The scientific name is Aubrieta. Often referred to as Aubrieta hybrids, since it is usually the result of uncontrolled crossbreeding. The plants belong to the cruciferous family, which in turn are known scientifically as Brassicaceae or Cruciferae. In Germany the name “blue pillow” has become common because most variants of this plant are actually characterized by their appearance, which is marked by blue flowers and covers the entire area, resembling a carpet or pillow. Further names are bluecissus or bluecress. Although there are variants of other colors, it is always referred to as the blue pillow.
A look at the Aubrieta reveals a low and creeping cushion perennial, which is particularly attractive because of its evergreen characteristic. At the same time, it is at a very attractive low height at the bottom of the ground, reaching a maximum height of 15 centimeters.
Aubrieta has small and ovate to spatulate leaves that reach approximately up to three centimeters in length. The light green leaves are hairy and some species also have a coarsely toothed edge to the leaf.
In spring and mostly in the months of April and May, the charming four-petaled flowers of the Aubrieta appear. Even though Aubrieta needs some time at the beginning to adapt to its environment, subsequently in these spring months the cascades of flowers become a beautiful attraction that draws everyone’s attention. The perennials are distinguished by the fact that they are covered with a very large variety of small flowers. Most variants of the “blue pillow” live up to the name in different shades of blue. However, there are also plants that present themselves with flowers in purple, red or pink shades, and sometimes you can meet plants with a white or yellow flower edge.
After the flowering period, the fruits of the Aubrieta develop from the ovary. Aubrieta hybrids then develop ovoid to roundish and sessile pods with often compressed fruit valves. The many unwinged and flat seeds usually arrange themselves in two rows.
As a wild-growing plant, Aubrieta is mainly found in the Mediterranean region and the Balkan states, as well as in the Near East. The optimal climate there provides the best space for about 15 different species of Aubrieta. The ideal place for the plant is a partially shaded or fully sunny position, where it can grow on dry or slightly moist soil. This should be taken into account if you want to make your garden more attractive with this beautiful plant.
The fact that the wild-growing plants of the blue pondweed grow best even on gravel or in the crevices of rocks, makes it a plant that is ideally suited to beautify rock gardens or to cover even larger stone joints as attractively as possible. The rapid spread of this low plant quickly results in a beautiful carpet that can easily turn any garden into a true paradise. In the spring months, the flowers not only please the eye, but also serve as an optimal target for bees and other insects with their nectar.
Aubrieta hybrids require the already mentioned full sun or at least partial shade in the garden with a dry to somewhat moist soil. Optimal is a calcareous and also nutrient-rich soil, which should also be so permeable that water can always drain off optimally and the soil around the plant never gets too wet. Especially sandy loam is recommended as a perfect substrate.
For the first time the plant of the Aubrieta is spoken of around the year 1700, when it was discovered on the Greek island of Crete. However, it took until the middle of the 19th century for it to make a name for itself as a garden plant, and today it is hard to imagine a rock garden without it.