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More Information About Arabis

The genus name Arabis refers to the Arabian penninsula where some species of this small plant are found. Arabis contains 70 species of annual, biennial or perennial plants native throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere and into eastern Africa. Until 2006, Arabis had many more species, but recent genetic analysis led taxonomists to move many into the genus Boechera. Arabis is a brassica, which means it is related to several food crops such as canola, cabbage, broccoli and mustard. It is also related to the genus Nasturtium and to the similarly named genus Arabidopsis...the "lab rat" genus of plant science.

Arabis flowers bloom in spring, come in a variety of colors (white, pink, rose), attract butterflies and, in some species, are fragrant. Although short-lived, arabis species spread quickly and re-seed in the garden. They make great groundcover plants for dry slopes and rocky sites.

In the wild, arabis species live in a variety of climates but tend to prefer full sun and neutral, well-drained soil. Wild arabis species are frequently seen growing in well-drained sites such as rocky outcrops, stream banks, mountainous terrain or in the loose, deep soils of prairies and meadows. Some are also salt tolerant plants. We grow our arabis specimens in our rock garden to duplicate these well-drained natural conditions. Although established arabis plants are drought-tolerant, they perform best with regular watering. When you are ready to buy arabis for your garden, check out our online list of arabis for sale.