: blue violet; blooming early; about 10 centimeters (4 in) high
  • ‘Dr. Mules ’: blue violet; blooming medium early; historical variety that was introduced in 1895
  • ‘Newbie’; light blue-violet; early blooming; large-flowered
  • ‘Bluetit’: dense polster; medium blue flowers; large-flowered
  • ‘Tauricola’: blooming violet; compact; Height about 5 centimeters (2 in); Introduced in 1889

Pink to red flowers:

  • ‘Bordeaux’: burgundy; Height of growth up to 10 centimeters (4 in)
  • ‘Bressingham Pink’: pink flowers; filled
  • ‘Red Carpet’: bright deep red
  • ‘Rose Garden’: colored intensely pink
  • ‘Little Red Riding Hood’: crimson flowers

White varieties:

  • ‘Winterberg (winter mountain)’: dense polster formation; flowers pure white and double

Seedling varieties:

  • ‘Cascade’: flowers in violet, purple and red
  • ‘Novalis Blue’: medium blue; very large-flowered; simple
  • ‘Royal Red’: strong carmine red

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