by Jennifer Poindexter
My neighbors, across the street, have a beautiful ground cover around certain spaces in their yard. Though our homes are acres apart, I can see this plant’s vibrant colors from my kitchen window.
The plant that lights up their yard is called aubrieta. Do you need a groundcover to light up dull spaces in your yard?
Don’t overlook this plant. It’s easy to grow, and even if you’re unfamiliar with it, you’re in the right place. I’ll fill you in on all you must know to grow aubrieta around your home.
Here’s everything you should know to grow aubrieta in barren locations around your home or garden.
Growing Conditions for Aubrieta
Aubrieta is a low-maintenance plant that doesn’t need much in a growing location. This plant has small, purple blooms which are surrounded by delicate leaves. It blooms in the earliest part of spring each year.
As mentioned above, this plant is a wonderful groundcover. Yet, it can also be grown in containers, be used as a border plant, or incorporated into a rock garden.
The only thing aubrieta needs from you in its growing area is full sun and well-draining soil. The soil doesn’t need to be nutrient dense as this plant does well in lower quality or even rocky soil.
However, it’s vital that water can reach the roots of the plant and quickly flow away to avoid disease. Aubrieta should be planted where it will receive a minimum of six hours of sunlight.
It will also need some space as aubrieta can spread up to two feet around. Don’t worry, as the plant isn’t known for being invasive.
If you live in planting zones four through eight, you can grow this perennial groundcover with ease. Now that you know where this plant can grow, let’s discuss how to grow it.
How to Plant Aubrieta
Planting aubrieta is a simple task. You can grow the plant from seed either by starting them indoors or by directly sowing the seeds into the growing location. I’ll explain both methods.
To start the seeds indoors, ensure you start two months prior to the start of spring. Fill a growing tray with well-draining soil.
Place two seeds per cell of the tray. This is to ensure if one seed fails to germinate, you have another to take its place.
Lightly cover the seeds with soil and mist them using a spray bottle filled with water. This is to ensure the seeds receive moisture without becoming oversaturated.
Cover the seed tray with plastic wrap to help the soil retain moisture and place the tray in a warm location. Spritz the seeds with water to ensure the soil never fully dries out.
The seeds should germinate within two weeks. Once they’ve sprouted, move them under a grow light and continue to care for the seedlings.
When they’ve developed true leaves and a strong root system, it’s time to transplant the seedlings outdoors after they’ve gone through the hardening off process.
If you’d rather plant the seeds directly into the ground, begin by planting in a location that receives full sun and has well-draining soil in early spring.
From there, till the soil approximately six inches beneath the surface. Cast the seeds over the tilled dirt and lightly cover them.
Water them adequately and wait a couple of weeks for the seeds to germinate. Once the plants sprout, thin them to where there’s approximately one foot of space between each plant.
When you plant aubrieta, don’t worry if it doesn’t bloom the first year. This is common and, in most cases, it won’t bloom until the second year.
These are a couple of different ways you can begin growing aubrieta around your home. Pick the method you’re most comfortable with and add this gorgeous flower to your landscape.
Caring for Aubrieta
There are a few things you must do to properly care for aubrieta when growing it around your home. The first thing you must consider is watering the plant.
Though aubrieta is drought tolerant, it’s still a good idea to water it regularly. I prefer using the deep watering method as this encourages the plant to develop a stronger root system.
The idea is to water the plant fewer days of the week but for a longer period of time. This way, during the initial watering session, water reaches the roots of the plant while the ground around the plant becomes saturated as well.
As the days progress, the plant will begin to seek out water around it. In the process, the roots must dig deeper to find the water and will form a stronger root system. This typically equates to a healthier plant.
Be sure to test the soil prior to applying more water. Insert your finger into the dirt next to the plant. If it’s dry to your first knuckle, it’s time to apply more water. If not, wait a day or two before testing the soil again.
Remember, though aubrieta grows in full sun, it also blooms in early spring. Therefore, it enjoys growing in a cool, damp climate. Avoid letting the plant become too dry in between watering sessions.
The next step to caring for aubrieta is to keep the weeds down. Though aubrieta will spread and eventually hold its own, it’s vital to keep weeds from choking the plant out in its earliest stages.
Therefore, you can hand pick the weeds or apply mulch around the plant. Not only will this keep the weeds out of your aubrieta, but it will also help the soil retain moisture.
The one thing you won’t need to do when growing aubrieta is fertilize. This flower isn’t particular about its nutrients or soil, so be sure to skip this step when caring for this plant.
Yet, aubrieta does enjoy a good pruning. Once the plant has finished blooming, cut it back. This will keep your aubrieta plants neat in appearance and also more compact.
Every two years, it’s wise to divide your plants. Dig them up, use a spade to divide the plant all the way through its roots, and then transplant into a new location.
This will keep the plants looking younger and more vibrant. These are the only steps you must take when caring for aubrieta.
Garden Pests and Diseases Which Might Impact Aubrieta
Almost every plant has a few enemies in the garden. Aubrieta is no exception. The most common pests to attack aubrieta are aphids and flea beetles. Both of which can be treated using an insecticide.
However, you must stay alert to ensure the pests are treated before a large infestation takes over and risks the health of your plant.
The only diseases which commonly impact aubrieta are fungal issues. The most common of which is powdery mildew.
Fungal issues may be treated using a fungicide. However, you can stay ahead of them by ensuring you don’t plant aubrieta where it doesn’t receive enough sunlight and the soil doesn’t drain properly. This creates the perfect breeding ground for fungal disease as they like to grow in cold, wet soil.
You should also ensure you plant with enough distance between each aubrieta plant. This will ensure air can flow between the plants and allow the foliage to dry completely after watering.
Stay alert to these potential issues and you should be able to avoid these pests and diseases. At the very least, you should be able to catch the problems early enough to give your plants what they need to bounce back quickly.
Growing aubrieta can be an easy and rewarding investment into your landscape. Though this plant doesn’t require much from you, it can certainly provide a brilliant show of color in the spring.
If you’re interested in adding color to your home or garden without adding lots of extra work to your plate, aubrieta could be the flower for you.