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Arabis

Rockcress
Brassicaceae (Cruciferae)
Ground covers, Perennials

Low-growing, spreading plants ideal for edgings, rock gardens, groundcovers, and pattern plantings. All have attractive year-round foliage and clusters of small white, pink, or rose-purple flowers in spring. Give good drainage.

Arabis alpina

Native to high elevations of Europe. Low, tufted, rough-hairy plant to 4–10 in. high and 2 ft. wide. White flowers appear in dense, short clusters. ‘Rosea’ bears pink flowers; ‘Variegata’ has yellow-edged green leaves. Plants sold as A. alpina are often really A. caucasica.

Arabis caucasica (photo courtesy of David Cavagnaro)
Arabis caucasica (photo courtesy of David Cavagnaro)

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Arabis caucasica

Native from the Mediterranean to Iran. This dependable old favorite forms a mat of leaves to 6 in. high and 1 1/2 ft. wide. White flowers almost cover the plant during the bloom season. There are also pink and variegated forms. Excellent groundcover and base planting for spring-flowering bulbs. Provide some shade in hot climates.

Arabis x sturii

Dense, fist-size cushions of small, bright green leaves eventually grow into small mats bearing clusters of white flowers on 2–3-in. stems. Some consider it among the finest rock garden plants.

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