With an average size of 10 cm, the blue pillows have an overhanging habit and therefore form the coveted flower carpets. During the flowering period, the many small cruciforms almost completely cover the green foliage. They are also a paradise for insects such as butterflies and bees. Blue pillows are among the classics among the upholstered perennials, because they require little care and still appear for many years. Even outside of their flowering season in spring from March to May, they beautify their surroundings with their evergreen leaf rosettes. Careful pruning after the spring bloom will encourage the blue pillow, with a bit of luck, to bloom a second time in late summer.


Originally at home in the Mediterranean and Western Asia, they also feel at home in Germany as long as they are planted in a sunny place. In addition to the blue coloration, which can often be admired, different types also offer color variants in white, red and purple tones.

Risk of confusion with the star-haired blue pillow

The blue pillow, also known as Aubrieta, which is so popular in the local regions, belongs to the genus of rock florets, which includes a total of 15 species, the names of which are likely to be confused. This includes, for example, the star-haired blue pillow, which by far does not develop the luxuriant bloom like the Greek blue pillow (Aubrieta deltoidea). This herbaceous plant reaches a height of 5 to 20 centimeters, is multi-stemmed and also functions as a ground cover. The inflorescence usually develops only loosely and does not thrive so densely that the foliage would be covered.

Sunny location in rock gardens 

Since blue pillows are very popular when planting rock gardens, the prospect of splendid growth is excellent if the seedlings are planted in a sunny to partially shaded location. Ideally, the distance between the plants is half the growth size. Incidentally, it is not absolutely necessary to plant the blue pillows in spring; this is still possible even in late summer. The soil should be as dry to moderately moist as possible, but never completely soaked. Thanks to the gravel bed in a rock garden, these conditions are in principle already guaranteed without any further preparation. In addition, the soil should be rich in nutrients and somewhat calcareous. If you want a change in color, you can plant other upholstered perennials,

Blue pillows not only beautify rock gardens
Sober-looking walls and steps can be turned into eye-catchers with the help of blue cushions. In this way, attractive splashes of color can also be added at these points in the garden, which further enhance the harmonious overall impression of the garden. The soil is optimally prepared when it is dug up to a depth of 40 cm to 60 cm in order to enrich the topsoil with humus or sand. In this way, the blue pillow will grow safely and will have enough strength in winter to withstand the freezing temperatures. So that blue pillows quickly gain a foothold on a natural wall, sowing with seeds is advisable in this case instead of using cuttings. These should be covered with a fleece to protect them from birds until the plants have developed. It is important to pay attention to a well-dosed dose of water. Cuttings can also be used if they are to color around the steps or to border flower beds. In the event that the soil is too heavy, it should be loosened up with the help of compost or sand. It is important that the blue pillow has a permeable soil so that the plant can develop optimally. If the soil has become too hard due to heavy rainfall, a little mulch can help loosen the soil.

Planting and care

So that blue pillows can form the desired dense carpet of flowers, the plants must not be planted too close or too far apart. 9 to 12 plants per square meter are optimal. Although blue pillows require little maintenance, there are a few important premises to keep in mind:

  • the plants need a lot of sun;
  • Insert cuttings together with the potting soil;
  • Protect sown seeds with fleece in spring;
  • they can tolerate dryness but not wetness;
  • the soil must be permeable;
  • normal to alkaline garden soil is ideal;
  • if necessary, loosen hard soil with mulch and sand;
  • Fertilization is not necessary, if necessary sprinkle some compost;
  • cut down in half after flowering;
  • Cutting down animates possibly second bloom in early autumn;
  • Blue pillows are hardy and do not require frost protection.


Although the perennial naturally forms an increasingly large carpet cushion due to its runners, additional propagation is also possible. Propagation by sowing pure varieties should take place in spring if possible, either outdoors or, even better, in a greenhouse. Propagation by cuttings is ideally done when pruning after flowering. Since this is not a natural type of propagation, this process requires some effort. The cuttings are placed in a substrate of moist sand or peat that should not be too loose and not too nutritious. Otherwise, leaf growth is promoted rather than the desired root growth. This substrate must not dry out, nor should it be kept too wet. With a constant heat of 20 ° to 25 ° Celsius, the roots develop particularly quickly. This process is promoted when the air contains as much moisture as possible. This can be achieved very easily with an air-permeable plastic film that is placed over the cuttings. Once the cutting has developed enough roots, it is planted in its own pot until it is time to use it for its actual purpose outdoors. The transition to the open should not happen suddenly, but should be carried out gradually. The cuttings may initially spend some time in the garage or garden shed before they are planted outdoors. The increase of blue pillows by division is basically possible. However, the roots of this perennial are so small, if not filigree,

Easily produce your own substrate

If you want to make sure that the dense, radiant carpet of flowers actually develops from the blue cushions, you should pay attention to the substrate. Substrate is the basis for a healthy plant, because this is where its roots develop. Blue pillows need a potting soil that is particularly airy, which means that on the one hand it can store water and on the other hand it drains away too much liquid. At the same time, the plant receives the nutrients it needs here. These are salts that are dissolved by the irrigation water and thus absorbed by the roots. You can also make the ideal substrate for blue pillows yourself. For this you need:

  • normal garden soil
  • Fillers
  • well-rotted compost

Most substrates available on the market contain peat as a filler. However, this has the disadvantage that it almost always contains mold spores and allows water to roll off rather than absorb it. Coconut substrates or sand are better suited as fillers. In addition, the inexpensive expanded clay, which is also used in construction as a leveling compound, is ideally suited. Now the components of garden soil, filler and compost are mixed well 1/3 each and the individual substrate is ready for use. Even if this substrate is composed extremely airy, a drainage layer should not be dispensed with if it is used as potting soil in pots or flower boxes.

Creative planting for pots and flower boxes

Since the lush blue pillows hardly need any care, they are not only suitable as planting for rock gardens or natural walls, but are also attractively presented in planters. For example, around a daisy trunk, a fuchsia trunk or a geranium trunk, they make a beautiful picture full of blossoms. A flower box with standing geraniums looks much more colorful and opulent when blue cushions grow down its edges. Since these are also hardy, the flower boxes embellish the windows with their green leaves even after the geraniums have long faded. Incidentally, blue pillows are very popular in grave maintenance as a ground cover. During the heyday, the tomb gives off a neat and colorful appearance. During the winter, the perennial is carefully covered with fir branches, which protects the blue pillow plants and still receives enough air and water. When spring approaches the first flowering period and a few pansies are planted, the dreariness of winter is quickly forgotten.

Pests and diseases hardly stand a chance

As small as the individual blue pillow plant may appear, it is just as resistant to pests and diseases. However, it can happen that the gray moldstrikes. This is a noble rot fungus that can also cause great damage to strawberries and grapes. A total of 235 host plants are on his menu, including the blue pillow shrub. Gray mold acts like a suicide program that lets the plant cells perish. If the gray mold infestation is discovered in good time and all infected parts of the plant are removed, the chances are good that no major damage will result. If this measure is not sufficient, various chemical pesticides are available in specialist shops that effectively remove gray mold. To prevent re-infestation, the most important requirement is to reduce the moisture. Since blue pillows hardly need any water anyway, gray mold infestation is an indication that

The second danger that blue pillow perennials threaten are the well-known and feared snails. This danger can be effectively prevented if the ground is raked vigorously shortly before the frost period so that the snails cannot nest and crawl here over the winter. Since blue pillows love the sun, but snails don’t, the sunny location of the perennial is a good protection against pests. In addition, the perennials should only be watered in the morning if possible, because the snails usually only move out at night and prefer moist environments. The snail paste, which keeps these voracious animals away from the rock garden, from the tubs and the flower boxes, is also helpful. Experts are increasingly advising against the often vaunted beer trap. It is an invitation to all the snails in the neighborhood to come here.

The lush cushions of flowers that conjure up the blue pillow in rock gardens, on walls and in beds are the harbingers of the most beautiful time of the year every year. As early as March, the blue pillows drive away the dreariness of winter and pave the way for spring. They are extremely frugal and easy to care for, require no fertilizer and only a little water. Nevertheless, they delight the gardener for many years with their blaze of color.

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