The Caucasian Arabis or Pelosella d'Alpe is an evergreen perennial herbaceous plant originating in Europe and Asia. It consists of dense carpets, 15 to 20 cm high, of small oval, dark green leaves, covered with a thin and thick hair that makes them appear silvery; in spring, sometimes as early as February if the temperatures are mild, it produces innumerable white, delicately scented flowers, which almost completely cover the leaves until May. The "rosea" variety has deep pink flowers. This ground cover plant is ideal for rock gardens or dry stone walls; the "variegated" variety has variegated cream-white leaves. There are many other Arabis species, some endemic to our peninsula; for example A. blepharophylla has pink flowers, which grow in spikes 20-25 cm high; A. ferdinandi-coburgii has small flowers and very dense and variegated foliage.
The Caucasian pelosella of Alpe grows without problems in the full sun, in partial shade or in the complete shade; surely the best blooms are when the seedling is illuminated by the sun's rays for at least 3-4 hours a day. The Arabian Caucasian is a rustic plant, which may however sometimes suffer the winter cold when it is very intense; if the winter temperatures are rather harsh, lay a layer of straw or leaves on the ground to prevent the root system from being protected and freezing completely.
The Caucasian Pelosella d'Alpe plants, widespread in nature in rocky soils and along the coasts, do not need much water, resisting the drought without problems; it is advisable to water sporadically in the warm seasons, checking that the soil allows the correct drainage of the water, without danger of forming stagnant water which is dangerous. It is advisable to supply fertilizer for flowering plants at least once a month during the growing season. In winter, avoid watering, often too rainy winters cause the plant to die due to the fact that the soil remains soaked for a long time.
The Caucasian Arabis prefers very well drained, sandy or even stony soils, in fact it develops very well on the rocks and on poor soils. To favor a second autumn flowering and a more compact development it is advisable to prune the seedlings in late May-early June.
When new plants of this kind are planted, it is a good idea to prepare a spout made of peat, sand, soil and organic matter.
The reproduction of this type of plants can occur by seed, but having the plant a fairly slow initial development avoids this method of propagation. Usually, before the flowering or in autumn, the clumps of leaves are divided, producing portions including vigorous roots; the new plants created in this way are immediately put to stay. Since the plant tends not to have a very long life, we usually proceed to divide the clumps every 2-3 years.
Pelosella d'Alpe caucasica - Arabis caucasica: Pests and diseases
Pelosella d'Alpe Caucasian plants are quite rustic and are hardly affected by pests or diseases; sometimes they can be infested by aphids. For this reason it is possible to intervene with the use of specific products or natural preparations based on garlic or marseille soap diluted in water.