One of the most difficult aspects of a rock garden is finding plants that are not too successful. So many of the small trailing plants that are used in rock gardens are too invasive and before you know it your rock garden has lost its shape and is covered in only 1 or 2 aggressive species.
There are however some very well behaved rock garden plants, that compliment each other throughout the season and stay were they were put. Many are easy to find and others a little more difficult. A good resource for rock garden plants is a supplier of alpine plants.
BEST ROCK GARDEN PLANTS TO CONSIDER:
Veronica ‘Reavis’ ( Crystal Rivers Speedwell ) forms a mat of glossy evergreen leaves, smothered by tiny sky-blue flowers . Tolerates a wide range of soil conditions.
Pulsatilla vulgaris ( Pasque Flower ) bears upright or semi-pendent, bell shaped, silky-hairy flowers. Fluffy seed heads are very decorative.
Gentian acaulis is a knock out blue with a green spotted interior. Trumpet shaped flowers bloom in late spring to early summer.
Thymus Woolly or Elfin Most of the thymes are too aggressive for the rock garden but these two varieties are an exception. Low to the ground and slower growing than most, they are completely controllable and beautiful.
Phlox Subulata ( Moss Phlox ) is a mat forming, evergreen perennial. Flowers in shades of pink, purple, red or white appear in late spring.
Sedum kamtschaticum ( Stonecrop ) is clump-forming with alternate spoon-shaped glossy leaves. In late summer they form short-stemmed, flat cymes of star shaped yellow flowers which turn orange with age.
Aethionema grandiflorum ( Persian Stonecrop ) forms branched tufts with many narrow, grey green, evergreen leaves. Clusters of small pink flowers bloom in late spring and early summer. If clipped back right after they finish blooming they will often produce a second flush of flowers.
Sempervivum ( Hens & Chicks ) are dense, mat forming evergreen succulents. They love full sun and resent winter moisture.
NEEDS COMMON TO ALL ROCKERY PLANTS:
- – rockery plants require a well drained, loose soil. Clay soils that retain water in the winter is often the downfall of these plants.
- – there are both sun, heat loving rockery plants and cool, shade loving rockery plants. A large rockery can accommodate both with large rocks providing the necessary shade.
- – Rock plants hibernate throughout the winter months. Snow is a good protector from severe frosts and winter drying.
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