Goose cress also thrives where it is too barren and desolate for many plants. These plants are very undemanding and easy to care for, yet attractive all year round. Early in the year they surprise with rich flowering, and the rest with evergreen foliage. Some varieties flower a second time after pruning. Not much needs to be done to preserve the plants. They spread quickly and become more and more beautiful and bulky over the years. You can read what you need to know about care in our text.


  • Cruciferous family
  • About 120 to 140 species worldwide
  • Related to the garden cress
  • Native to the Balkans and the Carpathians
  • Annual or biennial, but mostly perennial
  • Perennial, herbaceous plant
  • cushion-forming
  • wintergreen
  • Flowers from April to May, often white or red
  • Also double flowers
  • Some breeds shine with their mottled foliage
  • 10 to 20 cm high
  • Has aerial, leafy stolons that form the cushions

Beautiful species and varieties

  • Rough goose cress, Arabis hirsuta – most common free-growing species, white flowers in June, 20 to 60 cm high, quite long flower stalks, rather modest foliage, prefers dry locations
  • Variegated white goose cress, Arabis ferdinandi-coburgii ‘Variegata’ – silvery-green variegated leaves, white flowers from April to May, about 10 cm high, very beautiful foliage, flowers rather inconspicuous
    • Variegated goose cress, Arabis ferdinandi-coburgii ‘Old Gold’ – white, inconspicuous flowers, yellow-green to gold-green, very decorative foliage, flowers from April to May, 15 to 25 cm high, likes partial shade to shade
  • Caucasus goose cress ‘Compacta Schneeball’, Arabis caucasica – extremely large number of white flowers, flowering from March to May, grey-hairy leaves, 15 to 20 cm high, likes a lot of sun, gets along quite well with drought
    • Arabis caucasica Plena – white, double flowers, grey-green leaves, 10 cm high, flower stalks up to 25 cm high, flowering May/June, be sure to cut after flowering to encourage renewed flowering
  • Arabis arendsii ‘Compinkie’ – very many pink flowers, velvety grey-green leaves, flowers at the end of March, April to May, 10 to 15 cm high, initially dense cushions, later flat and mat-shaped
  • Alpine goose cress, Arabis alpina – white flowers, upright habit, 10 to 30 cm high, flowers in July/August, long flower stalks, only for moist locations, best at the water’s edge
  • Blue goose cress, Arabis caerulea – light blue-purple to whitish flowers, strong green, almost succulent appearing leaves, flowers from July to September, 2 to 10 cm high, hairy stems, likes scree and limestone and mountainous locations
  • Weekeiner-Dowtress, Arabis vochinensis – white flowers in June and July, strong green leaves, stems and leaves hairy, 5 to 15 cm high, needs lime soil and moist substrates
  • Wrinkle-leaved goose cress, Arabis blepharophylla ‘Spring Magic’ – carmine pink to crimson flowers from April to June, deep green leaves, evergreen, only 10 cm high, likes rock layers and fresh soil
  • Arabis arendsii Hedi – bright pink flowers from April to May, grey-green leaves, many flowers, 5 to 15 cm high, likes it sunny, cut after flowering
  • Arabis suendermannii – white flowers from April to May, often second flowers in September/October, shiny green leaves, only 5 to 10 cm high, very vigorous, likes it sunny

The care of goose cress

Goose cress convinces with its many flowers, its evergreen foliage and its easy care. The plants are ideal for rock gardens, natural gardens, borders and on top of stone walls or dry stone walls. They are also suitable for vessels. Goose cress is very undemanding and fast-growing. The ground cover quickly conquered larger areas. Variegated varieties are particularly beautiful.

The location for these plants should be sunny, although partial shade is also sufficient. The plant substrate must not be too dry, not too moist and not too nutritious. On the other hand, the plants like some lime, loose, well-drained soil and sand or gravel. Planting depends on what you want to achieve. Adequate spacing should be maintained as a bed border, and goose cress should be planted more densely as ground cover. The flowering plants look very nice between low spring bloomers such as grape hyacinths, dwarf irises and crocuses.

Watering is especially important after planting. Later, the robust plants do not need as much water, but care must be taken that the soil does not dry out completely. You shouldn’t fertilize a lot. In principle, a single application of compost in the spring is sufficient. There is little to cut. Only after flowering should the plants be cut back a little. Hibernation usually runs smoothly. Only a few species that come from warmer areas should be overwintered frost-free.

Propagation works without any problems by sowing, self-sowing, division or cuttings. In terms of diseases, it is mainly downy mildew that occurs again and again, and in terms of pests it is aphids. Otherwise goose cress is very robust and healthy.


When it comes to the location, it is important that it is bright and sunny, although goose cress can also cope with partial shade. The plants hardly bloom in the shade, but they also grow. The species with colorful or variegated foliage in particular do not need quite as much sun. They convince with their foliage and produce fewer flowers anyway.

  • Sunny and warm
  • Partial shade is also fine and is particularly suitable for species and varieties with colored leaves.
  • Shade is rather unfavorable, only a few flowers are formed there and growth is significantly lower.
  • Goose cress is also good for containers, but you have to water it more regularly because the soil dries out faster.

plant substrate

It is important for the plant substrate that it is neither too wet nor too dry. Slight moisture is ideal, i.e. fresh soil. For pot culture, normal soil loosened with a little sand or gravel is sufficient.

  • Not too wet, not too dry
  • Not too nutritious
  • Loose and permeable
  • Slightly chalky
  • Gladly with sand and gravel shares


When planting goose cress, there is not much to consider. You can plant them from spring to autumn. After setting, watering is important. The plants are good for bordering beds and in the foreground of borders as they do not grow tall. The neighboring plants should also not be too tall, otherwise the goose cress will get too much shade.

  • Plant in spring or late summer
  • Planting distance 20 cm
  • When planting at the edge, you calculate about 5 plants per meter.
  • Good in combination with gentian, blue cushion, alyssum or low sedum
  • Also very nice with spring flowering plants (bulb plants) such as grape hyacinths, dwarf irises or similar
  • When planting in containers, drainage is helpful so that excess rainwater or irrigation water can run off.

watering and fertilizing

When watering, it is important not to let the plants dry out completely, but also not to keep them too wet. Constant wetness is definitely worse than dryness, even if it is also harmful in the long term. There is no need to fertilize. Some compost in the spring is absolutely sufficient. Too many nutrients are rather harmful.

  • Water regularly
  • Sufficient water is necessary, especially after planting.
  • Once established, the plants get by with significantly less water
  • Better not to let it dry out completely
  • If the soil is too dry for too long, the plants will wither
  • No waterlogging
  • Fertilization is not required
  • If fertilizing, then with some compost in the spring, as a start fertilizing for the season.

To cut

Not every species needs to be pruned, some can be left out. It is advisable to cut off the withered flowers. In this way, a new pile is promoted. However, not all species or varieties tend to continue flowering. You can only try that. No plant is harmed if the flowers are cut away. Many of the cushion perennials should be cut back a little after flowering, to about 10 to 15 cm.

  • Cut back after flowering to encourage cushioning
  • Simply cut down to 10 cm
  • Variegated goose cress does not need to be cut.


Most goose cress species are hardy. They tolerate temperatures down to minus 25 to 30°C. Protection is not necessary for this. If the winter gets extremely cold, you can cover the plants for a short time. However, a few species come from warm regions. These tolerate only low minus temperatures and need protection.

  • In extreme winters they can be covered for a short time.
  • The plants do not tolerate long covers.
Note: Species from warmer regions are more sensitive to frost and need protection. Among those are Arabis blepharophylla. It is advisable to ask about the winter hardiness when buying. It is also good if you can find out the exact name, then it is possible to look for compatibility on the Internet.


Propagating goose cress is easy. It succeeds through sowing, propagating cuttings and dividing the cushion perennials. Over time, large cushions form that can be easily cut apart. It is best to sow after maturity. Cuttings are cut in summer.


  • After maturity in place


  • Use offshoots above ground
  • Cut cuttings in summer
  • Replant at a depth of 5 cm

share cushions

  • Works best in late summer

diseases and pests

Goose cress is very robust and healthy. Nevertheless, diseases, mostly fungal diseases, can occur. This is usually the case when it is dry or wet, as the plants are weakened and therefore more vulnerable. Pests such as the aphids that occur everywhere cannot really be avoided either.

  • Wrong mildew
  • white rust
  • Collect and discard leaves so the spores don’t remain on the ground
  • aphids
  • gall midges
  • Nettle manure to strengthen plants

Frequently Asked Questions

Can the not so hardy species of goose cress be covered in the cold season to protect them a little better?
This is rather unfavourable. Under the cover, whether you use leaves or twigs, the plants will soon rot. They should only be covered for a short time, i.e. when a frost period hits particularly hard for a few days. Then the plants have to be covered again.

Is goose cress edible?
Yes, although it is not typically grown and harvested like garden cress. Usually only a few flowers are used as decoration, but basically the plants are not poisonous and you can eat them. But I’ve read repeatedly that you shouldn’t take too much of it.

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